False Positives

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?

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About Kimberly A Bettes

I whittle away the minutes of my life by entertaining myself with various projects and people. One thing is certain. I'm never bored. I also write stuff and take pictures of things.

Posted on May 6, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’d love to know who these idiots are and your blog reminded me of when a well-known horror writer referred to me (because I was self-published) in a message board as a mud dweller. After that happened and I published with a couple of small publishers he apologized and welcomed me into the fold of “real writers”. I accepted it and responded that I’ve always been a writer. I’m just picky about who puts my work out and I get my fair share of the royalties.

    Have I written fake reviews – never. As a matter of fact I share both the good and bad ones to my friends on facebook. The bad ones can be entertaining and don’t bother me. I tend to keep most readers happy. As for friends and family members giving me 5-star reviews. Eh well … I’m embarrassed to say that I have a brother who gave me a good review. It felt like I was taking a cousin to the prom. Other than that no relative has written a review for me.

    Anyway – great blog. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • I know what you mean. Someone I know gave me a review and even put IN the review ‘I know the author personally’. Oh, how I hated that because now, even though she genuinely liked the book, people will dismiss that review. People tend to look away when you take your cousin to the prom! Thanks for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  2. It would seem that some published authors think acceptance in the writing word is based solely on having been accepted by an agent and a publisher. Having seen many books from publishing houses in the remainder bin at the local Pound Shops I beg to differ. You’re an author if you write a book-period. Being a successful author is something entirely different. Despite what the detractors of Indies say, very often being successful is a matter of luck and publicity rather than quality of work. Yes, I’d like to be picked up by a publisher and sell more books but demand outstrips supply so self-publishing was the way to go for me. And since my readers seem to have enjoyed the books I consider myself an author just like the best.
    Which lead me on to the next point quite neatly.
    Setting up a sock puppet account wouldn’t really benefit you if yours was the only 5 star review on there. People would soon see that One Positive but 99 Negatives is not showing much promise for their selections. I’m sure people are sensible enough to work out an average review before deciding if a books worth buying. In all honesty sometimes the reviews have been better written than the book, both good and bad but in the end it’s going to come down to personal taste whether you enjoy it. So, for me it’s not worth cheating on reviews since it’s much better to rely on an honest opinion.
    ( I may change my mind though if I get a slough of bad reviews so keep watching for 5 star reviews from the Royal family).

  3. I agree! I think the readers can decipher for themselves the padded reviews and the ones that are sincere. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. 🙂

  4. False review? No. But sometimes I wonder what reviewers are thinking when they blast the author rather than the work.

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