And yes there is a very ugly side! Let me back up a second. Yesterday while I was reading all of the blogs that I follow I came across one that was offering to read your book and review it for $30. I was so appalled I un-followed him on the spot!
Later I saw a post about book reviews on FB and while a couple of things it said about reviews was helpful there were a couple of things that bothered me. One was: “You don’t even have to finish the book to leave a review!” Uh, yes, yes you do. How can you tell me about a book you haven’t even read? The second one was ” Just say you liked it”.
I am aware of Amazon’s policies concerning reviews. If you paid or got paid, your review is coming down sooner or later. As for the guy I found, he has already been reported to Amazon.
If you are self publishing, then yes, Amazon numbers mean something. But so do your reviews. There is a right way and a wrong way to do things. An honest way and a dishonest way. Every book you read is not a 5 star book. The star system is not one that I like, but come on, be honest.
Writers work hard to put out good books and they really do want honest feedback. And as reviewers we need to do that. And that is where the pay/get paid part comes in. If you are being paid to write a review by the author, you are probably not going to be completely honest. Have some integrity! Seriously, what kind of person has to pay someone to read their book? I read the back of cereal boxes when I’m bored. Reading someone’s new book is a privilege. And to take money or lie is an insult to both parties.
Thank you for listening to my rant for the week. xxP