I’ve all but given up on seeking reviews for my work.
I never did actively “seek” them, other than mentioning, now and then, that I would appreciate a review if a reader enjoyed one of my novels.
But this morning (as I write this) I read Nick Hoffelder’s article “Authors Are Taking Friendly Fire in Amazon’s War on Fake Reviews” (link at the end of this post) and clicked a link in his article to see what the new algorithm engine ReviewMeta said about the very few reviews I do have on the first novel I ever wrote, Leaving Amarillo.
As a test, I keyed in the Amazon URL for Leaving Amarillo.
To my undying anger and frustration, I found a “warning” label, meaning ReviewMeta believes I have suspicious reviews/reviewers.
But I also found that the very first review (a valid one, like all reviews of my books) that anyone left for me had been deleted by Amazon. That reviewer said my first effort (which took me 20 days to write from beginning to completion) was a great story that was very well plotted.
I’m not worried about myself. I’m a self-actualized human being. I know my stories are good and that my reviewers and reviews are clean.
But all of this begs the question: If a minor albeit prolific author like me who garners only a few reviews (if that) per book can be labeled as inviting fake reviews (I don’t), how harmful could Amazon’s (and ReviewMeta’s and Fakespot’s) bovine excrement algorithms be to authors with hundreds of reviews?
And much more importantly, how much of my time should I devote to getting valid, clean reviews when any of those “engines” is likely to pan them and when Amazon is likely to remove them arbitrarily?
Screw it. All of this nonsense leads me back to the same two conclusions I always draw:
1. My time is much better spent writing than seeking reviews or other marketing activities; and
2. The best thing you can do to market your work is Write the Next Book.
Eventually the algorithms will be replaced by a fairer, more eyes-open system, though probably not in my lifetime.
And if I (or you) keep writing and putting work out there, more readers will discover it.
Next week, a post on the dangers of not trusting the creative voice.
‘Til next time, happy writing.
Oh, you can find Nate Hoffelder’s article here.
If you’d like to look up what ReviewMeta says about your reviews, click this link.
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