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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay, I'm baffled here, truly baffled. When I was looking at the "Customers who purchased this also bought" list on my novel's page, I noticed a book with 1.4 rating. I checked up on it mostly out of curiosity, and like clockwork, the reviews all cited poor writing and a failed plot. At first I felt sorry for the author. Whether the reviews were justified or not, I empathize with anyone who puts their heart and soul up on Amazon and gets toasted. However, that sorrow melted to a WTF moment when I saw the sales ranking. They were in the top 1000 "paid" and in the top 25 in their category. Whoever is buying this book sure doesn't seem to care that 4 out of 5 reviews sum it up as terrible. I'm still in a state of disbelief, but kudos to this writer, they're making sales.

 

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I saw someone go through numbers recently, maybe a commenter on Passive Voice, that came up with $4,000 in books to put yourself on the Amazon bestseller list. There are people out there who might be buying their own books to up their rank.

Otherwise, I have no clue...
 

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I think they're a bit like movies. As long as there is a handful of entertainment, people will forgo any negativity to judge for themselves. Just look at how much money that god awful film Prometheus generated. Great effects, directing, and half-decent acting, but a script from a dullard. And on that matter, The Phantom Menace. Someone made a remark on one of my books that it "freaked her out!", even though she admitted she hadn't read past the third chapter.

People are stupid.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=08fZQWjDVKE
 

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I don't think bad reviews always hurt. One of my shorts (labeled as a short prominently in the description) got a 1-star and a 2-star review recently. Both reviewers simply said variations of "Good book, too short. Waste of money!" That story still sells quite well and has been for months.
 

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It is just a matter of the story, itself, and if it is a fast, satisfactory read for its targeted audience.  1 and 2 star reviews make about as much difference as 4 and 5 stars if the story is selling.  If the story isn't selling, they make no difference either.  Good marketing and social skills help, as does a fair amount of luck.
 

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That's not really proof of anything. It's evidence that bad reviews didn't ruin that particular title's sales. It might have hurt them, because without that the sales could have been even higher--we don't know.

Genre has a great deal to do with these things, too. A bad star rating has been known to sink some books. You never known which or when.
 

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I'd *really* have to see the book in question to form an opinion. Of course that's not allowed ...

I AM SO CURIOUS NOW!
 

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That could have everything to do with the number of reviews.  If it only has a few reviews (you say 4 out of 5 are bad, but does that mean four out of the five that it has, or averaging four out of every five?) then that is really not a representative sample yet for a book that is selling in the 1,000 rank.

Now I am curious too.
 

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Yeah, being the judgemental SOB that I am, as soon as I found out exactly which book it was, I'd run over there and check out the writing. If it was poor in my opinion, then I'd immediately assume the person bought their own books to get a bump. I think it's better if I don't know which book it is.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Just to clarify a couple of things. I did check out the writing before starting the thread. Also, the reviews were pretty much slamming the prose. Some of them critiqued the plot too, but most just cited sloppy editing.

I'm going to hold off on saying what the book's title is, mostly because it's like a med school cadaver. After dissecting and using it as an object of study, it's best that it remains anonymous.
 

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Probably this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Civil-War-Contact-ebook/dp/B00BP0EZ3M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

1.4 out of 5 with five reviews.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#24 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Adventure
#30 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
#36 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Gertie Kindle 'a/k/a Margaret Lake' said:
Probably this one.

http://www.amazon.com/Alien-Civil-War-Contact-ebook/dp/B00BP0EZ3M/ref=pd_sim_kstore_1

1.4 out of 5 with five reviews.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,346 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

#24 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Science Fiction > Adventure
#30 in Books > Science Fiction & Fantasy > Science Fiction > Adventure
#36 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Action & Adventure
I won't say you're right, but I will say you're not wrong ;)
 

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Reminds me of a book description that had a single sentence of over 40 words without a single comma or semicolon. That's right, over 40 words straight with a capital at the beginning and a period at the end, and in between just a long string of words. It actually sold despite a very brutal 1 star review. It was what actually made me decide to stick out my neck and publish. I was certain that no matter how many grammar mistakes I make, it isn't that bad. ;D
 

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It looks like the 1.4 star author has a good size backlist and seems to sell fair to partly cloudy.  The books are short and 99 cents.  Perhaps they are penny dreadfuls.  Those sell pretty good in just about any era.
 
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