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November 23, 2015

3 R's: Rank, Ratings, and Reviews





When you publish your first book it can be easy to get sucked into the 3 R’s: Rank, Ratings, and Reviews.


1. Rank

All books published on Amazon have a ranking. The higher the number, the lower your book is, which means no one has bought your book in weeks or months. Don’t worry. I have been there. Most authors just starting out and with smaller fan bases have been there. It’s normal. Unless you’re a big-time author or have a big publishing house pushing your book, someone buying your book every hour of every day. And the rank changes hourly.

Watching rank numbers can be depressing. I know it is. Especially if you’re doing everything you can to get your name and book out there and your rank is only dropping.

So what do I recommend? Don’t stress about it. If you’re doing everything you can, then there’s nothing else you can do. Just remember: rankings fluctuate.
TIP #1: One thing you can do to raise your ranking? Put your eBook for sale. 99cents is best. Then promote it EVERYWHERE. Your rank will rise. But be warned that it usually drops again when the sale ends.
2. Ratings

We all want 5 stars for our books. None of us want 1 star. That’s just the way it goes. No one wants to hear that someone hated something they slaved over. We’d rather get praise. But not everyone is going to like our work. The quicker we learn that and realize that ratings are just one person’s opinion, the better we will be.

3. Reviews

Reviews are great...if they are favorable. If they are brutal, we want to hide and cry and eat a gallon of ice cream. But then again...even bad ones can bring sales. Many readers are actually intrigued by bad reviews and buy the book to see if they agree or not. That’s probably why so many people read 50 Shades of Grey. Or at least that’s my theory. Curiosity was the other driving force for the success of that book.
TIP #2: Remember what I said about ratings being one person’s opinion? The same goes for reviews. If you get a nasty one, just tell yourself that you didn’t write your book for that person. And that’s fine because we can’t make everyone happy.
Now if you solicit reviews from reviewers, you could get golden reviews from them or reviews with low ratings. The fact is a reviewer from a review blog/site may not be as interested in your book as a reader who buys your book would be. So solicit carefully.
TIP #3: Do your research to make sure the reviewer takes your genre, and check the reviews they’ve given recently to books similar to yours. This can give you an idea of how they might treat yours.

Want to get more reviews? Try Amazon’s Top Reviewers.



QUESTION: What do you do when your ranking is low? How do you deal with bad ratings and reviews?


56 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's the right attitude toward reviews - your book just wasn't for that person.
I try not to check rankings often. It can be depressing.
My publisher is putting one of my books on sale in two weeks, so hopefully that will make a difference.

Chrys Fey said...

You have to have the right attitude. Otherwise, you'll crash and burn as an author.

Sales do help. I've had a sale keep my ebook in a good place for awhile afterwards but also have had them plunge. It's a toss up.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Chrys - we've done what we can with our book/s and exactly not everyone will like what we write, or the way we present it .. such is life ...

So I say Don't Rant, or worry about Ratings, or Reviews - just get on with more writing and thus more books ... cheers Hilary

Carrie-Anne said...

I don't look at my ranking numbers, since I haven't sold anything in an entire year. With no one buying my books, there likewise won't be any reviews or ratings, either negative or positive. I'm not sure releasing something next month will have any real impact on sales, but I might see a handful of sales in the beginning.

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

I try to only check rankings etc now and then, and keep my focus more on improving the craft than on anything else. It works. Sometimes. :)

Lidy said...

I don't need to check on my ranking on Amazon since I finally uploaded my manuscript on Amazon (been only on Smashwords) and long overdue too. Right now I'm trying to make my poetry chapbook easier to find by interested readers. Sigh, categories, metadata and keywords...
Also posted a request on fiverr.com for a new/revamped cover (POD and ebook) for another promotional campaign, since next month would be the 1yr anniversary I published it. Hoping an interested graphic designer bites in time.

sage said...

I didn't realize that the ranking changed so frequently but then I haven't had any books on Amazon... As for reviews, I often read the low reviews, but many times discard the reviewer (often it is a review of the service, such as the book arrived all banged up). But the critical ones that are about the book tell us more and in many cases i still buy the book. We never like to hear bad reviews, but they also make us better if we learn from them.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I don't think there is any for sure way to get those rankings up except for writing the next book. That always raises all the other rankings of my books.

Liz A. said...

That's why you shouldn't read your reviews.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I get on kicks where I watch my ranking. Usually when I have a promo and it goes up and down. That's fun. But otherwise, I try not to worry about it. Reviews, I'm the same. I try not to worry about what people say. I'm just happy they left a review, and I know not everyone will like the book.

nashvillecats2 said...

Most interesting to read considering I have just started my fourth poetry book,
Must take all the tips out there for when it is eventually published.
Yvonne.

diedre Knight said...

Oh it can be like standing at a corner bakery; waiting for the tantalizing scents of ranking, reviews and money to come wafting out, only to discover the baker has moved elsewhere! So I just don't wait anymore - or worry. I agree with Susan; each new book you write also draws attention to already published work.

Chrys Fey said...

True. No for sure way. But I have 4 ebooks out and all are crashing and burning. lol

Karen Walker said...

I'm ignoring all of the above - it will make me insane if I pay attention.

Chrys Fey said...

I know many don't but it is good to see what people are saying.

Chrys Fey said...

I only worry when my rank stats down, down, down. That's when I know I need to try something new.

Chrys Fey said...

