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Agony Aunt > Rating Rant

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message 1: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Over the last few days, I've noticed that I've picked up a couple of 5 star ratings (no reviews unfortunately) for two of my books. I'm certainly not complaining and I'm happy to take anything I get but, on examining the ratings given by these people I spotted that they have left dozens if not hundreds of ratings all on the same day. Unless they're a prolific reader par excellence, this can't be genuine, but I'm struggling to see what the angle is. Anyone else noticed this?


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments Could they be new to goodreads, perhaps? Or been on a while and just now decided to mark their read books?

I know when I first joined I marked a shed load of books I'd read over my lifetime in a couple of days. Those I could remember reading, anyway.


message 3: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "Could they be new to goodreads, perhaps? Or been on a while and just now decided to mark their read books?

I know when I first joined I marked a shed load of books I'd read over my lifetime in a c..."


You may well be right, Patti. Perhaps I'm being cynical. It just seems odd that it's happened with two different people over the past couple of days.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments I'm sure there are hundreds of new users every week.


message 5: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments I noticed that too, Philip, but it appeared to be from someone who had just joined and was conscientiously putting everything they had read on the correct shelves and marking as they went along.

I decided it was a good thing!

What we need is some sly, cynical, devious sort of person to think of a bad reason. Or a crime writer (they're not the same thing, really they're not!)


message 6: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "I noticed that too, Philip, but it appeared to be from someone who had just joined and was conscientiously putting everything they had read on the correct shelves and marking as they went along.

..."


;-)


T4bsF (Call me Flo) (Time4bedsaidFlorence) | 6794 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "I noticed that too, Philip, but it appeared to be from someone who had just joined and was conscientiously putting everything they had read on the correct shelves and marking as they went along.

..."

Ha-ha ;-)


message 8: by Joo (new)

Joo (Jooo) | 1638 comments Or they'd read lots of books and marked them but were on a remote desert island somewhere and on getting back to civilisation, they connected their kindle to the internet and voila, lots of ratings on the same day.


message 9: by Philip (last edited Jun 29, 2017 02:06PM) (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Joo wrote: "Or they'd read lots of books and marked them but were on a remote desert island somewhere and on getting back to civilisation, they connected their kindle to the internet and voila, lots of ratings..."

Yes, that would be it Joo


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments Joo wrote: "Or they'd read lots of books and marked them but were on a remote desert island somewhere and on getting back to civilisation, they connected their kindle to the internet and voila, lots of ratings..."

Ah, hadn't thought of that scenario!


message 11: by Will (new)

Will Once (WillOnce) | 4003 comments I've seen a thing where people write lots of reviews in order to boost their Amazon reviewer rankings. Apparently, if you review lots of things you get a ranking which helps to get you into the top 100 of reviewers. And if you get that, companies send you lots of free stuff to review.

I could be wrong. I often am. But this may be a thing.


message 12: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Aha Will! Yes, I've heard this too. But in my case the rating was on Goodreads only. Actually, it's happened a couple of times here on GR. And, like Philip, I'm not complaining, I need all the five star ratings I can get!

I like to think that these wonderful people are very good at choosing books and only choose ones they find 'amazing'. How nice to be like that in life.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments If some people use the ratings thingy simply to mark their books as read, which I'm sure they do, I hope they'd use the fifth star, not the first.

But we certainly can't dictate how people use goodreads nor Amazon.

No harm in having a wee moan, though.


message 14: by Will (new)

Will Once (WillOnce) | 4003 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Aha Will! Yes, I've heard this too. But in my case the rating was on Goodreads only. Actually, it's happened a couple of times here on GR. And, like Philip, I'm not complaining, I need all the five..."

Anna - Goodreads is owned by Amazon.


message 15: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments I know I'm cynical but these days, when something odd happens, I always look for the angle. It seems to me that people are endlessly inventive at gaming the system, as we saw with dear old Authonomy and usually with the same results.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments What happened with Authonomy?


message 17: by Anna Faversham (last edited Jun 30, 2017 01:35AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments @Will - yes, I know it is and when A bought G I'd hoped that they'd standardize their ratings, but they haven't yet. So I doubt that Goodreads' ratings count towards getting freebies via Amazon. I think they are sufficiently disconnected possibly even autonomous.

