On Tuesday this week I was contacted by a friend on Twitter who told me that one of these 'fake' review sites had actually had the gall to copy and paste his review of my book Diamonds & Dust. I decided to re-post this, just in case some of you aren't aware that this scam goes on:
I am posting the above picture as it is evidence of a growing trend on social media. I'd noticed that my book promos were being retweeted by a Kindle tweeter I'd never heard of, so decided to investigate further. This is what I discovered (and yes, I have blocked them).
Before you go all shocked and horrified, bear in mind that like prostitutes, these people wouldn't be in business unless there was a demand for their services. Considerable numbers of writers must be using what they offer - and they are not the only company online - to boost their rankings and give the impression that their books are better written and more popular than they are.
It makes a mockery of Amazon's review feature, where any lay person can leave a review of something they have read. Enough has been written on many blogs, including mine, about the importance of reviews, especially to new or Indie writers who do not have the benefit of a marketing department behind them. To buy fake reviews not only undermines the writing process, but the reviewing one also.
I am becoming more and more convinced that the best and most effective way of selling your book comes from people interacting with you and posting stuff about you on Twitter. Here are a few examples so you can see what I mean:
@whatmeworry @carolJhedges ......Starting Carol's books soon......and just so you know I met her for real.....gorgeous lady x
Deborah Swift @swiftstory
Nice Interview with @carolJhedges about her great novel Diamonds & Dust - Dickensian, great atmosphere #recommend https://themitfordsociety.wordpress.com/tag/crooked-cat-publishing/ …
Derek Goldsmith @londondel · May 2
Just read Diamonds and Dust by Carol Hedges.Excellent read,loved it. On to Honour and Obey next. Recommend highly. Try it.
and my all time favourite:
#blisstime Husband massaging my feet while I finish reading Honour & Obey by Carol Hedges. @carolJhedges - I didn't see that coming!
See what I mean? On Amazon, you may come across a writer with loads of 5 star reviews. But can you believe what you read? If you haven't heard of them, and on the evidence of what I have discovered, I'm not sure you always can. Is that 5 star review genuine, or bought?
On Twitter, one tweet can reach thousand of people very fast. And it is clearly genuine. I have seen people downloading my books on the basis of a chat or a tweet from an enthusiastic reader. If unscrupulous authors are going to buy fake reviews, I wonder whether this is the new way to go?
Love to have your view... ....