Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reviewing Books You've Never Read

The Situation 

I arrived home the other day and found I had a text review for my newest book Murder Machine. I read the review and realized that the person hadn't read the book. They read the sample developed an opinion and left a review that they later extended making it more detailed. The reviewer didn't like the book based on the sample. I guess you could go read books that way, but that's not how I do it.

After I read the review I realized something. That on May 21st my book had been attacked by a large number of reviewers/trolls. It had actually started a week earlier. When I checked my other books I realized that they'd also been hit by the same people. These are not people who've read my book and unlike the text reviewer, they hadn't even read the sample.

I'd just heard of some other authors that had experienced this kind of thing. It all started to come together. I was being attacked because of my association with these other authors in various groups. These trolls are seeking out independent authors and intentionally railroading them. I looked further into the situation and found a list that most of them are on, but I know the numbers are much bigger than the list.

The List:

I don't think that Goodreads should allow reviewers to leave non-text reviews. When I'm looking at reviews I never pay attention to those who had nothing to say. In my case with Murder Machine, at least I knew the reviewer had read the sample. Which is not enough to judge that story by. They said the dialogue was flat and quoted my book in their review to show that. I don't think you should ever quote a book in your review, but if Goodreads allows it then it's within the rules.

Murder Machine opens with a court room scene, and perhaps the yes and no questions being asked are not explosive dialogue, but one cannot judge this story by the first chapter. I had originally considered cutting that opening chapter. However, in the end I decided against it. The sample gives you a couple of sentences of chapter two. You can see that the story changes from there.

I'm not responding to the review. If the reviewer didn't like the sample I'm all right with that. The reason I'm responding to this issue at all is because people are reviewing books they've never read. Reading the sample isn't enough to review a book on, and that isn't why the sample is there. It's there to help you decide whether or not you want to buy the book. It's not designed for you to review the book. Stop reviewing books you've never read.  

I'm going to find out why these groups are attacking indie writers...more to come on this issue.

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