I don’t typically use this blog to rant, although I like to ridicule many things offline so it was only a matter of time. This article came up on my Facebook feed a few weeks ago because one of my contacts had shared it on his wall. For those of you who don’t want to click through and read through the entire thing, I’ll offer a quick summary. This ‘book marketing coach’ has suggested that authors befriend people who have purchased and read their book (which is creepy, right?), and then offer to draft a book review of their own book that the reader can then edit and post on Amazon. So essentially, the author would interview the reader about their own book, type up a review, and ask the reader to post it as if they had written the review themselves.
Ummmmmm ok, there are so many things wrong with this article, I have to start at the beginning. Firstly, what the hell is a book marketing coach? Is this another word for publicist with no media contacts? If so, I could have awarded myself that title after graduating from my Humber publishing program. Of course, maybe this is an extremely lucrative career move that I have ignored all this time? (my voice is registering a higher pitch at the end of this sentence, because I’m seriously doubting this logic).
Secondly, his line “writing an Amazon review is a mentally taxing task” is laughable at best, offensive at worst. Isn’t reading the actual book a mentally taxing task? And to call slapping a few sentences in a comment box a “mentally taxing task” is a bit of an overstatement, considering people do this every day, sometimes all day. Shockingly, some people even do this for a living! There’s a difference between writing formal book reviews (regardless of the medium), and writing an amazon review. One is difficult, the other is not, I’ll leave it to you to guess which is the more taxing.
I’d also like to say how annoying I find all the underlined words in this article. Stupidly, I thought they were hyperlinks, but when I realized this man doesn’t understand how to make use of online mediums (consequently forcing me to question his marketing skills even further) I became even more irate, because I realized the underlining is simply acting as emphasis, which is obviously annoying.
Do I even have to address the real crux of the problem here? Typing up reviews of your own book, and asking people to pretend those words are their own? Can you imagine anything more depressing for a writer? So desperate for reviews that they’re willing to coerce them out of people? If anything, I should feel validated by this article, because it makes it seem like what I do here (reviewing books, because I enjoy it) is some sort of feat that few others are even loath to attempt. When in reality, many online bloggers like myself enjoy relationships with publishing houses who send them books regularly, in return for HONEST reviews (that the bloggers have written themselves, go figure).
Please, if any authors read this blog, do yourself a favour and forget this was ever suggested to you. Keep on writing books, and writing reviews of books that you’ve read and feel deserve a review. If no one wants to review your book, it’s not a sign that you need to start bribing people to write reviews, instead it’s a sign that you need to write better books. I know, that’s harsh. This entire post has been very harsh, but it needed to be said. Yes, yes it did. Now, this article has gotten me so worked up that I need to listen to some Chris Isaak to calm me down.