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: http://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines.”
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.
127 thoughts on “Amazon Steps in as Big Brother”
Great post, Brenda. Hope the petition works, but …
Thank you Mary Ann. So good of Christoph and Jas to take action too. I knew Indies Unlimited would want to do this to help us all! It doesn’t hurt to talk about it and work on a new plan. Change is always around the corner and of course we have little control over it but if we can make a difference then I am so in!
Looks like Amazon will push authors to remove all those “friends” link now.
Friend? Just because I clicked yes to people who’ve read and liked my books? Get real, “friend” in FB and goodreads doesn’t mean we share meal and go on holiday together (or we have even ever spoke face to face in our lifetime or in the future.
It seems to me the classic mindless knee-jerk solution to a problem that creates instead a new one.
DON’T send me friends requests, please.
No joke. Haha. I won’t send you a friend request if you don’t send me one. Hey aren’t we friends? Hahahahahaha
I know how intractable Amazon can be. Years ago, I had two one-star reviews from readers who were angry because they weren’t able to download my book to their Kindles. I tried to get Amazon to remove these reviews without success. They told me they want their customers to be able to review the products they receive. I pointed out to them that these two customers never received my “product.” As you said, a concrete wall.
It’s so frustrating when you have a legit complaint.
I am grateful to Amazon for allowing us to publish our books though this is so unfair. It’s always a win in their favor, so it seems.
I can relate Helen.
-wince- Thanks for this timely post. I’ve been meaning to take screenshots of the my reviews because each one is precious. Better do it sooner rather than later. 🙁
Still it’s a real shame thy we should lose our reviews from Amazon. We earned them, right?
Thanks so much!
I blogged about this a few weeks ago, though I’ve yet to receive one of those dreaded emails myself. (Guess it pays to always be behind in my reading.) And yes, Amazon’s boilerplate language always makes me want to take up a pitchfork and a mob and go storming somewhere. But since I don’t know where to take that pitchfork, I vote with my feet instead and make sure I’m out on the other retailers. Last month I had sales on Nook, Kobo, Smashwords, and even (shockingly) Google Play. It felt good.
I am glad you have been able to get sales without Amazon. This might start a trend. We may work for cheap (a win win for Amazon) but we deserve some humanity.
Good wishes to you Sandra with your books!
That is such garbage. Amazon is becoming less and less appealing as an outlet. I’ll sign the petition. Hypocrites: they have reviewers who receive products for free consistently, and offer excellent reviews just because they got them for free. I know a reviewer who only offers five stars to everything she gets for free for fear of losing her status. How they can justify burning authors like this is total BS.
I am so with you. It’s getting impossible. sadly.
I’ve had reviews written for my books that have never been posted by Amazon because I “knew” the reviewer. Maybe a strategy for authors is to find potential reviewers on Amazon or Goodreads that one doesn’t know (perhaps from a Goodreads giveaway) and then offer them a free book for an honest review, including in the exchange an explanation of the situation. I’ve never been notified by Amazon about my reviews, though. I hope I continue to have that freedom because I enjoy reviewing. I review a diversity of products. I wonder if that helps?
Tried that and it seems there is no reasoning with Big Brother, I mean Amazon. Thanks.
“…because your account activity indicates that you know the author.”
Just curious – have you been able to determine what they meant by this? Was it through your Amazon account activity? Maybe through Goodreads? I doubt they can legally look at outside social media accounts (like Facebook or LinkedIn). If so, it’s probably best to tighten up our privacy settings.
I honestly have no idea. I mean, I have been able to keep reviews from some people that I have met in person. Those reviews have stayed.
It could be mentions in the book (I doubt it) or Twitter or FB. I don’t see the connection but most of the people I review on Amazon I have met from social media. Doesn’t mean they are pals. It’s gotten really pathetic, to say the least.
I wonder about this too. Just how far are they willing to go down this rabbit hole? Is there an Amazon Joe McCarthy investigating reviewers and authors for un-Amazonian activities like book clubs and discussion groups? Signings? Blogs?
As Indies we do our best to support our fellow authors by following, liking, and commenting. This does not mean we have a relationship to each other. Amazon needs to wake up to how our system works. Publishing is not like other businesses. It cannot and should not be treated in the same manner. Now I wonder what will help me more – the connections I have made on social media or the reviews I get on Amazon. It seems we are being forced to choose.
BTW I signed that petition and left a comment a while back.
Thank you Yvonne. Yes, it seems like we need to make a choice but honestly I don’t think that will even make a difference. One person I reviewed for and the review was taken down wasn’t even a person I had had contact with. It’s quite unsettling.
Interesting post, Brenda. Every time I hear about one of these situations it spooks me a bit. This is because the situation seems arbitrary and yes, even a bit big brotherish.
One thing I’ve noticed is that there seems to be two scenarios. The first is your situation, where Amazon deletes as many as a handful or two of reviews and doesn’t allow the reviewer to review books by specific authors. The second scenario is what happened with Mr Fischer who you mentioned above where Amazon deletes all of a reviewers reviews and revokes their review privileges entirely. Although I think it happens to others, all the instances of either one I remember hearing about were authors.
