Let’s talk about author reviews #discussion

discussion-post

 

Hi everyone!

An author posted a dilemma he had on Facebook about a week ago and I’m quite interested to hear your opinion about it. Lemme break down the situation: the author posted a review of his own book (on Netgalley in this instance). He did sign off with a winky emoticon and a mention that he was the owner of the book so it’s not that he misled people that way. The thing is that another reviewer did take offence and feels that he has no right to do this and now he wonders if he should take his review down.

The opinions were divided to say the least. Plenty of people said to him to leave it and ignore the message, it was just one person’s opinion and he didn’t really do anything wrong as he made it clear he was the author but others were of the opinion that authors should stay away from reviewing their own books.

So where do I stand in all this? I have come across a few other author reviews (rating their own book 5 stars as well of course) on Goodreads before and they were often the first ones to see so, first of all, this is definitely not a standalone case and does merit some thought.

As I already said in response to that Facebook post, I personally feel cheated when I read an entire review and THEN see in the end that it was written by the author. It might have spiked my interest in the novel even more but it usually also feels like a waste of time. I can’t just take their word for it that it’s so amazing because they are biased obviously. I don’t value their review the same as I do others and so I don’t know what their point is really. All I can think of is that they are doing some sort of a sales pitch with their review and use it at the same time to crank up the rating, which is not ok really. Authors shouldn’t rate their own books and shouldn’t write reviews of their own books on Goodreads, Netgalley or Amazon.

So what is your opinion? Just let them be and let authors review if they want or not? Let me hear. All opinions are welcome!

82 thoughts on “Let’s talk about author reviews #discussion

  1. I’ve seen lots of authors post reviews for their own books on Goodreads though they are rather a tongue in cheek style and you can tell it’s the author ‘I’m bound to give it 5 stars, I wrote it’ and things like that so, for those, I feel it’s just a bit of fun.

    However, if it was a full-blown review detailing the book and all the positives and saying how awesome it is then come to the end of the review I would feel rather cheated that it hadn’t been written by a blogger, reviewer or reader as how can an author unobjectively review their own book?!? They are bound to praise it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for your two cents Drew, I knew you’d have a opinion on this :-)! I agree with you, but if it’s on Goodreads couldn’t they write a Note instead of review? Maybe that would be better. I don’t think one extra 5-stars will make a lot of difference in the rating of the book but if it’s a matter of principle, they shouldn’t give a rating either 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I actually haven’t seen any author do this before, but I agree with you. Unless they can be objective (which, most people can’t tbh) they shouldn’t write reviews of their own stuff… It’s a bit misleading, I feel.
    Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For me a would want to read a review that is completely unbiased. Reviewing their own book would not achieve an unbiased opinion. Bloggers and reviewers take pride in the fact they are honest in their opinions and sometimes this can be hard thing to do if the book you read has points that don’t sit right. I think the author would be better to take quotes from independent reviews to promote the book. Nothing wrong with promoting your work but keep it balanced.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. As long as it’s clear from the very start that the reviewer is the author I don’t have any particular issue with it. To be honest I probably wouldn’t read it unless it was funny and I wouldn’t give much weight to it. Depending on how popular the book is I suppose it could impact on average ratings but I usually cast a quick eye over the reviews anyway (to check they’re not all written by friends and family of the author) so it’d be unlikely to affect my decision on whether to read it or not.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. If the author is upfront that they wrote it and if it’s funny like they aren’t taking it seriously then I don’t mind then reviewing it in that sense (it doesn’t mean I’ll consider it though they usually just make me laugh), but I would be annoyed if I read a review and then it’s tacked on the end that they wrote it because to me that feels sneaky and reviews can really sway if you want to read a book or not so I don’t want to read a review that’s biased in that way. Also it’s not like the author is going to say it’s less than a five star read so it does seem a bit redundant 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I don’t mind author’s posting their own reviews as long as they declare that they are the author. I usually read like 5 or more reviews when trying to establish whether or not to read a book so one review by an author would not be misleading, in my books. Its cold out there, some self-promotion is okay even though reviewing your own books sounds kinda awkward to begin with 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does happen more than you think, I’m not the only one who came across reviews written by authors. If I know it’s an author review I could skip it but if you don’t know and it’s showing as the first, top one, than you can feel kind of betrayed by that when you reach the end and it’s signed ‘author’ :-). Thanks for your thoughts Diana!

      Like

  7. I am not a fan of authors who review their own books in an official sense i.e Amazon or Goodreads. Talking it up on social media etc is natural. I think some of the blurbs that authors write for their books become borderline reviews in themselves. I am not an author so I do not truly understand what it takes to sell a book but there are thousands of bloggers here to help assist authors in anyway they can.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I think most of them would have done it for fun…? I guess as long as it’s clear that it was written by the author i don’t see anything wrong with it. It’s not like they create fake accounts and pretend to be random people just to make nice reviews.

