5 Star Average Rating! (my foot)

I am probably the worst nightmare of other authors: click on all their links — not because I’m curious about their book — but because I’m curious as to why someone would be interested in their work. I like to troll around on Amazon and see what people are buying, read a few reviews, and just get an overall sense of what’s out there.

Of course, in doing so, I often find myself shaking my head at the types of books and types of hype which is used to sell books.

I saw on Twitter someone advertising a book which had a “5-star rating average.” My first thought was, wow, it must be some book. My follow-up thought was that there must be something wrong with this picture – no book with any amount of stars maintains a 5-star rating. I had to find out, so I clicked on the link, found myself on their amazon page, and sure enough, the book had an average 5.0 star rating. Here’s the break-down:

1 Review = 5 Stars

That’s it. Now it was a verified purchase review, so that’s at least something.

But come on, are we fudging the facts just a bit? I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable in saying that in an advertisement. It worked, in that it at least got me to click on the link and look at the author’s book, but …

Hey, I understand. Advertising is tough. The market is saturated and you want to use every trick available to grab someone’s attention. But still – is that the best you can do? Even if I was interested in the topic of the book (which I wasn’t), I wouldn’t have bought it because of such an underhanded tactic.

I’ve been advertising my latest novel, The Reach of the Banyan Tree, at 4.8 stars on 22 reviews. In my opinion, that’s enough independent reviews to get a sense of how readers are accepting the work. I’m comfortable in promoting that. But 1 at 5?

Come on, authors, we can do better than that.

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