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Self-published books: pain or gain?

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In reply to an earlier post on 29 Jun 2012 23:53:00 BDT
Garscadden says:
Not at all - it is a fair point. And i'd never read the Amazon guidelines.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 00:27:22 BDT
gille liath says:
When you review on Amazon, however many stars you award they helpfully tell you what they're supposed to represent - love it, like it, it's okay etc.

Of course, it's in their interests for reviewers to be as generous as possible - sells more product.

Posted on 30 Jun 2012 01:10:23 BDT
Oracle says:
I had a review rejected by Amazon the other day. It was a 1*er of If, a 4-page 99p ebook of the classic, out-of-copyright, 294-word poem, which despite these flaws is currently the 16th most popular poetry book on Kindle. I pointed this out and even pasted in the poem so readers didn't have to part with their 99p, but so far my review hasn't surfaced. I may rewrite it more moderately and see if that gets past the censors.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 01:11:21 BDT
Oracle says:
Do you find it suspicious that a lot of the top 100 reviewers are people who largely post bland 5* reviews?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 01:28:14 BDT
Anita says:
If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim

(Love those lines)

But then, what's the point of buying it?

http://www.everypoet.com/archive/poetry/Rudyard_Kipling/kipling_if.htm

I've had a 1* review rejected too, of a book, but that was years ago. Emailed Amazon asking for a why, they asked for details and promised to investigate, but I didn't have a copy and didn't bother, and the book was crap anyway

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 01:42:14 BDT
Oracle says:
I've never had a 5* review rejected. They usually go up immediately unless they mention 'sex' in which case they get delayed while someone checks them. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 01:49:23 BDT
Anita says:
Remember one infamous self-published book I compiled a review of our posts for? I gave it 5*, still, the review was delayed for almost 2 days. Is it already 2 days (48 hours) since you wrote your 1* review?

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 03:03:39 BDT
Oracle says:
Probably three - I can't remember for sure. Long enough for me to be pretty sure it's not going to appear. In the meantime, more naive fools without a basic knowledge of poetry are going to be downloading If...

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 07:00:22 BDT
Garscadden says:
It is weird - I see why they end up as 'top' reviewers (friends, fans and supporters of the author vote the reviews up). But it achieves the exact opposite of what a reviewer should be, in my opinion.

Ive said before (and we appear to be hijacking this thread), I would force normalise all star ratings for a given person (so the average rating had to be three stars). Failing that - I would not let anyone be listed as in the Top X Reviewers unless they had a reasonable spread of star ratings.

I also wouldn't show star ratings for people until after they had reviewed some arbitrary number of things (20, maybe), and after a period of time (6 months).

Whilst high rating seem like a good thing for A, they actually aren't (or aren't necessarily). Which is why they seem to have an interest in software and heuristics systems to spot fake reviews. I suspect one day they will actually turn one of those systems on, and half the top 100 reviewers reviews will just disappear. (It is not hard to find obviously fake reviews by top 100 reviewers, and Vine Voice reviewers).

Sorry, off topic rant over.

Posted on 30 Jun 2012 08:10:24 BDT
i'm pretty strict about what gets five stars. i have to really love a book, its has to be value for money (cost v length) well edited etc. i can't ever recall giving anything 1 star - it would have to be really bad or a rip off of something like garscadden decribes the "if" poem. rips offs make me really cross and there's currenlty a spate of "fifty shades of..." doing the rounds cashing in on the trilogy - that annoys me :(
when i post reviews theyre usually up within two hours or i get an email saying they've been rejected. so i reckon yours is lost in cyber space garscadden and not been through the system. try submitting it again - it gives you and edit first when you press submit and then you need to "submit" it again - maybe you missed that step? i had one rejected by US amazon as it had a quote from the book which was .....a swear word! shocking isn't it? i'd put it in quotes but the rejection doesn't say why and it took me two or three attempts and further rejects before i worked it out.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 08:30:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 12:56:53 BDT
To be honest, I think this whole top reviewer rating is nonsense. Does it matter if I'm a top reviewer or not? All the upvoting and downvoting on reviews is ridiculous. Was this review helpful? To me, only negative reviews are helpful. Amazon seems to appeal at the competitive nature of people with that system. I don't care if the review is from someone who only reviewed a few books or from someone who reviewed 1000, as long as it makes sense to me and I can see it's not from any of the author's friends.

By the way, here's a little addition to your rant: I recently read a blog post by an indie author who happened to receive some negative reviews and he posted the following advice: get friends to downvote the negative reviews and get as many friends as possible, confident to write a 5-star-review for your book. I couldn't believe my eyes.

