As I was starting to write for the Kindle I often heard author John Locke cited for selling a million books. He did, but what I’ve now learned puts the quality of his books in question:
He paid people – people who never even read his books – to write fake reviews, reviews that spoke glowingly about his work.
Amazon will only display those books that get many high reviews. This gaming of the system prevented books in his genre that may be better quality from being seen. Authors who actually worked on bettering their craft were penalized as a result.
A few years ago we got a black eye thanks to James Fry (he made a work of fiction about living on the street and lied, claiming it to be the truth). Now this.
To say that I’m disgusted is an understatement.
Thanks, I was just wondering this very thing. I stumbled upon these books while searching “mystery” on Amazon.com and the author’s claims and commentary discrepancies really threw me. I had the insane notion that the 5 star reviews could be fake. Then I discovered that Locke has allegedly written several books all in January-June 2013–not impossible to write a few very short books, but 6 or 7 in different genres is superhuman in my experience. My guess is that he has additionally been paying people to write the books as well, if you read some of the more seemingly “real” comments by people apparently swindled into following the series. Even by American standards this is disgusting. There isn’t so much as a warning from Amazon. You have to figure it out on your own. It’s a fiction in itself.
I have been trying to figure out how to get Amazon to un-bury my own two books, which both have 0 reviews because I won’t allow family and friends to review them and I have no money for services. Several other literary and design factors obviously come into play as well, but this is very bad for authors. Very disheartening. I guess the dishonest approach is what turns heads these days.