A New Gatekeeper Rising

Gate GuardsA guest post
by K.P. Ambroziak

When a new writer starts out, she must find a way to build an audience. It is a known fact that the best way to do this is for her to get others to talk about her work on their blogs, and for her to accumulate reviews on retail sites like Amazon. I will be the first to say that in the beginning of one’s writing career garnering reviews is a slow, yet rewarding process. One by one, a writer may reach out to potential reviewers and offer her words in exchange for theirs. Giving a free copy of a book to a reviewer for an honest review is undeniably worth it. Some of the greatest writing connections I have made have come from this process, both as a reviewer and a writer. Amateur (as in not getting paid for a review) reviewers are some of the most generous and supportive people in the indie writing community. They are the bee’s knees.

That being said, I am one lone reviewer out of millions. And I am one new author out of billions – maybe trillions at this point. Thanks to platforms like Smashwords and Amazon, indie authors can publish without going through the traditional channels. Many brilliant and worthy works of literature have been read because of this. However, there may be new gatekeepers rising.

The review, it seems, has become the norm for getting accepted onto some of the more reputable promotional sites. This, unfortunately, is the rub. It seems that in this scenario the review becomes nothing more than a quantitative marker, a way to measure a book’s popularity. What has become apparent to me as I venture out into the world of selling my literary wares is that the amount of reviews I accrue gets me through the gates to the places where I might find more readers. But this is not because the gatekeepers have read my reviews. I am willing to wager that most of them have not, which is why they require a certain number of reviews at a certain rating.

When I want to buy advertising on sites that have strong reputations for reaching a broad audience, money is not enough. I will need a product that seems well written, is professionally presented, and has enough reviews to be considered by them. The gatekeeper will not judge me by my work alone, the words I have put to page, and not even by the words others have written about my work. The gatekeeper will assess my work by the number of reviews I have and make a decision based on my average rating. Tallying the lauds and hisses is how the gatekeeper determines my reception, although this method is arguably about how readers rate me, rather than receive me. Somehow this seems to defy the idea of being an indie author, especially a new one. I have sidestepped the publishing gatekeeper only to submit to the one who can help me reach my audience.

Here is the problem with relying on the rating, rather than the content of a review. What a four-star story is to one reviewer may be worth only three stars to another. Readers who take the time to review a book on Amazon are not just giving it a rating. They cannot do so without putting in a few lines of explanation, and because of this they are often descriptive and candid about why they have given the rating they have. Some will give two stars because the plot is not as described, while others will give five stars for the very same reason.

However, what the readers have written about my work is not what the gatekeepers are after. They are looking at numbers—two numbers, to be exact: my number of reviews and the average number of my stars. And yet no promotional site will guarantee me new readers, let alone book buyers, whether I have high ratings or not. They cannot. This is not a science, even though our books are selected using quantitative methods. The irony of the quandary is not lost on me.

My intent is not to ruffle the feathers of any of the book marketing websites. Plenty of them offer free services with no review requirements. And I am sure some of them use other means for determining what books to accept for advertising spots. But I wonder if there is not a better way for profitable promo sites to select quality books for their paid spots. The review, an art unto itself, should not be used as a critical gauge for gatekeepers. It should be a guide for the reader who is looking for her next great read.

K.P. AmbroziakK. P. Ambroziak is a writer and freelance editor. She holds a M.A. and M.Phil. in Comparative Literature and is currently writing her doctoral dissertation. Her recent academic publications appear in The Chronicle of Higher Education and WRECK: UBC Graduate Journal of Art History, Visual Art & Theory. Her novels include the dystopian vampire trilogy, The Fifth Empire, and her novella, A Perpetual Mimicry. Learn more about K.P. from her Amazon author page.

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47 thoughts on “A New Gatekeeper Rising”

  1. This is an issue that has come to my attention as well. As a relatively new unknown author I struggle to get the required number of reviews to approach some of the sites that could place me in a more beneficial position to find my audience. It’s frustrating.

    1. Yes, Yvonne, I agree it is extremely frustrating. It seems crazy that a writer has to prove their work’s value for a paid promo site through their reviews rather than the book’s content. Let’s hope this changes at some point.

  2. I agree with you about that number of necessary reviews, hard to get the required, but I couldn’t tell you a better nor easier way to get through the gate.
    I have laid the foundation for a reading/review group, all it needs are members. Members who will follow the requirements and rules. The key to that door is found in The Writet’s Tools on Facebook

    1. Well, I have found that there are ample ways to get reviews, the most effective being to ask for them. But I find it troubling that those reviews are not read by these new gatekeepers, and that they feel it necessary for the writer to prove their book’s worth in this manner. I don’t think there should be this kind of discrimination for paid advertising.

