Why Reviews On Amazon Don’t Mean Anything.

The first thing you did when you read this title was either strongly agree with me or completely disagree (I guess you really don’t have other options like you read the title and threw up, or even maybe ran outside screaming, but what I really mean is you are strongly for either side). How many of you out there actually look through reviews, saying “Oh look at this nothing but 5 star reviews”. Well if you ever said that guess what that’s how cheats sell books.

I’m not going to call out names or make claims, but I read an interesting forum discussion about a book I wanted to read. I even tweeted the book from Amazon, telling people to look at it. Turns out this writer, makes money by posting fake reviews on his book. Gasp.

We all want to be a best seller. Some of us even go further than other writer’s, sending hundreds of queries, paying for advertisement and becoming the salesman we know we need to be to sell a book we believe in. But what if the easiest thing to do is just to get your book high enough on the kindle boards to sell itself. The reason I even came across the book was because it was ranked high in the horror section. So I wanted to see if I could get an interview with this author, after all I’ve been pretty successful with that lately, I even got Les Edgerton to agree to answer some questions (the guy wrote a great book called Hooked, everyone needs to read it). Turns out as I type in his name into google, it suggest to look at fake reviews.

Spoiler: The image has the author’s name.

So after a quick read here and there, I sat and turned off the lamp in my office. I know how it feels to get low ratings on a book, it hurts, but it’s that hurt that makes you a writer. It’s like that first rejection letter. After the first twenty, they make that one acceptance look like a bright light at the end of the tunnel. But what if you just forged all those acceptance letters and then used that to get your writing career further?

I say, read something because you know the author and if you don’t know them, look them up. Dont rely on reviews. There are certain people I don’t read because they are jackasses and I wouldn’t have known that until I contacted them (I don’t read anything under the Trestle Press publication).

But I will read anything by Paul D. Brazil (helluva a guy), B. R. Stateham (he was a grump the first time I talked to him, great guy now 🙂 ), Julia Madeleine (she write’s great stuff), K. A. Laity (the funniest and friendliest of all the writers, and she writes here at A Knife And A Quill. So maybe I’m kissing up, sue me.) Heath Lowrance (By far the shiniest of the hidden gems out there) and the list goes on. They are also not afraid of giving anything out for free, or a $1 for charity. I read them because the are great and good people and even they have a 1 or 2 star review out there, even Stephen King has plenty of 1’s and 2’s out there .

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13 Comments

  1. But 1 star reviews make me weep real doll tears! Thanks for saying flattering things — I won’t let it go to my head. Much.

  2. Reblogged this on stonespath.

  3. took the liberty of reblogging your post on my blog Stonespath.

  4. My favorite review was a one star. He read it through in one six hour sitting and railed against my naughty protagonist. She must have seemed very real to him and nudged some of his personal issues.

    • I’ve actually read books based on “bad” reviews that intrigued me about the character or the plot or the sex scene that the reviewer is railing against.

  5. People who leave fake reviews are only hurting themselves. We readers are very fickle… except when we’re incredibly loyal. (Because let’s be honest, we’ve all given a beloved author’s books another chance or three.) And the things we see as betrayal might be silly, but we’ll forgive a bad book over a faked book review any day.

    Faking a review might get me to read one of your books, but only a good book will get me to read them all.

  6. […] Why Reviews On Amazon Don’t Mean Anything. (aknifeandaquill.wordpress.com) […]

  7. Just saw this, Luis. Man, you really are too nice to me. Thanks, amigo.

    • I know. People are probably thinking I got a man crush on you. 🙂 your just an awesome writer. Keep me updated with any new stuff and we’ll post the news here.

  8. I read through all reviews—5 stars and all the way down—and I believe I can pick out the fake ones. You may sell some copies by putting up some of your own reviews, but you will eventually be found out, such as through posts like this one. The rest of us won’t let you get away with it.

    Reviews may mean little to the casual browser. To those who are serious about their search, a review on Amazon is just another piece of the puzzle. Sometimes I click on the Reviewer’s name, and if they only have one review, I take their review with a grain of salt, whether it’s positive or negative.

    The ones to base a buying decision off of are the ones that have lots of reviews, and after reading through a few of them, you can tell it’s a real person who isn’t being paid to shout from the rooftops.

    I have more than a hundred visitors a day to my site. I’d be happy to repost this to spread the word even further. Send me an email if this interests you: msl_007 {AT} live.com

    • Sure we encourage reblogging and if there is anything you’d like us to reblogging let us know. We’ve been averaging almost 160 viewers a day.

  9. I’ve been amazed at all the hullabaloo about reviews, reviewers, and authors, and now to be hearing about fake reviews on the Net just boggles my mind. But I have to say, I get a little aggravated about the fake review subject.

    Let me just throw this out there: I have teenagers who, as part of their studies and as an encouragement to read/write, are asked to review a book. For instance, check out http://www.readforyourfuture.blogspot.com. Teenagers at an inner city school are given books for their library and they are asked to review it either on Goodreads and/or Amazon. As you might imagine, some of these comments are not the most articulate. Also, because for many of them it is their first time on Amazon or Goodreads, it may be the only review they have listed. This does not make their thoughts or feelings on a book “fake” even if all that they’ve written was, “This was a great book.”

    I’m not saying that there aren’t fake reviews out there, I just find the criteria of having only one review a somewhat limiting definition.

    With all the preview options out there, the “Look Inside” options, a reader has ample opportunity to decide if an author’s writing style is for him, with or without reviews. A review is, after all, just one person’s opinion.

    • I see what you mean, but what I think is we need to be more skeptical, especially when we see 100, 5 star reviews. Someone had to hate or not liked it. I’ve seen a lot of people drop one stars because they didn’t like the genre. “Not my kind of story” type reviews and those are with books with 10-20 reviews. So seeing lopsided numbers should be a flag. 🙂

      Btw, thanks for commenting, we always enjoy discussions here.


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