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Information On Fake Reviews

Fake positive reviews—a really bad idea

If you’re thinking of posting some fake positive reviews for your book (written by you or carefully “shilled” reviews written by your friends and family) on the internet, my advice is: Don’t do it. They tend to stand out like sore thumbs because they reek of fakeness, and if a potential customer smells a fake review, they’ll never touch your product. Fake reviews can also do a lot of damage to your reputation and they’re hard to remove once posted. The worst decision: to post a fake 4-star or 5-star review that (lengthily) touts the merits of a really bad (or a mediocre) book. This is the kind of deception your reputation will NEVER rise above (especially once someone purchases and reads the book), and any other books you write will be seen as unworthy. The victimized purchaser may even retaliate by posting a scathing review that reveals your deception.

“Fake” reviews you can’t control

You may have a well-meaning friend who posts a review (without your knowledge) that is honest in its wording but also smacks of fakeness. That’s exactly what happened to me and there’s nothing I can do about it. The glowing, 5-star review is out there and I know it was an honest review, but it has all the indicators of a fake review and I cringe every time I come across it on the internet—and I’ve come across it a lot (and I’m not even looking for it)! For now, I ignore that review as best I can—and move on.

Bought reviews

Purchased “professional” reviews aren’t any better than fake reviews and you’re probably just throwing your money away. Reviews are expensive and the incoming royalties might not justify the “marketing ploy” costs. If the paid reviewer eventually comes clean and admits the practice, you’ll end up looking like a fool. I just found out that Amazon is clean-sweeping its virtual bookshelves of anything seen as a paid-for review, so be careful! The online retailer is also indicating an “Amazon Verified Purchase” when a review has been left by someone who actually bought the book--and that’s something I’ve wanted to see for a long time.

Getting your friends to manipulate

Begging your Facebook friends to do what they can to help boost your book’s ratings online (to counter negative reviews) is just pathetic. Why on earth would any author do that? It just makes him/her look insecure in their writing ability.

Fake negative reviews—another really bad idea

Just as bad as trying to fake-toot your own horn is the opposite: trying to smear another author’s work. It shows low-handed vileness and immaturity. And if you don’t think anyone will find out who posted a fake negative review—think again!

Revenge reviews

Never post a “revenge” review or do something silly or juvenile in retaliation for a negative review. I was floored to see a 1-star review pop up for my book. It was just a terrible review—and lowered a 5.0 rating down to a 3.0 rating; a real blow to my ego (as you can imagine). Oddly, the poster liked absolutely nothing about my book. He also got a few important details about me and my story completely wrong, which seems a bit suspicious... But I will not retaliate in any way. Many others are enjoying my book, so I know it’s a good story. Either that reviewer really didn’t like my book or (for some vengeful reason) he’s trying to dissuade potential readers from my book. I’m definitely not pleased about the review but I’m not worried about it, either. And oddly, he’s also a gay romance author. Hmmmmmmm.

Let it be

Let your writing speak for itself. If your book warrants a review (good or bad), eventually it will get one. The unbiased reviews posted by people you don’t know are the best indicator of the quality of your writing and those are the reviews others want to read. Hopefully, they are honest critiques of your writing and will let you know what worked well, what didn’t work at all, and what improvements can be made in your next book.

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