Do you know an author?
I don’t mean you live next door to one of the big guns like James Patterson, Lee Childs or Jordan.
I mean a humble, self-publishing/ small press/ indie publisher author?
Do you get sick of them:
a) asking you to read their stuff (preferably by buying it…which you feel obliged to do.)
b) asking you what you thought of it after you’ve read it (or pretended to – on the Hawking Scale of reading you probably checked the acknowledgements to see if you were mentioned, and possibly ruffled the pages from back to front for some reason, or, if on kindle, checked the reading length time and thought, “Must get round to reading that someday, now, where’s that real book I was busy reading…”)
Yeah. Me too.
Why do they ask? Are they trying to impress you? Are they needy? Or maybe egotistical maniacs?
But there are a couple of other reasons:
- Reviews help a book’s ranking. Quite a lot. 80% of self published or small indie books have three ratings or less (and then invariably by family.): Note – I have no idea if this statistic is true because I’m a lazy ass researcher. But it sounds about right. But those that DO have reviews benefit massively in ranking displays. At one point my book was one position ahead of Stephen King’s Cujo and two above Clive Barker’s Books of Blood…I may have mentioned that golden time once or twice before…
- This one’s important: when a book receives 10 reviews or more, it becomes eligible to be included in the ‘also bought’ and the ‘you might like’ sections…you might think they’re the weird algorithm bits: why because I bought ‘x’ am I being told I might like ‘y’ (neither of which are catchy titles)? All I can tell you is: it’s magic digital stuff. But it does work, and it is important.
- After a certain number of reviews (again, that damned research thing…) a book will be included in those emails Amazon keep sending out ‘Recommended for you’ – that can have a big effect.
- Reviews get more reviews: yes, reviews breed reviews (a bit like rabbits or lice) and many of the ‘proper’ literary review sites will only consider books with a certain number of reviews. So your kind reviews could get an author’s book enough attention for some douche bag literary critic to completely savage them and make their lives a misery….it’s a dream.
- And the level of rating does matter: anything under four stars is considered by Amazon’s world-threatening Cyberdine machines to be ‘not recommended’. And because there are nut-jobs out there (not you – you’re one of the good guys), who will just happily troll products, there needs to be a resistance: just think you can be the Kyle Reece in this stretched Terminator analogy (ignore the fact he dies in the end; he saved the damned world and got to be with Linda Hamilton for a bit)
- Like the human body and dead skin cells, Amazon will from time to time get rid of reviews – often for their own weirdo reasons. I had a case recently where I had two people living in the same house, with different accounts, and who had both bought a copy of my book, posted very different reviews. Amazon didn’t like the fact that both reviews came from the same location and removed both. The reviewer in question appealed to them about this, but ‘computer said no’. This is really annoying for authors like me who have a big prison following and therefore hundreds of wrong ‘uns (not you, you’re nice) trying to praise my stuff.
I could write a form review to make things easy for you…in fact I might do that in a future article: it’ll have to be cunningly varied as Amazon’s sentinel droids don’t like that sort of stuff; they’re trained to sniff it out, but I think I can get all Keyser Soze on it (the good Keyser Soze – not the…you know…)
But before I do that: think of me as your friendly server who’s just given you a meal that, if not Michelin star, was not poisonous. Sure it might have had some weirdo ingredients in it that didn’t quite taste right…but you didn’t die did you? 15% tip would be polite, and that probably equates to four stars…but you know: some people – good people, people who will go to a heaven with puppies made out of chocolate, tip a little more…even if it was ‘just them’ that the meal wasn’t quite right for. Because that waiter/ waitress tried hard. And they have children to feed. And a long walk home down dark roads.
Coming next: a photo of me with a sign saying “My mother says if I get 1,000 likes she’ll buy me a Playstation” (original model…1,000 likes isn’t that much these days.)
Vote Now! Because we know what can happen in votey things if you don’t. Never ends well.
If you’ve bought a copy of any one of these little beauties you could click on it now and leave a review. If you haven’t, you could click on it and buy it and then leave a review…Just saying…