Reading Rage: Authors, stop having your friends review you. Just stop.

19 November 2012 by 63 Comments

So, another author outed himself and his fragile ego the other day. With much eye-rolling, I clicked over to the incident in question, a one-star Amazon review that he was a-chirp about on Twitter. The review itself was pretty mild; I contented myself with merely verbally slapping down a friend of the author, who told the reviewer to just “say nothing” if he had nothing nice to say. Out of curiosity, I clicked through to see what his other reviews looked like.

All four- and five-star reviews. Of course. And I could tell that most of them had been written by his friends.

“But Susie, how could you tell that they were written by his friends? What are you, some sort of wizard?”

Yes.

Friends who write reviews for other friends have obvious tells. Sorry to burst your bubbles, authors, but it’s true, and nothing puts me off buying a book faster than when it has a ton of good reviews written by people who obviously know the author. At the risk of making smarter friend-reviewers (yeah, right), let me enumerate some of the ways that I, a real live consumer of books, can tell that someone did you a solid by reviewing your book.

Glowing review, light on details. Now, not everyone is a super-detailed reviewer, but when you see a book that has loads of overly-gushing reviews that don’t really talk about the book at all, it’s a sign that you may be reading a friend-review. These reviews often read, “GREAT BOOK! I couldn’t put it down! I am a new fan of this author! I will read every book he ever publishes forever!” or “I was captivated by THE FIRST SYLLABLE. [Author] has a truly unique talent. He will go far! Highly recommend!” It reads like a review your grandma would write, right before she gives you a quarter and tells you to buy yourself some candy down at the dime store.

Refers to the author by name, awkwardly–sometimes just by first name. If you read a lot of reviews, like I do, you start to notice little patterns that happen in friend-reviews that don’t happen elsewhere. One is that a lot of friend-reviews go out of their way to talk about the author by name. I saw one earlier that actually just called the author by their first name, as in, “You need to read Bob’s book! Bob is the best!” That’s just a little familiar, isn’t it, for an author you never supposedly met?

If you read other reviews by actual consumers, you find that they don’t refer to an author by name as often (unless it’s an author with a huge following… that wouldn’t be the case here). Sure, they do sometimes, but it’s generally more focused on the book than the author. As in, “I like this book because… ” and not “This author that most people have probably never read RULEZ MY SOCKS OFF ZOMGGG. I am a FANGIRL/BOY/THING.” If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say the name thing pops up more often in friend reviews because they’re reviewing FOR the author, and not reviewing the actual work as an objective consumer, so they’d naturally talk about how much they like the author. Which is great; I’m glad the author has friends, but that has nothing to do with whether I want to buy the book.

Lots of people who say, “I wouldn’t ordinarily read this kind of book, but . . .” When your book has fifteen reviews and at least 20-33% of those reviews start off this way? Those reviews just got friendzoned.

Their criticism isn’t real criticism. We’ve all been in that job interview where your potential future employer asks, “SO, what’s your biggest weakness?” We also all know that only a lying kiss-ass says, “Durr, my biggest weakness is that I’m a workaholic and too much of a perfectionist.” Yes, those are huge weaknesses of a potential employee. Jerk.

Friend reviews have the same thing going on. “My only criticism? I wish the book was LONGER!” “I only wish that there were ELEVENTY-BILLION MORE BOOKS JUST LIKE THIS ONE.” No you don’t; those aren’t real criticisms of a book besides. Almost nobody thinks any book is perfect. If you can’t come up with a single, solitary, baby thing that you can say about it that isn’t just good but OMG THE BEST!!1!, I’m calling friend-review on your ass.

The review gives vague praise about things that customers may not even care about, without addressing things that customers do care about. “This book is fast-paced!” “This book poses questions that beg for answers!” “Wacky! Creative!” “This story had incredible twists and turns; you never knew what was going to happen next!” Yeah, okay. What about the characters? I don’t give a crap if the book is fast-paced if the characters suck. I don’t look for “wacky” or “questioning” in a book, either. I mean, if a book has those things and they’re appropriate to the book, great. By themselves, though, they’re not high on my list of “I must buy this book right now” priorities. Twilight had lots of “twists and turns,” and it was a steaming, glittery pile of vampire poo.

