After yesterday’s post, it struck me that there is a lot to be said about Amazon and reviews in general. For an author who choses to mostly produce their own work on Amazon, or I suppose any author really, Amazon reviews are important. It’s why so many of us constantly ask for reviews.
Like I have said, I don’t particularly mind bad reviews. Hell, even Shakespeare has bad reviews on Amazon so who am I to complain if someone hates my book? In fact, bad reviews can even help sell a book. What I do not like are fictitious reviews and those that are written as a form of personal attack or just to basically trash you and your work. That does happen and a lot – just go read a few reviews on Amazon…. For a while, I had a serial reviewer who posted a 1-star review on most of my books and comments about poor editing and so on. Back then, you could complain to Amazon and several were in fact removed.
These days though….
Amazon has introduced a rating. This is a simple star score with no text review – a throw away, off the cuff perception. There is no context behind it. Did the reader read the book? or just give up after page 1? There is no way to even validate that the person rating the book even bought a copy! The rating is basically wide open to abuse.
The review is at least accompanied by the words valid purchase so you know the reviewer at least purchased the book. Amazon still publishes reviews by those who didn’t but the book though… so again, it is open to abuse.
It used to be that the author could reply to a review. Not anymore. Nope. No reply allowed anymore.
So Amazon reviews can be abusive, incorrect, deliberate attempts to stop your sales and ruin your reputation and there is no way to validate the review nor respond to it.
This means that reviews are … well pretty useless. The problem is that readers and buyers don’t actually know this. But we are pawns of big tech and in this case, Amazon.