Monday, April 09, 2007

Amazon Reviews

I've noticed a trend lately where some writers try to plug their novels by pointing out all of the great reviews they're getting on Amazon. Inevitably, most of the writers doing this have had their books published by a vanity publisher...one of those groups that charges you a ton of money so they can publish your book, and rarely do you make that money back.

It's ridiculous to use Amazon reviews as a way of promoting your book. The main reason is that anybody can post a review on their site. So, all an author has to do is go out and get all of their friends to say nice things, and all of a sudden the book is rated five out of five stars, but that doesn't really tell you anything. On the flip side of this, if you piss someone off, they can go to your book's page and pan it, and then they can get all of their friends to do that as well...and yes, this really does happen.

I'll admit that I'm glad to see that one person has reviewed The Opium of the People, and given it five stars, but that doesn't really mean anything to me. For all I know, this might have been a friend of mine who was just trying to be nice. Has it helped me sell anymore copies? Probably not.

If you have a book, and you want real reviews, then you have to try a lot harder. In order to be taken seriously, you have to have reviews from major sources. This is very hard to do for a small press novel, and almost impossible to do for a vanity published book. But it is the only way you'll be taken seriously, and it's one of the best ways to sell more copies...

4 comments:

Marva said...

POD books put out by small publishers can get reviews here:

http://podbookreview.blogspot.com

These may be self-published books, but POD is used by many small presses.

By the way, to self-publish, you don't have to go Vanity. Places like Lulu don't charge an arm & leg, like some of the vanity presses, which charge in the hundreds of dollars and actually require the author to purchase a bunch of copies.

J Erwine said...

Sad fact about reviews is that a bad review from Locus or some other "reputable" reviewer will do a lot more to boost sales than a great review on that blog.

Lulu is still considered vanity. Some publishers use them, which makes it a grey area, but most of the stuff you see on there is still self-published.

Marva said...

That's true, but changing. For example, Wolfsinger Pubs is using lulu. Also, some zines produce their hard copy on lulu.

J Erwine said...

What I've learned is it's all in the ISBN. Nomadic has always put their books through Booksurge, which is kind of like Lulu, but since it's owned by Amazon, you get better distribution.

The problem is that Booksurge includes an ISBN in the purchase price, but then the book is listed as having been published by them.

So, if you look my book up on Amazon, it's listed as a Booksurge book instead of a Nomadic Delirium book...and that gives a bad impression.

Now that I'm there, I'm planning on buying ISBNs. It's more expensive, but it makes it easier to get the book into stores...easier being a relative term...