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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anybody else have this problem?

My friends have gone crazy trying to help me. Or at least I suspect so. The bonds of friendship make it difficult to make accusations in some cases...

One friend may have written an early review of my book, but I still can't be sure it was that particular friend. I'm worried it looks all sock-puppety. I didn't ask for the review. Didn't even mention it. But still, there it is, and I'm not sure it's helping...

Another friend who likes to mess around with various bits of marketing stuff suggested that he pay for some facebook ads, partly so he could see how they worked. I declined the offer. And then he did it anyway. People actually saw this thing and clicked through before he shut it down at my request...

So:

a) I have better friends than I knew, and
b) Many more reasons to facepalm than I could possibly have anticipated.

Am I just paranoid, or do I need to be laying down the law?
 

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Boy, that's a tough one. It's nice that they are so enthusiastic, but I can understand why you'd want the strategy to be on your part, not theirs so much.

Are they close enough friends that you can talk to them honestly? Lay out that you need them to step back (kindly of course)? That's my approach anyway, tell the truth and any real friend should understand.
 

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Regarding the reviews, I'm not sure it's a problem--I don't think most readers think about reviews the same way an author does, so unless it's a systematic case of obviously fake reviews, I don't think anyone will have any reason to question what they find. I looked at your book on amazon--I assume you're talking about the U.K. review. It didn't sound sock-puppety to me, it had the same tone and structure as a lot of reviews I see on Amazon.

Anyway, hope that helps!
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks - I think I'm just going to have to be careful in the future and be very firm when people offer to help. Don't think I can do anything about the review, but it's nice to hear that it doesn't come over badly.

I'm going to put my paranoia in a box now, and tie the lid down firmly :)
 

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I'm in the same boat.  My best friend is asking his coworkers to buy my books.  Just that alone makes me feel weird.  I want people to buy them because they look interesting, not because of a friend.

However, having said that, a few of them have contacted me and said they thought they were great, and that if it wasn't for my friend, they wouldn't have known about them.  Double-edged sword, I guess.  :)
 

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Oh no! Thank God my friends don't read my stuff. But I wouldn't worry about it -there is no such thing as bad publicity, is there?

I've had work colleagues who have bought my book out of curiosity, but some have said to me how much they enjoyed it. It's kind of weird, knowing that people I know have read my work - especially given the nature of some of it. Almost like being caught naked in the office (not that I would actually know what that feels like, I hasten to add).

deb
 

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Lay down the law about reviews. My mother, of all people, said she was going to write a glowing review. I can just imagine it: "My son is so bright and creative!" I practically had to threaten cutting her off from the grandkids to get her to leave that alone.

On the other hand, a well-connected cousin has twittered about my book to about 4,000 followers and I'll take that sort of help any day.
 

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MichaelWallace said:
My mother, of all people, said she was going to write a glowing review.
The day my mother reads my book, I will just die of embarrassment. I keep telling her not to buy it and not to let any of her friends buy it. Why on earth couldn't I have just written a nice romance or chick lit or something - anything - less controversial?

deb
 

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I am involved in a few writers groups and get asked to review books all of the time.  I read the book and do an honest review.  In one or two cases where the book was really terrible I just didn't leave a review. 

I don't think there's anything wrong with a friend leaving a review, as long as it's their honest opinion and they've actually read the book!
 

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I can't see the issue here. I have several friends who bought my book and left reviews. Why not? They paid for it and read it from start to finish like everyone else, they are as entitled to their opinion of it as much as the next person surely?

My partner, mum and sister have all read it and left reviews. They have their own Amazon accounts and paid their pennies (or cents) so why not?  ;)
 

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I have to agree with most of the folks here. As of right now, I'm not really sure that anyone else other than my direct friends and contacts are buying my book. As far as I'm concerned each reader has another reader friend. So technically, you are getting a two-fer-one deal here, and yes I said "fer".

As far as the paid facebook ads, WHY NOT??? If someone is helping you out by making a facebook and it's getting a decent amount of clicks, the ad is still going towards a target audience which are people you don't know, right?

I would take this as a small blessing.

Nicholas.
 
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I think everyone here knows I am probably one of the most "militant" folks when it comes to sock puppetry or potentially unethical behavior. But I think you are overreacting. So long as your friends are not pretending to be strangers, there is no harm done. Even I wouldn't bat an eyelash at a review that said "I've known Paul for ten years and I didn't think he had a book like this in him." I would consider it a sweet gesture from a friend. Now if your friend is writing reviews that say "Hey, I just discovered this new writer..." that is a different story.

At issue is transparency. So long as the reader knows the nature of the source, then the reader can honestly decide whether or not to give the source weight.

Same thing with the Facebook ad. Your friend has a legitimate interest: he wanted to see how it worked. So in order to sate that curiousity, he decided your book would be a good experiment. While he should have honored your request NOT to do it, it is not something you should worry over.

So if your friends are looking to help you, by all means accept their help. Just make sure they are being transparent in what they do.
 
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