I’ve seen statements from Amazon (or at least what someone said they’d received from Amazon) saying that authors are not forbidden from writing reviews as long as they were within Amazon’s review guidelines.
How Amazon picks reviews to delete in the first scenario is a mystery. I’ve theorized it might be using Facebook if a reviewer has allowed Amazon access, but think there has to be more than that. If the book you reviewed is a competitor (in the same genre as yours) that might make a difference. Goodreads is another place Amazon might be able to look and think they see a connection. Or if author A reviews author B’s book and author B reviews A’s book, they might suspect a connection. (They might even pick up on something like A reviewing B who reviews C who reviews A and think it is suspect, I don’t know.) But as close-mouthed as Amazon is about their algorithms (and this is almost certainly based on programmatic logic of some kind) the reviewer is always left wondering why one review was deleted and another wasn’t.
In the second scenario where all reviews are deleted, although Amazon never comments, there are almost always allegations that come out that at least on the surface, if true, justify Amazon’s actions which is rarely the case in your situation In the case of Mr Fischer, there were multiple posters who commented on a post about his situation at The Passive Voice blog. They posted anonymously, so apply as many grains of salt as you think appropriate, but they claimed he was involved in a secret review swapping scheme with other historical fiction authors who reviewed each others books and also upvoted the reviews of the others in the group (another data point that wouldn’t prove a relationship, but might be one item Amazon considers in building a case).
I’ll add that another data point that might trigger their algorithm is if the author has gifted the reviewer something whether the actual book, a gift card, or something else.
It’s all too much to ponder. Makes my head spin really, Al. I just don’t see a great connection. I always (well, 99% of the time) buy the books on my own.
Amazon knows what they are doing but much of it doesn’t seem logical. I guess they are trying to control a system that has been running out of control. There did need to be changes, just not in this way.
Very good comments Al. Thank you!
3 Actions for Authors:
– Sell your book EVERYWHERE, not only on Amazon – for a yearly fee you can have your books submitted to dozens of retailers & you keep 100% of your sales proceeds, e.g. ebookPartnership.com
– Be more active on Goodreads to get more reviews
– copy and paste each review as soon as it appears on Amazon, save it to your folders and if Amazon pulls them, just display on your website / blog
My 2 cents : )
THANKS for the blog article / warning
That is good sense though it is sad that we can’t keep or write the reviews with Amazon. The place that mos tof us bought the books. Very very unsettling. But yes, we have to go with the flow and make it work as best we can.
I’m sorry that happened to you, Brenda.
I wonder whether we’ll have to start including disclaimers in our reviews. Pick one:
a. I was provided a copy by the author in exchange for an honest review.
b. The author gifted me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
c. The author sent me a gift card, but I used it for something else.
d. I bought this with my own money because it looked interesting. I don’t know the author from Adam/Eve.
e. Yes, all of my reviews on Amazon are 5 stars. I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.
f. Can’t a mom support her kid?
P.S. I signed that petition. I know a number of authors who have lost legitimate reviews.
At least a couple of those disclaimers are legally required, if true, Lynne. 🙂
I know a. is, for sure, Al. 🙂
They are required, but hardly Constitutional.
You’re joking, right Malcolm? :/
Haha. I love F. And E is pretty darn good too. C is a classic and the others seem to be what most of us have been doing.
Unfortunately it seems the books that I can’t review are the ones I paid for on my own. None of them asked me to read their books. How silly this all is.
You just gave me a good laugh so thank you for the comic relief Lynne.
Always happy to help! 😀
I have always stated in the first sentence of my review: I am a member of (author’s name) critique group. I then go on to leave an honest positive review. Few books from authors in good critique groups are worse than three stars and if I believe the book is that bad, I won’t post any review. I give indies a maximum of four stars because nothing is perfect.
Elizabeth: By your reasoning, a traditionally published author can produce a book worthy of five stars, but an indie author’s book–regardless of whether it’s well written and professionally edited–can never be as good. I find that disheartening…
Linda, good question. If, as she says, nothing is perfect, then if perfection is required for a 5 star review, it would apply to any book regardless of how it was produced.
This also points out a problem that isn’t going to ever change, that what different star ratings mean is different. Not only is it different from person to person, but if you follow the directions for what they mean on different sites, the same review from the same reviewer would often have a different number of stars. There is almost a full star difference between the proper rating (if you follow the site’s instructions) between Amazon and Goodreads.
I talked about this on one of my first posts here. (I can’t believe that was almost 3 years ago.)
I do apply the same criteria to my reviews. I give a lot of three-star reviews, some four-stars, and a few five-stars. My standards are high. I have never read an Indie book that deserved five stars. Even the most popular ones–great reads, are flawed. I’m currently reading the hot Euphoria by Lily King, which has many Goodread five-star reviews. I’m only 45% finished, and at this point, I feel it’s a three. The first few chapters were disjointed. Maybe it will finish strong.
