Three Simple Steps Feedback
Posted by Trevor on 9 October 2012 | Post a Comment
Eight hours later, I checked my ebook’s page on Amazon and there it was: A glowing, five-star review. “A one-of-a-kind vampire book!” read the subject line. The reviewer name-dropped several top vampire television shows and movies in the review (Twilight, the Vampire Diaries), a nice touch (and one that would, of course, help my ebook out when Google’s search engine spidered the Amazon page). It seemed like a lot of work to go through for just five bucks. Or four bucks, since the reviewer spent .99 to buy my ebook, thereby giving it a quick sales ranking boost. I clicked on the reviewer’s name and saw a list of dozens of other five-star reviews that they had written. Every book was self-published, and every book was rated five stars.
Until a few months ago an enterprising businessman was raking in up to $30,000 a month with his company getbookreviews.com. Fortunately, Amazon got wise to him and erased the majority of the thousands of reviews he had posted with his offer of 50 reviews for $1000. There are, however, dozens of others like him out there.
Recently in the UK, a group of credible and successful writers including bestselling writers Ian Rankin and Lee Child said the widespread use of “fake identities” by the authors themselves was causing untold damage to the publishing world. Their condemnation came after RJ Ellory, the bestselling British crime writer, was exposed for using pseudonyms to pen fake glowing reviews about his “magnificent genius” online while simultaneously criticizing his rivals.
I’m not saying that online reviews all lack credibility, but you should treat them with skepticism until proven worthy by investigating the history of the reviewer. If the reviewer has dozens of 4 and 5 star reviews posted around the site, you can be pretty sure that the writer of the book you are considering to purchase paid for the review.
I just checked Amazon.com and see there are 8 reviews and I don’t recognize any of the names there. I have asked those close to me and those involved in the publication of Three Simple Steps to restrain their enthusiasm and avoid such practices. So, what will be, will be. Anyone who posts a review will be genuine, and therefore, so will the results. Perhaps it is naïve of writers like me to avoid competing with the dubious advertising practices of other writers, but for me authenticity is critical. So many books in the category of self help and inspiration are pumped with dubious marketing practices by authors whose only success is the fact that their book is selling.
Three Simple Steps has been available for a couple of months and the feedback from readers has been fantastic. Most of the feedback has come to me through the website email of firstname.lastname@example.org and because the book is available for purchase in most airports the response has been global. My favorite email to date had me laughing out loud as the author described his annoyance at being sent a free copy from a friend via a courier service. Because he was not at home for the delivery he had to make the trek to his local distribution center. “The package turned out to be unnecessarily big and hard to open, and I was further annoyed when the contents turned out to be a self-help book.” He went on to describe how he leafed through it anyway, got hooked on something and then decided to read it cover to cover. He concluded “For some weeks now, thanks to your book, I have been pursuing a project of staying cheerful, dealing with people pleasantly and reacting differently to annoyances.” Success I thought, but then he blew me away with his final sentence, “My 88th birthday will be on October 4th.”
In Three Simple Steps I do point out that anyone from 5 to 95 can apply the principles tomorrow and see big changes in their lives, but actually hearing back from a senior citizen who still wants to improve their daily experiences is priceless.
I wish I could post that on Amazon.com as a book review!