The reviews read more like marketing copy than thoughtful opinions. So, you’ve been asked by a friend to review their book. You want everyone to read it, right? Because you like your friend. So you write a review trying to convince people to read your friend’s book, and that’s where you make your first mistake.

Very few objective readers will be that invested in a single book–certainly not many readers, in the case where you see review after review urging you to buy a copy of some unknown book. Am I really to believe that, out of a handful of reviews, over half of people who randomly, objectively read your book thinks that “everyone should buy this book!” and that it’s “a must-read!”? You must be pretty good, if that’s the case; most authors don’t get those kinds of percentages of superfans. Or maybe you just recruited your friends who already like you. Hmm.

(One review actually read, “this is a novella from the mind that brought us TITLE.” Is this a book trailer or a book review? I don’t even.)

Why does all of this matter? Because marketing is based on trust, and you just violated my trust. Those are just a few examples of review content that tells me you’ve had friends reviewing your work. And while, again, I’m glad that you have friends, of course your friends are going to say that they like your book, whether they did or not–or whether or not they even read the damn thing after they bought a copy. Having friends review your book, and do it so obviously at that, makes me suspect that your book probably isn’t very good–and even if it is, I’m still going to steer clear because you have tried to rig the system in your favor. It’s dishonest. It’s a breach of trust.

So fucking stop already.

What about you guys? How do you feel when you read reviews that clearly came from the authors’ friends? Are you less likely to buy, or do you not mind? Tell me what you think in the comments below!

Susie

Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

63 thoughts on “Reading Rage: Authors, stop having your friends review you. Just stop.

  1. I am allergic to completely generic reviews, whether they are friend reviews or otherwise. Nothing makes me itchy and sneezy like a review where I can’t even tell they read the book. Glowing generic reviews send me into anaphylactic (no, autocorrect, not anticlimactic, though maybe that, too) shock.

    Authors behaving badly sometimes make me giggle. I want to have a thicker skin when I am published. Although I did tell sj that if anyone gives me less than a 12 star review, I’ll probably need to burn their house down.

  2. You make a good point here about friend comments, they can be really obvious and quickly make you wonder about the rest of the comments for the book and the author’s other works.

    I’ve been given review copies by online aquantences with the agreement that I would write up a review once I was done reading. In most cases not exactly folks I would call friends but people I would say I know. In such cases if I didn’t like the book I would still write a review but I would be reasonable in my comments, and explain my dislike so not to turn off those who might not have the same issues.

    Your post though does concern me a bit, what do you do if you become friends of some level with an author because of your interest in their works. Should you then refrain from reviewing books that you honestly do love out of fear that you will end up hurting them with a ‘friend review’?

    It is a bit of a dilemma.

    • I would say it would depend on the level of friendship (friendly vs. actually friends). I’ve actually had this happen–I haven’t become BFFs with an author, but I have become friends with Kate from Candlemark & Gleam since she first approached me about reviewing a book from her press here at IB. I let that review stand since we weren’t friends-friends when I wrote it, but I don’t review her books now because I figure people will see me tweeting her all the time and think that I’m being disingenuous if I give a book a good review. I do try to get the word out in other ways, though, about her new stuff. Like I’ll mention something I genuinely liked on Twitter, without writing a formal review.

      That’s what I do, anyway. It’s something everyone has to chew on, I guess. I don’t think people would accuse me of being unfair because I do try to write the most honest reviews possible all the time, but, I don’t even want to risk losing the trust of my readers, y’know?

      • Of course, it also helps that we have maybe TWO books that actually fit your review criteria.

        Regardless, I think your case-by-case treatment is perfectly reasonable and fair, and I’m all in favour of it. No reviewer should ever feel obligated to review a book, whether they’re friends with someone involved with its production or not, and no reviewer should ever think to themselves, “Can I honestly review this, or will that get in the way of the friendship?” My friends tend to share my taste in books, which means that they’re more likely to enjoy and positively review the books I edit, but there have been differences in opinion, some of which even make it into reviews. I’m cool with that; one reason I love reviews is because I can see what doesn’t work for some people.

        Generic “my friend asked me to review this” glowing reviews are simply not helpful. Period.

  3. I’ve found I always gravitate towards the negative reviews, personally. It’s like a stress test. If I can read what people didn’t like, and I still want to read it myself, then the book is worth my time.

