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General Discussion > How are reviews ordered?

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message 1: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Lee | 5 comments Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

When I look at reviews of my first book, reviews with the most 'likes' seem to come up first.

I'd have no problem with that, but it seems to me that negative reviews seem to attract more 'likes' than positive ones. I write erotic romance, and I don't know if that's just the case in this genre.

I have no problem with negative reviews as such. Everyone's entitled to their own opinion. I've only had a couple so far, and I know that they have their own value. Also, I never react to them.

However, I do question why more people seem to 'like' the negative reviews than the positive ones. Do Goodreads monitor 'likes' of books? Do you have any feedback on whether there are more 'likes' for negative than positive reviews?

The problem is that a very negative review now appears constantly at the top of my community reviews. I'm not particularly happy about this, seeing as there are over 30 reviews in total, mostly positive. I'd be happier if the reviews were organised in simple chronological order.


message 2: by Faith (new)

Faith Goodreads has an algorithm for ordering reviews, it supposedly takes into account numbers of likes, date of review and other factors, however you are correct, it does seem to be based on likes. The reviewers with the most friends and followers get the most likes. Then those reviews stay on the top of the list, so they get seen by more people and get more likes. Also, the negative reviews are often the more entertaining ones, so that also attracts likes. The reviews can be sorted by the user by either newest or oldest, but since Goodreads uses the date the book was originally shelved by the reviewer, rather than the date of the review, it's pretty useless to sort this way. The reviews can also be sorted by number of stars. However, there is nothing you can do to permanently change the order.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments Length of review plays into it, as does number of likes, and number of comments, too.

Also, if your friends have rated/reviewed the book, those will always come first.


message 4: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments And I think it's worth saying that it's all automated. Some computer program handles it all, with no human intervention until/unless there is a problem.


message 5: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Lee | 5 comments Thanks everyone for your comments and information.

I suppose traditionally published writers don't have a problem with this type of review rising to the top of the pile. I'm self-published and need all the good publicity I can get. Currently, my community reviews are topped by a review headlined with the likes of 'juvenile writing' and 'barf'. Like I say, the reviewer is entitled to her opinion. I don't have a problem with that. And while most discerning readers will scroll down and take a look at other reviews, I'm worried that some will be put off by this. It seems unfair to me that reviews are given more prominence simply because the reviewer has more 'friends'.


message 6: by Will (new)

Will Once (willonce) | 210 comments I'm afraid we just have to take the rough with the smooth. Sometimes the system puts a good review first. Sometimes it doesn't.

I think the bottom line (if I'm allowed to say that given your genre) is that we all need to keep writing more books, improving as writers and getting more reviews.


message 7: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Lee | 5 comments Thanks Will.


message 8: by Gerry (new)

Gerry (gerrydowndoggmailcom) | 60 comments Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?


message 9: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Gerry wrote: "Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?"

You sell books. I have found reviews trickle in at approximate 1 per every 100 paid sales or 1 per every 1000 free downloads.

You might want to rethink your strategy of 5-starring your own books, it is frowned upon and smacks of trying to artificially inflate your title's average.


message 10: by Gerry (new)

Gerry (gerrydowndoggmailcom) | 60 comments A.W. wrote: "Gerry wrote: "Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?"

You sell books. I have found reviews trickle in at approximate 1 per every 100 paid sales or 1 per every 1000 free downloads.
..."

Thanks for responding to my question. I didn't think Amazon
allowed you to review your own books. I was wondering about Goodreads reviews. I would like to review book by other authors and have others review mine, but don't know how reviewing works.


message 11: by Faith (new)

Faith Gerry wrote: "A.W. wrote: "Gerry wrote: "Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?"

You sell books. I have found reviews trickle in at approximate 1 per every 100 paid sales or 1 per every 1000 fre..."



See this thread about trading reviews. Fyi, it is not allowed.

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 12: by Gerry (new)

Gerry (gerrydowndoggmailcom) | 60 comments Thanks, I wasn't thinking of a trade, but your suggested link got me to another link that has groups you can join for reviewing.
Here it is for anyone else who is interested.
https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


message 13: by Faith (new)

Faith If you read the entire thread you will see what readers think about reviews coming from authors, but so far GR doesn't seem to be interested in stopping them.


message 14: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Mandy wrote: "Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

When I look at reviews of my first book, reviews..."


