Sunday, October 13, 2013

Reputations and Bad Apples

I came across a very interesting article on Forbes.com  and decided to share some of the more pertinent info included.  I urge you to go and read the remaining text as you may be surprised to which levels some authors will go to promote themselves.

Indeed, many authors will recognize the phenomenon of the malicious one-star review designed to sabotage their books.  Although Amazon prohibits "spiteful remarks" it is difficult to get such reviews removed.  There's absolutely no doubt that some of these reviews are coming from other authors who see self-publishing as a zero sum game in which if they lose out if another author does well.  Other may come from an author's fans to see anyone else's success as a threat to their idol, or from griefers and trolls who just get off on attacking strangers in public.

According to Mark Corker from Smashwords:  It's a flaw in the system that negativity can become so amplified.  You can have a string of four and five star reviews, and then you get a string of one star reviews and it will torpedo your sales because people will see those most recent reviews and it's a warning sign to the potential readers...  If there's a reviewer that only leaves on star reviews, or they've left nothing but a single negative review, they're a carpet bomber.

Explanation:  Carpet-bombers do not leave negative reviews in order to help readers avoid a bad book, they do it to undermine the reader's confidence in positive reviews, damage the book's ranking in Amazon and thus that author's sales.  They are like fake positive reviews, designed to game the system, 

Author Robert Kroese says:  The effect of a bad review goes far beyond the impact that it has on the author's ego, however.  The prominence of a book on Amazon.com is determined primarily by two factors:  how well the book has sold and how positive its reviews are.  More highly rated books are displayed more prominently, which leads to more sales.  Increased sales lead to even more prominent displays which leads to still more sales.  Through the miracle of the positive snowball effect, a few hundred rave reviews can transfer an otherwise unremarkable book into a worldwide bestseller.

Ginger's Comments:  As someone who has a whole lot less than a few hundred reviews, I'm deeply concerned that these hit and run reviewers are damaging my credibility as an author.  I'm very thankful that we are willing to read and review each other's work to help overcome the stigma. Although there were rumors that author reviews were being removed, I haven't seen any of mine disappear.  We can only hope that despite being authors, we are also serious readers with opinions that matter.