Monday, January 30, 2017


Image courtesy of [aechan] /

Happy Monday, everyone!

Thank you to all who commented on last week's Monday post. I appreciated your feedback.

Today, I have another issue to share with you and, again, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Here's what happened to me a few weeks ago and I'm still bothered by it.

My novel, I'm With You, has been numerically rated high enough to receive the five full yellow stars on Amazon.

Do you know what stars I'm talking about? The five yellow stars at the top of each book page that show you the overall ranking of a book at a glance.

I'm With You Kindle Edition

 You know what? A full five yellow stars are rare and it was a big deal to me. Huge. 

But suddenly, my five beautiful yellow stars changed to four and a half stars.

Four and a half stars is still a really good rating and one to be proud of.

The thing is, my numerical rating didn't change. I had NOT received a new unfavorable review. As a matter of fact, nothing had changed.


Except my five full yellow stars were gone.

Now, I know this is not the end of the world, but I LOVED having a book with five full yellow stars!! Like I said, it was a big deal to me!!

So, why did my yellow stars change from five to four and a half when there were no new reviews or ratings?

Good question. It didn't make any sense.

So I wrote to Amazon, sure it was some kind of mistake.

Here's the answer I received: 

The overall star rating for a product is determined by a machine-learned model that considers factors such as the age of the review, helpful votes by customers, and whether the reviews are from verified purchasers. Similar machine-learned factors help determine a review’s ranking in the list of reviews.

The system continues to learn which reviews are most helpful to customers and improves the experience over time.


I still don't see why my rating should change when I haven't received a new rating or review???

Should the age of reviews and the amount of likes a review has been given matter to a book's rating? That means anyone can go on Amazon and mark a review helpful or not helpful and mess with the book's star rating.

 And why can't my free-book-in-exchange-for-honest-reviews count?

I know Amazon is doing their best to prevent fake reviews. I appreciate their efforts. But this policy is working against authors.

Then a few days later, I checked my books on Amazon again. This time Sierra suddenly went from four and a half stars to four stars. No new reviews or ratings occurred to change this rating either.

I don't like this policy. It demeans an author's hard work. It says to me, "No matter how good your reviews are, we have other factors we figure in to determine your rating."

I also noticed reviews that stated they'd read my books through Kindle Unlimited--and yet those reviews were NOT counted as verified purchases. I'm going to write to Amazon about that one next.

I'm not sure why this needs to be so complicated. False reviews on a book will not stand the test of time. Eventually there will be a rash of bad reviews on a bad book. It seems as though the system will fix itself in some ways.

Sadly, there's nothing I can do about it. My hands are tied.

So, that's my rant today. Thanks for listening. Now it's off my chest and I'm just not going to worry about it anymore. It is what it is. Moving on.

 I would love to know what you think!


  1. What??? Does that mean our hard work at reviewing doesn't count? I just don't get it, Taylor. More and more rules to follow and then they change things again and because we didn't purchase the book through Amazon, it doesn't count. Sorry to hear your 5 pretty stars are gone.

    1. Right???? It makes no sense and I'm so frustrated with it. I know Amazon is trying to keep reviews on the up and up, but I don't understand this policy at all!!!! Thanks for stopping by, Laura.

  2. That is ridiculous. It's just like Google and page views. You can't win! They better not be changing our reviews of your books!

    1. I hope they don't do that either, Christy! I'm frustrated with the entire process. Why can't it just be straightforward?

  3. I can understand an author's frustration and I am disappointed that our reviews can be discounted so easily. Just because we got a free book doesn't mean we are 'bought'. There are a lot of fabulous books I would have never read if I didn't get them for free and that is how I meet a lot of new to me authors I never would have met otherwise. I don't know the answer to fake reviews, but I don't believe this is it.
    sherry @ fundinmental

    1. I don't believe this is it either, Sherry. There has to be a better way to control reviews. I don't know what the answer is either. But something stinks about the entire system as it stands. I don't like that readers' reviews or an author's hard work can be so easily discounted. Thanks for weighing in with your thoughts!