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Book Reviewing Ethics and Etiquette for Self-Publishers

Where do Indie authors draw their lines?

Linda Gillard asks ALLi Members Where They Draw Their Lines

On Wednesday last author Joni Rodgers took Amazon to task for what she sees as their high-handed treatment of author-reviewers. Some believe the new policy amounts to censorship, but Amazon needed to respond to the many bogus reviews posted by authors – some well-known – who thought disparaging rival books with fake reviews or penning their own eulogies was all in a day’s work.

Such practices are indisputably unethical, but many think Amazon over-reacted. So what is acceptable when promoting your book? Where should we draw the line? Talking to a group of ALLi authors, I found the boundaries of their moral comfort zone varied. Authors are also readers and reviewers but, disappointed and frustrated, some have now given up posting on Amazon and have decamped to GoodReads.

When posting their reviews, do ALLi author-reviewers use a pseudonym? And do they post honest reviews? Richard Bunning rejected pseudonyms. “I really feel that authors need to be seen to be squeaky clean. Full disclosure and honesty demand the use of author name.”

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