British author Stephen Leather has admitted that he used fake identities to promote his work online.
Bestselling author RJ Ellory confessed to posting flattering reviews of his own work and to using assumed names to attack other authors he viewed as rivals.
The New York Times posted this story about John Locke purchasing book reviews from the now defunct gettingbookreviews.com. He freely admitted to doing it, but stressed that he didn’t specifically request favorable reviews. While that may be the case, when one reads between the lines of how gettingbookreviews.com operated, it becomes obvious that reviewers were motivated to post favorable reviews. I’m sure Mr. Locke was aware of this fact.
Personally I’ve always felt that purchasing reviews, or posting fake reviews is a sign that the writer lacks confidence in their work. They knows it’s not the best they can put out there, or am I just being naive?
It’s taken some time and patience but I’ve managed to accumulate nine reviews on Amazon, along with reviews on Horror Fiction Review, Literary R&R, and Hellnotes just to name a few. At Zoetrope I ran into a guy on their forums who offered to show me how to make good money with a crappy book in just a few short months. It involved sock puppets and fake reviews. My own sense of integrity compelled me to distance myself from him.
I believe what many others have said about readers being able to recognize what these types of reviews really are. The reading public is not as gullible as many would lead you to believe. They know bullshit when they see it and following a path such as sock puppetry will only result in your online presence being vilified and any future work, no matter how well done, or how brilliant it really is, will carry the putrid stench of your actions and be viewed with disdain and mistrust forevermore. Okay a little melodramatic, but you get my point.
New writers beware. It might look easy on the surface, but you’re only hurting yourself in the long run.