    I would either ignore these, or read them for their entertainment value, but getting seriously offended… dunno, that seems a bit extreme.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. I completely agree. If an author wants to make a joke and post a review, they should do so without rating it 5 Stars. This is misleading the rating statistics. While one review obviously won’t make a significant difference in the rating, it’s the fact of the matter. I find author ratings to be nothing more than a publicity stunt. Lovely post! ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I’ve added my own books on GR on a bookshelf entitled “Books I’ve Authored”, but if I don’t give them a star rating, they end up being zeroes, and I don’t want that! So I’ll give them a five-star. I’ve never written my own reviews, though. That seems over the top.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh it’s nice to get the perspective from someone on the other side :-). I understand completely about the rating now too, of course you don’t want it to work against you either. There are still plenty of authors who write a review though. I wish they’d start their review then with ‘this is the author speaking’ so I’d know immediately.. I never expect it so I read it with another reviewer in mind 🙂

      Like

  11. I have seen authors rating their books full stars and when I was new I used to read them and see what they have to say for their own books. But as I read say like 5 or 10 review by author on their own books, I saw that they were only singing praises so I stopped reading them later. But I liked those reviews where author explains more about plot and theme- what’s is book around and why they chose to write book on particular theme. It’s kind of author’s note in book which I love to read. But as you said in the comment above they can write those things without rating and readers would love to read and like them on GR.
    Well I honestly don’t know why they rate the book. if it’s just praise and nothing like note, it’s not going to affect the ratings or even selling. There can be many reason. I’m not author so I can not judge that.
    I have seen some authors are real good who just add their book but don’t review or rate, and some don’t even add it even though their rating is low.
    But some authors I have seen take advantage of this thing. One book I have rated low, I have seen it’s review on Goodread, you won’t believe it. Not only author had rated it 5 stars but whole publishing team rated it full stars and commented how awesome it was. I didn’t like those publisher’s approach. They distributed my number and email to authors whose book they publish they don’t contact me themselves. ok, email is not big thing as it’s how they can contact, but they don’t even bother to visit my blog, read policy. I stopped accepting any request by author who publish their book by this particular publisher. Funny is publisher is Indian so the authors. This taught me to check who is publisher first and read only those Indian authors who publish their books in bigger publishing house or who have genuine reviews or was recommended by blogger friend I know will give genuine recommendation. So I like selected Indian author and selected Indian publishing house whose work is real great.
    Sorry this is so long. Great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for the comment! I agree, if they write about their motivation or explain more about the book it’s okay, if it’s just to sing praise about theirself it’s not. I read in a previous comment that if the author doesn’t rate a book, it’s a 0 star and will also reflect in the ranking so I understand that they don’t want that now!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I don’t mind authors posting reviews of their books at all as long as they clearly indicate they are the author. (The same way you should disclose any potential “bias,” like if you are the mother of the author or whatever.)

    The only way it would “matter” is if you feel “biased” reviews are unfairly skewing the overall rating of the book, but, on Goodreads for instance, most books get hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of rating. The author rating his own book 5 stars is not a huge factor in the overall rating of the book because it just doesn’t have that much weight. And if there are only 3 ratings or something where the rating WOULD affect the average, you can read the three reviews, realize they’re all from the author and his siblings or whatever, and move on with your life.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. It’s impossible to read your own work and not be biased after you’ve spent hours, days, weeks, etc. on it, plus it’s the plot you created so you automatically know how it all threads together, even if it’s not quite properly worded on page. I’m totally against authors reviewing their own work. However agree with Drew – a jokey “well of course id give it 5 stars” is light hearted and I’d probably just chuckle!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I don’t mind when they rate their own books but you’re right when they actually review their own books obviously they are going to make it sound fantastic and you can feel cheated in that way if you haven’t read it yet!

    Like

  15. Honestly- who cares? If they want to shamlessly promote the book they just poured themselves into go for it! We are living in a time when people are so picky lately- should there be spoiler alerts?! What about (insert other crazy thing to worry about)?! I just think that we have to remember that reading is an escape and a place of fun. If the blurb did not pull you in enough than the reviews really aren’t going to change a whole lot anyways…

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I completely agree with you on this. Often author reviews can be misleading, because it’s impossible for them to give an unbiased opinion… I get they want to promote their work, but reviewing it that way doesn’t help. Seeing a 5 star review of the author of a book is actually quite a turn off for me! I prefer authors promoting their work with sharing extracts, giving background information, how they came up with the idea, sharing ‘real’ reader reviews etc.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I don’t mind authors reviewing their own books on Goodreads so long as I know up front that they are the author. A few times I have been encouraged to read a book by the writing style of the ‘review’ so I guess there it did its job.
    I tend to be more swayed by well-written 3 or 4 star reviews of books though. If I see a book only has excellent 5 star ratings and reviews I won’t bother to read it. No book will amaze everyone so I assume the reviews are probably biased! Whereas a lower star rating and an explanation of what didn’t work for that particular reviewer is more likely to encourage me to buy.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. I do not mind when authors review their own work on GR as you can immediately tell who the reviewer is. And more often than not, they start by openly stating how biased they are and that they wrote the book (at least in my encounters). I usually enjoy then when I see them. But I can honestly say I have not encountered this anywhere else. So now you have me thinking. Part of me wants to argue that all reviews need to be unbiased and then there is the side of me that feels as long as they are upfront, it is natural to promote their own work 🤔 Kind of torn and inclined to say maybe it is ok if it is not on retail sites and they open with who they are? Great food for thought Inge!!! My wheels are turning.

