The blogosphere has been all afire over the recent revelation of some authors paying for reviews.
I know some of you are like: "So what's the big deal?"
Well, here's the big deal. The main bookselling website is Amazon. This is where the majority of books are bought in the world. That's not an exaggeration, it's just the fact. Amazon is also where the majority of reviews are placed.
Well, the thing you should know about Amazon is that they have this nifty little thing called an algorithm. We all know what it is conceptually, but no one who doesn't work at Amazon understands it fully. It's the Matrix. It's the ghost in the machine. It is the Wizard in the Oz. It is the selling peanut butter to your buying jelly.
You've been on Amazon. You've seen the items they recommend for you to buy. You get their emails suggesting books. This is all the work of the faceless, all-knowing, mysterious and strange algorithm.
There is one thing we know about the algorithm. It is driven in part by reviews.
Because the algorithm assumes honesty it actually weights reviews pretty heavily in its ranking and recommendation system. So when some asshat comes along and buys a ton of reviews they are gaming the system. They are pulling a shell game on you. They are feeding you a lie masked by your trust of the Amazon system.
If you buy their book based on the recommendation or the paid for reviews, then they are STEALING YOUR MONEY.
Now you might try their book and like it. If so, then win win. But I find that if you have to pay for it, then it's because you know you can't get it on your own.
So rest assured loyal readers. I have not and will not pay for a review. The reviews you see on my books are honestly given by folks who either liked (Yay!) or disliked (Boo!) my writing.
Now that being said. IF YOU LIKE AN AUTHOR THEN PLEASE GO REVIEW THEIR BOOK.
It really does mean the world to them and it could be the tipping point for them to get a boost in the algorithm's arcane machinations. It is the single best way you can support the writers you like besides buying their books.