It’s no secret I spend a lot of time on Facebook. More than I probably should considering I homeschool my kids, am a writer, have a typical marriage and a home to maintain.
All that’s beside the point, though. Today I want to talk about a recent event that happened on FB.
I was invited to join a new group of writers. I’m always looking for fresh information on how to be a better writer, tips on how to sell more books and it’s nice to interface with like-minded people so I didn’t hesitate to accept.
Unfortunately, this group didn’t have the like-minded people I had hoped for. I soon found out their philosophy and mine WIDELY diverged when it came to things like padding numbers and what I call ‘gaming the system’.
Last year it was common for authors to have what they called ‘Liking and tagging’ parties. Everyone in the party would rush over to Amazon and “like” and “tag” each others books so it looked like those books were wildly popular and therefore move up the bestseller lists.
Amazon, understandably, didn’t like this so they removed tags and likes.
Authors then started ‘review’ parties. “You write me a good review and I’ll write you one!” Some even paid for good reviews. Once again wanting their books on bestseller lists.
Amazon, understandably, didn’t like this either so they removed a TON of author generated reviews. This caused all sorts of heartache and panic in the author community. Legitimate reviews were tossed as well as the bogus ones. Authors went from dozens or even hundreds of reviews to mere handfuls. It was pretty ugly.
(I may have the two events backwards in terms of timing but you get the gist of what I’m getting at here, right?)
After those two events I decided such ‘shady’ practices do more harm than good and I wouldn’t participate in stuff like that. Go me, right?
FF to this new group I joined. Someone made a post asking for likes for a 5-star review he’d just gotten. I was a bit taken aback when not only did the group owner not say “Uh guys this isn’t a good idea” but actively participated.
So what does my dumb self do? I make the statement that activities such as liking reviews is what caused Amazon to remove likes and tags and also caused the great review removal mess.
What did I get in response? People jumping on me and the group owner flat out telling me that it’s just ‘helping a friend’ so it didn’t mean anything.
At that point I left the group. Helping a friend is promoting their work, encouraging them, and passing along helpful tips. It’s NOT helping them or anyone else when you try to skew things in their favor with dishonest reviews and likes.