I have a confession...I rated Emma, by Jane Austen five stars and never actually completed it. Shocking, I know! But I LOVE Jane Austen and I had seen the movie...you know the one with Gwyneth Paltrow. And I simply knew I would love the rest of the book!
I am not new to the publishing world. I am new to Indie publishing, in a very new world!
Recently...actually today...I discovered that it is quite easy for anyone to pay for a host of good reviews. Evidently they can be fairly pricey. So how do you know if reviewers are legitimate or not.
Truly, in the end, a book will sell because it was liked. But in the beginning it takes a lot of marketing to simply get it read.
After all, Susan Lucci made it to the final rounds on Dancing with the Stars and...I love her, but the woman is NOT a dancer. So there is a bit of a marketing/popularity issue going.
For me, I am fortunate that my husband is a marketing maniac! I followed the advice of a number of sites about marketing my book. And had some early fans that insisted on helping the book become known.
I had offers to publish my book with traditional publishing houses and after looking at what they offered and paid out, I chose the Indie route.
Someone once said, that the internet is the bathroom wall of the 21 century. And that appears to be true, especially since Bobrick transitioned to plastic laminates removing the opportunity to defame others behind those closed doors.
But how do you validate a challenge? You fill the void with information and facts! Here is what I discovered:
1) If a large percentage of reviewers were new to Good reads or Amazon, I would search to see if a percentage follow the author as a fan. A purchased review probably would not. I think I would expect to see at least 10%. Remember though, it may take a few weeks on a new site to build that fan base.
If the author and the reviews have been there for more than a month and are not at 10%, I would begin to suspect purchased reviews...or poor reviews.
2) I would check social media and discover if a percentage of the reviewers followed the author or book on Twitter, Facebook or other social media.
3) I would send the reviewer a message and ask them how they discovered the novel and perhaps even ask them if they had been paid to review the novel.
If at least 70% of the reviews follow the author or book and have legitimate responses, you have good reason to believe the reviews are legitimate.