Wednesday, December 12, 2018

About Book Reviews

Is having a lot of book reviews important?

There are a lot of posts circling on social sites among authors. Some seem to have insider information and saying that books that have less than 30-50 reviews are not shown as "related titles" or "inspired by your browsing history" and "customers who viewed this item also viewed."

Some authors report that, although their books have 50-100 or more reviews, they don't see any increase in sales increase or higher rank numbers.

The only thing seems to be true is that the BookBub promo service rejects books with less than 4 point rating and authors report that they reject books with less than 50 reviews as well.

As an author, when a reader posts a review on my books, it's like getting a gift and a needed ego boost to continue writing.

However, as a reader, I'm guilty of not reading as many books as I would love to and not writing as many reviews as I should because I just don't have the time.

When I have time to read, I choose Indie books to support self-published authors and small publishers. But because I have a lot of author friends or belong to groups with the authors on social sites, my reviews often viewed by the Zon as biased and rejected.

I can understand it though because there are a lot of desperate authors out there who would do anything to get reviews. I see many posts on social sites offering review exchange, so no wonder Amazon views every review that is written by a published author suspicious.

Paid reviews are a big no-no.

What is considered payment for a review?

A free book is considered payment by Amazon, so book review bloggers are required to post disclaimers when they review a book they received from the author or publisher. This means a free book must be given before the review is posted with no specifications about what kind of or favorable review must be written.

Amazon also does not permit reviews (or even votes on reviews) to be posted in exchange for any kind of compensation including entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra products, or other gifts.

No gifts should be given after the review is written, so there’s no appearance of payment for a positive review. If you do offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you need to make it clear that you welcome both positive and negative feedback.

Reviews that come from a paid blog tour are not eligible as customer reviews. I never did a paid blog tour, so I never knew that if you do, you can only quote from the reviews in the “editorial reviews” section of your book.

Trading reviews between authors is strictly forbidden such as “I’ll give you a five star if you give me one” No author should review another with the expectation that the review will be reciprocated.

Some unscrupulous authors may even blackmail others which happened to me once when my book was on countdown sale for 99 cents.
I got a message on my FB page saying, “I gave you a 5-star review. My book is 99 cents, here is the link. If you don't post a 5-star review for me, I’ll change my review to a one-star.”
I was livid and replied, "Judging by the few words you posted, it's obvious that you didn't read my book. This is blackmail, and if you don't delete your review, I will report you to Amazon." Luckily, he just deleted the review or maybe Amazon did, I'll never know.
Don’t fall for or get intimidated by blackmailers. If they do change their rating to one star, the best is to report them to Amazon.

Some believe that no author should be allowed to write a review, but this is an unrealistic expectation. Authors read too, and as readers, they have all the rights to voice their opinion honestly and in an unbiased manner.

I suspect it but I'm not sure about this. I love to read the genres which I love to write, speculative historical fiction with magical elements and suspense. I noticed that when I post a review of books in those genres, it gets rejected as well as my reviews of children's books. I'm just guessing because I write children's books too. However, when I reviewed poetry or non-fiction, the Zon left it alone.

When reviewing books in your own genre or sub-genre or any author's work who might be considered “a competitor”, Amazon’s TOS say “You may not write reviews for products or services that you have a financial interest in, including reviews for products or services that you or your competitors sell.

What is your opinion about book reviews?