    • On a semi-related note, I was shopping for a netbook yesterday on NewEgg. I found a refurbished dealie for $45. But it only got three eggs. Hmmm, sounds like I’m putting $45 bucks at risk.

      I dug into the reviews. All the 4-5 egg reviews came from people who opened the box and immediately installed a Linux/Android-based OS. All the 1-2 egg reviews came from people who griped about how utterly useless Windows Embedded was.

      Am I comfy installing a new OS? Yep. Am I gonna be the proud owner of a happy lappy? Most likely. So yeah, the content of negative reviews can actually sell you on the thing. I probably should have dredged the refuse-strewn harbor of my mind for a more book-related example, but nope, this is what you get. :)

      • I’ve had that experience before too, on Amazon. I was looking to buy a coffee machine for hubs, read through the negative reviews.. then the positive reviews.. and figured out that the people who wrote the negative reviews had no damn idea what they were talking about and apparently didn’t know how to operate a coffee machine. (Bad review: “IT KEEPS OVERFLOWING. WTF.” Good review: “hey, asshole, try not overloading it and making sure the tray is fully shut.”)

        • In defense of the coffee pot reviewers, I do overnight programs, and we have two coffee pots. Neither have manuals. There are two ways to insert the coffee tray; the right way, and the “oh, dear God! Call 9-1-1!” way. I learned the right way after a 2nd degree scald. Sometimes those stupid things aren’t as intuitive as you’d think!

          Although the reviewers should have manuals to read, and…yeah, never mind. I got nuthin’.

    • Yep, same here when it comes to the negative reviews. That’s the first place I go. A good negative review can actually do you a lot more good than all of the fake positive reviews in the world because what someone strongly disliked might be just what you’re looking for in a book!

    • Those are the reviews I like to read when I’m deciding on new books, too! I cringe when I read them for books we’ve published, naturally, but THOUGHTFUL critical reviews (as opposed to negative reviews, which are a different beast) are actually super-helpful for readers trying to determine whether to pick something up.

  4. Friend reviews aren’t doing anyone any favours. If you’re WRITING A FRIEND REVIEW, BE UP FRONT ABOUT IT.

    It’s one thing to want to review something that you genuinely love, but if you’re going to do it, I want to know that you know this person.

    By the same token, I have authors that I know there’s no way I’ll be able to write an impartial review because I <3 that author so much. I’ll say as much in my review though. “Look, Jasper Fforde/Jim Butcher/Philip K Dick could write a novella about sanitation trucks in the greater Los Angeles area and I’d still read it and love it.”

    • I feel like I’ve been doing the right thing so far. I don’t review my own books. The two Amazon reviews where I knew the author personally, I stated as much at the very beginning. I did fail to mention in a third review that I’ve had a couple of brief exchanges with the author on G+, but I don’t really see her as a friend so much as a self-publishing fellow-traveler. Maybe that sways my objectivity, and hence should have been mentioned.

      I think a good rule of thumb is to mention, right off, anything that might cloud your objectivity, whether it’s a personal affiliation with the author, a soft spot for the genre, or a particular view on the subject matter of the book.

      • You should also mention if you received a free copy of the book in exchange for the (hopes of a) review. I think that for the most part, revealing your biases actually has the effect of making you sound more authoritative.

          • I make a point of of saying that I received a copy for review purposes, be it a physical copy or eARC of some form.

            As far as your FTC point, I am curious how this would translate to those who are essentially ‘hobbyist’ reviewers. Some of my reviews are posted on a book reviews site, but I have posted a few on my personal blog (as well as some goodreads and amazon).

            Are you meaning the publisher/author could get in trouble? How can the FTC go after someone who is basically just doing this for fun?

            That said it is just right to say you got the copy for free since that in itself could be considered ‘payment’ for the review. The RC is the only benefit I get from this aside from the reading enjoyment and hopefully improvement in my writing style.

            Hope this makes sense.

      • Yes, I think this is a good rule of thumb for reviewing. Making the review a little personal makes the review better, anyway–that way readers know where you’re coming from, and they know that they might not share the same qualities. Like Rob, when she reviewed No Alternative a couple of days ago, started with the fact that she loves rock and roll, and that helped her love the book:D

  5. “This book poses questions that beg for answers!”

    Ugh, that totally sounds like something I’d see in a cheesy generic book blurb (oh hey, I seem to remember a previous IB Reading Rage on book blurbs… ;-)

    Really? This book raises questions that I’ll actually want answered? What a fresh concept!

