Yesterday I found myself wondering why I write novels and put them out there for anyone and everyone to scrutinise. I then realised I did it because I can’t not do it and I write to entertain and make people happy. I don’t expect perfect reviews. That would be idealistic. I’m used to getting good reviews and although I’ll never get used to them, I get bad reviews too. I accept my books aren’t everyone’s cup of tea and that if someone spends money on my book- although I still think £1.99 and 99p isn’t exactly spending a fortune – then they are entitled to leave a review. I think it’s a bit off when reviewers leave a bad review for a free book, however, but that is something else.
Just what constitutes a review and what constitutes spiteful? And should companies such as Amazon argue the rights and wrongs about a review that is clearly suspicious?
The definition of a review is ‘A form of literary criticism in which a book is analysed based on content, style, and merit. A book review can be a primary source opinion piece, summary review or scholarly review. Books can be reviewed for printed periodicals, magazines and newspapers, as school work, or for book web sites on the Internet. A book review’s length may vary from a single paragraph to substantial essays. Such a review may evaluate the book on the basis of personal taste. Reviewers may use the occasion of a book review for a display of learning or to promulgate their own ideas on the topic of a fiction or non-fiction work.’
Okay, so I don’t think It didn’t arrive on time constitutes as a review does it? And yet many authors on Amazon have to contend with these stupid, idiotic reviews which pull their rankings down. When you look at a book’s ranking and it has five stars this indicates the book has more 4 and 5 star reviews than any other. If the stars drop to 4 and a half or lower then there are clearly some low marked reviews. Sometimes these can simply be someone saying ‘I didn’t like it’ I mean, seriously, is that a review? Is that justification for dragging that author’s work down?
But worse is what happened to me yesterday. This is where a review is not only slanderous but clearly looks suspicious and the only review that the reviewer has penned. The profile is hidden and the purchase is not Amazon verified which means it wasn’t even bought from the site.
Here it is
2 of 300 people found the following review helpful
Very racist., 30 May 2016
This review is from: Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown (Comedy Romance) (Kindle Edition)
Amazon are refusing to remove the review which is for ‘Fifty Shades of Roxie Brown’
I write romantic comedy. I write with realism in my stories, yes, but not with racism. There is a Mrs Patel in my book who runs the corner shop but the main character has only good things to say about her. Is that racist? It’s just realistic. The book has 300 unhelpful clicks and ten comments from readers who have read the book and claim it isn’t racist.
This is not the first time I have heard that Amazon have refused to remove a review. But if someone called someone racist on Facebook or Twitter, would it be tolerated? Why is it so easy to call names and bully in a book review? For an author to have to worry that they may get a one star review because of someone’s jealousy or someone with a gripe seems wrong.
So, Sandra, or whatever your real name is, thanks for the review and the publicity. After all, you know what they say, there is no such thing as bad publicity. You certainly highlighted me for the day. Of course, this may not have been your aim but you know there is something called karma. Look it up! You can buy my racist book here