Reviews: 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.
With 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
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.
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
OTHER POSTS ABOUT AMAZON REVIEWS AND REVIEWERS
From the ALLi Author Advice Center Archive