Thanks for sharing your previous post, Big Al, which I plan to share, too. In my honest opinion, it’s rare to find a book–traditionally published or otherwise–that truly rates a smashing 5-star review. What I find unfair is being “set apart” or stigmatized because you’ve published independently. 🙂
Amazon’s policy regarding reviews does not bode well for indie authors. It ignores the fact that authors are also avid readers. We know more about the craft of writing than Joe Public, and we can leave more insightful reviews. If I understand correctly, our Street Teams will no longer be able to post reviews on ARCs. If we participate in a Read & Review program, our “gifted books” will fall under suspicion.
In the petition, I suggested that Amazon allow authors to review other authors’ books, as long as we include a disclaimer: “I reviewed this book as an author and a reader and not as part of a review exchange.”
Maybe Amazon will rethink its policy. If not, then we can only assume that Amazon’s underlying goal is to drive indies, who have saturated the market, away from the world’s largest online book retailer.
I am with you there Linda. Maybe they need to drive some of Us away. They are surely doing a good job of it.
Thank you for your participation. 🙂
Thank you so much for sharing this info. I’ve been ranting about Amazon for years. I absolutely hate this “rating” game. Authors are caught trying to convince readers to do a review in order for their book to show up on Amazon. No one likes to do reviews and they don’t. I would like to see reviews of EVERYTHING on the net removed. A better way to rank (if that is necessary) might be through sales. The point is, even if 10K absolutely love your book it is meaningless. The next person may hate it and they may write a bad review.
Yes! I do agree with you Anne. The rating system has been broken for a long time.
Appreciate your comments!
I’ll add one other thought. Amazon has had a policy of not allowing a review UNLESS the book was purchased from them. This exempts every reader who received the book as a gift, won the book in a contest, read it at the library, all Amazon’s competition (Nook, B&N, Smashwords, etc.), or sales from the author’s website. They are pretty much a monopoly and the Evil Empire.
Yes yes yes. Sadly, they now don’t seem to care that you did indeed buy it from them. They know they have enough of is in their grip so it doesn’t matter that much to them. We are small fish to fry.
When did they have that policy, Anne, or are you saying they still do? If so, can you point me to where they say that? I don’t believe it is the case and if it ever was it has been a lot of years.
Now I’ve seen some authors suggest that, usually when they receive a negative review from someone who isn’t a verified reviewer. It would be a bad idea and I’d be amazed if Amazon ever did that although I can see them giving more weight to verified purchases in their algorithms.
There was a brief time, long before KDP when Amazon had a policy that you had to buy the item you were reviewing from them. They quickly changed it to the policy that you had to have purchased “an” item from them which I still think may be the case. In other words you have to be an Amazon “customer” to write reviews on their site. This was because disgruntled employees, competitors, and others for various reasons where writing negative reviews under multiple bogus accounts. It wasn’t specific to books, in fact in most cases it was music and various products like apparel.
Actually I think it’s Smashwords who insist the book is bought there before you can post a review. Amazon seems to allow reviews on anything, even if you haven’t bought it there. Check out the gag reviews on silly products like banana holders for instance. You can’t tell me everybody bought the Bic pens for Her and all those other targets of amusing reviews.
I’m glad Amazon hasn’t got to me yet because if all the reviews by people I know were removed I’d have very little left!
Yes, Smashwords does require you to buy the book you are reviewing from them before you can post.
Amazon must be crazy, they encourage us all to set up Author pages, so that our readers can know about us and our work, and then they wont allow us to comment on good books we have read at their encouragement. Worse still, they send us e-mails soliciting such reviews I had one this morning). And then they scrub them out?
We, as authors, probably rite better, and more informative reviews than casual readers. Ones that are far more help to people searching for a book to read. And yet they disbar us? That’s not just crazy, it’s cutting off their own sales potential!
If anyone has a link to that petition, please post it. I’ll sign up.
Oh, and anyone I know who wants to post a review of one of my books is welcome to put it on my Facebook wall. That, until Amazon take over FB, is still mine to say who can post!
Sorry about the typos! 🙂
Ian the link is in the last paragraph of the post. 🙂
You just hit it exactly right Ian. Why do we bother with getting to know our readers??? No kidding.
Here is the link to the petition. Thanks!
Brenda, important piece on a dispiriting topic.
But I think Linda Lee William’s particular disclaimer above is not only the most essential — “I reviewed this book as an author and a reader and not as part of a review exchange.” — but strikes at the very heart of why this happened in the first place.
As we’ve discussed before, there have been SO many articles and blogs written in complaint of falsely padded 5-star reviews, review swaps and exchanges, less-than-authentic reviews from family/friends, paid Amazon review sites awarding unknown authors hundreds of 5-stars on books that are subpart, etc., that Amazon’s response has been to bludgeon everyone. Which sucks. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water when their overriding fix to the review corruption of some leads to the limitation or removal of actual, authentic, valid reviews of others.
I don’t know what the answer is, but I think anyone who’s used Amazon to write anything other than authentic, insightful, honest reviews has to rethink their own strategy. Not only do padded reviews (written to “not hurt” writers) potentially misguide readers with puffed-up accolades on non-deserving books, but the critical mass of those has stirred a bee’s nest, and Amazon’s clumsy response impacts the collective.
