Every author knows how important it is to have as many book reviews as possible on any book. Without reviews, the books are not rated by the selling sites, thus great books are sitting on the bottom of the virtual shelves unnoticed by readers.
Readers tend to post reviews on books that sell thousands of copies a day, and usually, about half the reviews are positive 4 and 5 stars, and the other half range from 3 stars to negative 1 and 2 stars.
As a result of review policy changes, a high number of reviews were removed. The publishing sites have valid points. It is known that in order to increase ranking, a small percentage of authors seemed to pay for fake reviews or opened multiple accounts and posted reviews on their own books. That is not an ethical practice, and it gives a false idea about the books to potential readers.
But, in order to weed out fake reviews, many legitimate reviews were and are removed as well. The policy is not perfectly clear about what is acceptable, and there are a lot of speculations going around in writing circles because the authors are not getting clear answers from the publishing sites. When they complain about verified purchase, honest reviews that were removed, the publishing sites reply with a general, “I talk a lot but say absolutely nothing” email.
So the authors speculate about why certain reviews are removed, and others are not:
Perhaps because the reviewer is my friend on one or more social sites?
Authors have a lot of social site friends and followers because we love to interact with other authors and especially with readers. How else could we grow a fan base?
Selling sites could track you and your contacts on social sites when you post your book link that you copy after searching your book. Those funny symbols, numbers and letter are telling a lot about you to selling sites. Always post the short link such as this on social sites:
Remove everything after the ASIN number, or use short links that you can easily create at http://www.tinyurl.com such as this: http://tinyurl.com/hpwll6r
Use universal link such as this: http://authl.it/B01BCSZV98
Perhaps because the reviewer is an author too?
It happens, authors read too, and because we know how important reviews are, we post reviews for books we read.
Perhaps because I gave my book to a reviewer a complimentary copy for an honest review?
Yes, we do that, and it is supposed to be acceptable. Although most readers who purchase the book enjoy it and like it, very few of them take the time to write reviews.
Personally, my books lost a lot of reviews since I published my YA fantasy series in 2012. About 27-29 reviews were lost when the first editions were pulled from publication due to change of publisher. After the second editions were published came the review policy change and I lost count how many reviews were removed by the publishing sites, 2-3 reviews at a time. Some of the removed reviews I saved in files or posted on my old website and blog, so I’m in the process of digging through files and posts in order to put the saved reviews on one page.
Those lost reviews mean nothing to the publishing sites but are very valuable to me. They reflect the opinion of my readers, and in my opinion, the honest reviewers were insulted by the publishing sites when they deleted their valuable opinion about my books.
I recovered a lot of lost reviews of my YA fantasy series. If you're interested, read the valuable opinions of my readers about my books:
Erika M Szabo
Author of magical realism, fantasy and children's books, Publishing Coach at
Print & eBook