I'm not sure it's quite the case that negative reviews tend to get more likes than positive, although it might be the case in some instances.

I can make guesses as to why, people genuinely find them informative and helpful, or sometimes they can be quite entertaining and funny.

But what I really wanted to point out is that I'm not sure the order of the Community reviews has quite the impact as you might think.

You might not be aware of this, but reviews from people on our Friends list show up first. After that reviews from people we Follow. I presume most GR users tend to have people, or at least some people, on their Friend and Following lists that tend to like the same types of books they do.

Which means, at least in my case, I don't bother to even look at Community reviews all that much. I look at what my Friends and those I Follow have to say.

So, the order of reviews as far as the Community section is very likely NOT the order individual users are seeing.


message 15: by Alexandra (last edited Jun 11, 2016 07:47PM) (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Gerry wrote: "Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?"

Just want to second what A. W. said about 5 staring your own books. Personally it doesn't bother me, as it's tagged as from the author and I ignore averaged ratings anyway.

But there are a lot of GR users who don't like it. And I've seen people say they will avoid reading books by authors who do it.

My advice, put something in the "review" section if you like, but probably smart not to rate it.

As far as authors reviewing books for other authors - I've learned those typically end up being promo pieces rather than consumer reviews. So I ignore reviews from authors, unless I'm familiar with that author and know they post their honest opinion, not promotion. Usually those are authors who use GR as readers, and not just as authors.

Readers are getting savvy to the "we must promote other authors" stuff.


message 16: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Gerry wrote: "I would like to review book by other authors and have others review mine."

If you mean you want to engage in review swaps, then no. That is against Amazon and Goodreads TOS. If you are really desperate for reviews then there are legitimate services like NetGalley, that offer free copies to readers in exchange for honest reviews, and they comply with Amazon and GR TOS. Or there are many Read4Review groups on GR, you find ones that take your genre, read their submission guidelines and follow them.

As a reader there is nothing to stop you rating or reviewing books you have read. That is after all the entire purpose of GR. You catalogue books you have read, want to read or are currently reading. You create shelves that have meaning to you and put books on them. If you want, you can rate/review. Personally, I only add a rating to books I have really enjoyed so I can use GR's algorithms to find other similar books. Or so my friends know what I enjoy so they can recommend something.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments A lot of users of GR (you know, the readers) don't think much of authors five-starring their own books. Putting something in the review space itself can be fine - I've seen some authors use that field very cleverly.

On the other hand, it's a good idea for authors to shelve their books with tags like "romance," "historical fiction," etc., because these are triggers for genre categories. Any book only needs two of these to establish a genre shelving, and one of them can be from the author.


message 18: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Lee | 5 comments Alexandra aka Auntie J wrote: "Mandy wrote: "Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

When I look at reviews of my first..."


Thanks, Alexandra. That's reassuring.


message 19: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Mandy wrote: "Alexandra aka Auntie J wrote: "Mandy wrote: "Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Whe..."


:D

And don't worry, someone just saying "boring!" or whatever doesn't mean much to people that don't know that person.


message 20: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments Gerry wrote: "A.W. wrote: "Gerry wrote: "Bad reviews or good reviews. How does one get reviews?"

You sell books. I have found reviews trickle in at approximate 1 per every 100 paid sales or 1 per every 1000 fre..."


Anybody can review anything on Amazon.


message 21: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments Mandy wrote: "Alexandra aka Auntie J wrote: "Mandy wrote: "Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Whe..."


If you're talking about Amazon (and a lot of other review sites) they collect the reviews with the most thumbs up (positive and negative) and put them at the top. If you want to see all reviews, then it gives them in chronological order.


message 22: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments Mandy wrote: "Hi,

I'm just wondering how reviews are organised. I thought they would simply appear in chronological order, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

When I look at reviews of my first book, reviews..."