So far I have not had any of reviews either received as an author or given as the reader of a book removed and I intend to keep it that way! If I have to use Linda’s disclaimer above to achieve that, I will. But mostly I hope you, Brenda, can get your always insightful reviews back on track. I know I have very much appreciated the ones you’ve thoughtfully given me.
Lorraine, I agree that the more strict enforcement of the review policies on AZ is the result of “spurious reviews.” However, the system pushes authors to take drastic measures to solicit reviews or remain unnoticed. That’s why authors pay BookBub hundreds of dollars to give their novels away to thousands of readers: it nets reviews.
Maybe Amazon will accept some version of my disclaimer–or maybe not. In that case, we’ll all have to save for BookBub and then hope the bookseller accepts our titles. Eventually, however, AZ may put the brakes on BookBub as well, figuring that, in essence, we’re paying for those reviews. With the Zon’s specious reasoning, anything is possible…
Very smart Lorraine and I agree the review system is a mess. I am without a doubt guilty of giving better reviews than deserved on many occasions. My strategy was to help the author rise up but I have learned that this is not night or always possible. Of late I have had to refuse giving a review to some Indie authors because their books were so poorly done. I have contributed to the problem, no doubt but this new “rule” is just silliness in my opinion. My big example is not being able to leave a review for Mark Barry’s Once Upon A Time In The City Of Criminal’s (couldn’t he have shortened that title just a bit?) Haha. I bought the book because I can appreciate his writing. I left honest remarks. Sadly, they figured we know each other. Meanwhile, there are other authors that I do know. His book deserved my review and because of a badly damage system he won’t get one from me. That feels so wrong and of course it is. There are so many problems and I don’t see a better way out other than getting rid of reviews altogether though that would be a shame too. I like seeing some feedback before I read a book.
Thanks Lorraine. You are very logical and make a good point.
That does suck for Mark Barry, as he’s an excellent writer who deserves any accolades you could give. But I’m hoping the pendulum will swing at some point, and this overreaction on Amazon’s part will become a bit more logical and reasonable. Supplanting unfairness with more unfairness makes zero sense.
P.S. And yes, that’s a damn long title! 🙂
Haha. I mean really??? How about this for a title… I Write Good Books. We could remember that. Right?
And as I reminder… I know NONE of YOU!!! 😉
I love you two, you know that? 🙂
Obviously in a virtual sense because WE DON’T KNOW EACH OTHER he he he.
PS: Why use one word when ten will do, Bren 😀
Haha. So glad I didn’t rush over this. I would have missed your comment Mark. Ha ha. I will never forgive you for that title but I guess Amazon is punishing you enough for it without me add more fuel to the fire.
Let’s hope you make it big so when you and Lorraine are accused of knowing me you can laugh all the way to the bank.
I read about this on Linkedin yesterday. I had the same experience with two of my reviews. I’m signing the petition and sharing this post on all my social media platforms, but I think, if Amazon is indeed watching out social media accounts, the Indie author community should seriously consider a class action lawsuit and sue them for violation of privacy. Violation of privacy is not a light matter. It’s illegal.
If we have public social media accounts (which most of us as authors do), there can be no reasonable expectation of privacy. So if Amazon is looking at those, there’s no recourse there. Similarly, I have twitter posts and blog posts up on my Amazon author’s page, so clearly I’ve given them the right to read those.
I sometimes wonder if they’re going in and looking at those tweets and blog posts anyway, as they decide what to feature. Because the stuff will stall for days, and then suddenly change. Plus I certainly mention sites other than Amazon, and I’m sure they don’t want those tweets with non-Amazon links on my Amazon author’s page.
I’d be less annoyed by this if I didn’t know that contracts, reviews, and blurbs on the traditional side often happen because of personal connections.
One obvious first step in reaction to this is to encourage friends and fellow authors to 1) supply short blurbs instead of reviews, or 2) start up a conversation in the discussion area.
In at least one regard I am relieved by this — I too find it awkward to review books by people I know and like that I don’t feel deserve four or five stars. This is particularly painful when I feel I “owe” them one. I always disclaimed, but at least now I have a good reason to avoid those excessively diplomatic reviews. Equally, though, it’s painful not to be able to review books that I think are great just because they are by people I know.
I am in agreement. So much food food for thought and this issue is not going away anytime soon but it is an outrage.
Warmest wishes to you Sandra
I know it was there policy several years ago but I can’t point you to the specifics now. My self-pub group were outraged and there were several discussions about it. I think they even refused me when I tried to write a review a few years ago because I got the book at a signing. It can’t be their policy at the moment because I have all my group’s book and have written reviews for them. Can’t always find them when I go look for them, though.
I’ve had a similar experience with Facebook. They shove hundreds of profiles in your face and tell you to friend them. Then, if you do too many (their rule), they slap your hands and cut you off for a bit. The whole thing is just silly.
