So, this is Ask the Readers week in the bordello - where we ask you all those questions we *really* wonder about. Imagine yourselves up on the panel at the front of the room and we're sitting in those crowded-too-close conference chairs.
This is my long-winded question:
For me, what's on my mind is the ongoing kerfuffle on reviews and review sites. It seems to be heating up and becoming more complex as the retailers get more involved. The growing force of self-published authors is also having an effect, because they bring an entrepreneurial fervor to the mix, with an "anything goes" attitude that's markedly different from the more old-fashioned literary world.
For example, this article about John Locke buying reviews was posted a year ago, but bubbled up in my feed again this morning, due to the recent Goodreads changes. For those not in the know, Goodreads has been a great site for listing books, reviewing them, posting progress in reading a book and having conversations about them. Goodreads has come under fire because some readers have targeted authors they feel treat readers or other people badly. By that I mean, they use the "bookshelf" function to list authors they will never support. Recently, Amazon bought Goodreads. And, at the end of last week, all of the "anti-author" shelves and reviews were summarily deleted.
Has, a reviewer from The Bookpushers book review blog, has an excellent summary here.
Even more interesting, while Goodreads has decided to take sweeping control of what reviewers post, they've added this bit to the author pages:
Hey, you have some reviews! That’s great news. Goodreads reviews help readers decide to read your book. Read more about reviews.
Looking to get more reviews? Try a free giveaway.
For more suggestions of great ways to use Goodreads, please see our author guidelines.
For more about how our reviews work, please see our review guidelines.
If you see a review you feel violates our guidelines, please flag it to bring it to our attention. You’ll see a flag icon when you mouse over the bottom right-hand side of a review.
Which, is not only insulting to me, as a professional author. *Ahem, I know what a review is* - it's also a red flag for the days to come.We've already been through Facebook's ever-increasing attempts to get authors to pay to promote, to reach the readers already following us. Seems to me like Goodreads isn't far behind. Just guessing here.
After all, tons of authors are willing to pay. That's the point of that article on John Locke. He wrote a book called How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months, though he left out the "secret" that he did it mainly by 1) paying people to buy his books and 2) paying for reviews. Some choice tidbits:
andPotential reviewers were told that if they felt they could not give a book a five-star review, they should say so and would still be paid half their fee…As you might guess, this hardly ever happened.That’s the New York Times’ David Streitfeld quoting Todd Jason Rutherford, who, Streitfeld reports, commissioned 4,531 glowing and completely bogus book reviews at the now-inactive GettingBookReviews.com.
If you’re a self-published author who is still struggling to get noticed, now might be the time to swallow the rest of your pride, jettison your code of ethics, and start buying reviews. (Hey, everyone is doing it.)
He also asked that the reviewers make their book purchases directly from Amazon, which would then show up as an “Amazon verified purchase” and increase the review’s credibility.and
The “democratizing” of content on the Internet, as it’s touted by some, suddenly looks less attractive when users realize they’re the victims of ruthless, orchestrated, profiteering liars.
Amazon has a dilemma. So far the system has been working, but what happens when players out themselves? Even last year, detractors were calling it Spamazon. Could there be a tipping point of credibility?
So, that's my question for you readers - where is the tipping point of credibility? How do YOU feel about all of this??