America's Next Author uses an Author Ranking system that calculates each author's position based on a large number of different factors. These include online or social media activity and reviews or votes cast on each author's page. This article outlines how the system works and answers common questions.
How often will the Author Ranking be updated? Author rankings will be updated several times a week -- almost every day. Remember: Each week you will start with a clean slate. How is my rank determined? Author rankings are determined by a combination of several factors. We cannot tell you exactly which and by what measure, because that would allow contestants to manipulate the results. America's Next Author is a social writing contest, which naturally means that your popularity plays a large role. We consider data from social media like Twitter and Facebook, as well as the votes cast on the America's Next Author website. In short: if you manage to activate your fans, friends, and family to spread your story, you have a better chance of securing a nomination. However, the sheer number of Facebook likes, Tweets, and reviews is not all that's considered, so you won't see stories ranked based on those numbers alone. So I just need to collect 5-star reviews and a lot of Facebook likes to get a top rank? We are quite proud of the inner workings of our ranking system, because it will "learn" over time to recognize patterns and identify people who write quality reviews. That's why we reward readers for writing four or more reviews with the chance of winning an iPad or eReader.
Low quality reviews will not be taken into account for the final results. For example, if someone were to quickly write four 5-star reviews with one line of text, or four 1-star reviews with short complaints, those would not count towards rankings or win an eReader. My ranking so far isn't great. I didn't even make it into the top 100. I might as well forget about this. Writing is often about being patient or even stubborn: make sure that your author page is in top shape, keep promoting your page, and you will see that the work will pay off. And don't forget: there are twelve nominations to be earned, so this isn't determined in one day or week. If anything, you will learn a lot from the reviews that people write and other feedback you receive.
Also: during the contest we will be adding several extra features that will help readers discover your story or offer you new ways of presenting yourself and your story. I think my story is great, but I don't have a lot of fans. How can I win? The sheer number of fans isn't a guarantee for success or a nomination. But we can't deny that having a lot of fans does help in being noticed (which is exactly the way the publishing industry works: with a lot of potential readers your chances of becoming a popular author do increase!) This is where the jury comes in -- besides the eight weekly nominees who are determined by our ranking system, our jury will try to find amazing stories that didn't yet get a nomination. I've noticed that a participant is writing negative reviews. What should I do? Good luck to anyone who tries to post 1-star reviews for ALL other contestants! ;) That's a very ineffective way of trying to influence the system. With thousands of people voting and over ten different factors determining the ranking, we'd suggest putting that energy into actually promoting your own story!
And don't forget: at the beginning of each round, all rankings are reset and start from scratch. Anyone who has been working hard to manipulate results via negative reviews will have to start all over again.
We do understand that it can be frustrating to see someone doing this. Our system is set up in such a way that unnatural voting or reviewing is simply removed from influencing the ranking in any way. We do not give feedback to reviewers about their actions, because it would give them an indication whether or not we're onto them.
Only if someone crosses the line by posting insults, bad language etc. will we remove those reviews and block their account. If a participant writes such unacceptable reviews, we will remove them from competition without further discussion. I have reported someone trying to scam this contest but I didn't hear back. Why? We take all reported fraud attempts seriously, but do not correspond or discuss these cases afterwards. I have a lot of friends who voted and posted favorable reviews for my story and still I'm not in the top 10. How is that possible? The fact that we receive questions like this AND at the same time get questions from worried people who haven't received many reviews or votes shows that our ranking actually works. There is not one magic trick to win a nomination, as you can see by looking through the different authors who are currently ranked in the top 20 positions.