Thursday, 5 November 2009


Matt Lynn posted about ghost writing, where books purport to be written by authors who often haven’t even read them. One high profile celebrity expressed surprise on hearing about something included in her autobiography. ‘Oh, did they put that in?’ she asked her interviewer. (Sorry if I’ve mentioned it before – it creases me up every time.)

It is common knowledge that publishers buy places on best seller lists, chalk up ‘sales’ of deliveries to bookstores, even when the books are subsequently returned unsold – the whole industry is, like other industries these days, a charade based on image and appearance. The reality of the substance behind all these shenanigans is very different to the show. We live in an age of appearances.

So it should come as no surprise to learn there is a website offering “honest and heartfelt reviews of your book” on amazon. “The average self published book sells less than two dozen copies in its lifetime, leaving the author in debt, and the millions of potential book buyers oblivious to the valuable information included in the book” this website tells us. Well, OK, part of that is probably true. Not sure about the “millions of potential book buyers” though . . .

“The time has finally come where you, the self published author, can get quality, real life book reviews” the website announces. This claim is substantiated by genuine testimonials. One satisfied customer tells us his book “now sells thirty copies a month”. His amazon page has “no customer reviews” so the reviews he bought are not only effective, they are invisible! It truly is miraculous.
Another author is quoted as saying “I wanted you guys to know that when I read your reviews I cried like a baby. At last someone gets me.” It’s good to know that, finally, someone appreciates her genius - and it only cost her a few dollars.

Not only does one review cost just $15, it will be posted on amazon “within a week”. And all the reviews are “quality, real life, honest and heartfelt.”

Like so many other legal scams, this review service exploits the delusions of the vain. Do these writers actually believe the praise they pay for is genuine? Not only are they fools, they miss the adrenaline rush of stumbling on a review posted on amazon. I’m always thrilled when I see another five star review of CUT SHORT on amazon. Admittedly I’ve never “cried like a baby” when I’ve read my five star reviews, but at least the reviews of CUT SHORT – unsolicited and unpaid for - are genuine.

So can we trust anything as genuine these days? I think I’ll stick to fiction. At least it doesn’t pretend to be true. And you can buy almost three of my books for the cost of one review . . .

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