While wandering around the Amazon forums, I saw a romance recommended I hadn't heard of before, so I went to check it out. (It's by no one who reads this blog, so don't get paranoid.) It was from a small press I'd never heard of (having looked at it, I think it's actually a few authors banding together, and possibly leaving reviews for each other), and it had six reviews. Five of them were of the glowing, four- and five-star variety. One, however, gave the book one star, and said that while it had potential, it had too many grammar and structural problems to be readable.
Curious, I downloaded the sample and read it. Just as the one-star reviewer said, it had potential. The story itself wasn't bad. But it read like bad fanfiction, with too many comma-free sentences, shifting of tenses, and short and choppy sentences. Getting through a full novel of that would have made me crazy, so I didn't download it.
When I went back and followed the link for the original "recommendation," it turned out to be the author herself. I also found she'd left herself TWO of the five-star reviews ("best book I have read in a very long time" and similar glowing verbiage), both of which implied that she was a reader, not the author. But when I checked the profile, it clearly identified her as the author of the book. If you're going to leave reviews for your own books pretending to be a real reader, you should probably not announce that you're the author who's written that title in your profile. Just sayin'.
Anyway, this is the kind of stuff that makes indies look bad, and I wish people wouldn't do it. But once again, I try to remind myself that I have no control over what other people do, and that I am only responsible for myself.