Far too many people whining about reviews all the time. Yeah, yeah, Amazon’s the Big Evil One, With Horns and Pointed Tail to boot. Boo-hoo, Amazon took my reviews! They stole them from me they did! My precious, my preciousssssss!
Welcome to the real world. Amazon’s a private company and can do anything they want to do, provided they aren’t breaking any laws and there isn’t any blood flowing. The Big Brother analogy is from freakin’ laughable … oh, it’s okay for the Big A to monitor my readers for Kindle Unlimited, but oh, my! How dare they make any attempt to bring any sort of equality back to the review pages! How dare they remove a 5-star review my Uncle Todd left me for my book! Unca Todd loved the cover I made in MS Paint! He didn’t mind the dangling participles and the fact that it’s all one big paragraph! You just wait til my BFF Sally-Sue gives them a piece of their mind in her review!
FFS, if you can’t see how it’s wrong and self-defeating to have people you know, or can be easily linked to your personally, to give you a horde of reviews, then please jump on the train to Hypocracy-Ville – it’s stopping here in Don’t-Have-A-Clue Junction just for you!
Sure, Amazon’s probably not going about this correctly, but when you’ve got billions of users, you’ve still got to start somewhere. I’ve lost reviews I’ve “earned” and reviews I’ve posted. Big whoop-ti-doo. So a bunch of opinions have been removed? Who cares?
When you are not making hordes of money and working hard at putting out quality work, the reviews have been a small reward for the author who is spending hours a day working on their craft. This is not just a woe is me complaint, but this is my opinion and I feel it is a silly rule for a system that is obviously very broken.
Good for you for not letting it bother you Rich. Hopefully we will all rise above.
I’m obviously not making oodles of cash at this. I have very few reviews – I’ve published maybe 35 titles over the years and have fewer than 25 reviews last time I checked. And again, I don’t care. I don’t need the aggrandizement as a writer or as a person. If I remember, once in a great while I’ll submit a book to a site for review, though most don’t usually accept books in my regular genre (games/trivia), so it’s a big “oh, well” no matter what.
I’ll tell you what though, I did care about my reviews this week. Some asshat 1-starred all my books, obviously without reading them. But they also 1-starred an anthology I was a part of; I don’t care what you say about me or what passes as my work, but you do not mess with my friends and colleagues who actually know what they are doing. Being an asshat, the guy mucked up the review so perfectly that it was deleted within an hour of our noticing it.
The other 1-star reviews are still there on my other books. Oh, the cut to my quick! My heart is holed mightily! My very lifeblood spills onto my keyboard, as my soul dies in agony at this malicious affront!
No, sorry. That was the Croissan’wich I had for lunch. Nevermind.
Thanks, Rich, for helping me laugh at myself. You have a knack for doing that! I’m sorry about the troll that attached himself to you–but it happens to the best of us. Cheers!
There’s one key question in all this mess which is: How do Amazon define or divine that one knows an author?
I know about ten authors all told, in that I have met them face to face, and got to know something about them, who they are, and what their writing interests are. I have had contact, through the wonderful medium of the internet, with many hundreds of authors. Some are experienced scribes, with a string of books to their name; others first timers, still trying to find their way. We exchange ideas, problems, solutions, and all sorts of other information about writing, books, publication, formats, in fact anything to do with writing and publishing, in our efforts as a community to help one another. But do we really know one another?
And then there are one or two authors around the globe with whom I have exchanged more detailed contact, through Skype conversations, interviews, and swapping manuscripts for editorial comments. Those I feel I know to some extent, and consider them friends. The one thing we all have in common, however, is to comment impartially on each other’s work. Our friendship wouldn’t have much value if we didn’t, would it?
Surely with all their computer magic, Amazon can identify the sycophant from the genuine commentator? Perhaps their problem is that they don’t employ enough humans to apply common sense, and too much is left to their computer, TOM ( aka Totally Obedient Moron).
Another gripe I have is that periodically Amazon unilaterally adjust our prices, without reference to their the author or, if releasing books though one, the publisher. This has happened to me twice, the first time with a print book. OK, some readers were able to profit, and after a strong protest from my publisher they agreed to take the ht themselves and pay us the full price we should have had. But it still took weeks to correct the first time and a week later they did the same thing to the Kindle edition.
Anyone releasing books though amazon needs to keep a close and regular check on the prices they are being offered for. It’s very much a case of caveat vendor.
Ian, when Amazon offers your book for less than the list price, it still pays royalties based on the list price. If your publisher is paying you a smaller royalty and claiming it’s because Amazon lowered the price of your book, don’t believe them.
Yes, I’m aware of that now, Lynne, and my publisher is not short changing me. My gripe is that they seem to think they can discount a book totally without reference. Okay, they have the right to sell at a loss, but they don’t even have the courtesy to inform or consult the author or, if there is one, the publisher.
this can really screw up one’s marketing plans sales initiatives, and discounts on other books that may be planned, and it seems to be for indeterminate periods. That’s my gripe.
I signed the petition – I saw it through another post from the UK – but I feel it is a case of the small fry fighting Big Brother. Amazon won’t care.
