My two cents on the “Paid Review Scandal”

Many authors I know are writing blogs defending the authors named in the anonymous blog post as having paid for positive reviews of their books. In particular, they are defending Hugh Howey, whom I have written about here several times. I don’t have much to contribute to the discussion other than the following:

1. I don’t understand why somebody would create such a list unless he or she was hoping to knock out many of the top authors in the self-publishing world and clear the path for the next bunch (which the accuser must assume her or she is going to be a part of). Sorry, friend, it’s not going to happen. These people have massive followings and they aren’t going anywhere. By the way, the business isn’t a competition and there is room for more to join the list without removing the list entirely. 

2. As I just said, these top talents have massive followings. They don’t need to pay for reviews. I can tell you that Hugh is just great to his fans and has earned their devotion without paying them anything. 

3. There’s an idea going around as part of this scandal that thousands of positive reviews is an indication of “fake.” Here’s what I can tell you: I’ve sold a little over 200 copies of Atlantic Island, not including several hundred sales and free downloads of the installments. I have 8 reviews of the novel, 7 of which are very positive, 1 of which is negative (and none of which I paid for). So to me those are the results of a good but (so far) unknown book. Extrapolate that out to a book like Wool that has sold probably hundreds of thousands of copies. Then look at Hugh’s reviews. The ratio is not all that different than mine. 

In conclusion, the premise of this accusation is foolish, the purpose of it is a shot in the dark at best, and none of this is any good for the growing self-publishing industry. What’s scary is how many people have jumped on the bandwagon calling out all these authors. It’s ridiculous and it needs to stop. If you don’t like somebody’s work, write a review. If you are jealous of one of these authors and his or her success, write your own damned books and try to join them in the winner’s circle. Name-calling, accusations and bullying don’t lead anyone anywhere positive. 

End rant. 

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