    Liked by 2 people

    • When it’s like this ok but I must be so dense because it has happened to me twice at least that I didn’t know it was the author at first (maybe because I wasn’t expecting it to be anyone else than a reader the first time or maybe they had a different name or picture) and they certainly didn’t open with I’m the author of this piece, it was at the bottom and you didn’t see immediately because you had to scroll, it was that long. That’s a completely different experience from the start. I must say, I’m not sure I would read it if I knew it was the author, or maybe after reading the book when it doesn’t really matter anymore. Thanks love!

      Like

  19. Oh that’s an interresting one ! I’ve never encountered one yet, mostly since I don’t pay attention to them very much xD

    However, I think it should be seen as okay and reviewing their own book shouldn’t be seen as bad. But ! there should be a kind of protocol, in my opinion: like saying first thing they’re the author of said book (like for NetGalley reviews) so people can choose not to read it and skip that one review, and try to atleast be decent and treat it as if it’s not your own book and give yourself the “best one ever!! 5stars everything !” like … atleast stop at 4… we know, we know you must very much like your book but, people will be more on the fence with it if you do.

    Liked by 1 person

      • yeah .. for sure it’d work better ; as they indeed are biased as they wrote it. But they could add okay well maybe my book wouldn’t be good for someone who : … and just explain some things.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Pingback: Links I’ve Enjoyed this Week #SundayBlogShare – Secret Library Book Blog

  21. Great discussion post! I don’t think I’d mind author reviews too much as long as I know it’s the author reviewing their own book beforehand. That way, if I’m not interested in reading the author’s review, I can go on ahead and skip it. I don’t actually think I’ve encountered this yet, haha, so this is definitely new!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree that it’s ok if I know right away. I probably will skip it then. I think it’s maybe more interesting to read after I read the novel to see which points stood out for the author. I wonder if they won’t give too much away themselves too, as they know the novel inside and out… Thank you for the comment!

      Like

  22. I don’t really mind them as long as their tongue in cheek and it’s obvious that they’re the author. Like, of course you’d want to give that small, funny boost to your own book. I once read an author review where she elaborated why she wrote that story. Sure, you can share that on any other platform as well, but at the time I was already intrigued by it and reading that made me interested even more.
    Guess it all depends on the way it’s done to be honest.

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Great post, Inge and nice to see this up for discussion, even though it came about through a rather odd and not such a nice experience for you.
    I have come across a varied ‘self promotion’ on Goodreads… authors who rate their books (I think I have mostly seen this with indies) and then, authors who write a bit more background, blabla but didn’t rate it (which is grand as long as it states it’s the author and it’s generic, not a full blown review as such). I have yet to come across one from the author where they rate 5 stars and then review the book as if they were unbiased. I shall keep my eye out for one.

    I actually have quite enjoyed reading some of these ‘reviews’ from authors who have provided some funky background info or general blabber to engage potential readers… I wonder though- the ratings make a difference on all platforms (Amazon, GRs, etc to bump them up on ‘streetcred’) does the count of reviews somehow affect the book as well?

    Great post and definitely makes the thought process work in a higher gear! 😉

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks for this Liis.. I guess my experience were just exceptional cases and it can happen in a better way. I don’t know if the amount of reviews has an impact other than the perception it’s a successful novel, read by lots of readers. One more won’t really matter though I think, that’s probably not their purpose for posting. Thank you for your thoughts!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • 🙂 Well, thank you for this post because now I will certainly be keeping a more keen eye on the author reviews on Goodreads… just to see some good/bad examples… 😀 Interesting stuff!

        Like

  24. Hello Inge!
    This is an interesting discussion topic. I can see how it can be misleading when an author leaves a review for him/herself (which is probably highly positive!) On the other hand, an author is an individual as well and should have the chance to “vote” on his book (like a politician who can vote for himself in an election.) I do think that if the author chooses to review his/her own book, they should indicate this in the beginning of the review, so that the person reading the review can choose whether or not to continue reading it.
    Great discussion!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Pingback: March Wrap-Up! – Sophie's Corner

  26. I’ve noticed this too that authors are rating their own book on Goodreads and my own personal opinion I don’t think that this should be allowed.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s