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OK, so I'm going to show off my "newbie-ness" - that's a new word I just made up, and throw it out there.  How is it that when looking at other writer's books, they have a slew of 5 star reviews?  Granted, some may be deserved, but honestly, when facing the realities of so many readers out there picking up books for free, there is no way to get all 5 stars.  Stephen King has haters out there that post 1 star reviews. 

What I don't understand is, Amazon is going through and removing what they decide are fictitious reviews.  How do these all 5 star reviews continue to exist?  I've had legitimate reviews taken away from me and it seems the only thing that sticks are the negative reviews. 

So for all the seasoned veterans out there - please help a new author gain some insight on reviews.  Are there any legitimate reviewing communities out there that I am unaware of?  Or do I need to do some elaborate dance and pray to the heavens above?

The reality I'm facing is that in order to move any books, I need at least 5, 5 star reviews.  The minute I get a 3 star, and 3 stars is decent, I know, it brings down the rating enough that no site would ever feature me. 
 

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James_Alexander said:
OK, so I'm going to show off my "newbie-ness" - that's a new word I just made up, and throw it out there. How is it that when looking at other writer's books, they have a slew of 5 star reviews? Granted, some may be deserved, but honestly, when facing the realities of so many readers out there picking up books for free, there is no way to get all 5 stars. Stephen King has haters out there that post 1 star reviews.

What I don't understand is, Amazon is going through and removing what they decide are fictitious reviews. How do these all 5 star reviews continue to exist? I've had legitimate reviews taken away from me and it seems the only thing that sticks are the negative reviews.

So for all the seasoned veterans out there - please help a new author gain some insight on reviews. Are there any legitimate reviewing communities out there that I am unaware of? Or do I need to do some elaborate dance and pray to the heavens above?

The reality I'm facing is that in order to move any books, I need at least 5, 5 star reviews. The minute I get a 3 star, and 3 stars is decent, I know, it brings down the rating enough that no site would ever feature me.
The thrust of your query is somewhat insulting to those who have five star reviews. You imply by your "how do these 5 star reviews continue to exist" that these people have not earned a genuine rating. This is not so.
 

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Meh.

Once you get a fanbase, your supporters will read and enjoy your new books, and rate them too.

Of course, by that points, you don't need those reviews quite so bad.

I see plenty of authors who get 20 5-stars on the day the story comes out. It's not fraud or cheating or anything bad (except when it is, of course), just the system.

Get used to it, it ain't gonna change.
 

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Hi there DarkScribe.  I appreciate your opinion, but I do think you misinterpreted my question.  If you may have missed, I did state that there are plenty of 5 star books out there that deserve all 5 star ratings.  However, the point I was trying to make was that even seasoned writers have plenty of low stars to complement their portfolio of reviews.  There are simply a lot of folks out there that may get the book for free or even buy the book that may not enjoy it.  Whether it be outside of their preferred genre or they simply did not like the style.  So there is that difference of opinion I do have with you that if a book has 25 5 star reviews, I do find it questionable.  My last statement was a question based on Amazon's recent stance on reviews.  Legitimate reviews were taken away from me.  I don't understand what the method is, and when faced with other books out there that have all 5 star reviews of 25 or more, it doesn't make much sense.  In order to garner 25 reviews, the book has to be downloaded many times, at least that's my experience.  My book was downloaded 3000 times during a free drive and I received about 3 or 4 reviews from it.  So based on that ratio, a 25 review count book would have been downloaded approximately 8000 times.  That's a LOT of people that all had to thoroughly love the book.  Sorry if you found my question offensive as it really is not my intent, but I do hope to gain some insight on the process of reviews.
 

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James_Alexander said:
Hi there DarkScribe. I appreciate your opinion, but I do think you misinterpreted my question. If you may have missed, I did state that there are plenty of 5 star books out there that deserve all 5 star ratings. However, the point I was trying to make was that even seasoned writers have plenty of low stars to complement their portfolio of reviews. There are simply a lot of folks out there that may get the book for free or even buy the book that may not enjoy it. Whether it be outside of their preferred genre or they simply did not like the style. So there is that difference of opinion I do have with you that if a book has 25 5 star reviews, I do find it questionable. My last statement was a question based on Amazon's recent stance on reviews. Legitimate reviews were taken away from me. I don't understand what the method is, and when faced with other books out there that have all 5 star reviews of 25 or more, it doesn't make much sense. In order to garner 25 reviews, the book has to be downloaded many times, at least that's my experience. My book was downloaded 3000 times during a free drive and I received about 3 or 4 reviews from it. So based on that ratio, a 25 review count book would have been downloaded approximately 8000 times. That's a LOT of people that all had to thoroughly love the book. Sorry if you found my question offensive as it really is not my intent, but I do hope to gain some insight on the process of reviews.
Nobody understands Amazon's policies and algorithms, not even Amazon in some cases. They remove reviews for a number of reasons, one criterion is perceived contact between the reviewer and the writer. They can base that on something that is innocent, such as using the same IP address - perhaps the same WiFi at a cafe or a campus. They certainly don't allocate staff to read and assess each review, it is done by using a computer algorithm. Also, when they find a reviewer who is "suspect" they don't just remove the suspect review, they remove all of that reviewers reviews, many probably quite genuine. For instance, if someone edits a book and gives that book a good review, once noticed, all that person's reviews of all books will be removed.
 