So we need to get lots of signatures on the petition. It’s a weak management that ignores its buying public. It’s only a few people, like Rich Meyer, who don’t care.
We aren’t the buying public. Try to remember that. We produce material *for* the buying public.
And yep, I do not care for pointless whining. Your reviews are not *yours* to begin with – they’re the property of the writer and the site they are left on, and really have nothing to do with you – reviews are by readers *for* other readers.
The real reason everyone’s complaining is because of how many outside websites and services have outlandish and moronic requirements for certain numbers of reviews and certain numbers of verified purchase reviews for promotional considerations. That’s NOT Amazon’s fault. Or Smashwords, or B&N, or Kobo, or even (blech) iTunes. It’s the nature of the beast.
And the King of the Jungle makes the rules. Guess who’s King right now?
I have had this problem with my reviews as well. I host a Blog Talk Radio show for authors, so many of my guests send me free e-copies of their books. I read and happily review them. I started having trouble with my reviews being removed, but no one contacted me, they just took them down. One after another fell to dust. Very frustrating! I started a review site so I post my reviews there. It doesn’t help the Amazon situation, but at least I can tell the authors they will always find their reviews there.
The FTC requirements are flawed in so many ways I don’t know where to start.
1. Book reviews are journalism and not product endorsements. It’s an impingement of press freedom for a government agency to to dictate what must be said while one is stating an opinion in the media.
2. To say that a free copy of a book constitutes payment is a joke. It takes many hours to read a standard-length novel and then write a review. To say that a $5 or $10 book is payment is ludicrous.
3. The rules discriminate against individual journalists/reviewers because they do not force newspapers, magazines and networks to make a similar disclosures. The FTC pretext for this comes from their suggestion (probably true) that readers know the individual is paid by the newspaper and did not get the free ARC himself/herself. The flaw here is that publishers support book review sections and off-book-page features via paid advertising that (call me cynical) would stop if their books were not reviewed.
No, I am not joking. The FTC has no authority over press content.
This was meant as a reply to Al, but showed up here out of sequence.
Thanks, Malcolm. I knew there must be something I was missing. I don’t mind making the disclosure, but agree with all your points. FWIW, it is also required by Amazon’s TOS, which I think is okay. As far as that goes, I don’t believe the FTC has ever gone after a book reviewer for not making the disclosure. Amazon is another story.
The FTC probably isn’t worried about reviewers as much as Amazon is.
Great article Brenda. I expect to see all the reviews my novel “The City Has Many Faces” disappear. How do I join your petition? I think we should flood Amazon with complaints from authors and readers. I’ve been writing reviews for Amazon for years, before the “e-book revolution.” With as many authors as there are out in the publishing world, we ought to be able to create a huge groundswell of complaints about this dictatorial policy.
I just copied off this bit of information about the policy from Amazon: “We cannot post your Customer Review for (book title deleted) by (author name deleted) to the Amazon website because your account activity indicates that you know the author.” Can anyone explain just how a person’s account activity could possibly indicate that a reviewer knows the author? I think this should be challenged by as many people as possible (a movement perhaps?), because I’d love to see how Amazon can prove by my account activity that I know an author. I don’t think the claim holds water at all.
Thank you so much George. Here is the petition link …
This is a very relevant topic these days. I, too, have experienced the thrill of receiving one of “those” messages from the Zon. One thing that has always puzzled me is how a book can “debut” on the NY Times bestseller list in the Number One spot, before it has even been released for sale. If all the reviews that usually accompany these “debuts” aren’t by people who know the author, certainly most of them are. It’s the old double standard at work. At one point, Amazon recommended (even supported) the concept of authors exchanging reviews. I guess the pressure from traditional publishers finally got to “Big Brother.”
I don’t think that’s quite fair. Most of those reviews would be from ARCs given out to the media (those that still review) and via NetGalley, and almost all books that debut on the bestseller list are by authors who already have a hungry following. (Either that or they’ve organized a campaign of strategic purchases — the Church of Scientology kept Dianetics on the bestseller list for years that way, and apparently some publicists will organize that for their clients. You want to talk about gaming the system…)
I suggest that all of you post a link to the original letter, tell your friends why and ask them to sign the petition too.
I do believe I am the buying public. I spend a heck of a lot of money with Amazon. Certainly much more than I make. Amazon has a lot of good things going on. Besides books they have been able to take over some many markets. When I am looking to purchase almost anything I tend to go to Amazon first. This is besides the point but I see an issue here that feels very wrong to me. I bought a book, read it, loved it and was told as a customer I was not able to share my experience with the book. The author deserved my praise.
Thank you for posting your comments, caring enough to share your opinions and that is what Makes this community and forum so beneficial. I am sure there is more to come!
Here is what Amazon says on their site… “if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact.”
Okay, shouldn’t this mean that you are FRIENDS (?) since you were given the book for free or discounted? Haha. Very conflicting!
Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.
Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.
The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact. Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary. Read more about promotional content.
I signed it. It is hard enough to get reviews without Amazon deciding which ones are legitimate.
