Buying Reviews: The Shortcut That Isn’t

You know, I’ve rambled quite a bit on this blog lately, so maybe it’s a good time to step aside and let someone else have a turn.

Today’s guest post comes courtesy of Dan Alatorre, and it’s a little different. It came from another blog that I reblogged, and now Dan talks about it on my blog. Blogception. Or something.

Anyway, enjoy Dan’s post, and I’ll see you at the bottom.


Dan's picI recently read that Amazon is suing a bunch of Fiverr companies that sold fake reviews. There have been a few blog posts about it, too, like this one by Fran Guenette.

I can totally see somebody trying to short cut the process of hard work by using review swaps and other things to get them where they want to go. While I don’t know how I’d go about buying reviews, I’m sure everything’s for sale on Fiverr as implied. But what isn’t said is, maybe Ammy doesn’t sue you or pull your reviews or even say anything, but you just end up on a list, and folks on the list don’t go anywhere. Their game, their rules.

While there are authors willing to buy fake reviews, many others are getting them the right way. It can be done.

As I slaved away to get reviews for books, thinking I knew a few things, I met and helped an author friend who wrote a pretty good book. As far as I can tell, she did everything correctly. (First and foremost, she wrote a good book.) She slaved away over the editing process. She got a good cover made by somebody I recommended, and she checked that cover’s popularity with her friends and fans. Then she worked hard to promote the book and she enjoyed every hard-earned review (well, maybe not some of the bad ones) that came her way. She got excited when she hit little milestones like 25 reviews and 50 reviews, and she fell into the abyss when she noticed she’d gotten three bad reviews in a row. But she got over it. She was the little train that could, and she promoted her book and promoted her book and promoted her book. She ran ads and went to a signing, and eventually her book got to 100 reviews in about 8 months. It was ranked high in the genre and it sells pretty darned well for a first novel, I think something like an average of 40 copies a day, every day, and recently she sold a few hundred copies in a weekend, and VERY FEW of those sales were at 99 cents. Most were at $2.99. NONE were free. It may sound condescending but I’m very proud of her.

I repeat: it can be done, cos I know somebody who did it. It’s work. There are no shortcuts. Tenacity is the name of the game.

And when you see a shortcut, it’ll be tempting to take it, especially when your hard work doesn’t seem to be paying off. But if you keep working and doing the right things, you’ll never end up on a list you can’t get off of, and you might end upon a bestseller list like my friend Allison.


I admit, putting this on my own blog when it’s about me feels awkward and self serving. But I’m glad my story may inspire others. Trust me on this: if I can do it, anyone can.

Be sure to check out Dan’s many books on Amazon. And if you aren’t already, jump over to his blog and follow it. He’s funny and crazy smart about all the things.

17 thoughts on “Buying Reviews: The Shortcut That Isn’t

  1. I wrote my memoir about how bullying affected my life and published in June. I have tried to do everything above board and even paid for a “real” professional review. My book, “A Ladder in the Dark: My journey from bullying to self acceptance.” had gotten good reviews from real people who read it. I imagine it will be a slow burn and don’t mind that I have spent a considerable amount of time and money myself. I simply want my book to get to the hands of those who need it. Thanks for keeping us honest and on the right path.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Congrats on publishing your memoir! Memoirs can be a tougher sell than traditional novels. I just read this morning about how a professional review (even if it’s paid for) can help with promotion, and I agree. I submitted my book to Readers Favorite and requested a free review (which they offer, as long as one of the reviewers is interested enough to read it). It received a 5-star rating, which I then added to the Editorial Review section on my Ammy page. The reviewer also posted the review on Goodreads. I don’t know where you got your paid review, but Readers Favorite is one to look at if it wasn’t that.
      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  2. That’s pretty good going, so inspiring. Congratulations!

    I’ve never considered buying reviews either because I figured that if people like/dislike my books, they will review them. I tried offering a freebie for one book, and a 99c for the other, both in hope of getting some real, honest reviews. Instead, I seem to get plenty of direct feedback, but not reviews. I am yet to get a review from outside the UK and it leaves me feeling frustrated when I know the cheats sell more as a result of their higher rankings and exposure. That said, I’m not tempted to cheat, and hope that people will see my honesty and believe in me eventually.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hang in there. I believe honesty always wins out in the end. A couple other authors proposed review swapping shortly after my book came out, and I obviously declined. I don’t regret that choice at all.
      As long as the content is good and you’re promoting, the sales and reviews will come. πŸ™‚


  3. Agree with every point. I get the frustration. My book has 26 really good legitimate reviews. (Two awful ones, one of which calls me Hitler, but those were written by the dysfunctional family members about whom the book is written, names changed of course!) But I’ve been stuck at 26 for a while, despite sales and many people reaching out to tell me how much they loved the book, found it compelling and helpful, etc. When I thank them and ask politely for them to take a moment to review they always say they will and yet… here I sit at 26 reviews. So, I understand a hard-working author who did everything right being frustrated enough to resort to Fiverr to “write” the wrong being done to him or her by a cruel and unjust world, but I don’t think fake reviews would make me feel better. Would it help me sell more? Perhaps but I’m hoping doing what I’m doing legitimately will eventually pay off. In the meantime, toward that end… if you’ve read my book and you’re reading this, PLEASE write a review. I’ll pay you! (Just kidding of course. Then again…)

    Liked by 3 people

    • It is terribly frustrating and unfair. But the good news is I think reviews (at least Ammy reviews) are viewed with a greater grain of salt. The system has been corrupted on both sides with false positive and negative reviews. I find Goodreads reviews/ratings to be more reliable and meaningful.
      That said, hang in there! Even those of us who have more reviews still see a small number compared to overall sales (except for the big names, I suppose). Keep promoting and selling. Reviews will follow eventually.
      Thanks for reading and commenting! Glad to have you on the blog. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s not self-serving to stand up and allow others to recognize you for doing things right, when you were doing it right the whole time without getting any recognition.

    Keep up the good work. You’re an inspiration and a great role model.

    Liked by 2 people

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