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Yeah, what Darkscribe said.

I bought no reviews. None of my family or friends took the time to review me. None of the hundreds of free days downloaders posted anything. I know none of the 3 that gave me 5 stars.

I kinda hoped I earned them.

Give your book time. Reviews that will be helpful as well as something that will please you will come.
 

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James_Alexander said:
OK, so I'm going to show off my "newbie-ness" - that's a new word I just made up, and throw it out there. How is it that when looking at other writer's books, they have a slew of 5 star reviews? Granted, some may be deserved, but honestly, when facing the realities of so many readers out there picking up books for free, there is no way to get all 5 stars. Stephen King has haters out there that post 1 star reviews.

What I don't understand is, Amazon is going through and removing what they decide are fictitious reviews. How do these all 5 star reviews continue to exist? I've had legitimate reviews taken away from me and it seems the only thing that sticks are the negative reviews.

So for all the seasoned veterans out there - please help a new author gain some insight on reviews. Are there any legitimate reviewing communities out there that I am unaware of? Or do I need to do some elaborate dance and pray to the heavens above?

The reality I'm facing is that in order to move any books, I need at least 5, 5 star reviews. The minute I get a 3 star, and 3 stars is decent, I know, it brings down the rating enough that no site would ever feature me.
I hear you. I was running a search on writers in my genre/subculture (South Asian) and I found books with 46 reviews; 40 reviews were 5 star, the rest were 4 star. This seemed suspect to me, given that not a single reviewer found fault with the book. But the trick to testing genuine reviews is that they come from "Amazon Verified Purchases." In that particular writer's case, hardly one review was from a purchased copy (could be the mom), the rest of the reviewers said that they got the book for free. However, since none of them gave less than 4 stars to the book, it seemed a tad off. As you said, and I concur, that even the seasoned best writers have critics, and when a budding indie has a ton of glowing reviews from free giveaways, I have my doubts.

But then again, I am an author who has to market her book so I look at things critically. A reader/buyer will only see the reviews and buy the book. *sigh*

As for Amazon, there are a hundred ways to play with the system, and Amazon cannot stop them all.
 

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Hi

New here so trying to get some clarity on the review situation as well.

Would you buy a new dishwasher without hearing what other users  have to say about it ?

How about a lawnmower ?

Any product needs reviews. Ask John Locke - he bought thousands of reviews for his books - and he sold millions.

And now Amazon is clamping down on bogus reviews - very good. But it is also eliminating perfectly legitimate reviews - as an overreaction to authors like John Locke.

Not so good.

So do new authors just wait for the reviews to happen and do giveaways etc ?

Thanks for your cogitations.
Mick.
 

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Our non-fiction humor/travel book had one five star review (this was years ago). We diddn't know this person, they ran a review site and we sent them a copy hoping to be reviewed, as you do. They did review the book, loved it and posted their review on amazon as well as their own site. In the recent spate of deletions, that wonderful review is now gone. So now there are no reviews for that book at all. It was a genuine review and it was removed, so I have no idea how amazon controls these things.
 

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James,

Everyone has heard of Stephen King.  No one has heard of James Alexander.  Few people outside of the LOST community have heard of Pearson Moore.  If James Alexander publishes a book most people looking at the cover or reading the blurb will dismiss the book from their thoughts after a second or two and move on.  Only those people highly interested in cover or blurb will read the sample or purchase the book.  Those few (very few) who purchase a James Alexander book are already motivated and interested and are more likely to leave a favorable review, assuming James Alexander is a competent writer.  On the other hand, even people who are remotely interested in Stephen King may give him a try.  But because they are not already enamoured of his style, these non-fans are far more likely to leave a negative review.  James Alexander is less likely to get negative reviews because he has a very small fan base.  As your fan base increases, and friends of fans are talked into reading a book they would not have decided on their own to read, you will begin to pick up negative reviews.

Many indies do receive negative reviews.  If you read these reviews, you will see that most of them address the low-level, basic mechanics of writing:  Spelling, grammar, basic sentence structure, proper usage.  Many people think themselves writers but are not competent in the language.  Those who don't receive such reviews are most likely competent, and thus, as others have already pointed out, your writing regarding the prevalence of five-star reviews might be interpreted as insulting.  I do not feel insulted by your words, I think only that they reveal you as a Newbie, a status you have already claimed.  In my eyes, then, no harm done.
 

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James_Alexander said:
I don't understand what the method is, and when faced with other books out there that have all 5 star reviews of 25 or more, it doesn't make much sense. In order to garner 25 reviews, the book has to be downloaded many times, at least that's my experience. My book was downloaded 3000 times during a free drive and I received about 3 or 4 reviews from it. So based on that ratio, a 25 review count book would have been downloaded approximately 8000 times. That's a LOT of people that all had to thoroughly love the book.
James, you're actually putting your finger on how some of us get lot of reviews: at the moment, my book has 26 5-star reviews; it's been downloaded more than 33,000 times. You get a (decent) book in the hands of that many people, you're going to get a few dozen who love it and feel moved to tell others.

