It's competition time ! Read to the end of the post to find out how to win a copy of 'How To Write a Novel.'
This week I've gone a bit Oscar Wilde, not in the Reading Gaol sense of the word, but in questioning the reliability of information ...
Imagine you’re going for a job interview. You've put lots of effort into preparing for it; bought yourself a suit to impress your new boss and written a CV that would astound even God. Nothing is going to get in your way, not the fact that you've never done this job before, or that the other person waiting to go in front of the board is younger/cleverer/prettier than you. No, because you've got something they haven’t got, you've got some rockin’ references. One is from Charles Dickens, the other from J K Rowling and the other one is from Father Christmas. They all say that you’re very clever/good/funny and that you should get the job. That should do it, either that or offer to sleep with the boss.
What, me? Of course the references are real, how very dare you! So what if one of them is dead and the other doesn't exist – that’s Santa you numskulls, not the author of Harry Potter – every word is truer than The Da Vinci Code, now give me my job!
We know that these references are false, they are lies, some might use the words complete bollocks. Getting a job with false references will get you sacked quicker than you can say ‘disciplinary hearing’ and we all know that eventually, you’ll get caught out and it’ll be home-time for you.
So why do some authors think it is okay to buy in false reviews on Amazon? I've read some quite damning blog posts recently about this practice and, always one of the last people to jump on the band wagon as it’s leaving town, I decided to look for myself. I found this article in The New York Times and it appears that the famous the indie author, who was the first to sell 1 million ebooks on Amazon and rhymes with ‘Lohn Jocke,’ bought in a lot of his reviews from a company who would write blocks of reviews on demand, for a price. They would even ensure that the books were bought first, in order to gain the much needed Amazon ‘Verified Purchase’ tag, so that potential buyers would think that the reviews were genuine. A double whammy, he’s paid for people to review his novels and to buy them as well – which is going to put the Amazon algorithms into pushing that book up the charts even more.
I’m sure he’s not the only one. The fact is that buying reviews in order to buy more readers is fraudulent. ARC copies, advanced reader copies, is completely understandable. Giving someone a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review is standard practice for all products, but buying in blocks of false reviews? It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
It's competition time and there's a copy of the Writers' & Artists's Guide to 'How To Write' by Harry Bingham to give away. To enter, click like on my facebook page and say why you'd like a copy. Funniest comment wins.