  6. As an author, the best moments I’ve experienced are when people I’ve never even heard of (often overseas) post a review of my book, at any rating. I am honored that they not only took the time to read the book but that they were moved enough to say something in public about it. (The truly best moment as an author, though, was when I found out, months after the fact, that a friend’s daughter had liked my book so much she wrote her 11th grade book report about it. That moment ROCKED. She never posted a public review.)

    One potential tip-off of a friend review, I think, is when the reviewer has only a couple of reviews to their name, and those are all 5-star. On Amazon, it’s easy enough to click through to see what else the reviewer has critiqued and to gauge how legitimate you believe they are. That’s not always a good measure, of course, and doing that takes time. The only real measure of a reviewer is a long track record of reliability. Reputation must be earned over time, though it can be destroyed in seconds.

    Which is why I think authors who use sock puppets or purchase good reviews or get friends to post overly glowing reviews are missing the point. A good review is earned media; advertising is purchased media. Intentionally blurring the line between them, I believe, is an ethical slippery slope at best.

  7. Aw shaddup. You don’t know the shame of having one of your best friends read your most bestest work, and — despite everything you’ve done for him…. EVERYTHING — he still can’t spot you that fifth star.

    Then you realize, it’s cause he’d already spotted you the first two. Then you feel the shame. It burns.

  8. You’ve hit on one of my secret hobbies that I don’t dare tell anyone about because I don’t like the strange looks I get.

    The “big boy” version of this is the companies that pay other companies to write positive customer reviews of their products on Amazon. Worse yet is when the company sends their staff to do it. You can always tell because the reviews are:

    A) Short
    B) Sound like marketing sales copy
    C) Posted in an oddly small window of time (20 of a product’s 22 reviews being posted in a 24 hour window for example)
    D) written by reviewers lacking the “Amazon Verified Purchase” badge and who, for some reason, have never reviewed anything else.

    Astroturfing is the term for this, and once you start noticing the tell-tale signs, you can’t help but see them…

  9. When I’m unsure about picking up a book, I usually head to the 3-star reviews first, then the one-star reviews. I figure I’ll get more information about whether or not I think I’ll like the book from those. HOWEVER… I should point out I get accused of this a LOT because a) I tend to like a lot of different types of books b) I usually do a good job at picking out which books I will like to read and review next and therefore end up with a lot of good reviews and c) often when I just hate a book I don’t even finish it, so it doesn’t end up being reviewed, so people don’t realize that I did get a stinker unless they’re paying attention. So, I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, because it’s upsetting to be falsely accused of this just because I enjoy reading. *shrug* I think most real readers can easily pick out a Harriet Klausner without forbidding authors’ friends from reviewing their books – I’m sure some of them really did like the book, after all, and I’d rather that the option to be able to review be there than let things continue in the direction where they are going, when legitimate reviews are being removed from Amazon.

    • Oh yeah, I’m not even talking about censoring the reviews–more like, authors telling their friends not to write “favor” reviews. I also don’t ding reviewers for choosing mostly to write positive reviews.. I often don’t write reviews of poor books because I didn’t finish, like you. It’s more something you can tell when you’re scrolling through the reviews of one book and seeing the same vague, praising review over and over ^_^

  10. I also use the negative reviews, for everything. Because ZOMG IT’S SO GREAT doesn’t tell me anything, but if the only people writing negative reviews are assholes who can’t spell/punctuate/operate a coffeemaker and/or like to use words like ontology/lush/retarded in their reviews, I figure I’ll be okay. (Plus whiners. If the majority of negative reviews are by somebody who sounds like you’d quickly throw a drink at them at a party, you’re probably fine.)

    Your post comes at an interesting moment, because I’m in the position of having just read a book written by a blogger friend of mine, who is a self-published author with some really, really annoying twitter habits but a good heart. He kind of shoved the book on me, and I thought I was going to hate it. But actually, even though it’s NOT the kind of book I would read if he hadn’t insisted, I definitely enjoyed it. Would I buy it new for ten bucks in a bookstore? No. Having read it now, would I buy it used for three bucks to take on a plane? Yeah. And since he’s selling it on Amazon for three bucks, hell, I’m probably gonna leave a review saying almost exactly that, except also noting that he occasionally gets way overblown with his imagery and his main characters are really well drawn and, in all honestly, the quotes he tweets from it sound way less goofy in context. That’s fair, right? I’m not friendzoning him, am I?

  11. Oh, I’m with you. It pisses me off because it wastes my time & it turns me off to a book I might have tried if all of the phony loves hadn’t turned me off. I go to the negative reviews first because they tend to tell me more about the book.

  12. If I see a book that has a ton of great reviews and only two or three negative reviews, I automatically read the negative reviews first, just to see what those folks complain about. I’m okay with friends reviewing books, as long as that friend-disclaimer is the first line of the review, and it’s actually a thoughtful review. The kind you mentioned in your post just get glossed over by me, anyway.

  13. This is interesting to read because most of my GoodReads reviews are short, vague, and light on details, because those are the reviews that I look to read. I don’t like a lot of details, because even minor spoilers can often ruin a book. If a review is more than a paragraph long, I skip it (it’s different on blogs, but if I’m skimming through reviews on GR, I’m just looking for a quick take). I like short and sweet reviews so that’s what I write.

    I also use stuff like “fast-paced” and “twists and turns” all the time without much mentioning the characters . . . but that’s just because of the kinds of books I read most often. Yeah, good characters are a plus, but no one reads action thrillers for the characters.

    It was just interesting to read this, because I never would have thought that these reviews read like I’m just trying to sell people on the book. Of course there are some of things on your list I don’t do (I’ve never called an author by first name), and this is more about the fact of seeing MULTIPLE reviews just like this all for the same book, in which case it’s probably unlikely that there are that many reviewers out there who happen to write this style of review.

    • Yes, exactly–it’s not about one reviewer’s style, so much, as it is about the whole of reviews for a single book. The short-and-sweet, vagueish reviews are tons more credible when they’re just one style out of many, varied styles; when they start to be the overwhelming majority of reviews for one book, it makes you go “hmmmm.”

    • I was going to raise some of these points as well. I think “fast-paced” and “twists and turns” are definite appeal factors for some readers. Personally, I look more for character development, but as a librarian I know all too well that different readers are looking for different qualities in a book. (That’s the only way to explain the continued popularity of James Patterson.)

      Along with many other commenters, I read the negative reviews just as closely as the positive reviews – they really do help me decide whether or not to read a book. I tend to stick to reading shorter reviews since I don’t want to know too much before I start, but frequently I’ll go back after finishing and read some of the more detailed ones.

  14. This is probably why I don’t pay attention to reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. I don’t trust those people. By those people, I mean the ones that rate 50 Shades as 5 stars. I’m not making any sense here and the words aren’t coming out right. (In my head I’m brilliantly making my case)

    I guess I’m saying that I pay attention to bloggers/readers/reviewers that I trust.

  15. I think it is good practice to lay out your biases so as not to hurt a friend who’s an author. But I think every review should be thoughtful and honest, and their friend honestly isn’t doing them a solid by not being that way, obviously. :)

  16. There’s a lot I would like to say about this post as reviews are one of the things I tend to go on and on about. However, I have no time, right now, nor in the foreseeable future, so I will just say this one thing:
    The whole review thing is very complicated and very important, and Amazon is making it even more difficult, right now, so that makes it even more complicated.

    Okay, I’ll say one more thing: reviews from friends that may not have actually read the book really blow, but, if I have a friend that reads my book and comes and tells me s/he likes it, I will certainly let them know that leaving a review saying as much would be very helpful. Mostly, they never do that, though.

    • As long as they are upfront about being a friend of the author and give an actual review instead of disguised marketing copy, I’m cool with that :)

      Reviewing isn’t as complicated to buyers (the people who use the reviews) as it seems to be to people who want the reviews. We want honest reviews, which includes disclosing connections and review copies, or anything else that might sway objectivity. That’s all we want. And what we want ultimately trumps what other people think “should” happen because, well, the reviews are there to convince us to buy stuff. We’re the only ones using them.