Sent from my LG-VS700 using Tapatalk 2
 

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I don't think I would worry about (or even look at) other peoples books reviews.  Heck, I hardly even look at my own anymore.  Too much time spent on something that doesn't get more books written for YOU.

Like Dalya said, once you have a fan base, these people will be chomping at the bit for your next book.  Hopefully your fans will read it and leave a review before the rest of the world.  Naturally not everyone will like your book, but for the books you are talking about, its likely their fans have bought it first and put in their reviews which is why the rash of 5 star reviews right off the bat.

Lee
 

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Like book sales, legitimate reviews - good, bad, or otherwise - are largely beyond your control. Only a small percentage of readers leave them under the best of circumstances, and what Amazon does with them afterward is out of your hands.

But what you *can* do to help yourself out is - kindly and gently - ask your readers to consider leaving reviews. Ask for what you want. I periodically send out a tweet to my followers on Twitter that's just a generic, "Hey, if you read a book you enjoyed, do the author a huge favor and write a quick review." That plants the seed in the minds of those who've read my books, and I know from feedback I've gotten from folks that just saying something like that prompted them to write a review (in most cases, it was the first time they ever did one).

If someone tells me they enjoyed one of my books, I say, "Awesome! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and remember that reader reviews are always welcome!" I also remind folks now and again that a review doesn't have to be a big synopsis of the book, because a lot of folks are put off by the misconception that they have to spend a lot of time on it. But they're a lot more amenable when they learn that just a few words about what they thought is great.

Whether the reviews are good or bad...well, that's up to the reader, as it should be. Good books are going to get (mostly) good reviews, although they'll always get some bad ones, too. After you get over the initial shock and learn to hang your ego up at the door, the 1- and 2-star reviews are actually quite entertaining. Regardless, just keep writing!  8)
 

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Well, if you offer your book for free there is a higher chance of getting 1 star reviews because quite a few people download every free book they can and then give 1 star to a book because they don't even like the genre, someone used a dirty word, they didn't like how sad it was, they didn't like that someone hit someone, etc. I guess the plus of going free or .99 is you get a lot more downloading your books. THe negative is that some of those people don't care for the type of book you wrote but dlowloaded it anyway.

If you charge more for a book you don't get as many people buying it at one time, but the people who do buy it want it. They paid a little more attention to what the book is about, at least usually. So, they tend to like the book more, or at least not leave dumb 1 stars because "it was a romance" (when if they looked instead of just downloading "Free" they would have seen that, or "it had gay people in it" or "they swore".

Please don't assume when a book only has higher reviews something dishonest went on.  My first book in the series has 27 reviews (not a ton, but a decent amount).  10 or 11 are 5 star, 12 or so 4 star and the rest 3 star.  I didn't buy reviews or someone bribe peole to write them. I found book bloggers and book reviewers who review for FREE, and other readers who bought my book for 4.99 left them.

Not saying I won't get 1 and 2 star eventually.  Like you say, even Steven King gets them. (And I don have 3 of the 2 stars on Goodreads.)  Not everyone can like any book. 

Do the work of finding honest reviewers who don't charge or wait until readers review your work.  But, if you are free or .99 you can expect some 1 stars for the reasons I listed above. Only you can decide if the benefits of being free or .99 outweigh that.  :)  Many feel they do.
 

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James_Alexander said:
OK, so I'm going to show off my "newbie-ness" - that's a new word I just made up, and throw it out there. How is it that when looking at other writer's books, they have a slew of 5 star reviews? Granted, some may be deserved, but honestly, when facing the realities of so many readers out there picking up books for free, there is no way to get all 5 stars. Stephen King has haters out there that post 1 star reviews.

What I don't understand is, Amazon is going through and removing what they decide are fictitious reviews. How do these all 5 star reviews continue to exist? I've had legitimate reviews taken away from me and it seems the only thing that sticks are the negative reviews.

So for all the seasoned veterans out there - please help a new author gain some insight on reviews. Are there any legitimate reviewing communities out there that I am unaware of? Or do I need to do some elaborate dance and pray to the heavens above?

The reality I'm facing is that in order to move any books, I need at least 5, 5 star reviews. The minute I get a 3 star, and 3 stars is decent, I know, it brings down the rating enough that no site would ever feature me.
You need to be careful with this tactic, BUT if you have some local writing communities, meetups, etc then you can give out some cheap "print and staple" copies of your book to everyone there. Don't ask for anything, just give them out to anyone who wants one.

The ones who end up loving your book will probably come to you and say so. When the time comes to publish your book on Amazon, you can gently encourage them to share their experience in the form of a review. You can get a few 5 stars that way, and I don't consider it cheating. Although I wouldn't tell Amazon.

If you have a close-knit online community, the same thing might work.
 
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