A couple of days ago, I came across an online conversation between a handful of authors. There was something about it that made me curious, so I read all the exchanges between them. And it aggravated me. Normally when I read something some closed-minded or under-informed person says on the internet, I roll my eyes and go on, but this has stuck with me and it still bothers me.
Several things were going on in this conversation. First, they were bad-mouthing indie authors, saying that any idiot (and that’s the word they used) could publish their work, and if you’re an indie author, you’re nothing; your work is crap and you aren’t a real author. This part made me angry. Mostly because I am an independent author, but also because while it’s true that pretty much anyone can publish their work, the cream rises to the top. If it’s crap, people will see it’s crap and you’ll have no success. I kept wondering if these guys don’t consider J.A. Konrath a ‘real’ author because he’s self-published a great portion of his work. What about Blake Crouch? What about the string of other successful indie authors? Are they to be dismissed as well because they have more sense than to hand over control, rights, and money to a publisher? They said you’re an idiot to self-publish, but I – as well as a whole slew of other authors – say you’re an idiot not to. (I mean, come on. Why hand over control and rights to YOUR work to someone who doesn’t have the passion for it that you do? Why choose 15% royalty over 70-75%?)
The second thing that was going on is they were talking about reviews. They were saying that indie authors were told to create sock puppet accounts so they could give themselves 5 star reviews. They also said that anytime they see a 5 star review, they automatically think ‘friends and family’ wrote it and ignore it. I don’t even know where to start on what bothers me about this.
I have never and will never create a review for myself. Ever. And I don’t know of any authors who do this. I’m not saying none of them do, I’m just saying I don’t know of any and I didn’t even know that this was an issue. I know I would never do it, so it never crossed my mind that others might. And as far as friends and family giving 5 star reviews, I’m sure friends and family do give 5 star reviews. But not all 5 star reviews are written by friends and family of the author. I have received MANY 5 star reviews for my books from people all the way across the country, people I don’t know and have never met. So only a fool would think that an author can’t get a 5 star review based solely on the merit of his/her work. Which makes me wonder if maybe these ridiculously arrogant authors were saying these things because that’s their experience. Maybe they’ve been unable to gain an honest 5 star review for their work.
So what are your thoughts on the subject? Would you ever give yourself a false positive review?