Now I'm not as worried about the people who advise this openly, as they'll get slapped on the wrist by fellow authors and readers soon enough, I'm concerned about those who aren't vocal about it, but do it anyway.
Luckily, he amended his post and apologised, but I'm not sure if he's altered his approach.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 12:38:16 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 13:35:55 BDT
gille liath says:
Not suspicious per se, but it's certainly no coincidence. I just think people like to be told that the stuff they like is brilliant, and so - as I've said ad nauseam on here - a positive review is always more likely to get a yes-vote than a negative one, even if it's rubbish. I see it as a sort of online social conformity mechanism.

That's apart from the sort of nefarious doings Stella describes. I daresay they do go on, but I don't think they're typical.

I also keep saying that the no-vote serves no useful purpose; but the system probably suits Amazon as it is since (as I said earlier) it favours uncritical reviewers and hence leads to everything being described as brilliant, which in turn is likely to help sales.

Surprised you had a review rejected. Are you sure it's not a glitch in the system, of the kind that was common in the early days? I haven't had any rejected in the last couple of years; I don't think anyone reads them before publication these days, unless the system picks up a dubious word. For example, one of my reviews wasn't posted for several days, presumably because I used the phrase 'enjoying the crack' (as in fun, music etc). It got there in the end, though.

I did have a critical review of the Simon Pegg film, Paul, deleted for reasons I don't understand and couldn't be bothered to pursue.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:11:39 BDT
That's interesting. If it moves me enough to review it, that's automatically 4 or 5. If there are typos, which I notice I either contact the author or give 3 stars.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:18:05 BDT
<get friends to downvote the negative reviews and get as many friends as possible, confident to write a 5-star-review for your book. I couldn't believe my eyes.>

So wrong. These are the snivvling little shytes who damage the rest of us so badly. Grrr.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:26:56 BDT
Oracle says:
Sounds like he was sorry to be criticised, not sorry for what he was advising...

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:32:11 BDT
gille liath says:
Yeah, I guess that's another reason ratings tend to drift to the extremes: if you care enough to review, you're likely to think it very good or very bad. If I bother to review a 3-star book, it's likely to be because I'm disappointed - I expected more of it.

I also suspect at times that people think an extreme review and rating are more likely to get noticed.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:36:21 BDT
<I also suspect at times that people think an extreme review and rating are more likely to get noticed. >

Absolutely. Although I think it possible that it might.

Also agree re 3 stars although if the story is really great and 4 or 5 star worthy I'll give it 3 if dodgy editing drags it down.

Cheers

MTM

Posted on 30 Jun 2012 21:36:38 BDT
Oracle says:
I think people are more likely to review books that they like, largely because they're more likely to read books they like because they've already filtered out the ones they were obviously going to hate. Plus, any reviewer who admits they couldn't finish a book gets slammed by people who think you can't have a valid opinion of something you've not read every word of, so that discourages some negative reviews I think.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:39:53 BDT
gille liath says:
Good point. Is it worth ploughing on to the end, just so you'll be able to say that you finished it?

I'm saying nowt... ;)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:47:30 BDT
Gah, no but I agree with Oracle, if I abandon a book, I don't feel I can ethically review it.

Cheers

MTM

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:53:47 BDT
Oracle says:
I think it's useful to know that a book was so bad that someone couldn't finish it.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 21:57:50 BDT
That's what I thought. My reply was: instead of putting the effort into fighting the review, an author would be better off to go and fix the issues the reviewers pointed out; especially if there are a few of them saying the same. Then learn from it and avoid doing the same mistakes with the next book.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:02:01 BDT
I don't know. I fear it might be the case, but I'm not in his head. I hope that people read the replies to the post, too. With self-published authors so connected -- it's almost like in a small village, everyone knows everyone -- these things can spread fast and it would be terrible if the wrong message would be spread.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:07:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2012 22:09:19 BDT
Which I find is wrong. If you give a valid reason why you did not finished the book and have read at least, let's say, 30% and then have given up because it became sheer dreadful after 20%, it's perfectly fine. If I start reading a book and toss it across the room after a while and my friend asks me how I liked the book, I'll say, sorry, but I gave up at X%, it was just terrible. I won't say, sorry, can't tell you, haven't read the whole thing.

That said, I'd probably become famous for the most 'sorry, couldn't finish it' reviews in history. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2012 22:24:30 BDT
gille liath says:
We've said it before ain't we? If a book is terrible up to the halfway point, it's unlikely suddenly to become brilliant after that.

And do we honestly think professional reviewers read every page of a book? Not on your nelly...
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  418
Total posts:  10000
Initial post:  17 May 2012
Latest post:  29 days ago

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