      I dedicate a lot of time to reading and reviewing others also, and I find this is the best way to build connections and awareness of my own work. Plus, I enjoy the review as a writing art unto itself.

  3. While I’m not agreeing that the number of reviews is the way to go, I can understand these promotional websites needing a way to weed out “good” books from “bad.”
    As readers, we all know there are some not-too-professional books out there written by Indie authors who are ONLY looking for a quick buck. Promotional websites don’t want to put these types of books in front of their readers.
    No, reviews are not a reliable way to judge a book’s “worthiness” – we all know they can be faked or bought – but they are the only way promo websites have to sort the books they advertise right now, other than reading every book submitted to them.
    The last thing I will say, and NO, I am not talking about any particular author, is that some writers are lazy. They don’t promote their books, they don’t do much of anything in the way of marketing, and yet they expect reviews to fall from the sky and grace their work. Those types of authors have no right to complain about not having any reviews or sales. Just my two cents. 🙂

    1. I, too, understand why promotional sites would consider reviews a first step in selecting books they’d like to feature but I think it is dangerous for that to be the only mode of selection. They must realize that they, the promo sites, are gaining traffic, and effectively income, from authors. If they don’t select books to promote by reading them themselves, they are making their selection arbitrarily, which is, in a sense, unfair practice. Not even considering a book because it does not have X amount of reviews is their prerogative. But once a book does have the desired number of reviews, does that prove that it is a worthy book, especially since, as you say, reviews can be bought and faked?

      I think they either need to make it a fair market by letting everyone buy advertising space, or by selecting books on something less frivolous than review ratings.

      I am not sure how to address the comment about the writers who do not promote or seek out reviews. It seems completely up to them to do so, and it does not necessarily mean their book is any less worthy of being put in a paid for advertising spot. It is, of course, the writer who pays to advertise.

      1. Yes, but as Indie authors, the work is on our shoulders to get noticed. It isn’t up to the paid promo sites. WE have to be willing to work hard. There is NO easy path and I am seeing too many authors looking for one that doesn’t exist and then complaining about it. Sometimes, we want to put the blame on lack of sales or reviews on someone else or claim UNFAIR when a website has rules we don’t agree with when we should actually be looking at ourselves.

        1. Yes, the work is on our shoulders to get our books to readers. But isn’t paying for a spot on a promo site doing so? Putting out hard earned money to advertise your book with no promise of return is a specific kind of work towards getting noticed. If I use the money I earn elsewhere to promote my books, I am still putting the work in, so to speak.

          And, just to be clear, I am not complaining about not getting noticed as an author. I think this is a legitimate concern for indie authors where promo sites are concerned.

          1. Yeeahhhh, but you are still blaming the promo websites because their rules don’t allow you to promote with them. Therefore, you are saying that it isn’t the fact that you don’t have the required reviews that is the problem, it’s the fact that this website states as one of their rules that you “must be this tall to ride.” It is their website and they have the right to set rules.
            Instead of calling them ‘gatekeepers’ and writing an article about why they are unfair, maybe you could query some bloggers or offer free copies of your books for honest reviews. Would this even be an issue for you if you DID have the number of reviews needed to promote with them?

  4. K.P.

    Excellent post and a subject I’ve thought about a lot. You’re really talking about two sets of gatekeepers here, the promo sites that use the review profile as a tool for acceptance and the reviewers, both book bloggers and readers that have bought your book and may or may not review it. (I’ve heard a rumor that at least one promo site looks at the number of verified purchases on Amazon as part of their selection process.)

    Since I run a book review blog it is that aspect that I’ve thought about the most. I don’t want to be a gatekeeper and I could rightfully say I’m not, at least in the way the traditional gatekeepers we usually think about, agents and publishers, were in the past, because nothing I do prevents a book from being published. However, there were other gatekeepers we didn’t think about as having that role that we are a lot like. People like the purchasing agent for Barnes & Noble who could impact the discoverability of a book (if a book wasn’t in the store, it wasn’t as discoverable) and the publisher’s marketing department (advertising and co-op dollars allocated to a book made a big difference, too).

