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II. Publishing & Marketing Tips > Trading Reviews: Good or Bad Idea?

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message 1: by Joel (new)

Joel Bresler I've come to the conclusion that trading book reviews with other authors is probably less than desirable. At least one may base their review/rating on what the other says about them; and both are likely to review with that possibility in mind. It's probably better to be reviewed by those you haven't or aren't reviewing yourself.

message 2: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Vellacott Joel wrote: "I've come to the conclusion that trading book reviews with other authors is probably less than desirable. At least one may base their review/rating on what the other says about them; and both are ..."

I think you are right especially when you are a new self published author and a bad review not based on content could damage your reputation as an author...

message 3: by Sadie (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 68 comments Bad. Even when both authors are trying to be honest in their review both are influenced to some degree. Plus, the practice is known and definitely frowned on. It's a good way to get your writing delegitimised.

message 4: by J.D. (new)

J.D. Wright (everealm) | 15 comments I don't mind if it is anonymous (through sites like, where you review each other's work but your identity isn't revealed.


message 5: by Henry (new)

Henry Martin (henrymartin) Bad idea all around.

Especially when both parties in most review exchanges never even read the book. Yes, I saw some threads with the very same propositions going on.

message 6: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 541 comments Bad idea. I've even seen some exchanges where the authors write the reviews for the other person to post...

If readers sniff out a review exchange it will explode in your face.

message 7: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Sharpe (abigailsharpe) JDW, that's interesting! I hadn't heard of that before.

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1049 comments The authenticity and validity of book reviews are already often looked upon with skepticism by far too many readers. Authors trading reviews will only exacerbate the situation.

message 9: by Sadie (last edited Oct 31, 2014 04:19PM) (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 68 comments When I first put a book out, two+ years ago, I tried it once. The author I exchanged with was lovely and was clear that she didn't expect anything but an honest review and I think she meant it. I said the same and meant it. But I still read the book at lightning speed because I wanted to be done first so I didn't feel beholden to her if she gave me a glowing review. It was then that I realised that even when only promising honesty it's not an unbiased review and I never tried it again.

Of course there is the added fact that I was completely ignorant of a lot of the underhanded things that go on and it had never even occurred to me that people might review books they hadn't read in exchange for other false reviews. Oh, how quickly I learned.

Even when the intentions are honest and innocent, it doesn't work in reality. Plus, it's a symptom of the myopic view that the only way an indie/sp author is to succeed is to gather a bazillion reviews. So, again, bad idea.

*edited for clarity

message 10: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments Linda wrote: "Reviews are for readers, not other authors.

If you want to get together with another writer and critique each other's books, that's one thing. Reviewing for each other? No. Terrible idea."

I agree completely. Particularly when such reviews are presented as if they were unbiased reader reviews. It's an attempt to deceive consumers.

When authors present a review as a reader, then they should be doing so as a independent and unbiased reader, not as part of an undisclosed agreement with the author.

message 11: by Natalie (new)

Natalie Vellacott This link was posted on another thread. its a really good idea to avoid the above problem. Basically it involves non-reciprocal reviews....

message 12: by K.P. (new)

K.P. Merriweather (kp_merriweather) | 276 comments Ive done technical reviews and had some retaliate because I gave a poor review. I wasn't doing it hoping I get a good review in return. I even had arguments with authors so I stopped. now I only review if it comes across my desk or someone specifically asks for my input

message 13: by Sherri (new)

Sherri Moorer (sherrithewriter) | 144 comments It's a bad idea and I quit doing it. They aren't really honest reviews.

message 14: by Sadie (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 68 comments Linda, I'm wondering who the YOU is you're speaking to. (Was it meant to be universal?) Everyone in this thread has said swapping is a bad idea. Even me, who admits to being naive enough to have tried it when I was new to publishing.

message 15: by Sadie (last edited Oct 31, 2014 05:24PM) (new)

Sadie Forsythe | 68 comments gotcha

...and no reason to think you a jealous hater bitch. I was just thrown by the sudden spike in emotion of the reply. But I get it.

I think new authors fall into two traps here. Or at least I think I did. When they're new and don't know anything about what's really going on they take things at face value and they aren't really fully aware of themselves as separate readers and writers. So it's easy to think, "sure, I can read this book and give it an honest review while that person reads my book and gives it an honest review." But that's being both a reader and an author at the same time and that doesn't work.

What's more, when they're new they often don't yet understand the dynamics of the market. They aren't aware that readers are having to become almost militaristically proactive about weeding through reviews and thus how much more aware they are of what's happening behind the scenes than we all used to be.

Add this sudden feeling of being overwhelmed, under-informed and sometimes the perception of being under attack to the common mantra "the only way to succeed is with more reviews" and you get an author who becomes so afflicted with tunnel vision that they can't see straight. Sometimes they feel getting reviews is the ONLY thing they can do, thus they have to do anything to get them.

It's a disaster in the making.

message 16: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 340 comments Linda wrote: "You want a good review so it will sell your book to readers.

That's not a review; that's a commercial."

Yes. A commercial designed to appear to be an independent reader review and therefore to deceive consumers.

And non-reciprocal review groups still have issues, in my opinion.

If authors want to help fellow authors with reviews they should read what interests them, without any influence by the author to read their book, and then post an honest review with readers and consumers the intended audience and benefactor of the review in mind.

message 17: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1049 comments Readers generate reviews and reviews generate readers. The most effective method of attracting both is to write something worth reading. Eventually, the readers and reviews will show up.

message 18: by Tommy (last edited Nov 23, 2014 04:28AM) (new)

Tommy Jason Charles (tommyjcharles) | 23 comments I think it's a bad idea. It can backfire spectacularly. If you forget to get back to someone, or don't give them great feedback, they might 1 star you out of spite.

There are too many variables that are out of your control.

I know it's hard to compete on Amazon because so many "authors" are out there buying 5 star reviews. But I think that people are starting to ignore these obvious shill reviews and are focusing more on the 3 star reviews.

Bookvetter looks interesting.

The best way to get reviews is to build a platform. It's long, hard work.

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