Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?

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Why Did Amazon Delete My Book Reviews

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

All new self-published authors are thrilled to get a few great book reviews but are shocked if or when their book reviews are deleted by Amazon.

“Why were my Amazon reviews deleted?”

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

However, there are two main areas that cause the most problems for both positive and negative reviews. Paid book 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. It states:

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.

But Amazon is well aware of the practice and takes action quite quickly.

If you are tempted to buy book reviews, you could be taking an expensive risk.

 

Too many reviews for too few sales

Amazon also looks for a sudden influx of positive reviews that are well in excess of what would normally be expected from the number of Amazon verified purchases for the books.

If you have only sold five copies of your book over a month, and you suddenly receive twenty-five new five star reviews in the space of a week, Amazon will treat this as suspicious.

It will probably consider them as possible paid or fake reviews and may start deleting some of these new reviews.

Very few readers leave reviews on Amazon, 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 or for free books.

You can use gift cards to attract reviews, but there are some drawbacks to this method.

When reviews start coming in well above an expected average rate, Amazon will take a look, and then examine the legitimacy of your book reviews.

 

Reviews from close friends will almost always be deleted

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

Firstly, Amazon states that is does not accept reviews from an Amazon customer who is classed as an immediate family member of the author or publisher:

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

However, the following clause about Amazon products is what causes the most problems for authors:

… 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, Amazon can check this very easily. There is very little privacy on the Internet. So a lot of your data on Facebook and Twitter and other social media platforms is available for Amazon to access and scan.

Therefore, it is easy for Amazon to cross-check your friend list, followers and any other form of social connection that might be connected to a book review.

If you have asked someone on Facebook or Twitter, who is also an Amazon customer to give your book a nice book review, be prepared for the review to be deleted quite quickly.

Amazon’s data reach is enormous and perhaps even bordering on draconian. It doesn’t seem fair at all. But I know from first-hand experience that some of my readers have even been barred from adding a review to my books because they are in contact with me on social media.

Another connection to lost reviews can be commenters on your blog. I can’t prove this. But again, it is data that is in the public domain so it is very easy for Amazon to access and cross-check. If you have your blog feed connected to your Author Central page, it would also make it very easy for Amazon to cross-check.

I have heard from a few authors who believe this might be the reason why they lost some reviews.

 

Amazon checks all reviews

You need to know and understand that Amazon can and does check your online connections in relation to your book reviews, and can classify these as close friends.

Asking other authors is also a way to possibly have a review deleted because any other author publishing on Amazon is classed as a person selling on Amazon. Because of this, they can be precluded from adding reviews to any associated products.

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 of the book market today.

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.

When it happens and you contact Amazon customer service, you will most likely get a copy and paste reply telling you to read the terms and conditions. Don’t expect to get a reason or explanation as to why your reviews were deleted.

It is frustrating, but with over one million new Kindle ebooks being published every year now, Amazon is not going to spend much time answering every complaint about deleted book reviews.

 

Learn how to you CAN add reviews to your book

If you have a professional review, or reviews you have received from other sources, you can add these to your book on Amazon. and they will not be deleted.

You can do this by using your Amazon Author Page to add editorial reviews to both your Kindle version and paperback.

Read our short article on How to fix Amazon Reviews using your Author page and you will be able to publish your reviews to your book’s sales page.

 

Further reading: Policy Change On Amazon Book Reviews Updated With $50 Minimum

 

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Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

24 thoughts on “Why Did My Amazon Reviews Get Deleted From My Book?

  • July 20, 2018 at 4:28 pm
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    I have had this happen to me recently, on several of my books. The first time, I lost reviews off of the first books in both my series. Now it was one from the second book of one of the series. The only thing I can think of is someone I’m “in contact with” on social media. No one I know personally. I’ve never swapped reviews. I’ve never bought reviews. Heck, I can’t even GET most of my friends to take the time to read my books, let alone review them. But this thing about people you’re “in contact with” on social media somehow equating to “friends”? WTH, Amazon?

    One of the whole points about being active on social media as an author is to interact with readers. Answer questions. Engage in conversations. Whatever. It’s a way to get your name out there without a lot of expensive marketing tactics that most indie authors I know can’t afford. If suddenly that becomes a qualification for getting your reviews yanked, where does that leave us? I have NO IDEA how to get reviews…so when 1 of the 16 paltry reviews I have on one of my books gets yanked for no apparent reason, it really ticks me off. Ugh. AND it was likely from about 4 years ago, because I haven’t gotten any new reviews on that particular book in about that long. Suddenly it’s a problem?

    Reply
  • April 5, 2018 at 1:35 am
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    Amazon has started deleting 5 and 4 star reviews from my two best selling books. These have been out for years. Both got a Newbery Honor and one the National Book Award. I don’t do any marketing, I never ask friends for a review because I think that’s tacky, and I don’t do giveaways. Suspicious? You betcha.

    Reply
  • December 5, 2017 at 8:18 am
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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
    • July 20, 2018 at 4:31 pm
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      People leaving 1-star ratings on Goodreads to mark books they want to read REALLY ticks me off. When you don’t have many ratings to begin with, one 1-star will really screw up the book’s rating. I think readers are oblivious to this fact…and I don’t know how to change it.

      Reply
  • November 28, 2017 at 10:29 pm
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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.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2017 at 8:59 pm
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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.

    Reply
  • July 7, 2016 at 3:46 am
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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.

    Reply
  • April 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm
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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.

    Reply
  • March 5, 2016 at 5:07 am
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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.

    Reply
    • March 5, 2016 at 11:04 am
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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.

      Reply
  • February 12, 2016 at 8:10 pm
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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.

    Reply
    • July 10, 2018 at 5:38 pm
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      My ebook is $0.99 for the first two weeks. I bought 70 and asked on a facebook group (within the book’s niche) if people wanted to write an honest review. People sent me their email addresses and I sent them the book. When they redeem it, it’s a verified purchase. And I don’t know them personally. It helped me get 20 reviews in the first week for my first book, “What Does A Princess Really Look Like?”

      I did realize that people still will give you a better review than if you weren’t the one sending them the book. At least I imagine. Because everyone gave me 5 stars… and that doesn’t seem realistic.

      Reply
  • February 4, 2016 at 5:36 pm
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    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?

    Reply
    • February 4, 2016 at 7:57 pm
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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.

      Reply
      • April 24, 2018 at 12:37 pm
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        Review Swap is also against the rules. Just so you know. So you’re basically screwed no matter what you do.

        Reply

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