Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews?

Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews

Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews?

Because there was a problem with how you got your reviews.

Many new self published authors are of course thrilled to get a few great book reviews, but are shocked if or when their reviews are deleted by Amazon.

The reason why Amazon delete reviews is not easy to understand from their guidelines, which you can read here in full.

However there are two main areas that cause the most problems. Paid reviews and reviews from close friends.

Paying for book reviews can cause your reviews to be deleted

Paid reviews are clearly not acceptable to Amazon. They state:

We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind.

However, it is well known that paid reviews are available, and are being posted. It only takes a few minutes to find a paid book review service on social media or by doing a Google search.

While Amazon know some of these of course, they also look for a sudden influx of reviews that are well in excess or what would normally be expected from the number of books sold.

So if you have only sold five copies of your book over a month, and you suddenly receive ten new glowing reviews in a week, Amazon will treat this as suspicious, and will probably start deleting the reviews.

Very few readers post book reviews, and this is why genuine reviews are so hard to get. On average, you could expect one review for every two to three hundred books sold.

When reviews start coming in well above this average, Amazon will probably take a look, and then may delete the reviews.

Reviews from close friends will be deleted

This is where most authors get into trouble, and is very often the reason why book reviews are deleted.

Firstly, Amazon do not accept reviews from immediate family:

We do not permit reviews of the same ASIN from customers in the same household.

However, the clause that cause the most problems is this one:

… family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews …

Close friends can be defined by Amazon as someone you are in contact with on social media. Yes, they can check this! So if you have asked your contacts on Facebook or Twitter to give your book a nice review, be prepared for it to be deleted. Another connection can be commenters on your blog. I can’t prove this, but I have heard of one or two authors who believe this to be why they lost reviews.

Amazon checks all reviews

Enough to know that Amazon can and do check your online connections, and can classify these as close friends.

Asking other authors is also a sure way to have a review deleted, as any other author publishing on Amazon is classed as a ‘person selling on Amazon’.

Getting honest and genuine organic book reviews is painfully slow, especially if you don’t sell a lot of copies. But unfortunately, this the reality.

Trying to kick this process along by either asking friends, and especially online friends to post reviews, or paying for reviews, will probably end up in your reviews being deleted, and tears shed.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

10 thoughts on “Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews?

  • Is there a solution to this catch-22 problem? I can’t get my book selling because I don’t have reviews. I can’t get reviews from people I know. I can’t buy reviews. So how do I get reviews to get my book selling to get more reviews?
    I used to work on cargo ships as a marine engineer and before I began working I faced a similar problem. I had no work experience and every company I went to wanted work experience. How do you get something people will give you only if you already have that same thing?
    In my sailing career I guess I got a lucky break. Gotta wait for that in self publishing as well?

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    • Try joining an author or writing group (an in-person or online group). I’ve found these free groups to be a great place to talk about the writing and editing process, what works, lessons you learn, etc. And so supportive! Often other authors will write reviews for you, if you write reviews for them.

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  • We handed out copies of our 400-page book to 40 strangers and asked them to please submit reviews on Amazon and other sites. So far, after 6 weeks, we have 14 reviews and they’re all good.

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  • Authors reviewing authors is a time-honored and thoroughly sensible tradition. I understand why Amazon feels the need to reign in paid reviews and the like, but if Amazon is really going after reviews by authors, I hope they’ll reconsider.

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    • Unfortunately, I doubt it Karen. Anyone selling products on Amazon, which authors do by way of books and ebooks, are ineligible to post reviews under Amazon’s review policy.

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  • What’s annoying is that you have to sell hundreds of books to get a review. I’ve sold ten books in the last three years, some of those readers got in touch to tell me they loved the book, but I still have nothing on Amazon. Even with that I tend to agree with Amazon. I don’t want another situation where an author is buying hundreds of reviews and pretending they’re genuine.

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  • You have to PROMOTE your book. If you don’t, don’t expect to see sales. That’s the crux of it.

    What’s the subject of your book? If it’s a mystery, try to find out if there are any mystery bookstores, conventions, writing groups etc that deal with mysteries.

    Any writers convention usually has an area where you can sell your book there. Chances are, you won’t know that many people there.

    If you write about crafts, try to get your book into Michael’s or a locally owned craft store near you. If you write about nature or plants, try a locally-owned garden center. Is it a local-themed novel or non-fiction? Try your local indie bookstore, indie store selling whatever your non-fiction addresses, or Costco (there are helpful posts online about getting into your local Costco).

