Tag Archives: New York Times Book Review

Bestsellers with More Than 150 One-Star Reviews


Porter Anderson wrote in Jane Friedman’s blog a post about – I guess you can call it: Scandal of the Year.  Here are some snippets from his article, make sure to read the complete post, including the NY Times article and comments.

“Potential reviewers were told that if they felt they could not give a book a five-star review, they should say so and would still be paid half their fee…As you might guess, this hardly ever happened.”  Quote from a NYT article “The best reviews money can buy“.

Mr. Locke was secure enough in his talents to say that he did not care what the reviews said. “If someone doesn’t like my book,” he instructed, “they should feel free to say so.” But additionally: He also asked that the reviewers make their book purchases directly from Amazon, which would then show up as an “Amazon verified purchase” and increase the review’s credibility.

Locke appears to have been a happy customer of Rutherford. Having e-mailed Rutherford in 2010 that he was “ready to roll” with the false reviews he bought, he seems unapologetic now for using such a mechanism to build his now-discredited “success.” He confessed in the NY Times to contravening Amazon policy.

This NYT article got a wide range of responses:
“This is fraud! This guy, along with John Locke and his ilk, should be banned by Amazon for defrauding their clients”

“It’s hard to overstate how angry I am with shysters like John Locke for taking the easy way out.” #selfpubauthorsspeak

Jason Boog at GalleyCat pulls off an entertaining twist on the issue, creating a list of “Major Bestsellers with More Than 150 One-Star Reviews”:

  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer (717 one-star reviews)
  • A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin (456 one-star reviews)
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (432 one-star reviews)
  • A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (248 one-star reviews)
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James (3,665 one-star reviews)

When you read Porter Anderson’s blog post, don’t miss to scroll down and read all the comments, both authors and readers are pretty mad.
I must say, I bought Locke’s book “How I sold 1 Million books in 5 months” – without paying any attention to reviews – and read /scanned it about three times to find out how he really did it. I wanted to learn from him how he achieved this enormous success in such a short time. But essentially he said he used only contacts through social media, especially Twitter to achieve those bestseller numbers. My feeling was: “he hides something”. Now I know…

It would be interesting to find out how all the other commercial reviewers, such as Kirkus (charges over $400) or Book Rooster (less than $100) handle this. Do their reviewers get the books for free or do they have to buy it on Amazon? Are their reviewers really free to use the whole range of stars?  One can also ask: Are 1-star reviews written undercover by the competition?  Or an honest valuation of the books content?


If you enjoyed this blog post, please feel free to check out all previous posts (there are more than 520 of them : ) if you haven’t already. Why not sign up to receive them regularly by email? Just click on “Follow” in the upper line on each page – and then on “LIKE” next to it.  There is also the “SHARE” button underneath each article where you can submit the article to Pinterest, Google+, Twitter, Tumblr and StumpleUpon.

Follow on Twitter: @111publishing

And don’t forget to spread the word on other social networking sites of your choice for other writers who might also enjoy this blog and find it useful. Thanks, Doris


Hyper Smash



Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How to Get Book Reviews – Lots of them

Reviews sell books. The more you have, the more credibility you will have with your potential buyers. Author-published books usually don’t attract reviews by major book magazines or newspapers such as The New York Times.

However, there are ways to get book reviews, especially if you are creative. Through social networks such as Twitter, Google+, or Facebook, you can request book reviews. Here are some popular book reviewers on Twitter:  MediaBistro and Scribd

Check the sidebar, links or blogroll on each site you visit, as they may have links to other reviewer’s blogs. You may check their ranking on Alexa which indicates their traffic – the lower the Alexa number, the better.

There are organizations you can access through the internet which conduct book reviews, for sample:

Don’t forget book networking sites such as Goodreads, Shelfari, LibraryThing, Wattpad etc. Especially the many communities on these sites, often by book genre.  This way you can meet and be known by book reviewers, before you even pitch your book to them.

Ask local newspapers and publications to review your book. While it is difficult to get a book review by a major publication or newspaper, your local newspaper might be interested in local authors.
OK, you did your homework, a list of websites run by bloggers who might be writers or readers and who like the genre of our book. But how to approach them and request a review?

Writing a review is time consuming and requires reading the book first, so it is actually requesting a big favor from a complete stranger. The prospective reviewer has no incentive in investing time and effort in a review. The least a writer can do is to show the prospective reviewer respect:

  • Most sites publishing reviews have a procedure for receiving requests. Abide by the blogger’s requirements and show respect for the reviewers time.
  • Find a way to convert the book into the format, most convenient for the reviewer.
  • Send an email with a query first. You are competing with other books so be professional. Don’t be pushy as reviewers are doing you a favor reading your book.
  • Send customized requests to your prospective reviewers: A reviewer receiving a request that looks like mass mailing has no incentive to review your book.
  • You certainly have to offer a free copy of the book, reviewers will not fork out the money to buy your book and invest time in reading and reviewing it.
  • Not all books are for all people. The reviewers opinion is required and that includes the risk that the review will be scathing, if that is the reviewer’s opinion.

Be courteous, professional, thank them for their review and reciprocate the favor, making sure you credit the reviewer and provide them with publicity in return for their book review. Write more reviews and you will get more reviews for your books!  So, when did you write your last book review?

Hyper Smash


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

%d bloggers like this: