Should author’s purchase fake Amazon reviews for their books?

author in bookstoreA quick and easy PR fix that has been used by many self-published and indie authors is purchasing a mass amount of Amazon reviews. It is a guaranteed way to get positive reviews for your book which may draw readers and improve your book sales drastically. However, is it worth it in the long run?
This method of publicity was recently popularized by John Locke and his book How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months. In his book, Locke explains a few basic PR methods in brief detail, leaving out the one practice that really brought in his sales: buying reviews. Scanning though Locke’s Amazon reviews, it is clear that the first few hundred reviews are bought, as the most recent posts tell a very different story than those first positive reviews.
Many say that what he did is unethical and took advantage of many buyers…we even fell for it! Many would also say that it worked; Locke made millions off of a throw away PR book just by spending a few hundred dollars on reviews. Both sides are correct, and ultimately the decision is up to each author.
It is important to be weary of buying reviews if this is the route you take. A lot of authors buy fake Amazon reviews from sites like Fiverr. We’ll admit that we have even tried purchasing reviews on Fiverr as an experiment… We wanted to learn how the process worked and be knowledgable so that if any of our clients asked about buying reviews on Fiverr, we would be able to tell them about our experience. We do not use Fiverr whatsoever any more and believe that purchasing fake reviews is completely unethical. Purchasing fake reviews also affects your reputation with your fans and could cause many to post damaging reviews. Not to mention, Amazon is quickly catching on to this scheme, so if you decide to purchase fake reviews, they will most likely end up getting deleted.
The most effective way of getting those first few positive reviews up on your page is to ask your friends and family! Give them talking points about your book, encourage them to help you out. They are your most reliable resource and should be able to write you a few quick words of recommendation.
Once you have reviews from friends and family, we recommend reaching out to book bloggers and reviewers and offering them a complimentary copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. It may take time and work, but getting honest reviews from real readers is always better in the long run. If you do not have the time for that, hire a book publicist! It is their job to get you those reviews and peak interest in your book.
Increasing your Amazon reviews can be a slow process. It takes time for people to read your book and write their review, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort to have honest reviews rather than fake ones.