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Opinion: Why I Don’t Worry About Amazon Reviews

Opinion: Why I Don’t Worry About Amazon Reviews

Indie Authors Overcoming Book ReviewsReviews: the very word is enough to make the average indie author's heart sink or spirits soar, according to the calibre of the last one they received.

Reviews have long been controversial subject, especially since the “sockpuppet” scandal a few years ago, when it became clear that certain authors were manipulating the system for their own gain, including putting down their rivals.

Lately a further cause for anxiety has arisen since many would-be reviewers have had their reviewing rights suspended and their past reviews removed while Amazon verifies their authenticity. The scale and impact of this process has resulted in anecdotal evidence among ALLi author members that reviews are coming in very much more slowly than a year or two ago, even for books whose sales have rocketed.

Amazon logo with five starsWith a giant machine like Amazon – the recipient of nearly half of US online spending, as reported in our news round-up last week, it's inevitable that such action may take time to work through the system. It's also not surprising that some innocents will be accused of false positives, at least temporarily.

Orna Ross, ALLi Director, has been conducting constructive private discussions with Amazon to help solve these and other problems, and will shortly be reporting to ALLi members on progress with full clarity about what can and cannot be done, but throughout the focus of the talks is on finding solutions.

While the results of these are being finalised, the upbeat attitude of one of our author members, thriller writer Barry J Faulkner, provides a cheery take – and possibly a reality check – on the issue of readers' attitudes towards reviews. Over to Barry…

Why I Don't Worry About Reviews

photo of Barry Faulkner at a microphone

Barry Faulkner airs his views on reviews

I have never worried about reviews or getting them.

I probably don't sell as many books as some other ALLi authors do. Currently, I average 100-120 a week with 90% being e-books and I get very few reviews.

BUT I do have a series, so I think that the reader who likes a book in a series will go and download the next in that series without thinking about writing a review, although I ask for one in the book's author profile.

cover of Future Riches by Barry J Faulkner

The first in Barry's detective series has an appropriate title for his optimistic take on self-publishing!

I liken it to a library asking a reader to write a review when returning a book… how many would?

Pressure on people's time is immense these days. Does a reader really want to finish a book and then rethink the whole thing and write a review?

Most readers read in bed before sleeping, and I can't see many finishing a book and remembering the next day: “Oh yes, I am going to review that book” – and actually doing so.

And with most reading an ebook, there isn't a hard copy lying on the table to remind them.

Plus, do reviews work?

I have never bought a book on the basis of a review because I realise people's tastes differ.

One person's 5 star is another person's 1 star.

I mainly read the actual book blurb, and if that catches my interest, I'll buy it.

The bottom line in our game is this: If you are getting sales be grateful and smile… many aren't.

Having said all that, yes, I always post a review. 😉

OVER TO YOU Do indie authors worry too much about readers' reviews? Do they really make a big difference to your sales and your success? Join our conversation via the comments box!

#Indieauthors - worried about @Amazon's review process? Take heart from this positive post about what ALLi is doing to help - and author Barry Faulkner's spin on the matter Click To Tweet

From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive

Author: Barry Faulkner

B L Faulkner's early writing career was as a copywriter with the London advertising agency Erwin Wasey Ruthrauff & Ryan, during which time he got lucky with some light entertainment scripts sent to the BBC and Independent Television and became a script editor and writer on a freelance basis, working on most of the LE shows of the 1980-90s. During that period, while living out of a suitcase in UK hotels for a lot of the time, he filled many notebooks with DCS Palmer case plots; and in 2015 he finally found time to start putting them in order and into book form. Six are finished and published so far, with more to come.


This Post Has 3 Comments
  1. I’ve started writing reviews, only to discover three things. 1. It forces me to read far more carefully and critically. 2. I do enjoy doing it a lot, if it’s a book I find engaging. 3. It takes a huge chunk of my time I could be using to do something else.

    Don’t get me wrong. I love certain books and an opportunity to gush about them. I also enjoy the challenge of transforming my gushage into something thoughtful, which gets across what made me gush, delving deep into the heart of what makes a book special to me.

    I’m the book nerd whom enjoyed English literature in high school, unlike many other students. Some of them liked to read, too. They weren’t always interested in analyzing why. (wry grin)

    You make a very good point about reading in bed…I do, too. If I’m at the end of a book, though, and I want to write a review, I need to make certain I’m near writing utensils, so I can write my rough draft of a review when it’s fresh. Later I write a finished draft.

    You’re right…not everyone enjoys doing this. Just because someone doesn’t do it doesn’t mean they won’t buy your book. Kudos for realizing this…you’re also right in that no reviews doesn’t necessarily mean no sales.

    Thank you for sharing this article and this insight. Good luck in continuing to rack up those sales, whether or not they’re accompanied by reviews!

  2. Many people who enjoy reading WANT to read a good book, not throw their money away. A positive review helps a potential reader to decide to buy a book or not. Do any of us think an author having 1,500 positive reviews is going to be scrutinized by Amazon to verify those were legitimate reviews? NOPE!

    Go after the little guy who hopes to be more successful one day, by taking away his or her reviews.

  3. A timely reminder that writers care about reviews but generally readers don’t. Let’s face it, of the thousands of books I have read, how many have I reviewed until the last few years when I entered the writing milieu?
    I have bought books on the basis of reviews in broadsheets and special interest magazines and feel these probably do have an influence, especially on buyers of tree-books. So I’m keen to get my book in front of these so-called gatekeepers but was already thinking I should worry less about Amazon. thanks for confirming that instinct!

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