Amazon have recently changed their customer review system, so that comments from some of the reviews — even ones marked by most people as “unhelpful” — are put *above* the full list of reviews ranked by helpfulness.
On two of my books, the Beatles and Monkees ones (which happen to be the two biggest sellers), quotes that look extremely critical out of context (and sometimes in context, bits from one-star reviews have shown up there) have been placed above the actual review section. And while correlation does not equal causation, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that over the last two months I’ve earned an average of £90 a week from my writing, but this week I made just £18, and for the first time since it came out in late 2010, a week’s gone by without a single sale of the Beatle book. Note that I’ve had no new bad reviews in that time, just quotes from those bad reviews have been taken out of context and made prominent.
Unless something changes, I don’t know if I can carry on writing as much as I do. I’ve had a lot of periods of sickness from overwork recently, and I don’t think I can put in the time and effort I have been if these review quotes can torpedo my books quite so badly.
Secondly, I’m going to *beg* anyone who’s read my books — especially the Monkees or Beatles ones — and who bought them from Amazon (so they’ll be a ‘verified purchase’) and hasn’t yet reviewed them, to do so. Maybe that way the quotes that are plastered up there will change. I only want HONEST reviews — DO NOT go over there and praise my books if you think they’re rubbish — but I do want to have a lot more reviews posted.
Please note I’m NOT complaining about the reviews themselves — I’m complaining about single sentences of long reviews that are given undue prominence.
I may seriously have to think about whether I should bother continuing to write if this doesn’t work.