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Discussion Starter #1
As a rule, I've avoided doing so thus far, but I've noticed a lot of other writers giving themselves five stars and praising their own work. I guess I was just wondering if this is common practice. I know it could help sales if people see a five star review, but if readers see the review is from the author, won't that discourage them from picking up your story?
 

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It's a common practice that is, in part, why we self published authors have such a bad reputation. Makes no sense to give yourself a five star review because what else would one say about one's own book?

"Boy, this book is awful. And I should know since I wrote it..."  :)

I'd strongly advise you to avoid this action like the plague. If you need reviews, do as I did for my latest book and offer free copies to a few people who are willing to review it in return.
 

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It would me.
 

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Keith Blenman said:
As a rule, I've avoided doing so thus far, but I've noticed a lot of other writers giving themselves five stars and praising their own work. I guess I was just wondering if this is common practice.
No, it isn't common practice, save among amateurs. It always looks bad.

Even worse is making up alternate accounts and posting fake reviews, which happens all the time. The reader can easily go to the "see all other reviews," by that supposed person, observe that it's the only one that person ever wrote, and draw his/her own conclusions.

Paying for reviews is another no-no.

CK
 

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CS said:
I hate self-reviews. Totally lame. Amateur hour.
^This or when it's obvious they have a couple of friends do some reviews.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I hear you on having friends do reviews. A friend of mine once posted one on a collection of short fiction I did on paperback (not at my request). In the review she mentioned that she works with me and that I could really use the money. Not only was it humiliating, but I've barely sold a copy since. It's still there if anybody wants a laugh. Just look up my name and "Faulty Wiring" is the book.
 

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Keith Blenman said:
I hear you on having friends do reviews. A friend of mine once posted one on a collection of short fiction I did on paperback (not at my request). In the review she mentioned that she works with me and that I could really use the money. Not only was it humiliating, but I've barely sold a copy since. It's still there if anybody wants a laugh. Just look up my name and "Faulty Wiring" is the book.
Oh no, lol, I looked it up. Now just get a kindle version up there so some of us can check it out and maybe get you a few more reviews.

BTW I do like short stories. Short Story International used to be a favorite publication of mine, I also read Analog, Asimov's Science Fiction and Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazines.
 

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When authors write their own reviews they discredit not only themselves, but other legitimate indie authors. Sadly, lots of POD publishers advise their authors to get all their friends and family to write reviews for their books. In fact, they even go so far as to suggest that the author is doing something wrong if he/she won't spare the time to write themselves a review. I wouldn't go so far as to say that this is common practice, but a lot of authors are engaging in it. Unfortunately, it hurts the reputation of the entire independent author community in the process.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Forster,

You know, I thought about posting a Kindle version of it, but I kind of enjoy selling my stories as cheap individual pieces. Given that my stuff tends to be all over the map, the paperback reads like a bad mix tape. You know, individual songs may sound great on their own, but next to each other, it just doesn't feel right. By selling the short fiction on its own, I can say, "Hey, everybody who likes themselves some murder mysteries, check out ENTREES & STATISTICS. In the mood for a laugh, I've got BARTERED BREATH right over here." Anyways, thanks for checking my shame.
 

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The *only* time I think it could be considered somewhat legit is if they're trying to get the book description up since sometimes it takes Amazon awhile to get that up there, and the author uses a review to do so.  But then I think the review should be immediately removed as soon as the actual book description gets added.

Otherwise, reviewing your own book is in very poor form.
 

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Keith Blenman said:
Forster,

You know, I thought about posting a Kindle version of it, but I kind of enjoy selling my stories as cheap individual pieces. Given that my stuff tends to be all over the map, the paperback reads like a bad mix tape. You know, individual songs may sound great on their own, but next to each other, it just doesn't feel right. By selling the short fiction on its own, I can say, "Hey, everybody who likes themselves some murder mysteries, check out ENTREES & STATISTICS. In the mood for a laugh, I've got BARTERED BREATH right over here." Anyways, thanks for checking my shame.
I'd rather buy a cheap compilation of stories. :D
 

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That's a good point, Steph, but unfortunately, most of those who are already down on Indie Authors will still hold it against you. You have a few classless so-and-so's around who have nothing better to do than hate on Indie Authors, and they'll use even the slightest excuses to do so.
 