Speaking about reviews in general, people who don't like the book are more likely to explain why than people who do. People who do like the book are more likely to give one-word reviews or generic, not-terribly-useful comments like, "This is my absolute favorite book!" (nice pat on the back for the author, but not useful to others trying to decide if they want to read it)


message 23: by Mandy (new)

Mandy Lee | 5 comments Thanks, Wendy.


message 24: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments There's a lot of people here that don't think authors should be reviewing their own books. Why? To bump the average star rating? The author's only one voice. As for myself: yes I review them, if only to get SOMETHING in the "reviews" section. Prime the pump, I hope. And I'm not eBay, I don't give myself five stars just for being adequate enough to publish. I have a very critical internal critic.

Authors reviewing other authors: I've been subscribing to a few "personal development" sites. After a few months, you realize there's this "clique" of big names that seem to be each other's affiliate marketing partners for everything. Every time one of them writes a new book or launches a new seminar series, it gets endorsed by everyone else and I get eight invites for it. I don't think that anybody planned it, but they've formed an informal oligopoly that rules over an defines the "law of attraction" corner of the personal development niche. Has this "cliqueness" hurt any of them? Nope. Could such a clique form in another publishing niche? Theoretically, but unlikely. I haven't seen it outside of subjects that you can give $1,000-per-seat seminars about.


message 25: by Alexandra (new)

Alexandra | 374 comments Wendy wrote: "There's a lot of people here that don't think authors should be reviewing their own books. Why? "

Firstly an author cannot review their own book, if you think they can then you don't really understand what consumer reviews actually are.

What an author is allowed to do on Goodreads (of course NOT allowed on Amazon) is post something in the "review" area, which is the text area for all users to post their thoughts - and is not always necessarily a review.

An author also is allowed to do on Goodreads (of course NOT allowed on Amazon) to rate their own book.

The reason some people don't like author's RATING their own book (see above if you're still wondering why I'm not talking about reviewing) is because:

The author has a clear and obvious bias and financial interest in the product - therefore it is NOT a valid rating from a READER. Some see it as manipulative and deceptive, and very bad form.

Again, I don't personally really have an issue with an author rating their own book on GR, but others really, really do. So much so it will often get that author put on people's automatic Do Not Read lists.

So if an author desires to be wise in PR and would prefer to avoid an easily avoidable thing that causes many to NOT want to read their books my advice would be not to rate their own books.

That's just my advice, as GR allows it clearly authors can do it if they please.


message 26: by Wendy (new)

Wendy Goerl | 137 comments OK, I was using "review" generically and not distinguishing it from "rating." Still, the way a lot of sites handle their review/ratings, there's a big difference between a book that has one rating and the one that has none. Not to mention that one rating can gather comments, which is more feedback for the book--even if it doesn't generate more ratings. You want to take the author's rating/review with a grain of salt, sure.

But to those of you who put and author on a "do not read" list for HONESTLY rating/reviewing their own book, how do you know the author isn't DISHONESTLY reviewing/rating their book under a false or borrowed ID? You're actually REWARDING the authors who are gaming the system by buying reviews and using false names to get ahead.

That's why you never make a decision based on a single review.


message 27: by Jan (new)

Jan Notzon | 212 comments Alexandra wrote: "Wendy wrote: "There's a lot of people here that don't think authors should be reviewing their own books. Why? "

Firstly an author cannot review their own book, if you think they can then you don't..."


Alexandra: Extremely well put!


message 28: by WMD (new)

WMD | 2 comments What I have noticed about review order, that concerns me, is someone writing a troll review, full of extreme trigger words and over the top rants, and then getting tons of comments from people going "did I read the same book as you
?" or arguing or saying "Thanks for warning, I won't read" ...to each comment, the original troll responds, doubling up on the number of comments. So now this trolling review is pinned at the top of this list with 80 comments...it will never be moved and misrepresents and hits trigger words that will drive people away from reading a fine book. And even though tons of people disagreed in the comments, there is no way to easily see the list of comments to get the gestalt impression..other readers can't unlike the review and even if they somehow could, goodreads would prob still count that as a positive and list it at the top.
Really irritating.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 137 comments "Other readers can't unlike the review" - that is incorrect.


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