Please Stop Leaving Me 5-Star Reviews On!

Someone posted earlier in the Number One Book Club about skewing reviews and always giving other authors in the community 5 star reviews (see the post here) but I think this point can’t be reiterated enough!

Take, for example, one of my new books – Dr. Corson’s Top 5 Nutrition Tips – I posted in a few groups here that the book was free and I was looking for reviews and I got 11 5-star reviews. Now, some of you might think “O god! I wish I had 11 5-star reviews” but trust me, you don’t. The book hasn’t sold more than 3 copies despite receiving over 1800 free downloads during its promo. And the reviews mostly look very lame like they were written by my mom or best friend.

When a REAL CUSTOMER is looking to buy a book, they actually read reviews. And when all the review says is “Yeah this book is AWESOME!” and there’s no substance to the review, readers don’t buy.

All this trading 5-star reviews is not only unethical, it’s frickin’ killing your sales.

Every time another author here tells me “i reviewed your book, can you please review mine?” it just doesn’t FEEL right at all! There are even threads in the Amazon customer forums about how authors should NEVER do that. They call these “shill reviews.” LISTEN TO THE CUSTOMERS!

Seriously, if you’re going to review a book of a fellow author, there should be a few criteria that we all agree to:

Rules For Amazon Book Reviews

1) You’re actually interested in reading the book.

I don’t read books about sewing, I never would, I never will. Period. Why should I change that because someone reviewed my book?? Honestly, I’d rather saw my arm off than read a book about sewing (no offense to people who love sewing, it’s just not my thing. I’d happily, however, give my mom a book on crocheting because she loves it).

2) You are going to leave an honest review.

Why lie? Why tell people the book is awesome if you don’t even like it? If the formatting sucks? If there are typos everywhere? If the information is garbage? Just leave an honest review. Honestly, I’d rather have a well-written detailed one-star review than all these empty 5-star reviews.

3) You’re not expecting anything in return.

Seriously. There’s enough people in this one little community to find the other few authors who are ACTUALLY INTERESTED in your book about how to keep your clothes clean. You don’t have to go force everyone else to leave a 1-sentence 5-star review (because it’s not even going to help your sales in the first place).

4) Because you want to help THE CUSTOMERS find the right book.

Customers read reviews to make buying decisions. You should provide information in your review that helps them do that.

I hope this post will help improve the quality of reviews for all of us authors and save us all from a lot of wasted time reading books we really hate and should never have picked up in the first place.

Life is too short to read books you’re not interested in!

I’ll be honest – it’s uncomfortable to tell someone you don’t want to read and review their book because you’re not interested in the topic even though they read and reviewed yours. But in the end, it’s the right thing to do. And customers know that – they even check to see if the you reviewed the book of the people who reviewed yours, and if so, they know those reviews are tainted.

Is it okay to swap reviews between fellow authors? Sure! Just be honest about it and put some heart into it instead of just an empty 5-star review because you didn’t want to hurt someone’s feelings.

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