You'll have plenty of tips here to help you with your poetry book, Yvonne. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I guess it only works for novels or print books because I have 4 ebooks out and all of them are low. Well, except for 30 Seconds right now because of the sale.

Chrys Fey said...

Wise. ;)

Chrys Fey said...

Yes! Don't rant! Authors need to find another way to get over it than by ranting.

Chrys Fey said...

If that's true, you really need to look at your marketing plan. You may need to make some serious changes to get the results you desire.

Chrys Fey said...

That's a good frame of mind. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Sounds like you're busy! God luck with your poetry chapbook and the promo campaign!

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! Some bad reviews may just be because the book wasn't a reader's cup of tea but others point out glaring issues.

Pat Hatt said...

lol yep, rankings can be depressing. I just shrug if there are any bad reviews, you can't please everyone.

Birgit said...

Oh gosh, I could see me get really down and out on myself if I found everyone thought my books stinks but I have to write one first! I think what you wrote is eloquent. There have been books that become bestsellers (50 shades of blechhh) only to disappear a few years later and end up at a campsite to start a fire. There are other books that go unnoticed only to gain a huge following and never be out of print. I guess, not looking at the reviews or the ranking is one way to deal.

betty said...

Reviews can be subjective indeed. I might think it is a great book because I like the subject, another might give it a bad review because they don't like the subject being written, but I can also imagine a review is good because at least people get an idea of people's thoughts about it. I write them, but rarely read others reviews :)

betty

Elizabeth said...

That is great advice! This has been one of my fears of reviews of my future writing, or any critique for that matter, lol. I remember when I was student teaching and my college professor pointed out everything I did wrong, ouch! I just had to learn from it and, like you said, accept the fact that not everyone is going to like how I conduct my teaching (or writing).

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

I try not to think about a bad review. Like you said, everyone will not like my work. That's fine. It's out of my hands. So I cry a bit and then smile. And read a good review.

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly! We have to learn to take critiques. It can be tough but it often helps us. Unless they are given to be mean as some are.

Chrys Fey said...

Cry a bit, smile, and read a good review is a great remedy for bad reviews.

Chrys Fey said...

Shrug away! :p I had recently left you a good review though. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I hope one of my books is one that goes unnoticed only to become a classic. :)

Chrys Fey said...

Good point! Everyone is different, and not all subjects that matters are liked by everyone.

J.H. Moncrieff said...

Ah, yes the ranking obsession! I take screenshots when mine are particularly good. :)

That's a great idea to check out past reviews before sending reviewers your book. I just sent requests to tons of people I knew review horror, and took what I could get. Thankfully, it worked out well.

One of my favourite reviews is actually a bad one. Twenty minutes after my book was released on Amazon, someone wrote, "I would not recommend this book to anyone at any time for any reason." It made me laugh!

emaginette said...

Thanks, Chrys. It's hard to be judged out there. Perspective helps.

Anna from Elements of Writing

Sherry Ellis said...

I try not to look at my rankings too much. It can become obsessive if I do. I just focus on doing what I can to get the word out about my books.

Chrys Fey said...

I do the same. If I keep looking, and especially if I see the ranks are still down, it becomes depressing.

Chrys Fey said...

It's never fun to be judged but that's what people do, especially with books.

Chrys Fey said...

Twenty minutes after your book went up? Did they even buy it and read it? At least you have a sense of humor about it. That's good. If that happened to me, I would've ignored it as nonsense as you did.

Loni Townsend said...

I have low sales, so my number is pretty high. But hey, I write because I want to tell these stories, not because I want to sell books. I get people verbally telling me they enjoyed my book (people I didn't even know had read my book) and that seems to boost me up more than numbers on the screen ever could.

Chrys Fey said...

That's a wonderful attitude. We all have to remember that we write and publish to tell stories not to get sales.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Did someone say rant? (I really have to stop doing that. LOL)

Jeffrey Scott said...

I hope your recent 99c sale went well.
They do say even bad publicity can be good. I have to admit, I've always been curious when a hear how bad something is, I want to go and see how bad it is for myself. Not that I'd recommend having a bad review obviously. I'd rather read something everyone is raving about.

Chrys Fey said...

It did go well. I'll post the results soon. :)

I'm curious when people say something is bad too and I often find that I like it, or its not as awful as some made it out to be.

Chrys Fey said...

Some authors rant and cause huge fights over bad reviews. It's not pretty.

klahanie said...

Hey Chrys,

You can stop twiddling your thumbs now! Yep, I have arrived with one of my eagerly anticipated comments. Or something like that....

Super tips for aspiring and established writers. Glad to note that your 99c sale seemed to have gone well.

I've never had a low ranking or a bad review. Well, never when the dog takes over and shows me how to write.

Gary :)

Chrys Fey said...

That's great! I'm sure the dog hates low ranks and bad reviews.

Cherdo said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Chrys! Thank you for all the experience and insight you provide all year 'round. Be safe, enjoy your day and God bless!

Chrys Fey said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Cherdo! Thank you! I hope you have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

I try not to pay attention to rankings. I do notice they go up after a promotion or sale. Bad reviews used to scorch me, but I'm better at handling them now.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

A review means someone took the time to leave you their thoughts. Sometimes they are good but other times...

Mary Kirkland said...

I've read low rated, ranty reviews that hit on things they didn't like that I knew I would like and ended up buying the book anyway and loving it.

Chrys Fey said...

That's good, Medeia!

Chrys Fey said...

Exactly. That's just what reviews are.

Chrys Fey said...

See? That's a perfect example for bad reviews creating sales.