  17. Totally with you on this. At least, if a friend is going to write a review it should be honest and up-front about that, e.g. “X is a friend of mine and here’s what I think”. I don’t mind a reviewer who says honestly they know the author, and give an honest critique that’s meaningful for the general public (or at least the audience for the context in which the review appears). I’ve received one or two of those… But typically, I don’t mention, discuss, sell, coerce into buying, or give away books to friends or relatives — problem solved. Only deal with strangers. :-)

  18. So the moral of the story is “don’t read the reviews, just read the book (or not)”…. right?

    I feel the need to come clean, guys. I write reviews of the books that I’ve read on my blog, but I am god-awful at reading anyone else’s reviews. Yes, I’m THAT blogger. Hey, everyone! Come look at the book I’ve just read! Check out my review! Yet, I rarely spend any time reading reviews myself.

    Maybe that is why this particular reading rage doesn’t fester and burn me as much… I’m all like, Go ahead, shady authors. Let your friends review your book all over the interwebs. Their reviews have no power over me. Mwaahahahaha! All that time you spent groveling at your best buds feet for a five starer and the TRICKS ON YOU. Mwahahaha!

    But, you know, I TOTALLY read YOUR reviews, right?!
    :)

    • I KNOW YOU DO. ;-)

      I am also terrible at keeping track of friends’ reviews–I often catch up all at once and then feel too tardy to comment. I do read reviews sometimes when I’m on the fence about an unknown work.

  19. I agree with what you say. Reviewing can be a bit of a dilemma. I reveiw books but I try to do it as honestly as possibly. I refuse to do a review and then lie about how I feel because it’s a friend. For the moment no friend of mine has ever asked me to review their book. If it was a really good friend I would just refuse to do it. As far as reviews as a whole I don’t like them when they are full of spoilers. Quite often I try not to read the reviews until after I’ve read the book and when I write reviews I try to do it without revealing spoilers.

  20. Pingback: Clockwork Rewinders on a Book Binge (41) | bookgoonie

  21. So, I hope this isn’t the wrong thing to say, I’m honestly just asking questions because I’m not sure what the rules are and I don’t wanna mess up.

    I self published a book, but, as you are very aware, it’s next to impossible to get an actual book blogger to review a self published book. So when my book first came out, several friends and family bought it (and several had already read it) and I asked them to leave honest reviews if they felt like it. They did – all four and five stars, which I didn’t ask for and wasn’t expecting.

    Then I started getting reviews from people I don’t know that absolutely gushed. They started with sentences like “I don’t know this author” and repeatedly said the book was a “must read” and compared it to Orwell and Huxley and Atwood and Collins (it’s a dystopian, can you tell?). I didn’t ask for those reviews, and I didn’t expect those reviews, and I never had (and never would) compare myself to those authors.

    I’ve also had strangers or fourth degree friends email me or tell the friend of the friend of the friend they heard about my book from that it changed their life and was the most emotional thing they’ve ever read and it destroyed them and I ask kindly, if they would mind, if it’s not a bother, could they possibly write an honest review? And I’ve asked the same thing of people who thought my book was “meh”.

    I guess my question is, as a self published author, if I am automatically kicked out of 90% of book blogs for being self published, and if I don’t have money for a marketing or advertising campaign, and if I’m not allowed to have friends or family (to what degree removed? Is a person I’ve never met who read the book on the recommendation of my best friend still a “friend”?) how do I get started? I’m genuinely asking, because I clearly don’t know what I’m doing and have already messed up, apparently, and I’d like to avoid messing up further, and there seems to be a very passionate consensus that what I did was sleazy and cheating and I really didn’t mean to, and I don’t, at this point, know how to fix it. Should I request deletion of all my reviews and hope a stranger stumbles on it by luck and takes a chance on it and then comes back to leave a review? So, I guess what I’m asking is, barring friend and family reviews, and blog reviews, and exchange reviews, and a marketing budget, what are my options? Are there any options? Because even if it’s determined that what I did wasn’t sleazy or cheating, it’s quite clear that it LOOKS like it was sleazy cheating, which is apparently going to make me blacklisted with all three people a month who notice my book on Amazon. Do you have any advice, given that? Thank you. :)

    • Hey, Amber! Thanks for stopping by!

      Firstly, DON’T PANIC, hee. It’s not that you’re not allowed to have people that you know review you… IF it is a review that tells their honest feelings about the book. What I’m talking about up there ^ is purposely enlisting your friends and family to review your book so that you can build up a bunch of positive reviews … sometimes by people who didn’t even read the book. :\ So, if your reviews are from people who actually read and enjoyed the book, and it’s their opinions and they’re not just writing a “helpful” review, you should be fine.

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