” The worst thing about being lied to, is knowing you weren’t worth the truth.” – Unknown
I didn’t want to write this article. I have been dragging my heels all week, but I feel that I must. I came across several columns during my research on why publishers seem to hate us Indie authors and in doing so, I stumbled upon authors paying for book reviews.
I was shocked at first. I can only blame my naivety on my newfound profession, but there it was, glaring at me in the face.
People pay for book reviews, correction, authors pay for book reviews. What I found though was that it was not just self-published authors, but several well-known authors who not only paid for book reviews, but also paid for lousy reviews to be posted on their competitors work as well.
I’m trying to see their side of the story and figure out the reasoning behind all of this.
I came across many people saying that they did it to give their book a push.
Ok, I get it. It’s a tough world and with thousands of books being published a month it can be difficult to stand out in the vast crowd.
I also read that major publishers have been doing it for years so it wasn’t really a big deal.
Several authors have had great success because of this service and it has helped them tremendously.
Here’s the thing though. To someone like me who works their tail off and tries to do things honestly, it irks me. I have tried to, in a way, identify with the plight of other self-published authors who have bought reviews, but I’m having trouble trying to make sense out of it in my mind.
I understand that good reviews posted about our books is like finding a twenty dollar bill in the street. It’s a great surprise, and it makes you smile all day long.
I have also read the not so great reviews and have felt the small tug of my heart. I know that having a thick skin is mandatory when you’re a writer, but it still stings nonetheless.
What I can’t fathom for the life of me is why anyone would want a false review about their book. It’s just not real. It’s fake. It’s cheating in a way.
You can submit your book for a free review to numerous bloggers, but is the thought that there’s no guarantee that they will like it too terrifying and if it is so scary, why would you even publish your book in the first place?
Look, not everyone is going to like your book. That’s just a fact of life in an authors world. I have a confession. I didn’t enjoy ‘Of Mice and Men’. I can’t explain why, but I just didn’t care for this literary classic. I disliked the book greatly in high school, and I tried to read it again as an adult, but to no avail. It does nothing for me. Hate me if you must, but that is just my honest opinion.
I respect Steinbeck though, (East of Eden is astonishingly brilliant) just as I admire any author who works hard and enlightens so many.
I thought about him the other day. Steinbeck, Hemingway, Fitzgerald and I couldn’t help but think, what would they have to say about this? I have a feeling Hemingway in particular would have a few choice words.
I would rather have fifty bad reviews and only one star review because at least I would know that it was honest. I didn’t start writing so I could pay someone off to write me a good review. I put my work out there with an open heart and, of course, I want people to love it as much as I do, but if they don’t, then that’s okay.
Living your life on falsehoods is no way to exist. Unfortunately, after all my research, every time I look at the reviews written, I am now going to question if it is real or not.
That is what fills me with a touch of sadness and a whole lot of anger.