The problem with reviews is that they are meaningless. Not to the writer - of course, but to the person giving the product consideration. 10K people could rave about how magnificent my book is, BUT, that doesn't mean YOU will agree. Sure, the odds are in my favor but so what? I'd like this silly corporate game to go away.
I'm including an excellent blog from a fellow author. I hope you will sign the petition mentioned in the article.
Amazon Steps in as Big Brother - Posted on July 7, 2015 by Administrators
Originally posted on the INDIES UNLIMITED WEBSITE. GuestPost by Brenda Perlin
Even though I am an author, I still love reading books of my choice and enjoy the luxury of being able to leave an appropriate review. I know how nice it feels to receive a positive one myself. More than that I do feel good writing should be rewarded. You can see this by my Amazon top reviewer raking which is 1,746 at the moment. Seems I have left 633 reviews on Amazon since June 27, 2012.
Last month while I was trying to leave a review for a smashing new release, one that I paid for and indeed read, I was told by Amazon via email that my review was removed because it didn’t follow the Amazon guidelines. I scratched my head. Did I use any strong language? Give away too much information? I couldn’t imagine what I did wrong until the Amazon review moderator got back to me via email explaining that as a reviewer you must NOT know the author. They stated that, and I quote, “We are unable to post your review because your account activity indicates that you know the author. We encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature.” That blew me away. I mean, most of us indie authors know each other in one form or another. Mostly we know each other from social media. I mean, isn’t that why SOCIAL MEDIA got its name?
I tried to explain to them that I did not know this particular author. I bought and read the book. There was no malice but I might as well been talking to a great big concrete wall. It was like having a conversation with robots? Maybe the robots have taken over the Amazon hemisphere because there was no humanity or reasoning with this so called “review appeals board.”
I have noticed that I am not the first reviewer to have experienced this very same problem. Author Christopher Fischer writes on his blog that he “woke up to this message:
Hello from Amazon.com We are writing to inform you that we have removed your review privileges and suppressed all of your reviews. Any new reviews written will automatically be suppressed. We took this action because you have failed to comply with our review guidelines and manipulated product reviews. For detailed information on the guidelines, please visit: ”
Personally, I have lost excellent reviews to my books because these authors suffered the same penalty as I have. What a shame because some of those reviews were the most insightful ones that I have received. My biggest fear is not being able to review any of the books I read and that would be a real shame because like I said, good writing deserves good reviews.
At the moment there are three authors I’m aware of that I am not permitted to review, even though I don’t know them any more than the other authors that are sharing their books on the Internet.
This has gotten so bad that author Jas T. Ward even started a petition to get Amazon to Change the “You Know This Author” Policy. It already has over 6500 signatures on it. Amazon has become Big Brother and it doesn’t seem as if they are going to change their handling of this anytime soon.
Brenda Perlin is an independent contemporary fiction author of five titles and numerous short stories. From memoirs to illustrated books, Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book in the Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfillment. Learn more about Brenda on her website and her Author Central page.
Amazon has a monopoly on the sale and printing of books and really an author has no choice but to list their book there. There are so many reasons for this that I won't bore you with. Suffice to say that if you want to sell your book you MUST list it with them and be subject to all the arbitrary games they play.
Authors are in desperate need of reviews about their books because it helps to raise chances of more sales. But here is the thing. No one wants to write reviews. Not one of my family members has ever even written a review for me. Have you noticed lately that everything you purchase on the internet results in you receiving an email to rate the product or tell of your experience? I rarely respond anymore because I believe this is spam (defined as unwanted email usually of a commercial nature sent out in bulk.)