Amazon, Tips & Tricks

Why Can’t Readers Leave Reviews

You’ve sent out ARCs or did a giveaway, and inevitably, there are readers who can’t leave reviews. Amazon does a good job laying out the guidelines, but few people take the time to read them. (https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201929730 and various subsets.)

Here are the top reasons your readers can’t leave reviews:

They are trying to leave a review on a preorder. By default, a preorder book does not exist therefore you can’t leave a review before something exists. One way to get around this is to launch your paperback a few days or a week ahead of the ebook so that readers can leave reviews.

The readers have not met the yearly threshold. Amazon’s crackdown on bot reviews came as a shock to many readers. At one point to leave a review, the account had to have spent $50 since it opened. With the rash of spam and bots leaving reviews, Amazon redid their limit requiring $50 in a 12-month period on that parent site. IE: 50$ on UK lets a reader leave a review on Amazon.co.uk. That 50$ does not unlock the ability to leave a review on USA, AU, FR, JP, CA, etc.

Amazon acknowledged they use a variety of AI programs to track “review bias.” But what constitutes bias? That’s an issue that hasn’t been hammered out. At one point, writers assumed Amazon AI went through Goodreads and social media connections—mainly FB, comparing those who follow you with dirty link clicks and the IP address of leaving a review. Others claim that’s not a feasible approach. Other techs say the AI looks for wording, and the wording can cause a review to be rejected for a product while allowing the reviewer the ability to leave reviews on other products. When that happens, ask the reviewer to leave on other sites like Bookbub, Goodreads, etc. and to try again later in the month.

Additionally

The only difference between a verified review and a non-verified review is payment.

A verified review is someone Amazon can say “they bought this through us.”

A non-verified review means they could have read the book in Kindle Unlimited, Booksprout, bought it from a book signing, book store, received as a gift, and a million other things.

Readers don’t pay attention to verified and non-verified if they don’t all sound like cookie cutter reviews. They do, however, pay attention and are skeptical of a book with so many 5-star reviews that it looks like only friends and family reviewed it. Do yourself and your ARC readers a favor and don’t turn into a Karen by threatening your readers for 3 and 4 star reviews. If your reviewers are leaving 1 and 2 star reviews, you might have other issues such as actual book issues or wrong reader targeting. A 3, 4, or 5 star review are good things. Let them happen, though you might want to move the 3 stars from your advanced review team since your books aren’t leaving a lasting impression.

If you need more information on ARC team management, check out https://bit.ly/WwDArcReader and the website I use to handle advanced reader copies.

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