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Old 08-30-2012, 12:02 PM   #91
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Question: is it wrong to pay people to write unbiased reviews of a book? (It's against Amazon's TOS, but that's a different question).
Probably not, but keeping that wall of unbiased can be very difficult. What if I like the author personally? What if I loved the first book and not the second and feel really bad about panning it? What if I am hoping to get a free copy of the third? What if I *really* need the money so by God, I'm going to have to write positive reviews so that authors keep paying me.

Of course being paid for honest work is not bad. It's just hard to be completely honest in the face of various realities. Can some people do it? Probably. But suspicious will remain (at least by me because, well, shoot, guys, I write MYSTERIES. There's *always* a bad guy!!!)
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:23 PM   #92
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P.S. I don't even believe that Rush Limbaugh and Ted Rall and those cronies believe everything they spout. Their job is to keep an audience and keep that audience happy. If that means inciting or exciting the crowd, that is what they do even it means saying things that are very far to the left or right--or completely untrue. That is my point--editorials and "news" of the like is paid for work. And sometimes it is pure fiction.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:43 PM   #93
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Not necessarily. I know a writer who wrote editorials for years (political ones). He was hired to write a POV he did not personally agree with. He is also a trad published author who did the editorials to support his financial situation because the fiction didn't sell enough.

That is exactly my point. And I was told this BY THE AUTHOR, not a third party. He blogged about it after he quit. He also wrote ghost books and often had to write POVs he did not agree with.

So in some cases, they are one and the same: Paid for work. I seriously doubt he is the only one who did it. He also wrote political speeches on a couple of occasions. Paid for work.
I'm ready to tear my hair out. The difference is, when you are a ghostwriter or a speechwriter, or you are hired by a newspaper to write editorials, you are not pretending to be independently giving your own views.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:48 PM   #94
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If you think the response has been "who cares?" you're obviously not in touch with any independent artists, which isn't surprising considering the disdain for them you've previously expressed. Everybody finds this behavior deplorable and offensive, and you would've only needed to read the first sentence in the article that this thread got its title from found in the opening post to know that.
Everybody?

The OP did, but it took only a few posts for others to start claiming that Locke's behavior was no different from what traditional publishers do, and what's the big deal, who cares, this is way of the world, etc.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:50 PM   #95
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I'm ready to tear my hair out. The difference is, when you are a ghostwriter or a speechwriter, or you are hired by a newspaper to write editorials, you are not pretending to be independently giving your own views.
Well don't lose your bonnet then - bald cat ladies are prone to sunburn.

I can't figure out whether there really are some people who can't tell the difference between reviews and puff pieces or whether you are being trolled.
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:53 PM   #96
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Perhaps John Locke has inadvertantly done a small service to many naive people who base their book buying decisions solely on the number of positive reviews. I can understand that people being outraged as we may all have been sucked in by false or over advertising at some point.

Not justifying the behavior although I don't see it as much worse than most forms of mass advertising such as toy and candy ads aimed at small children or big companies being allowed to buy shelf space etc. in stores or provide free pop refrigerators to restaurants with the provision that only their brand is stocked.

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Old 08-30-2012, 01:06 PM   #97
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
I'm ready to tear my hair out. The difference is, when you are a ghostwriter or a speechwriter, or you are hired by a newspaper to write editorials, you are not pretending to be independently giving your own views.
Generally speaking most people believe an editorial is the opinion of the writer--when it fact it is usually the opinion the newspaper has chosen to publish.

Maybe we can just disagree, although I think we might actually be agreeing.
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Old 08-30-2012, 01:40 PM   #98
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Originally Posted by BearMountainBooks View Post
Generally speaking most people believe an editorial is the opinion of the writer--when it fact it is usually the opinion the newspaper has chosen to publish.

Maybe we can just disagree, although I think we might actually be agreeing.
An editorial is generally not signed by an individual. It's the policy/opinion/belief of the newspaper editorial board.
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:25 PM   #99
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Originally Posted by Catlady View Post
The "independent artists" are exactly the ones who should be most upset about John Locke, for making them all look bad, and instead we are getting "who cares?" Additionally, every sale he made might have taken a sale away from you or another independent author. And that's OK?
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Everybody?