    I’ve done pretty well for myself, I’ll admit. But I planned a YEAR in advance how to market my novel. First, spend some money on a GOOD EDITOR and a GOOD COVER. And I mean a GOOD cover. Because if you don’t, none of the information below will help you at all.

    I made my book available through Ingram distribution and Smashwords, rather than JUST Amazon. The more avenues and the more formats through which you make your book available, the more chance you have of making sales, in whatever format.

    For my book, because it was silent Hollywood themed novel, I found Facebook groups that related to silent film and created some advanced buzz about it on there. There’s a large film subculture, so I knew that was where i needed to concentrate my marketing. I tweeted about it to my followers. I created a mailing list of those who were interested (they are your champions, and can help publicize it to others PLUS there’s a chance they’ll review it).

    I attended a silent film festival, sold copies there at their author tables, handed out postcards and business cards for it, advertised in a Classic Hollywood memorabilia monthly magazine, found some blogathons for historical novels, and contacted folks running 2 historical podcasts to appear on their shows.

    Our local indie bookstore here posts their weekly Top 10 books sold in our local newspaper. So I told all my friends to go THERE to buy it for the first few weeks at least so it would keep making that list (for visibility). When I was in Los Angeles, I talked it up to buyers at several bookstores. I attended several writers conferences and talked it up to folks, making an author signing appearance at one (PLUS, I sat next to a chatty couple on the plane, and sold them 1 that I had in my purse. They later came to the signing event!). I had a reading and signing at our local indie where friends and coworkers bought it. I traveled to a nearby city for readings and signings (2) and sold several more there.

    Because my subject was from the area around Pittsburgh, I found a huge library/archive with a newsletter that reviewed books. I asked them if they’d be interested. They were.

    I emailed every indie bookstore in the US that I could find to see if they might be interested in carrying my book. I attached a copy of the (REALLY GOOD) cover and my cover blurb. At least 20 of them said they would or would put it in their system. You might surprise yourself.

    Once you have multiple books in your catalog, you’re more likely to get more reviews too. Keep writing!

    BRAINSTORM about publicity. You can never tell where your next sale might come from. The more books you sell, the more chances you have of people reviewing you. If you have no sales, you will not have reviews. It’s that simple. If you spend NO money to promote, chances are your book will die on the vine. But there are cheap things you can do to try to help yourself.

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  • Okay, people, Amazon does not hand check each review. What they do is an automated check to see where the link the person reviewing used. If you search for your book, then copy that raw link and someone on social media picks it up and then goes to Amazon and leaves a review, that review will be flagged since they are using the same link (which has embedded search perimeters in it) that can be traced back to you.

    To keep Amazon from knowing where the reviewer came from, be sure to use a “clean” link.

    Example of “dirty” link that can be tracked back to you…
    https://www.amazon.com/9th-Circle-circles-hard-boiled-Murders-ebook/dp/B01N34QURE/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1509301721&sr=1-1&keywords=9th+circle+mccray

    All that gobbly gook after the ASIN number is tracking material.
    Example of a “clean” link that can’t be tracked back to you…
    https://www.amazon.com/9th-Circle-circles-hard-boiled-Murders-ebook/dp/B01N34QURE
    Everything AFTER the ASIN must be deleted!

    Also Amazon does not allow anyone of financially benefits from the book to leave a review. If you mother is living with you, She theoretically benefits. If she lives in another state and you give her no money, she doesn’t. They are tracking her through your link, not social media.

    Obviously paid reviewers are tracked and flagged, But if you use a clean link and the review is left from a different ISP location, you are usually fine.

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  • I finally got a coveted Bookbub deal! My book was sent out at 99 cents on Sept 24, 2017. I sold almost 1000 copies! I was thrilled. I was certain I’d get a nice bump of reviews out of those.

    Nope.

    I lost one review. I had 45 – it went down to 44, and that’s where it’s been for two months.

    That doesn’t seem suspicious AT ALL.

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  • The review system is, unfortunately, a joke. Mr. and Ms. Average Reader glance at the number of reviews against a book and use that scale as a determination of whether the book is worth reading or buying. The average book reviewer seems barely able to string two words together (read some of the reviews). That sounds really sarcastic but “sigh”, I’ve honestly read a lot of reviews. And Goodreads system, where some readers blithely assume that rating a yet-to-be-released and un-read book at 2-stars (because it suits their own system, being 2-stars means they want to read it next and 5-stars means they want to read it when they have nothing else to read) has no impact on the author is nothing short of scary. Changes need to be made but I’m not sure where to begin :/

    Reply

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