Isn’t that the truth Karen. Still, the system is broken but doing this hurts us more. Thanks!
Thanks, Brenda, for taking the initiative and writing to Amazon. It hasn’t happened to me yet but I would be annoyed as well. How can Amazon dare to state whether it it s legitimate sale or not. We Indies do sell our books in other places besides Amazon. Do they have nothing better to do than cross-reference for example on FB or Linked-In who is friends with whom? If friends means that we maybe correspond with each other occasionally, they’ll have a tough time eliminating a LOT of us.There is probably an algorithm for that!?I happily sign the petition. Pity is that we small fries actually need Amazon to spread our work. Maybe the solution lies in toning down our 5 stars more often to 4 stars only?
I wish I had a good solution to this mess. The good thing is we now have the opportunity to publish our own books where years ago that was only a pipe dream. Still, I like to see fairness and this doesn’t seem fair at all. It’s so good to take a stand even if it doesn’t make a difference. I appreciate all of you that care. Not just for yourselves but for others too. That is what Indies Unlimited is all about. I am so touched.
Nice post, Brenda. I can certainly see Amazon’s concerns about paid reviews, exchanged reviews, fraudulent reviews, etc., but at least from what they’ve shared, their method for determining which reviews to keep and which to toss seem a bit arbitrary. I for one don’t want to be forced to disavow knowing you just to get one of your great reviews….presuming of course your reviews of my books were genuine. If not, please don’t burst my bubble.
As for other solutions, I’m not sure what makes sense. I accept that Amazon can choose what to publish and what to toss, I just wish they’d wield a more precise tool. I would also like to think if I paid for a product through them that they’d accept my comment about that product. Are they policing reviews of other products as forcefully? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
Thank you Armen. Very smart comments. Agree with what you said. I do think if you paid for something you should have the right to leave a review. Sadly, there is too much room for abuse and the system has been badly abused.
I hope Amazon will figure it out and make some better decisions as far as reviewing. There is corruption but this new rule is just plain silly.
For the record, I have never paid for a review. I read your books because I wanted to support you as an author and it so happened that I dicovered what a talented writer you were. Go figure! I might have some regrets over some of the reviews I have left, but not in your case. 😉
Great article and I signed the petition.
I’m with a small press and every time I try to leave an honest review for someone who’s writes for the same press, I get the removal notice. Luckily, it doesn’t happen to all the authors I like to read. I’m considering getting a second account just to leave my reviews.
I think amazon might figure that out too Amber. Something about the credit card? Or something. Haven’t quite figured it out. You can try another account but it might not work.
As far as reviewing for your press, that is a shame. For me it has been random, though I never review my own work, of course I know that is not acceptable.
Thank you for signing the petition and taking the time to leave your comment.
I find this thought alarming. Why should we need to hide our identity just to be able to leave an honest review? this is where part of the problem arises, with people writing under pseudonyms rather than in their own name. If they’re that ashamed of what they have to say it would be better if they didn’t comment at all.
Perhaps Amazon should ask fr a declaration of honest identity before accepting a review. It shouldn’t matter if the reviewer knows the author, but it might clear up doubt if this was stated openly as part of the identity check..
I’m not sure I’m understanding what you’re saying, Ian, but if it is proposing that reviewers shouldn’t be able to have some degree of anonymity, you’ve obviously never had an author react in a crazy way to a review you’ve written. I have and not just the one most people are aware of. It’s happened multiple times.
What anonymity I have is easily pierced for someone even a little motivated, so maybe I’m kidding myself, but I was happy for what little I had when an author who lives withing a couple hours of me had an irrational reaction to one of my reviews. I’d hate to have him show up on my doorstep which occurred to me as a possibility at the time. (This was before the well publicized case where an author actually did that that, stalking a reviewer and then bragging about it.)
I’d like to point out that just because you know someone does not negate what you have to say about their book. It isn’t up to Amazon to police this for us. It’s like telling someone they are irrelevant.
I am with you there. It is wrong. So wrong and worth the fuss. We are entitled to be upset about this.
Thank you Anne.
Far comment, Al, but you should be required to give your real name to Amazon when submitting your review to show that it’s genuine. Then can then anonymise it before publication. The author doesn’t need to know who wrote it, just that it’s honest and from a reputable source.
Ian, In order to leave a review on Amazon you have to have setup an account and made at least one purchase. That might not guarantee they know for sure who you are since someone could give a fake name and use a gift card to pay for it, but it comes pretty darn close.Even in my scenario of using a gift card and a fake name, unless what you purchase is a digital good, they’ll have your correct address. Even with a digital good they’ll have your IP address and most likely other values that identify the specific computer or device you used to make the order. Those could be used to, if not identify you, at least identify another account or person that you probably have close ties with if the same device has been used to order under another account. I think Amazon has a much better handle on people who leave reviews than we give them credit for.
Here’s my two cents (I know y’all have been waiting for it ). The reviewers the business cares about and who write for large and/or well know media outlets use their real names most of the time. These names are part of the review’s power: FAMOUS REVIEWER XYZ liked the book.
