Thursday, December 11, 2014

This kind of thing benefits no one

I must say that I get a bit tired of hearing how self-published books scam readers with fake reviews and artificial rankings. I've been in (and watched) the self-publishing world for a long time now, and I can tell you the professional self-published get their sales and rankings based on what they should be...readers who love books and say so.  Yes, there are a few bad eggs who operate in disreputable ways, and this undermines an industry that deserves better. Given how self-publishing has benefited both writers (making full-time income), and readers (inexpensive books they love), it's sad to see these things happens.

Which brings me to All About A's.  A book whose description says, "Have you ever wondered about the letter A? It's the first letter of the alphabet, but why? Who created it? This books purpose is to answer these questions, maybe. So sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride."

But the it's a book with six chapters and the entire content is just the letter A repeated over and over and over again.  I'm sure it will be removed from Amazon soon, so I'm not going to bother posting a link.  But it's current #222 in free stories:

Well, it's free so maybe some people downloaded it just as a joke or to show others.  But this book is also in the Kindle Unlimited Library, and if a big part of that 222 ranking is through "borrows" it's going to hurt the legitimate authors in the program. This is because regardless of price, everyone in Kindle Unlimited gets an equal cut of a pool divided by a number of borrows. So, I do feel bad for the authors whose paychecks will be a little smaller until this book is removed (hopefully Amazon won't give this books author any cut and it will be a moot point).

But, here's the part that really gets me...the reviews.  A 4.6 rating and 119 of them.

Are they paid reviews? Are they friends of the person who did this book? I've even seen comments on a writing forum who thinks it was done by one of the big publishers, no doubt to hold up as an example about the "quality" of self-publishing.

So, I'm not sure if this is (a) a joke (b) someone trying to make a point (c) someone hoping for a viral 15 minutes of fame or (d) just someone trying to cash in with next to no effort. But no matter what the truth is, it's really not helping anyone, and I'm really sorry to see it released.


  1. Thanks for posting about this, Michael - it's pretty horrifying to hear about. It looks like the book is no longer up on Amazon, which is a relief.

    I couldn't agree more than this kind of thing doesn't help anyone and does actual harm if it siphons income away from legit Kindle Unlimited authors. I've reached a point where I won't read or acknowledge customer reviews if they're only a few lines long, like the ones above.

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