Originally Posted by ficbot
I think it will work as long as authors understand that the review might not be glowing
<snip> For example, you claim you only post positive reviews and that is great for author ego purposes, but it does make you a bit less trustworthy a source for a customer legitimately trying to evaluate a potential purchase. I know personally that I have seen books on Smashwords with only glowing reviews and then I read a sample and wonder what those people were smoking
It makes me feel like the author had only their family members review it or something, and that's total amateur hour. I immediately cross that author off my list of authors to watch.
I think a review service like the one you suggest is a good idea, but I worry that in trying to serve authors in the way you are, you are not serving readers, and that will *hurt* the authors you claim to be supporting. If I am a reviewer and I participate in your service and my review does not get posted because I don't give the book five stars, that will be the last time I participate in it. Imho it is much better to post balanced reviews that help guide readers toward appropriate choices.
I totally agree with what ficbot's posted. I think she hit the nail on the head.
I have read several books recently that were seriously in need of editing. When I read the reviews posted, most were glowing (some ridiculously so), with no mention of any errors anywhere. Of course, when I delve a bit further, I see that the reviewers have just a few reviews to their names (all of the same author, all disgustingly amorous) or have a bunch of reviews, all 5-star and glowing (and several books of their own the reviewers are trying to sell). It reeks of "you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."
How exactly would the reviewers be ranked? I can see that backfiring as well- who does the ranking? Authors whose books may or may not have been reviewed highly? It seems that would actually go the way ficbot is suggesting, where authors figure out who writes the glowing reviews and moves those reviewers to the top. I might be reading that part wrong, but I'd like to hear some clarification on that part.
I've said it before, I really get nothing extra out of reviewing books. It would be a heck of a lot faster to just read the book and then move on to the next book instead of putting time in to write a thoughtful and, hopefully, constructive review. My main purpose in reviewing is to help the cream of the crop of indie authors rise to the top. Perhaps the feedback I give is helpful to those who really want to improve their books, perhaps it's seen by some as nitpicky. I'm not looking to be rated popular reviewer or anything, but I am looking to help promote those authors whose talent speaks for itself. I'm also not looking to rip anyone apart. I try to be as constructive and respectful as possible, while still remaining completely honest. Some authors may value that, some may not.
Currently, authors can find my name in several lists, check out my blog, see my reviews, and choose whether they want me to review the books. I don't want to push my reviews on any author who doesn't want them (although I will review books of my own choosing, even if not requested). Anyone checking out my blog can see that I really look at the writing style and the grammar as well as the entire storyline. It's important to me that books I rate highly have high quality writing and are as error-free as possible, in addition to having a gripping tale to tell. Maybe that's not what every author wants.
Hmm. In my "it's too late to still be awake, so I'm rambling" thought process tonight, I'm also thinking it shifts the workload the way you suggest. Currently, authors generally seek out reviewers, send out an email and go from there. Your suggestion puts the work on the reviewer. Now the reviewer needs to search out the books from the list, find information and decide whether to review. Am I understanding that correctly? I guess I think of it as the reviewer being the one providing the service that the authors desire, so....
What do the rest of the authors think?
(very interesting thread, Simon!)