    Although every reviewer and review blog is different, the process of getting to the point of of getting your book reviewed is similar to getting through an agent’s or publisher’s slush pile. Unless the number of submissions or queries to a reviewer are less than the number of books they can read and review, that makes a certain kind of sense. Even if there is a reviewer out there where this isn’t the case (not likely) if they specialize in romance and receive a query or submission for a thriller or other book that isn’t even close to their specialty, it will get winnowed in the same way an agent or publisher who specializes would.

    1. You make good points, Al. As a book reviewer with a site that promotes only the indie books I recommend, I never look to reviews as a measure of my liking something or not. I always read the first few paragraphs of the free preview available. That is the only way I can determine if I will want to spend my time reading someone else’s work. If I enjoy their book, I will review it. But I don’t ask for money to promote them and I do not have a way of making money on my blog. I don’t have any direct links to Amazon or advertising, etc.

      That being said, with regards to promo sites that charge authors for services, such as expedited reviews, interviews, and featured emails to their readers, I think their basis for selecting the books should be a little more intimate than the book’s Amazon rating. If we want to continue to promote in the indie fashion, we must be willing to take chances on reading things that no one else has read or reviewed. For a promo site to not allow a writer to even submit his/her work for a paid advertising spot, unless said writer has a certain amount of reviews, smells of something that is not particularly “independent,” but is a bit controlling.

  5. Basically, using the new gatekeepers is a personal choice and following their submission process is a neccessity if they are used as a marketing tool.
    I should think, if an author has been accepted inside with the new gatekeepers, (promo site), that is a work in itself. The promo site has set itself up as a way for the author’s book to get noticed, it’s their job and that’s why they get paid. As long as money/fans, recurring clients are made, *shrugs* everyone is happy.
    Are all reviews “real” because they have 5* doesn’t seem to matter. I’ve read books so poorly written I could’ve gagged and yet they have boat loads of 5* reviews.

    I can’t speak on whether or not some authors are lazy, but I do know and agree with Big Al, getting reviewers can be hard and almost an act of God.

    1. I agree wholeheartedly that getting reviews is hard work. That’s why I wonder why it has become a bar for acceptance when paying — again, I can’t emphasize the idea enough that a writer is giving money to receive a service — for an ad spot. If the promo site has become the “decider” (I use this noun in jest) of what is worth promoting to their readers, shouldn’t they take a little more responsibility for it by actually reading it? Perhaps that is a pipe dream, but they are, in a sense, running a business and selling a product. If they truly want to be respected by their buyers (i.e., email list) shouldn’t they make sure they are offering something worthwhile? And, as you rightfully say, twenty 5-star reviews does not an excellent novel make. For that alone, the rating system should not determine the validity of a work for a purveyor of books.

      1. I think we have to stop thinking of reviews in the old way – i.e. as ‘critical’ reviews, by professional reviewers. Reviews are now mostly a reflection of mass popularity, and most readers don’t really care about word-smithing so long as a story fulfills their expectations.

        As writers, and Indies, we notice craft, or the lack thereof, but we are actually in the minority. 🙁

        1. “I think we have to stop thinking of reviews in the old way – i.e. as ‘critical’ reviews, by professional reviewers.”

          I like to think of it as reviewers (as opposed to critics) are more often paying attention to the things most readers care about. I discuss craft sometimes in reviews, but I think in a different way and to make a different point than say the NYT Review of Books would.

          1. Apologies Al, I was talking about the ‘average’ review you might find on Amazon. Most are completely subjective. Yours strike the right balance between subjective and objective so someone like me can read your reviews and get a good idea of what the book is about without necessarily knowing what kind of person you are – i.e. it’s not a cult of personality thing.

        2. Reviews are not always a reflection of popularity. Some of us worked hard to get the reviews we have. I’m sorry if I am in the minority, but reviews mean a lot to me as a writer. As a reader, I sometimes look at the reviews of a book, but it is not the first aspect that grabs my attention.

          1. “Reviews are not always a reflection of popularity.”

            I think you’re right, Nicole. I’d go further and say that reviews are only rarely reflective of popularity if taken in the aggregate. If you look at the “average review” number for books that have a lot of reviews (several hundred and up) the majority are going to fall somewhere between 4.1 and 4.4.

            Those books with a smaller number of reviews (say under 50) are much more likely to be higher or lower than this range. There are exceptions (To Kill A Mockingbird and Wool are significantly higher, a couple editions of Moby Dick I looked at are lower), but the majority of books gravitate to that number and those that don’t are exceptions. Number of reviews might be a reflection of popularity. Average review is only going to be reflective of mass popularity (or mass loathing of a book many were forced to read) on the extreme edges.

