A while back, I was involved in a discussion on the nature and desire for reviews with other self-published/indie authors. A common theme was that any rating below four stars (using the Amazon rating system as the barometer) was a drag on the book’s appeal.
The conversation was lively and ran the gamut from “all reviews are valuable” to “only five-star ratings are helpful”. I’m in the former camp and also firmly believe that three stars marks a “good” rating (and not neutral, as some suggest).
In reality, absent trolling behavior, all reviews will be beneficial within Amazon’s format (the higher the count, the better chance to trigger additional Amazon marketing programs) and for the potential reader (the wider the range of opinions, the more informed the decision that can be made).
Recently, I received my first review for What Now? This must have been from one of the giveaway copies, since the regular edition is not up for sale (I think). The rating on the review was three stars, but the review stated the reader wanted to buy the first and second books based on what they read in the third.
That’s proof enough to me that there is no definitive “cut-off” for a useful review. As the first review of the book, What Now? currently stands with an “overall” rating of 3. The review, however, clearly suggests that reader thought “3” was a good rating…good enough to buy the other two books.
I’m happy that the reader was happy and I’m equally happy to take three out of five anytime, especially with sentiments as in this review.