There has been a lot of talk on various loops about authors who have used click-farms and become instantly a bestseller. I'm sure you all know how this works as there's been so much talk about it – but in case you don't – here is a potted version.
Author pays X amount of dollars/pounds to an intermediary. The book is then downloaded via the Kindle library system by the click farm and the book is flicked through as if it's been read. Multiply this by thousands and you get the idea. A title that nobody has heard of can suddenly be in the top ten on Amazon and the author making thousands of dollars.
It was said on one loop that it is possible for the author to have stumbled onto this and not realised they were doing something unethical. I investigated every lead I could find and didn't discover any black sites or any others where I could sign up for such a deal even if I wanted to. Therefore, I think it fair to say that any author who has used this scheme has done so deliberately.
I'm not sure if I had found such a deal whether I would have been tempted to do it. The book everyone was discussing wasn't very good and had made virtually no impression on anyone. My book, the one on the right, is selling around five hundred copies a month, so it's certainly being read and well received.
If a click farm could push it into the bestselling list and not only make me a lot of money but also find me lots of new fans would I do it?
Doesn't a good book deserve to be read by thousands rather than hundreds?
Would it be so wrong to take a shortcut?
Isn't this just another way of promoting your book – albeit not a strictly moral one?
What about schemes that say they will get you dozens of reviews? It now seems that the Amazon algorithm only kicks in to promote your book when you have 50+ good reviews. Friends and family are not supposed to review your books but I know for a fact that some books with 50+ reviews, all five star, have done just that. I've read the books and know them to be dire. All right, these aren't paid for reviews, but they are still breaking the rules.
I read recently that someone spent thousands of dollars buying their own book at dozens of different retailers in order to push it into the New York Times bestselling list. This is breaking the rules too – but if someone is prepared to do it, and is so desperate to be in the bestselling list, then it's going to continue to happen.
Maybe if I'd bought /bribed/begged for reviews this book, An Accommodating Husband, would have had the orange flag 'bestseller' that all the others got.
How far are you prepared to go to get noticed? If you were offered a deal that guaranteed you a bestselling ranking on Amazon would you take it? It's not illegal but it is breaking the rules.
Until next time
Fenella J Miller