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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all. I hadn't checked my online books reviews in...nearly a year and a half -
(been contentedly raising kids and writing.) Good grief, readers don't like miscatagorized titles, do they? :)
I'd put my Depths of Deception work, which is pretty much non-linear literary fiction - under some or other
inappropriate genre category - something to do with adventure, conspiracy, or action perhaps? I forget. (Did it back in er 2011, I think)

Either way - checked for the first time in a looong while, and ouch - the 1 stars and 'this is RUBBISH!' reviews
have piled up in a big way...

I quickly republished it and set the genre(s) to a simple 'literary fiction/dystopian' category, so that hopefully, no one's going to be expecting a regular action-thriller. (Or for that matter, a 'normal' book in terms of narrative structure)

My questions are as follows:

-I have about 18 five star reviews (versus about 7 of the 1 or 2 star reviews - which have appeared
gradually over the past 16 - 18 months when I wasn't around. How do I shake off the effect of the DON'T BUY THIS! type
of 'recent' reviews which have piled up slowly. Similar thing has happened in Amazon UK...

Obviously, I shot myself in the foot by putting the title in the wrong categories to begin with.
So its my own fault, totally.

I was thinking of perhaps simply unpublishing the book and republishing - which I think would flush everything (right?)
but I've grown rather attached to some of the lengthier good reviews, which are pretty insightful and kind of awesome.
They're still there - but the 'recent' collection of reviews from disappointed action fans is scooting them back.

Any suggestions from the savvy folks as to how to 'fix' this? (And yes, I have a stockpile of new works that I could busy
myself with - I just rather like my somewhat strange older Deception work :) Its got some flaws but its not THAT bad :)

 

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Before I released my first book, I released the first six chapters as a novella. I needed money and figured it might be a good way to gauge interest in the upcoming story.

Clearly, some people didn't read the blurb, where I explained it was the first six chapters as a standalone. As a result, I had a of scathing 1-star review by an individual who was incensed that the short was only six chapters long. She titled her review, "Not A Book!"

Her review received quite a few approvals and therefore floated to the top of the reviews. And there it sat, unmoving.

When I released the whole book, much to my dismay Amazon merely migrated the reviews from the short version to the complete version. And guess what was the first thing that potential readers would see when they came looking at my book? "NOT A BOOK!"

I did send a query to Amazon about dropping the old reviews, but the answer was, "No." So, I was stuck with it.

Fortunately, over time, the good reviews overrode the two bad reviews. But many of the reviews still comment about the release of the first six chapters, not the full novel. While the short garnered over 1,000 purchases in just a month, my full novel barely reached 300 in over a year. I wonder if I lost sales because of the reviews misrepresenting the final product.

I suspect the reason the reviews were migrated over to the full release was because I checked off that the two books were related. So, I probably only have myself to blame. I won't make that same mistake when I release the second book.

So, what I'm saying with this cautionary tale is that we are stuck with it. It is possible you might be able to depublish it and then start afresh by re-releasing it with a new title in the correct genre. But it is possible that this could backfire, should some of your earlier critics come across it.

Another tactic might be to depublish it on Amazon and then publish it through other distributors for a while to see if it catches on. Then, once you've shown some success through the other channels, republish it in the correct genre on Amazon.
 

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I see your dilemma but you have enough good reviews to overshadow the bad ones, so as long as you continue in the direction of getting good ones the bad ones should sink into obscurity over time. I have books where Amazon pulled out the most awful quotes to feature--at least they have really nice ones for yours! I wouldn't pull and republish unless the situation deteriorates further. We don't discuss it that much here but not attracting the wrong readers is almost as important as attracting the right ones!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks folks for the good suggestions. You both make great points.
I guess I just need to trudge on, release new stuff, and let the cards fall where they may regarding my older things.
Its better perhaps to just 'step away' (as I had been doing) and not get overly swept up into personalizing people's reactions to ones creative work anyway.
If one believes the 'good' stuff, then its a short step to believing the bad as well.
Thanks again for the thoughtful input. Very useful indeed.
:)
 
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