Seems like there are thousands of bloggers in the manosphere, and most of them either have books published, or will have soon. So a lot of you probably understand the significance of the much-coveted Amazon review.
My first book was published in 2010 and I did pretty much everything wrong. (I became a blogger not long afterwards kind of by accident.) If there was a mistake to be made as an author, I made it. An opportunity to be missed? I missed it—for the first three years of my writing career. Long story short: One truth I found out the hard way was that an indie author’s career lives or dies by Amazon.
The more essential I realized Amazon was, the more of a presence I tried to maintain there. That, and my old blog, were the reasons I became a prolific Amazon reviewer for a while.
I still get more review requests than I can’t ever hope to fulfill, so this post can also serve as a disclaimer. My methods may be peculiar or even bizarre; sometimes perhaps inconsistent as well. But nobody’s paying me for this, so I make the rules. At least I have a modicum of ethics, unlike many reviewers out there.
First off, my reviews are honest. I may cut authors slack (see below) with Amazon’s star rating, but I don’t make stuff up or try to BS anybody. If the book flat-out sucks, I usually don’t even review it. If a review was requested and the book sucks, I contact the author to tell them. If they still insist on a review, I write one and let people know it sucks. I make an effort to be constructive, but you can’t polish a turd.
My schedule is very tight and I have an impossibly-gigantic To Be Read pile. Because of that, I use audiobooks whenever possible. I have an Audible.com subscription and I get my money’s worth from it. If you have an Audible version of your book, that increases its chances of getting read/reviewed 10X, all other factors being equal. It’s a real sacrifice to stop what I’m doing, halt my productivity and read a book. But I can listen to a book while getting other stuff done.
Back in the day I used to read for the pure joy of it, and the escape it offered. Without audiobooks, that phase of my life is long gone. I’ve served my time when it comes to Quixotic thankless jobs helping other authors succeed, so I am less and less inclined to spend precious time needed for my own career to read/review scads of other authors’ books. If you get your foot in my door at all, most likely you’ll have a long wait on your hands (again, unless you’ve got an audio version).
Next, I usually give preference to indie authors. As an indie, I know what an uphill struggle it is and I empathize. So I push indies toward the front of the queue and also cut them more slack on Amazon (I have no star-rating scheme on the blog so just say what I think and leave it at that).
There are exceptions: As a result of my reviewing, I’ve made friends with tradpubbed authors whose books I love. Because they are friends, I sometimes shuffle them to the front, too.
Also, I’ve stopped mucking about with books outside my genre umbrella. Unless I owe you a favor, I’m probably not going to read your book if it’s not men’s adventure (be it science fiction, fantasy, war, western, TEOTWAWKI or whatever flavor of men’s fiction). I occasionally review non-fiction and classics, but solely at my discretion. I have author friends, and sometimes stretch beyond my preference to help them out, but don’t count on it. If you see me review a romance or horror novel, it’s safe to assume that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve gotten picky in other ways, too. In the past, I read/reviewed indie books written from the typical leftist/feminist/America-hating perspective. (Some of the better ones I even gave four or five-star reviews on Amazon. )That’s history. You pinkos already have the deck stacked in your favor, and don’t need additional help from me. Apolitical work is great, but my patience for leftard, globalist…and even neocon…stuff has been worn completely through. I get enough of that crap everywhere else and I’m definitely not gonna expose myself to more when I have a choice. Same goes for “gay” pandering and the obligatory pixie ninjas and other “strong female characters.”
The buck stops here.
And if you sucker-punch me with any of that…one strike and you’re probably out. A while back I was working my way through a series written by some fellow pulp writers. I got sucker-punched a third of the way through one book with some establishment-approved homophile bupkus and stopped reading right there. Never finished the book; never will; and may never try another one from that series. I definitely won’t read that author again. This kind of thing has become a deal-breaker.
As you can surely tell from this post, I tend to be long-winded. Most of my reviews were lengthy—more like scholastic book reports than typical Amazon feedback. (Actually, you’re lucky to get more than a sentence or two from the average Amazon reviewer.) I have begun making an effort at brevity. Don’t feel cheated or spurned if I only give you a paragraph—that’s probably my new standard, for everybody.
It used to be Goodreads was an afterthought for me. I’m in the process of making it my default venue. It’s probably the closest to social networking I will get, anymore. In fact, unless requested by the author, it’s possible I won’t even bother to duplicate Goodreads reviews on Amazon. If you’re on Goodreads, hit me up. I could use some book recommendations from non-SJW/feminista/homophiles.
Finally, there’s an issue that really chaps my fourth point: Amazon’s helpful/non-helpful votes for reviews.
There are a whole bunch of worthless reviews on Amazon. These include:
- Reviews by people who have obviously never read the book.
- Reviews by people who have only skimmed the book, or not finished it.
- One or two-sentence drive-bys that give an “it sucks” opinion without any clue as to why the book allegedly sucks.
- Hatchet jobs by leftards out to sabotage non-leftard authors based on their beliefs, not on whether the book was good or bad.
- Combinations of two or more of the above.
- The positive equivalent of any of the above examples of negative reviews.
“Reviews” like those are deserving of a “not helpful” vote. However, what I’ve noticed is that people vote “helpful” or “not helpful” based on whether the reviewer personally liked or didn’t like the book.
I sacrifice valuable time to write thoughtful reviews. Whether I liked the book or disliked it, I take pains to be constructive in my critiques. I use examples and give reasons for what I say, which makes it possible for the reader to intuit whether they would agree or disagree with my opinions. (Some negative reviews I’ve read have convinced me to buy a book.) I’ve never written the equivalent of “It rocks! Buy it!” or “It sucks! Next!” without explanation. And yet it’s pretty much guaranteed I will get “not helpful” votes any time I give an overall negative report.
Not only that, but I’ve gotten “not helpful” votes on positive reviews because I didn’t rate the book in question five stars!
What a bunch of bovine assclowns.
One more thing along these lines: So far I’ve avoided responding to negative reviews of my own books. But if you’re foolish enough to mouth off a stupid comment about one of my reviews, you will likely have your ignorance thrown back in your face.
UPDATE: Forget what I said about Goodreads. It is an SJW-converged playground; I have taken my toys and left the sandbox.