Why You Don’t Want All Your Reviews to Be 5 Star
Wouldn't it be great if everyone who reads our books gives us a five star review? And in their review, they tell us how wonderful our books are? Read on to find why this may be not so good!
Have you scanned through Amazon's book section and seen books with hundreds of reviews, all of them being five star reviews? What did you think about that? If I was a betting man, I would bet that you thought many (if not all) of those reviews were contrived or paid for.
It is almost a statistical impossibility to have hundreds of people review your book and not any of them have something critical to say. Reviewers that are critical don't leave five star review. If the person still liked the book but found aspects of it that they didn't like, they will probably leave a four star review. Some of them will leave a three star review.
There are nasty reviewers that will leave a one star no matter how good the book is. That is just the disposition of these people and there is nothing you can really do about it. Of course if all the reviews are one or two stars, you should take that seriously as being your book needs a lot of work. If you have over 10 one or two star reviews, it would be worth reading the comments associated with those reviews and go back to the drawing (or writing) board.
What happens with most books that get reviews organically, i.e., without paying for them or via other schemes designed to game the system, etc., if the book is really good, they can expect many five star reviews. This is followed by less four star reviews but there will still be several of those. There tends to be very few (if any) two and three star reviews. Then there are those haters that I spoke of before that will peg your book simply because they had a bad childhood or other such misfortune to take everything out on the rest of the world.
This is not to say that there aren't legitimate one star reviews. It's important to read through the comments and see what is being written about your book. Reviewers that actually give you advice as to what they didn't like are very valuable indeed!
What About Author Groups?
If you have been an author for any length of time, you undoubtedly have come across author groups on Facebook. These groups are created for the purposes allowing members (authors) to announce up and coming book releases as well as any promotion that may be tied to the book release. As a side effect, authors within these groups often exchange books in order to receive reviews from the other.
Sounds like a great way to get reviews, doesn't it? The trouble is, Amazon frowns upon this practice. If they discover it, they will remove both reviews. If someone engages frequently in this practice, it could result in getting banned as an author.
You can probably guess why Amazon doesn't like authors using these groups. If you and I are both authors and I tell you I will leave you a review of your book if you leave me a review of my book, you could see how this could be abused. Both of the reviews will likely be good even if one or both books are not high quality.
Even if Amazon is against this practice you should shy away from it yourself. Remember that reviews carry with them a reputation just as much as books do. If you leave a glowing review of a book and most others think it is no good, you are going to look foolish and people are going to be suspect of your motivation. You may even get turned into Amazon by those people.
There is a legitimate way of getting reviews that Amazon actually encourages. You can seek out other reviewers on Amazon and offer to send them a free copy of your book. There is even a list of top reviewers on Amazon that you can send them your book and they will be happy to read it and review your book, in most instances. Be aware though, these reviewers have no obligation to you to review the book and they are going to leave an honest review which can be hard to take if it comes out negative. But most of these reviewers will let you know exactly what they didn't like which is a golden opportunity for you to either make changes and republish or to come out with a new and revised version of your book with the changes made.
Your Friends and Family are so Proud that You Wrote a Book
Your friends and family will rightfully be proud of you when you publish your book, right? They absolutely will. They get bragging rights and if the book gets to New York Times bestseller status, so much the better. So why not ask them to leave a review of your book? The main reason is because this is against Amazon's Terms of Service as well. Unless your using a pen name, your family will have the same last name as you, notwithstanding any changes due to marriage, etc.
The same is not true with your friends in most cases. So you may be thinking why not ask them for reviews? How can Amazon figure out who your friends are? This may be true. But what if they do discover who your friends are? Is it really worth getting banned over?
Once banned, it can be very difficult or impossible to get unbanned. You have to decide if it's worth the risk! My advice is that it is not.
Organic Reviews are Best
I already touched upon this but getting reviews by people who legitimately liked your book is going to be your friend in the long run. It will keep you from losing those reviews if Amazon removes them and it will give your book higher notoriety due to the honesty of the reviews. If the reviews turn out to be not so stellar, than you have more work to do using the comments as your guide. It just doesn't get better than that.