The OP did, but it took only a few posts for others to start claiming that Locke's behavior was no different from what traditional publishers do, and what's the big deal, who cares, this is way of the world, etc.
Well you were the one who seemed to be fine with generalizations above. John Locke shouldn't make all independent authors look bad, just himself. And a few people with differences of opinion in this thread do not constitute a universal "who cares" sentiment about the transgression. You can read this thread if you want a real sampling of opinion: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.ph...,124295.0.html

You'll find that pretty much everybody finds it to be wrong to some degree. And after you read that you'll then be able to make an informed statement about the general reaction of independent artists.
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Old 08-30-2012, 03:48 PM   #100
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Well you were the one who seemed to be fine with generalizations above. John Locke shouldn't make all independent authors look bad, just himself. And a few people with differences of opinion in this thread do not constitute a universal "who cares" sentiment about the transgression. You can read this thread if you want a real sampling of opinion: http://www.kindleboards.com/index.ph...,124295.0.html
What makes other independent authors look bad is their failure to condemn Locke for his tactics.

I'm not talking about the entire universe of independent authors or people from other forums. I'm talking about the people HERE who have identified themselves as self-published authors, or who show book covers in their sigs, etc., which I therefore assume are independent authors.

Quote:
You'll find that pretty much everybody finds it to be wrong to some degree. And after you read that you'll then be able to make an informed statement about the general reaction of independent artists.
It's wrong with a BUT. It's wrong, but "everybody" does it. It's wrong, but traditional publishers do it. It's wrong, but it's clever marketing. It's wrong, but it worked for him. It's wrong, and I would never do it, but ...

And when a segment of independent authors here don't seem to care much about ethics, yeah, it reflects badly on them.
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Old 08-31-2012, 09:16 AM   #101
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Question: is it wrong to pay people to write unbiased reviews of a book? (It's against Amazon's TOS, but that's a different question).
I would say "no"; I see nothing wrong with offering a payment, book discount or even a free copy (which is payment in the form of a gift) in exchange for a review. And again, it's not as if it's anything new to the industry. As always, establishing a lack of bias is always difficult, especially if the reviews are overwhelmingly positive (which just automatically raises the BS radar).

And thank you for alerting me that it is against Amazon's TOS... I know now not to try it myself. --another lost promotional opportunity...
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Old 08-31-2012, 10:03 AM   #102
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And thank you for alerting me that it is against Amazon's TOS... I know now not to try it myself. --another lost promotional opportunity...
The only thing you're allowed to offer in return for an Amazon review is a free copy of the product being reviewed. Any other form of payment is prohibited. So it's fine to offer people free copies of your books in exchange for reviews.
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Old 08-31-2012, 12:28 PM   #103
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The only thing you're allowed to offer in return for an Amazon review is a free copy of the product being reviewed. Any other form of payment is prohibited. So it's fine to offer people free copies of your books in exchange for reviews.
For everyone thinking this is some huge lost op or that this would work for everyone, let's remember that the landscape is constantly changing. What worked 5 years ago for me is not working today. What worked LAST year for me is not working today. Some of the things that weren't working LAST year are working today.

Amazon changes its algorithms all the time. Readers get more savvy about such marketing techniques like Locke's. Some readers who got a Kindle (e-reader) two years ago bought everything in sight and then went back to movies/games/whatever. The kindle itself spurred sales of books for years because it was a cool new gadget. Amazon had a totally different marketing plan a year ago. Right now they are using freebies to gain market share and traffic. A year or two? ago, they added the "gifting" feature that spurred THEIR profits by authors buying and giving away review copies.

All this stuff is a bit like wondering what that mass is that is stuck in the garbage disposal. Is it from last week? Last year? Is it the cause of west nile virus? We'll never know. No scientists are going to come and examine it.

Locke's book and methods happened to catch on for him, possibly because of the timing, maybe because his books are good enough. But worrying about his writing and technique is about as useful as blowing bubbles and trying to read your own future.

No matter how much time you spend on his babble, it's time you could be writing. And in the end, that's the ONLY thing you control. Maybe the audience will find you. Maybe they won't. But no amount of dancing naked in the street is going to make you a best seller forever, and that is what his stunt amounts too--he's done his thing. His books will either keep selling or they won't. It has little to do with the rest of us. Those who buy indie books will keep buying them (whether we condemn his actions or not). Those who don't, won't.

Now, I gotta go get some writing done. Because in the end, that's the part that is up to me.
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Old 08-31-2012, 02:14 PM   #104
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The only thing you're allowed to offer in return for an Amazon review is a free copy of the product being reviewed. Any other form of payment is prohibited. So it's fine to offer people free copies of your books in exchange for reviews.
Would a refund for the purchased book be considered the same thing?

Edit: Decided to ask Amazon directly. Their response was that offering a refund for an already-purchased book, in return for a review, is against their policy.

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Old 09-01-2012, 11:53 PM   #105
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John Locke? I assume you are not talking about the empiricist.... I saw the title and was really taken aback.

Some guy buying fake reviews? Shameful. And the irony... for a writer to buy writing services...
Me too. I thought: "really, they're flaming Locke - this deserves a check-out," but no, I don't know anything about his namesake here.
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