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November 27, 2013

I’ve touched on this subject when I discussed book blurbs and review quotes a few articles past. This time, I want to talk about blatant fake reviews. There’s a blatant fake reviewer on Amazon that some of the publishers use. I won’t mention the name so I won’t get sued, but I can tell you that what she does is quote the back blurb and give the book either a four or five star review, depending on her mood or what the marketing wizzes at the publisher tell her to do. The four star reviews are probably to try and make them look more legitimate. I strongly suspect she never reads a single word, especially since she has something like 29,000 + reviews out there. Ah, duh!

This kind of blatant fake marketing doesn’t do us authors any favors, at least I my mind. I’d be flat out embarrassed to have my publisher pull a stunt like that. What’s worse is to have naive readers fall for it. Many uninformed people have no idea they’re reading total bull. However, I’ve noticed a lot of times, when she posts one of her reviews, people are quick to react with feedback. There are plenty of people that are wise to this line. So many in fact, that a lot of times, they’re censored.

This reviewer showed up on David Lynn Golemon’s book, Carpathian, a book where I really liked the story, but the writing and editing was horrific. Of course, this person copied the back cover and gave the book four stars (instead of five???). Almost immediately, a flood of feedback started on her review, calling her a fake. I even chimed in. I have no idea what I said wrong, but one of my posts was deleted. I wrote most of it again and the second time, it stuck.

It pisses me off to see that, on a book I think was superb (not Carpathian, by the way)… especially on a book that was superb. It cheapens it.

Reviews are supposed to be honest and sincere. From the heart.

Another thing, while we’re at it. I hate when a great story gets docked because the reviewer is giving the book one star because their Kindle doesn’t work right! Yeah, I’m talking about you, Mr./Mrs./MS e-book reader with the Kindle, I-pad or whatever paperless gizmo you use. You download a story that doesn’t work right, you pay what you think is too much, the font won’t expand to the right font size, or the formatting is off a bit.

That’s a great reason to slam the STORY down to one star because your DEVICE or the PRICE doesn’t make you happy. How about doing a review of Amazon, or the place you bought it from? Leave the story out of it. Just plain dumb.

Then again, I see your frustration because you may have no other outlet to vent your frustration or anger. So, you take it out on the author who has nothing to do with any of those things… usually.

            Unless, they self-published the work and then… well, all bets are off, except that still doesn’t justify slamming what may be a great story because the electronic functions don’t work. Then again, the author should’ve done their homework better. It’s no different than getting their work edited properly. E-formatting is just as important in this day and age.

On the other hand, if you buy a printed book and find it full of grammatical errors and poor writing (Carpathian cough cough…), now you have a legitimate gripe.

Reviews should be real and about the story and how well it’s written, not about the electronics or price. They should be real, honest and from the heart.

They should also be from a book the reviewer actually read!

To keep full disclosure, I’ll admit, I’ve done one bad review on a book I never read. The reason is that I was a big fan of this author and he always wrote in solid third-person. All of a sudden, he switched to first-person. It upset me enough that I not only didn’t buy his book, I did a scathing review of my thoughts on how he ruined a perfectly good series by shifting gears in midstream. Probably not the most mature thing to do, but it came from the heart. You all know how I feel about first-person in fiction! There are very few cases where I’ve liked it (one I’m reading right now that’s mixed) but that’s a special circumstance. I won’t take the review back. It’s still my honest opinion.

Whatcha’ think?

Happy writing!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Mike permalink
    November 28, 2013 5:55 pm


    I think it’s a bit hypocritical to write an article castigating fake reviews and then think it’s OK to admit your own transgressions under the presumed protection of full disclosure.

    Fred, you need to understand that reviews should be honest AND objective and objectivity can not be attained without reading the book.

    • November 28, 2013 10:17 pm


      You are absolutely right. I did it once, and in full disclosure, I admitted it. I was so pissed at the author, I wanted it known what I thought of him changing his style. I wanted the world to know. I’ll never do that again. However, I won’t take it back either. I got some positive feedback from others with the same feeling, which I didn’t expect. His books have been downhill from there.

      One more thing. It wasn’t so much a fake review as a review of the author’s style, just not the content. Still not the right thing, but I wasn’t trying to tell anyone I actually read it. I was quite clear in the review that I didn’t.

      Thanks for the feedback!


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