I wish they had put the five star reviews on Amazon too!

@Philip - As no crime writers or detectives have come to our aid we could try for an auditor's mind on this. Any out there?


message 18: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 23930 comments Goodreads ratings don't count towards Amazon rankings. You have to produce Amazon reviews and even then, there's some complex algorithm which takes into account not merely the number, but the 'likes' they get - on Amazon only. And the 'Vine Voice' thing, by which you get free stuff to review, isn't connected to reviewer rankings at all.


message 19: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Oh the wonder of Amazon!


message 20: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "What happened with Authonomy?"

The idea was that you posted your book and it was then read by your peers. The books that had the most 'reads' in a given month would make it to the top of the chart and would be reviewed by the staff at Harper Collins. Although it started off well and some very deserving books made it to the Editor's Desk, it quickly descended into a marketplace in which 'reads' were traded (I'll say I've 'read' yours if you say you've 'read' mine).


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments Ah, so it was a way for Harper Collins to get free reading of the slush pile done for them.

Shame it was gamed as some authors could really have benefitted.


message 22: by Anna Faversham (last edited Jun 30, 2017 10:07AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Can't fool you can they, Patti?

I never joined! It all seemed a bit iffy by the time I took a look at it.


message 23: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Can't fool you can they, Patti?

I never joined! It all seemed a bit iffy by the time I took a look at it."


It was very good at the beginning. It taught me a lot about marketing, and fostered a strong sense of community. I'm still in touch with a number of authors I met there.


message 24: by Anna Faversham (last edited Jun 30, 2017 11:10AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Did you know about YouWriteOn which I believe and hope is still going? It used to be funded by the Arts Council and I made such good friends there.

And I see you contributed to A Splendid Salmagundi. Was that through KUF?


message 25: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Did you know about YouWriteOn which I believe and hope is still going? It used to be funded by the Arts Council and I made such good friends there.

And I see you contributed to A Splendid Salmagun..."


Rings a bell, but not much more. I heard about Salmagundi through this group.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments A Splendid Salmagundi is one of our group compilations, Anna.


message 27: by Jim (new)

Jim | 18878 comments It happened very soon after I joined


message 28: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (AliciaButcherEhrhardt) | 2854 comments Kath wrote: "Goodreads ratings don't count towards Amazon rankings. You have to produce Amazon reviews and even then, there's some complex algorithm which takes into account not merely the number, but the 'like..."

And whether they were written by 'verified purchaser,' ie, someone who bought the book on Amazon. Now those reviews also require that the person who bought the book on Amazon has purchase $50 worth of goods there. In other words, they're trying to get you reviews from actual readers and buyers.


message 29: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (AliciaButcherEhrhardt) | 2854 comments Philip wrote: "Patti (baconater) wrote: "What happened with Authonomy?"

The idea was that you posted your book and it was then read by your peers. The books that had the most 'reads' in a given month would make ..."


The other problem was that if you won, the prize was a contract with, possibly, the big publisher - with a lot of further conditions attached. So the authors faced uphill battles at every stage.


message 30: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 23930 comments The £50/$50 rule doesn't apply to books, though.


message 31: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Well remembered, Kath!


message 32: by Kath (new)

Kath Middleton | 23930 comments Memory like an elephant! With a knot in its trunk!


message 33: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments The best I seem to manage is to look blank, light up, say 'Ah I remember', then forget again.


message 34: by Pam (new)

Pam Baddeley | 2111 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Can't fool you can they, Patti?

I never joined! It all seemed a bit iffy by the time I took a look at it."


