Amazon Reviews – Is This Ethical?
I’ve gone on before about how important Amazon reviews are to authors. They help to ‘sell’ the book to potential readers and they may also help to push a book up the Amazon rankings and make it more visible to the buying public.
But getting reviews is a battle. It just doesn’t occur to many of us to bother writing one – even if we’ve really enjoyed the book. And to be honest, until I got into Kindle publishing it wouldn’t have occurred to me either.
Bearing all this in mind you’ll understand why an email I received this week got my immediate interest. The sender was suggesting that we do a ‘review swap’ and they included a link to their book on Amazon. I assumed that we would each read and then independently review the other’s book. That seemed acceptable - like ‘proper’ publishers sending out review copies in the hope of getting a positive response.
But further correspondence with the other author made it clear that I’d got it wrong. The idea was that we each write the other’s review ‘to speed the process up’ – meaning that I write a review of my own book for my contact to post under their name and vice versa.
I had a look at this person’s book on Amazon – they had many more reviews than me and their book appeared to be doing much better than mine. It seemed this author knew the secret of garnering reviews and thus growing sales!
I was sorely tempted to go ahead with the swap – perhaps lots of people are operating and making money like this? Why should I miss out?
But then I thought how would I feel if anyone discovered that I had written some of my own reviews?
I would be ashamed and unable to look them in the eye.
So I didn’t go ahead with the swap.
What would you have done?