Independent writers are reporting in FaceBook groups a new culling of their 5-star reviews is underway on Amazon. Other reviews are blocked before they even appear on the book’s page. Yes, that’s indie authors’ 5-stars again. I guess if it happened to J.K. Rowling, there’d be a batch of 5-star corporate lawyers knocking on Amazon’s door within minutes.
Best-selling author and marketing guru Matt Dawson addressed this on his YouTube channel last time it happened. He said to just contact Amazon and they’d reinstate them. Well… maybe if you’re a best-selling author.
Note: if Amazon is prepared to reinstate culled reviews, this is an outright admission that their targetting is faulty.
Marketing gurus like Matt stress how important reviews are to authors. High ratings suggest to prospective readers how good a book might be. High numbers of warm reviews are something an author should seek out (in legitimate ways from genuine purchasers). If high ratings are culled, it is bound to affect ongoing sales… strangely enough, in favor of the big publishers’ output which Amazon does not touch.
But good reviews and high ratings serve another purpose.
An author receiving good responses from their readers knows they are on the right track. If high ratings are culled, an aspiring – or even a partly established author – is losing positive feedback from their following. Should they change tack and risk losing a following that just vanished? Or should they stick to their guns and keep firing more of the same into what appears to be an unresponsive and luke-warm readership?
Sales numbers are not always a good indicator of reader reception. “I bought it because of the cover, but didn’t like the contents well enough to tell the world.”
Culling of bought and other fake reviews has my full support.
Random culling of indie authors’ prospective career opportunities does not.
(Disclaimer: My own novels have not – as yet – been touched this time around. This is not sour grapes.)