Saturday, November 4, 2017

Reviews? More FAKE News?

As if we don't get enough FAKE, a former reputable review site is another place where I've now had to consider the source. Two days ago, I received an email reminding me this was the final chance to sign my book up for a review if I hoped to have it considered for the annual contest. (Important award, I'd add here.) Yadda yadda and the details followed. Well not really. The links to click followed. When I clicked to see how to enter, knowing there is always a fee, I was surprised to see a reviewing fee for $425-$500 and a note that only books reviewed by them are eligible for the contest. So in essence, the exorbitant entry fee is the review fee.  I'm assuming they consider their review advertising. The author has the option of having the review posted on the site...or not. I guess it depends on the review.

I can't even offer a solution to what seems like a very shady operation by one of the most widely respected review sites over the years. Books have always been submitted for reviews to major reviewers and then the reviewers volunteered or were assigned books to review. Some of these reviewers made a name for themselves and expanded into newspapers and magazines and then websites. Many independent reviewers reviewed on blogs in return for the opportunity to read for free. One review site sells advertising and reviews entirely different books. There's a wide variety out there. 

Ads are one thing. Reviews are different. Their website isn’t a magazine. Prices for online ‘now you see it now you don’t’ content is different from a paper magazine sitting in a doctor’s office picking up new Readers every 15 minutes. Ads are pointedly paid for material ... that’s understood. A review is not supposed to have strings. Now, based on the very large fees being charged for reviews, I'd love to read the books and write reviews ... but honestly, I can't believe the fee wouldn't be an influence on me. Perhaps I'd word my review with more care, hoping the author would submit again next year. 

Since reviews are linked to Amazon rankings, which weighs heavily in book visibility, this "pay to play" system is looking ever more shady. Amazon claims they take down reviews from people with too close a relationship. Friends, relatives, FB buddies. That describes my life. I tell everyone I know about my books. How else am I going to have sales with no additional capital investment? So when Amazon takes down these reviews, it kills me. My husband didn't write one and neither did my mother, but other authors I know did, authors whose opinions I respect, and they weren't always generous with the stars. That wouldn't help the readers or me. I believe they were honest with their opinions. Those who couldn't give me at least a three stars and a positive review probably just didn't comment at all. That works for me as a reader and an author. I've had trolls who I believe didn't even read my books review them as if that was going to help their friend's book rank higher. I don't know. Maybe it will, but when all is done,  I'll be on the high road heading up looking at them heading down the low road.  I hope they can handle the heat.

I'd be naive to believe money doesn't play a large part in everything we do. Advertizing is king, right.  So exposure costs either time or money. I read the reviews on Amazon. And I usually read the bad ones first. Why didn't this guy like the computer? Keyboard. Another one star keyboard problem? And another. Guess what? If the keyboard matters to me...those reviews make a bigger difference than all the advertising in the world. So I don't want to find out they are receiving the computer for free and getting paid to use it and review it. I'm not sure I'd trust one of those reviews because the reviewer's future depends on how many "this review was helpful" checks they receive. 

Can't we all just be kind but honest? Can't we put ourselves in the other person's shoes and walk for a mile or two then write the review for the shoes? "I couldn't get the first ten feet because the backs dug into my heels, but they looked fantastic. I'm only going to wear them when I sit. I was given these shoes in exchange for an honest review. No one paid me $425-$500 to try them, but it would have helped, and if you want to enter these shoes in a contest, you'll need something for your blisters. I highly recommend..."

Anyway... this is a moot point for me. I had two books come out this year Dire Moon (awesome hot cover) and A Fae Myth (also an awesome cover) which were not national contest material, just easy enjoyable reading. Not everything I write is Pulitzer material like this blog. GRIN. But I suggest you check out some of my books and see if there's one you might enjoy. Eliza March at Amazon has them all. Except this one. It's not done yet. But it will be soooon.

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Hair of the Were will be my next book and the first in the ongoing series about Delia Belaquoit. I'm loving it so much I hope you'll at least give it a try and recommend it to your friends when it comes out.  Start looking for the first book in AS THE CHAIR TURNS, DeWolf’s Salon and Spa late 2017. Sign up and keep your eyes open if you want to volunteer to be one of the first BETA READERS for us. Subscribe to DeWolf's Newsletter for updates.


  1. I kept nodding and mumbling 'yes' to myself while reading this. I was one of the authors whose books were stripped of their rank in October. Not sure why except that my publisher put together a box set of some of my bestsellers and it was selling really well. I can't understand the game or pay to play. Frustrating.

    1. Money talks. Everything is about positioning. An entry fee to enter a contest is understandable. A limit of entries...first come first served is fair. Even divisions for those reviewed by the magazine and those not. Paying for reviews is not!