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Greg is 1000% correct. Self-reviewing is a sure way to get readers reject you. Reviews may or may not come, but an author's work will get reviewed by readers on its merits. I also suppress my family from reviewing my work, and my editor and anyone connected to the work.

Edward C. Patterson
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Sorry to upset Forster. Maybe after I get a few more shorts together I'll publish a compilation and give people the option.
 

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I can't fathom reviewing my own books. One of our authors did, which was embarrassing enough, and since she's sold all of 2 copies, I'm guessing it bit her in the behind...
 

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There was an author on Amazon who recently created a thread asking other authors to review each other's books in exchange for 5 star reviews regardless of the quality of the book. Worse, he asked that each author only read a small portion of the book so that they could get their reviews up more quickly. That stint turned into a fiasco that caused a backlash against every author who publicly agreed to engage in such a disreputable practice. Amazon customers immediately went to each of the authors' reviews and voted them unhelpful in massive numbers. It is a clear warning that any deceptive book review, whether written by the author, or a sock puppet should be frowned upon and discouraged. An author's career could potentially be destroyed for his lack of honesty.

 

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Discussion Starter #18
That's great to hear, Kevis. I mostly brought this up because the number one book yesterday had a five star review from its authors, saying little more than the book description. Whatever it was doesn't come to mind at the time, but I think it was also for free. "Serial" maybe? Anyways, thanks everybody for the feedback. I knew I was staying in the right, but couldn't help but have a little temptation. :)
 

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Keith,

You are on the right path, trust me. Ed is right, quality books tend to garner their own honestly written reviews. Readers are very distrustful of 5 star reviews. The sad thing is, they shouldn't be. But too much abuse of the system has caused people to become cynical. Believe it or not, the best review I ever received was a 3 star review. The reader made it no secret that she dislikes the kind of book that I wrote, but enjoyed mine anyway. That was more meaningful to me than basically any of my 5 star reviews. As an author who is constantly trying to improve his craft, I found that some of my harsher reviews gave me insight as to how I might become even better at telling stories than I am now. Sadly, there is very little to learn from most of those 5 star reviews, even if it looks good on your sales page.

One final point, you'll find as I have that once your reviews start coming in, readers are quicker to trust the reviews with fewer stars, since those reviews tend to be content-specific. Readers aren't looking for perfect books. They want to find the ones that appeal to them. And the reviews that are balanced in pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of a book are the ones readers welcome most. Why? Because at the end of the day, readers will form their own opinion of your book upon reading it regardless of its reviews. What they want to know is what can I expect from this author's tale? That, in the end, is what's important--and ultimately what sells books.
 

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Here's my take on the reviews at Amazon.

Please write more than one sentence: Neither "This book is great, you should buy it" or "This book
sucks
, run far away" are at all helpful. Take a few sentences to say WHY it's great, or WHY it
sucks
. But, even so, not everything is all bad or all good, so if that's all you're saying, I ain't listening. . . :D

But don't write too much either: I've seen some reviews that seem to be nearly as long as the work they're reviewing. They'd better be really well done or I'm not going to get past the first couple of paragraphs.

Please don't tell me the plot: I've seen reviews that basically say, "First they did this, and then that, and then they had to do the other thing, so in the end xxxxxxx." Not helpful -- and why should I buy the book when you just told me how it ended?

I will pay the most attention to a review that is well written, explains what the reader liked and didn't like about the book, and seems to provide honest feedback. A nebulous and subjective call, I know. If I'm impressed by a review, I'll often also look at other reviews by that person to see if, by chance, they've reviewed another book I've actually read, to gauge whether or not our tastes are similar. And maybe to go check out those other books as well if it seems like we are simpatico.

I'll pretty much automatically discount any review that seems to be by the author or -- since I now recognize some 'other' indie author names :) -- by another author where it seems like there could be quid pro quo. Especially if said review is a five star shower of praise.

I'll put MORE stock in a review written by a KindleBoard member because I feel like I 'know' them better. I probably already have a feel for whether we like the same kind of books and so can judge if their assessment might match my own. Though I won't automatically buy it or steer clear just because it's a KB member review.

For a Kindle book, I do want to know if there were formatting problems. I read one (a book, not just a review) that had no paragraph indents. That was hard to get through and speaks of inattention to detail in producing it in e-format. If I saw that such a problem existed in another book, I'd probably steer clear -- even if the subject matter interested me -- until I saw that it had been fixed.

My opinions only, obviously.
 
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