This post was inspired (and informed) by Brian Schwartz at ReviewerPerks.com. He noticed that the link I was sending out to friends and family, encouraging them to pre-order my book, included a QID#, and that any reviews that were posted with this QID# might get flagged and taken down by the Amazon bots.
To which I said: “huh?” What’s a QID#?
The QID# Explained
The QID#, I know now, is a snippet of code included in any link you copy from Amazon. It’s the series of numbers that comes right after “qid=” and apparently it tracks where, when and from whom (meaning whose Amazon account) the link was copied. Here’s what a link to my book looks like (as copied from within my Amazon account).
I highlighted the QID# there, so you can see it.
Why It Matters
What Brian pointed out to me is that Amazon can use this code to draw connections between book reviewers and the authors they are reviewing.
If your reviewer has ever logged in from the same IP address as you, or if you’ve ever bought your reviewer a gift, Amazon might assume your reviewer is a close acquaintance and pull down the review. The assumption here is the review is too biased if it comes from someone close to you.
This can be really unfortunate for those of us collecting early reviews, as friends and family are often included in our first rounds of readers.
What To Do About It
The solution is to send a clean, anonymous, url code. One without the QID# in it. The basic format includes your ISBN and looks like this:
So for my book, the anonymous link looks like this:
You can click on that link and pre-order my book without any fear of Amazon pulling your review. (That was a not-too-subtle hint, by the way, the book is available for pre-order and you should totally click that link.)
ISBN vs ASIN
Your ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is the unique number assigned to your book so that sales can be tracked. If you intend to sell any hard copy version of you book, you will need an ISBN. Your publisher will take care of getting this number. If you’re self-publishing, check out self-publishingschool.com to learn more than you ever wanted to know about ISBNs and how to get one.
E-books sold on Amazon will be given an ASBN (Amazon Standard Book Number). Here’s what the product details for the Kindle version of my book looks like:
Notice that instead of an ISBN, there is an ASIN. This number can be used in place of the ISBN when you’re sending out an anonymous link to family and friends. Here’s what the link to the e-book version of my novel looks like:
If you click on that, you’ll get taken to the sales page for the Kindle version of my book, but Amazon won’t know I sent you.
So there you have it. Go ahead and ask your friends and family for early reviews, but make sure you send them an anonymous link so Amazon doesn’t take down their comments.