Sunday 10 March 2013

Integrity of Book Reviews.

Children's book reviewer, Sue Morris, at Kid Lit Reviews responsed to my previous post, The Problem with Amazon Reviews, where writer, Michael Drakrich, talks about the importance of getting and giving honest book reviews.

             Integrity + Honesty = Pride

By Sue Morris.
I find myself agreeing with everything Michael Drakich wrote. The reviews part is most distressing, considering I am a children's book reviewer. Just recently, I was asked to review a book and at the bottom of the email were links to three reviews. The author invited me to read the reviews to help me decide to accept the book. It was good advice but caused me to reject the review request.

Two of the reviews were written by the same person who was paid to write a positive, 5 star, review. The third was, according to the website, written by the author. The author denied, but the terms of service clearly stated that each book must be reviewed by the author to get on the top page. Needless to say I refused the request. I have plenty of books from legitimate authors that I have no desire to waste time on those that cut corners to cut out competition.

I have known for a long time that authors are writing their own reviews, or simply 5 star rating their books after uploading them to places like Library Thing, Goodreads, Jacketflap and the like. Doing so is not against any official policy on any of those sites. Still, what about ethically? Is it fair to give yourself a false leg up by giving yourself a 5?

Sure the author believes this is true, or they should if they believe in their writing. But to take 5 stars from systems that are relying on reviews from outside sources is, to me, unconscionable.

Honesty is important, especially in children's books. Kids view some authors like movie stars or super heroes. They need those authors to be good people, honest people, people the kid can look up to and emulate.

Cheating is wrong. "Only trying to make a living," is no excuse. 

I agree totally, Sue Morris and Michael Drakich!

Visit my author's website at:


  1. Well, since you made my comment a post, I might as well link up to it. I am curious to know what others think, especially authors.

    Is it okay to rate your book the instant you upload it to Library Thing, Goodreads, or the like?

    Is it fair to pay for a 5 star review on Amazon?

    Are these, and other questionable tactics necessary today?

    What should be done about all of this? By the author, blogger, reviewer, and the sites?

  2. Hi Sue.

    Thanks for the great post and honest insight into the matter.

    These are my answers to your questions:

    No, No, No. It is not right to post any review that is not honestly come by. This process is ruining the reviews that are
    honest for honest writers that work hard at their craft.

    I think the only way to get this problem under control is to have reviewers check out potential author reviews before hand, and if those reviews are suspicious, refuse to review that book.

    The other suggestion I have is for all authors and reviewers to gain enough integrity to not get or give bogus reviews. Do you think that will happen?