          2. Reviews mean a lot to me too Nicole! But I see most reviews as being very subjective things, especially on Amazon. As a reader, they only influence my buying choices if they reflect the choices of people like me. For example, I love Hugh Howey’s work, but it was his interivew on IU that made me decide to give him a try, not the 7000 odd reviews on Amazon!

            Most of those 7000 reviews are positive, but I would still love his work if they were all negative.

            Not sure if any of this made sense, but I take reviews with a grain of salt.:)

  6. On the other hand – and now I’m playing devil’s advocate – if they accept all ads based on a fee for service it means that those with money, rather than good books will move ahead. (not that review numbers guarantee good reads either but … just sayin’)

    1. Right — that is indeed the flip side. Nobody’s mentioned any names of candidates for “new gatekeeper” yet (I’m still reading through all the comments), but one of the biggest players has a pretty high entrance fee, and I’ve started to see a fair number of trad-pubbed books featured on their e-mails. Publishers seem to have figured out that they can drop a trad-pubbed title’s price to $2.99 and pay a price for the ad that’s chump change to them, but significant money to indies.

  7. Promo sites have to have way of keeping the lines under control. If it takes the requirement of 20 reviews, so be it. At least it isn’t 50. Lol, gives me a chance if I choose to throw my money away, in that direction.

  8. Your article just blew me away, K.P. What you have described is just one of the side-effects of the democratization of publishing. We are still in a transition period, but it seems that in any system, no matter how ‘free’ and random, gatekeepers will always arise. There should be a better way; let’s hope we find it before the shifting sands turn to concrete.

    1. Thank you. I wholeheartedly agree. There should be a better way, and I do think it’s important to take steps in realizing that we are, in fact, as indie authors, responsible for keeping it democratized. I appreciate your seeing that too.

  9. I agree with your premise, KP, and, as Meeks said, we are totally in a transitional stage right now, with the rule book being written as we transform. We need to be very careful not to swap one set of tyrants for another; however history tells us that, odds are, one monster dies only to make way for another.

    I don’t know what the answer is, in regard to the ‘paid advertising space’; as has been pointed out, the number of reviews do not a good book make (you only have to look at all the who-ha FSG got and that has to be one of the worst books ever written), and if the promo site is to be taken seriously it needs to vet what it is promoting, regardless of whether it is being paid for the promotion. Perhaps, as you advocated, they could read the suggested promo material, conceivably even provide reviews; after all they are in the business of making money.

    Your post has stirred some controversy, which makes it a good article, KP; there’s nothing worse than posting an article that nobody responds to.

    1. Thanks, T.D.

      “If the promo site is to be taken seriously it needs to vet what it is promoting, regardless of whether it is being paid for the promotion.”

      This is exactly the point I am trying to make with the article, so thank you for putting it so succinctly.

    2. “Perhaps, as you advocated, they could read the suggested promo material, conceivably even provide reviews; after all they are in the business of making money.”

      With all the submissions they get for promotions, there is no way the people running these sites have time to read every single book to make a decision. LOL!

      Also, as you pointed out by stating that you think certain books are not worthy of their reviews, not everyone likes the same things. One person running ENT may love the book you submit for promotion while another co-owner of the site may think it is ‘the worst book ever written.’

      There is no other way for the people running these promotional websites to pick and choose who gets promoted and who does not other than by reviews. THEY have reputations to uphold. THEY have to make sure the books they send out to the thousands of readers who subscribe to them are at least halfway decent.

      If you don’t like how they run THEIR websites, then don’t use them. Why is this so difficult to understand?

      1. It’s not difficult to understand at all, Nicole. Reviews are the simplest, ‘one size fits all’, way to do it; nevertheless, as you indicated and as we are all aware, honest reviews are totally subjective and difficult for new writers to obtain. We all seem to agree on one thing: we, as an industry, are in a state of becoming; all I’m saying, and I believe that I’m in accord with KP, is we can do better, as an industry, than we currently are for the independent author.

        Anyone who thinks this industry is a stairway to financial heaven is living in a dream, or ripping someone off. And my statement, ‘they could read the suggested promo material, conceivably even provide reviews; after all they are in the business of making money,’ is merely a possible alternative to the twenty or fifty or whatever the required reviews may be; another service perhaps (charging appropriately) that just might suit the newbie writer who is finding reviews harder to come by than the fabled ‘hens teeth’. I’ve already stated that ‘I don’t know what the answer is’ but that doesn’t mean there isn’t one!