I joined then decided it was a dodge by the publishers to farm out the slush pile and was going to be gamed so didn't post anything on it.


message 35: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments Pam - you said it!


message 36: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Well, as I said before, for all its faults, I met some great people and learned a lot about the need to proactively market a book.


message 37: by Anna Faversham (new)

Anna Faversham (AnnaFaversham) | 1266 comments And that's a very large silver lining to any cloud.


message 38: by Rosen (last edited Oct 12, 2017 06:01AM) (new)

Rosen Trevithick (rosentrevithick) | 2266 comments Sometimes people (ab)use the rating system to mark books they want to read, rather than those they want to read. (Goodreads themselves told me that when I got ratings for a book that wasn't even published).


message 39: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Rosen wrote: "Sometimes people (ab)use the rating system to mark books they want to read, rather than those they want to read. (Goodreads themselves told me that when I got ratings for a book that wasn't even pu..."

How odd!


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments And as I said earlier, no one can dictate how someone chooses to use the site.

Sorry authors, but 99.9% of readers really don't give a damn about your ratings and review numbers.

I hope that places like our group are helping to inform people but we're a tiny drop in the bucket.


message 41: by Jim (new)

Jim | 18878 comments Remember that ratings and reviews are irrelevant until somebody has actually found your book on Amazon (or wherever)

According to the Bowker self publishing report, the number of self published books produced a year increased from 85,468 in 2008 to 458,564 in 2013.
This increased to 625,327 in 2015.


message 42: by Patsy (new)

Patsy Collins | 178 comments You're right, Jim. Great reviews and ratings are no help until someone is already looking at our book's page on Amazon (or wherever). The won't on their own help sell books.


message 43: by Jim (new)

Jim | 18878 comments I'd say the best use of social media is not saying 'buy my book.' (Although with a group like this where authors are allowed to mention new publications it is sensible to keep people uptodate with what's going on)

In theory I'd suggest the best use of social media is drop such gems of wit and erudition into conversations people frantically check your profile to see if you've written any books they are now desperate to buy ;-)


message 44: by Philip (new)

Philip Whiteland | 2765 comments Jim wrote: "Remember that ratings and reviews are irrelevant until somebody has actually found your book on Amazon (or wherever)

According to the Bowker self publishing report, the number of self published bo..."


Strewth! I know that when I released my first book on Kindle, which was pre-2008, I was selling 40+ books a day. I didn't realise, then, that this was unusual.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments Jim wrote: "Remember that ratings and reviews are irrelevant until somebody has actually found your book on Amazon (or wherever)

According to the Bowker self publishing report, the number of self published bo..."


And there's an awful lot of dross out there.


message 46: by Jim (new)

Jim | 18878 comments Philip wrote: "Strewth! I know that when I released my first book on Kindle, which was pre-2008, I was selling 40+ books a day. I didn't realise, then, that this was unusual. ..."

I saw some figures which reckoned that most self published authors sell not more than twenty copies of their book in total. That being the number of family and friends who can be inveigled into buying it


message 47: by Jim (new)

Jim | 18878 comments Patti (baconater) wrote: "And there's an awful lot of dross out there. ..."
oh there is

But the problem is, what is dross? I suspect that you and I would have pretty much the same definition. So whilst I don't like Stephen King, I would never call his books dross.

But there are books out there I call dross which are selling in serious numbers. Somebody sent me the link to on book by a US indie writer I'd never heard of that sold more copies in a day than mine sell in a year
It probably wasn't dross but it really needed serious work with an editor
But was selling in serious quantities.
And it wasn't porn/erotica either


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments It's beyond me why anyone would spend money on a book with serious editing issues.


message 49: by Patsy (new)

Patsy Collins | 178 comments The problems aren't always obvious at point of sale, Patti.

But some books have so many errors that a quick glimpse at 'look inside' reveals spelling, grammar and formatting errors and they still seem to be selling, so that's not the whole reason.


Patti (baconater) (Goldengreene) | 61366 comments Yep, I never buy a book without doing the look inside thing anymore.

I'm sure that feature really helped to reduce the number of returns Amazon was getting.

The cynic in me is whispering that some authors game their sales somehow, but I can't see how that would be a benefit in the long run.


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