Getting reviews on Amazon.com are a great way to add credibility to your book and entice others to purchase it. While we’d all like every one of those reviews to be a five-star endorsement, that’s not likely. It’s not feasible to expect it, either. Logically, not every person who reads your book is going to give it top billing on Amazon.com—some may even give it a one or two-star rating. Others may deem your book to be somewhere in the middle, giving it three or four stars.
Why would your book receive a low rating? There are many reasons, and not all of them mean that your book is poorly written. Let’s look at some reasons books are given less than favorable ratings by Amazon.com customers.
1. Your book is well written, but the reader doesn’t completely believe in your message or philosophy.
2. The book conveys a message that appeals to many, but a few think it could have been written better.
3. The reviewer had difficulty with their Amazon.com order. It wasn’t received on a timely basis or they had a negative buying experience with Amazon.com, so they took it out on you and your book, giving you a negative review because they were unhappy with Amazon.
4. The reviewer is a competitor or someone who has a personal reason to attack you or your book.
5. Your book really may need improvement.
Yes, you should expect to receive some biased, or even negative reviews. Every book is not a bestseller. Even bestsellers receive negative reviews. You should expect it. There should be a variety of ratings, and most people look at the average rating, not just one poor rating rendered by an unhappy customer.
But, what if you do receive a negative rating, and you don’t believe it is justified? What can you do about it? Well, there are several ways you can approach it, and depending on your situation, you may find success in either countering the rating or having it removed entirely.
1. Each rating gives the author an opportunity to comment. Use this avenue to respond to a negative review if you believe the reviewer misinterpreted something in your book. Be kind and courteous, and brief, but point out where you believe the reviewer may have misconstrued your message. Do not attack! This will only serve to further any negative impressions and will flame the situation.
2. Click “Report This” next to the comment. Use this avenue if you believe that someone gave your book a bad review based on situations beyond your control, like a negative buying experience. You should also use this approach if the review is personal, abusive, or obscene. (If you click “Report This” for those reasons, you can also ask several friends and associates to “Report This,” as well, giving Amazon.com additional reasons to support removing the review. This process is automated, and if Amazon.com receives nine or more “Report This” clicks, the review should be deleted.
3. If you know the individual who gave you the poor review, you can contact them and offer a remedy to the situation in exchange for removing their poor review. Did they have a negative business experience with you or your company in the past? Offer to make it right; then make sure you do. Then kindly request they remove the negative review. Reviewers have the ability to remove reviews within 60 days of posting them.
4. Negative reviews are usually only given weight when they are numerous. If your book has a lot of four and five star ratings, but only two negative reviews, it shouldn’t affect sales. However, if one or two bad reviews still bother you, you can outnumber them by asking more people to post reviews of your book (make sure the people you ask are going to post a positive review). Then, two bad reviews out of 100 won’t seem like such a big deal to you or to prospective buyers.
As you can see, there are opportunities to improve your Amazon.com book rating. However, remember that not every book appeals to everyone. Take a look at all of your reviews, not just the negative ones. Do your positive reviews outnumber any bad ones? Are the reviews impacting sales? Do the bad reviews share a consistent message? If so, you might want to go back and look at your book objectively and see if it does need improvement. If not, you can be happy knowing that your book is receiving a higher percentage of favorable reviews than unfavorable ones, and that’s a good thing.