We all know how important reviews are for authors and books. They can help sell a book, and they can help deter others from buying a book. Some authors call reviews the life-blood of sales. However, I’ve visited a few book-sellers’ pages and looked at popular books and found no reviews—not one. I know they sold well, so why wouldn’t they have reviews?
Reviews sell books to a certain audience, but not to the readers who don’t go online and seek reviews.
Readers look to reviews for an honest assessment of the story to help them to decide if they want to read the book or not. When there are dozens, perhaps hundreds of reviews for a book, there’s usually a wide range of ratings. I’ve seen popular books with many four and five star reviews, but they also have one-star reviews. That’s because one book doesn’t please everyone.
Nicholas C. Rossis wrote a post about Amazon’s review policy and what it might mean to authors. The biggest problem at Amazon is fake reviews. There are several ways they define fake reviews. One is paid-for-reviews posted by companies hired by authors.
The new Amazon review rule that’s the most baffling is: 5) A review by a person you “know” online. Amazon can detect if someone leaving a review is following you on Twitter or befriended you on Facebook. Amazon’s expectation is that a fan will leave a biased review, so it wants only impartial people writing them.
All authors are encouraged to build an online platform to help sell books. That means writing a blog and gathering followers, creating a Twitter account and gathering followers and creating a Facebook author page and gathering followers. Even Goodreads encourages authors and readers to follow and befriend each other.
All this following, befriending and liking doesn’t guarantee a positive review; it doesn’t even guarantee a review at all. To insinuate fans will leave a biased review is idiotic. If I am a fan of an author, just as if I’m a fan of a singer, I’m going to more than likely give a positive review. That’s the whole basis of being a fan; you love their work.
The question is, how in the world can Amazon police this insane rule: authors are supposed to build a fan base. Fans read their books. To eliminate all fans ultimate eliminates a huge percentage of readers.
My theory is, just because Amazon states this rule, it doesn’t mean it will enforce it to the letter. However, it does this give them the power to remove reviews by readers who consistently abuse this rule. How they will sort one from the other will be interesting.
To read the detailed post, visit Amazon Rewrites Review Policy.