        1. Hear, hear, T.D. Well put. In fact, why not offer the service of actually reading the book? In a way, it seems it would only further validate their position as a purveyor of choice books. As you say, they are in the business of making money, and they are, it seems, from both the author and the clicks they receive on the ad itself.

          I think it does not serve the indie community, especially its writers, to believe that reviews are the only way to determine which books are worth promoting.

          For instance, I have a colleague who recently gave a book she read an honest review, and 3 stars on Amazon. The writer retaliated with a 1-star review of her book without seeming to have read it. I hear about this kind of behavior, and worse, all the time.

          Because of this alone, using the review as a marker of a book’s quality and compatibility for a promo sites’ readers seems risky.

          1. “Hear, hear, T.D. Well put. In fact, why not offer the service of actually reading the book? ”

            Why not ask them to walk on water, too? I’m sure they will have time for that after reading the hundreds, if not thousands, of books they get with requests for promotion.

            Big Al, if you see this, could you PLEASE explain how this is not a possibility? I mean, you have a staff of volunteer reviewers on your website and I am sure there are still numerous books you can get to.

          2. Nicole, as a reviewer myself, it is possible to read all the books you intend to promote. Of course, I don’t make a business out of it. But it would seem that those who do have all the more reason to “vet” their promoted products in reliable ways.

            I am not sure why you are so eager to attack the possibility that something other than reviews should be used to determine the purchase and selling of promo spots. You are entitled to your opinion, but are the sarcasm and bitterness necessary?

          3. Nicole,

            It’s a bit of an apples and oranges comparison. These promo sites are businesses with the primary purpose being to make money. If my primary purpose on my blog was to make money, I’d have shut it down within a couple months of starting. But I agree with your point. I don’t think we know for sure what the promo sites do to winnow down the books they accept and have a reasonable chance of keeping the overall quality high. However, I can say that doing a full scale review of each book isn’t possible. It is possible that they read a book, or at least a sample of one, as a last step to narrow it down further once they’ve looked at other factors.

            The economics of doing a full read and writing a review would, IMO, be problematic. Different people read at different speeds, but guessing 4-5 hours of reading time for a 80,000 word novel seems reasonable. Add another hour to write a review.I’m not sure what percentage of books submitted are accepted, but at minimum wage with no profit for the business this would cost about $45 per book in a salary for the reader. Since they’re a business you need to add profit and (assuming a US based business) they’ve got payroll taxes and other expenses, too. I don’t think doubling the $45 to $90 would be unreasonable. But this assumes you can get qualified people as readers for minimum wage. I’m not sure that’s reasonable. On the high end you’ve got the $4-500 charged by Kirkus. But we’ll assume it can be done for half that (or little more than double the US minimum wage, plus taxes, benefits, profits, etc), so $200.

            So, there are two ways this could be done. One, charge a $200 submission fee. If you’re accepted then you’d have to pay whatever the current ad rates are. I suspect that would cut way down on submissions, but I don’t think the books it would week out would only be the bad ones.

            The other option would be to charge the cost of multiple reviews to those who are accepted and approved as part of their ad cost. How does the current ad price plus $800 sound?

  10. If you really think about it, these gatekeepers are not really necessary and can’t hold you back. They are the epitome of doors in a 5000acre empty field, blocking nothing. No fencing and no guards making you enter. They are only important if you are a lamb, keeping your head down and following a line because the person in front of you heard the people in front of them were getting good results from scrounging reviews and paying for a spot in a crowded room. Your work isn’t vetted and results aren’t promised. Selling 340 books at .99 gets you what??? $34, idk. Anyway, not enough for me to stand in line.
    Sure, they can setup a “pay more here and we’ll get you in without reviews”line, but your results are the same…no one is keeping anyone out. Step out of line, put your money in your pockets, go around the gates to get vetted and noticed, elsewhere.
    Personal choice is written on the gate and flaming exit signs are hanging on the base poles directing you around each side. It’s all up to you. Be an Indie and make your own path.

  11. @ kpambroziak I honestly believe some of these sites are plainly developed to make money and don’t care about the validity of the products or the purchasers. Reviews are a means of controlling the masses not to vett quality. If your book doesn’t get in today, it will, eventually. Its a means to an end. So, all in all, it would be wonderful if they read the pieces, but that’s what other sites are for and they charge more for those services.

    1. I know exactly what you are saying, Ey. My concern is not as much a personal one as it is an indie industry concern as a whole.

