Just a short rant on the subject of reviews again. I was interested in a new book by a Scottish writer that has barely been out for a couple of days and I took a look to see how it was doing on Amazon, as one does when one should be writing.
It was performing pretty well for a debut novelist, which is encouraging for everyone. But I was surprised to see that barely a day after it was out it already had three reviews, all of them five stars, all of them raving about the book and the writer, and all of them written on the same day. The opening lines read:
A page turner from the very beginning.
It made me sit up right from the start.
I was gripped from the start.
The first was by someone who had only ever written a single review, which is always a bit suspicious, but it was the second and third that really got my hackles up. The second reviewer had written seven reviews. Every single one of them was five stars, with not a single flaw to be found in any of the books, and even more incredibly every single book had been published by the same Scottish publishing house. Lo and behold, the third reviewer had written thirteen five star reviews for books by the same publisher as reviewer two.
I think we get the picture. What really annoys me is that I suspect this is a very good novel, by someone who will be a very good author, but I'll never know because I'd never buy a book that seems to be being 'promoted' by something that's the publishing equivalent of a Nigerian inheritance scam. It demeans the writer and it demeans her work and most of all it demeans the people who log on to Amazon expecting to see an honest assessment of the product.
They're our readers and our customers and they deserve better.