Wednesday, 26 September 2012
The value of reviews.
There has been a lot of talk on Facebook and Twitter about writers and publishers paying for reviews so I thought I would make this the subject of my post. I certainly have noticed a correlation with the amount of sales I make on Amazon to the amount of reviews I've got; it doesn't seem to matter that there are several negative reviews as well as the positive. Of course a review is subjective - there are books, if I was forced to review, I would only give two or three stars to because I don't like books written in first person present tense. I know these books quite often very well written they're just not thing I want to read. I wouldn't dream of writing a negative review for a book just because I don't like the style. If you look at the site 50 Shades of Grey has more one and two star reviews than it does five star, the same has happened for War Brides another runaway bestseller. What matters, I think, is that they both have hundreds, if not thousands, of reviews. Recently there has been a case of a writer leaving leaflets about their book in a Waterstone's and the sales staff taking umbrage and attacking the writer on Amazon with scurrilous reviews. This book has only sold a handful of copies up to that point, but I'm sure the resulting publicity in all the papers has proved financially beneficial to the author. I'm always suspicious of five-star reviews; I think a lot of them might well be written by family and friends. After all, I don't think there are many perfect books! I've had 90% excellent reviews of my books most of which I've forgotten stop however, I think I could quote you from every one of the negative ones. So –do reviews have any real value? It must be so if publishers and authors are prepared to pay large sums of money in order to acquire them. I've been told that Amazon only feature your books in any of their marketing if you’ve had dozens of five-star reviews. What do you think? Are they a reward for good writing or a displacement activity for readers with too much time on their hands? Sometimes I think the particularly nasty reviews might be written by disgruntled writers who are not selling as many books themselves. Would love to hear what you think? Fenella Barbara's War - coming 5th October.