More Shark Tales: Honest Solutions to Those Disappearing Reviews
This week’s Naked Truth is a follow up to last week’s Shark Tales. Since I did a lot of complaining about the Amazon guidelines and decisions regarding reviews, it’s only right to offer solutions. I don’t have all the answers—I’m not sure anyone does—but following are some ideas that might help keep your reviews where they belong. I’ll pay attention to these the next time I post a book review.
Of interest to you might be this article in Fortune.com regarding Amazon going after those companies that take money to post fake reviews: Amazon Sues Again to Kill More Fake Product Reviews. The article makes mention of a company, PaidBookReviews.org, that does exactly what it sounds like: They take money in exchange for book reviews. As an author, I’m ashamed that this company has enough clients to stay in business.
Amazon is working to keep their review system honest. I can appreciate that. I find it ironic, however, that it is Amazon’s own algorithms pertaining to sales that have given rise to the false reviews in the first place. But I digress. Today’s post details a few ways reviewers might help to insure their honest reviews aren’t removed. Here you go:
- HONESTY . . . such a lonely word.
If you’re a reader/reviewer and you don’t want your reviews yanked out from under you, be 100% honest. Yep, that’s right. Tell the truth, right from the get go, starting with an honest review.
- STAR it how you see IT.
After last week’s post, I received an email from a reader suggesting that perhaps the problem is that my books don’t have enough low ratings. Too many high ratings, she posited, is suspect. She offered to post a 2-star review to help me out. GAK!
No. No, no, no. Please don’t do anything to help me out except leave an honest review. Did you love the book? Great! Give it 4 or 5 stars. Think it was just “meh?” Give it a 3. Think it sucked? Click 1 or 2. Whatever your opinion, be honest. Yes, bad reviews will bum me out. But I’ll get over it. That’s what chocolate, wine, and ice cream are for.
- HOW it got into your HOT little hands.
It was also brought to my attention that Amazon rarely pulls ARC reviews. If you received an ARC, either from the author, the publisher, or a third party site like NetGalley.com, say so in your review, either at the top or the bottom. A simple identifier is sufficient: “I received the publisher’s ARC in exchange for an honest review,” or “I acquired this book through NetGalley.” That’ll do it. These are valid ways in which novels are provided by publishers to readers who review books honestly.
- Spread the LOVE!
In addition to Amazon, consider posting your review on other sites, i.e. Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, iTunes (iBooks), Kobo, etc. Amazon might have the sharpest teeth, but they aren’t the only fish in the sea. People do frequent those other sites, and your reviews are just as important there as they are at Amazon. And that way, if Amazon does pull your review, your time won’t have been wasted as your opinion will still be available to other readers on those other sites.
Because we’re agreed that Amazon has gone a little overboard in their quest to keep book reviews honest, here are a few tips for you:
- Have you met the author personally at a conference or a book signing? Your review is not the place to say so. When you mention in the review that you know the author, that’s a red flag to Amazon that your review might be biased, even if it isn’t.
- Resist the urge to “friend” authors on Goodreads. Follow them instead. When you friend them, Amazon assumes—yes, you guessed it—that you and the author are BFFs. And since Amazon owns Goodreads . . . well, you know.
- When signing on to Amazon or Goodreads, do not accept their offer for you to sign on with your Facebook account. Once your social media is linked, the connection between you and an author, however inconsequential, is flagged. Again, the connection means you’re bosom buddies, even if the author is just one of your 10,000 Facebook “friends.” Remember when your mama said, “You are the company you keep,” and you didn’t believe her? Believe her now. Amazon will fuse you together forever.
So there you have it, buttercup! As always, The Naked Truth comes out on top: Honesty is the best policy. Not that any of you were a concern, of course. 🙂
While I’m on the review thing, thanks to all of you who have taken the time (or plan to) to read and review my books. Your opinion really does count! And most authors you ask will tell you the Naked Truth—that an honest review is the best way to spread the love. Honestly.
Here’s Billy Joel to sing about it . . . just because.
Have a great week!
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