      “Some of these sites are plainly developed to make money and don’t care about the validity of the products or the purchasers.”

      Yes, this is the point. The market gets flooded with book purveyors who buy email lists and begin promoting sub-par novels. As indie writers, we should be concerned about this. We don’t want quality to suffer, or readers to feel taken, because that will eventually make their chances of giving us a try nil, if not smaller. We should push for the integrity of our work and that means having it judged (or selected, or promoted) based on the work itself not the number of reviews it has received. Now, if we lived in a perfect world and every review was honest — and I know some of us have only honest reviews, but others don’t — this would not be an issue. But the review and rating system has been corrupted, unfortunately, and thus not the best marker for quality.

  12. I’m a reviewer who wants to remain anonymous. I promote Indie Authors on my site. While I don’t state it on my submissions guidelines, I use reviews to cull books I feature. I don’t state it because I don’t feel like dealing with arguments from authors.

    Advertisers have the right to use reviews to cull as well. I do it because I don’t get paid to review and I don’t want to spend my time reading books that might need editing. I also want my readers to come to my site because they know they are going to see reviews and promos about GOOD books.

    If the majority of a book’s reviews are unverified, it is reasonable to assume that these reviewers did not purchase the book, and they could be friends of the author’s. If they only have one review and the book’s been out a while, it is reasonable to assume they haven’t tried all that hard to get reviews. Maybe they have no reviews because the book isn’t good and people haven’t wanted to say so. Either way, I don’t want to invest time into books with no feedback from others. I just don’t have that much time.

    There are sites you can pay to do reviews, like Publisher’s Weekly, but they cost 500s of dollars, which I would think put them beyond the reach of most indie authors. It takes a long time to read a book, so sites charging only $25 to advertise authors would not make ANY money if they had to read a book. (Then, if they rejected the book because they thought it was awful – does that ALSO make them a gatekeeper?) While I don’t choose to make money at promoting authors, others do, and that’s their right, just as it’s the right of the author not to use them.

  13. I don’t have a problem with reviewers/readers using reviews to determine whether or not to read a book. I do have a bit of an issue with the sometimes false belief, the lack of “verified purchase” means reviews are always from friends. Total different topic, I know. It’s just something that bugs me. I have received codes and gifts from SW for books and posted reviews on Amazon and other sites and don’t know some of those authors from Adam. It would be a good thing if Amazon add the bit of instructions in their review policy for readers to state where they got the book from.

    1. ” It would be a good thing if Amazon add the bit of instructions in their review policy for readers to state where they got the book from.”

      The situation you describe (they give you a SW code or get the book to you some other way) is covered in the review guidelines which are linked from the review form.

      “Full disclosure: If you received a free product in exchange for your review, please clearly and conspicuously disclose that that you received the product free of charge. Reviews from the Amazon Vine™ program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.”


      This doesn’t cover the situation where you might have purchased the book at Barnes & Noble or somewhere and decided to post a review on Amazon.

      TBH, I think readers assume that the situation of someone purchasing a book from another vendor and posting a review on Amazon is less common than an author giving a book to someone (via Smashwords or some other way) and asking them to read and review. The reviewer could be friend, family, another author (who may or may not fit in the friend category), or someone who regularly writes reviews, whether for a review site or an Amazon top reviewer who only posts on Amazon. Personally, I’m going to give more credence to a review without the verified flag *if* it has a disclaimer saying the author gave the reviewer the book in exchange for an honest review. Readers have a bunch of things they look at in deciding how credible the review is and I think a lot of them are pretty good at making that call correctly.

  14. Having been called “sarcastic” and “bitter” for my opinion on this article, I must say this is exactly why promotional websites use review stats to make decisions on what books they promote. Too many authors are immature. They resort to name-calling when anyone disagrees with their opinions. Very mature.

  15. I’d like to thank K.P. Ambroziak for a nicely written guest post, and all the commenters for providing thought-provoking and stimulating discussion. There is obviously more than one way to look at any subject, and I will just remind everyone to be respectful and civil in commenting and responding to comments.

    1. You’re welcome, Stephen. It was my pleasure and I am happy it has garnered such fervent discussion. Reviews and promotion do seem to be hot topics of discussion within the indie community.

  16. Thanks, Al. I just read the little bit above the book when I go to write a review, which may be what a lot of readers do. I also like that little tidbit of info on the reviews.

    1. You’re so welcome, Ey. I’m glad it was informative. Sites like these really are the best way for indie authors to share and exchange ideas. I’m happy you got something out of this post.

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