Amazon reviews, which were only mildly significant three years ago, now have a make-or-break impact on an author’s sales.
So, when writing a review or rating a book on Amazon, it is essential to remember that the rating has a direct influence on the success of the book, as it is included in Amazon algorithms and pretty much defines the future success or failure of authors.
This is especially true as Amazon holds the lion’s share of self-published books and failing to get a decent ranking on Amazon pretty much means the literary death of the author.
So, before rating or reviewing, better know what the rules of the game are and what consequences giving a three star rather than a four star review are.
1) In order to review a book, it is necessary to first register
2) Anyone who has made a single purchase on Amazon is eligible to register, whether under a real name or a pseudonym.
3) Once registered in one country, registered users can write reviews in any Amazon national sites, regardless of location
4) Readers who are not registered as reviewers, still have the possibility to “like” any book from the book’s buy page. “Likes” have only a marginal effect on Amazon’s algorithms, but every little helps, so if you indeed liked a book, a single click of the mouse will help the writer. If you liked the book, the author deserves your click.
5) Readers who believe the book has been improperly classified can “tag” the book to assign it another classification, i.e. if a book is listed under Science-Fiction and the reader believes it should be “Fantasy”, tagging the book as fantasy might help other fantasy readers to find the book more easily, provided a sufficient number of other readers choose to also tag it as “Fantasy”.
6) Reviewing or rating is meant to help fellow readers and participate in the community. It is an awesome power to use with care, keeping in mind that Amazon is a pioneer in the Brave New World of books’ peer rating so Amazon’s algorithms are changing often. The weight of a negative rating might do more damage to the author than intended, so better think twice before giving a low rating. In case of doubt, silence is best.
7) 3 stars and less are read by Amazon algorithms as “not recommended” and will hurt the author. If you liked the book but had reservations on some points, better give it a 4 stars review and then explain in your review what the weak sides of the book were.
8) Reviews can also be rated as helpful or unhelpful. Helpful reviews will rise to the top and unhelpful ones will be pushed to the bottom.
9) Anything over 20 words qualifies as a review
10) A bad review is forever, this is not the place to vent anger mindlessly.
Amazon algorithms give any reviewer the power to support writers. If you liked an author and wish him to continue writing, support the author by giving a review of 4 stars or more. Authors read their reviews, almost always, so reach out to your author by writing in words what you liked about the book and where you think it would benefit from improvement, yet, do not penalize the author with a 3 star review if you wish to read more from that author as it might kill is income source and force the author to reduce writing time in favor of earning time.