To some extent, this can also happen with reviews in blogs and Amazon. Reviewers can build up name recognition that ramps up the value of their reviews far more than some silly handle like Goober Peas or BadAss Girl. Hell, who wants to put excerpts by people with names like that on their websites on the praise page? I sure don’t.
I come from a long-time journalism family and think that, other than developing a famous pseudonym, trusted writers (including reviewers) should use their real names. And, using them online tends to make people more responsible for what they say. Just look at the names in the comments sections on media sites: they’re more often rude, off the scale, libelous and bad mannered: and signed by phony names. I don’t like seeing reviews heading in this direction.
Accepting what you say, Al, why are Amazon so against anyone leaving a review just because they (the Zon) think the reviewer might know the author? I’ve written reviews about books by people I once met 50 years ago. Does this mean I know them? No I don’t. I haven’t a clue what they are like now, what they think, or what their interests and views are. I probably wouldn’t even recognise them if we met in a bar. My review was about what was written between the covers of their book and nothing else. It was written so that others considering that book might share a little insight about what I got from the experience.
Should that be discounted because I once met the scribe, or went to the same school as him?
Of course not, Ian. Nor is Amazon going to have any way of knowing you once met author X.
In an ideal world everyone who wrote a review would give their honest appraisal of a book and, if it was negative, do it in a reasonably tactful fashion. (For example, not attack the author or those reviewers who liked the book.) If the reviewer was in a position that they couldn’t give an honest review (thanks, Mom) then they wouldn’t. Authors would never ask friends, family, and other authors (who they might or might not consider as friends) to write a positive review of their books. If asked, these people wouldn’t agree. No one would use sock puppet accounts to write positive reviews of their own books or negative reviews of the books of a competitor. Or hire someone from Fiverr or one of those companies Amazon is suing to write them a bunch of reviews whether guaranteed to be positive or (as John Locke claimed) without guarantees (or any reasonable expectation of reading the book either).
But we don’t live in a ideal world. Humans make mistakes and authors are human. The vast majority of indie authors don’t do most of the things I listed in the last paragraph. But it happens often enough that it has become a problem for Amazon, making the honest reviews less trustworthy to readers. That’s not good for authors either.
So rather than let their review system turn to crap, Amazon is attempting to weed out the suspicious reviews. Their system in making those determinations is never going to be perfect. It’s too bad that some innocent people get caught in the crossfire. But I’ll point out that in multiple comments under this post we’ve had people as much as confess to posting reviews that were less than honest or absolutely against Amazon’s review guidelines, yet complain about having reviews deleted. I’m not sure that we’re in the best position to judge whether Amazon has gone too far or not.
That’s a very utilitarian view, Al, and I suppose because might is right, the one we’ll be obliged to live with.
Well said, Al. You cover a fair amount of ground here, my friend, but you cover it fairly and succinctly.
I hope to someday read an indie book that deserves my coveted five stars. In the meantime, I will continue to read indie books as well as traditionally published ones, and I will give fair and honest reviews to everyone. However, if I know the author, II will always acknowledge it in the first sentence of my review. Further, I use my real name in everything On everything I publish. Even reviews. It is sad that phonyism exists in both authors and the cohorts who stoop to shill for their friends. I agree with Amazon’s stance in weeding out these people and reviews. It will, in the long run, be better for those who evaluate whether or not to purchase a particular book by reading previous reviews.
Thank you for sharing your story, Brenda. Unfortunately, this has been happening more and more often. Amazon removes reviews at their discretion and once they’ve made a decision, they refuse to listen to reason. Their rating system is very, very broken. A friend of mine has asked Amazon to help her because her reviews aren’t showing up as verified purchases even though she purchases every book she reads. One-star troll reviews are left standing while legitimate reviews are removed. I hope the petition has an impact.
Thank you Tricia. It can be so frustrating. I too have had my paid for reviews not say verified. Thought it was just a quirk. Yes, I too know people who are getting those troll reviews. WHat can be said to that? It is a lot to try and control. There is too much room for mischief. Sadly.
It is a very broken system. Appreciate you stopping by, commenting and siigning the petition. You are always so supportive to other authors.
I think I signed the petition Brenda, but it’s been so busy here of late that I find myself unsure. If you don’t have my signature, please let me know. Re reviews, I hope mine don’t all vanish in this bit of mischief-making.
LATEST DEVELOPMENT … I NOW HAVE LOST ALL THE REVIEWS I HAVE DONE FOR OTHERS. WHY? THE SAME REASON, I AM FRIENDS WITH THE AUTHORS.
EMAIL ONE FROM AMAZON
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: http://amazon.com/help/customer-reviews-guidelines.
We remove Customer Reviews for books if their account activity indicates they know the author of that particular book.
Customer Reviews are meant to give customers unbiased product feedback from fellow shoppers. Because our goal is to provide Customer Reviews that help customers make informed purchase decisions, any reviews that could be viewed as advertising, promotional, or misleading will not be posted.
Additionally, if we find that multiple related accounts have posted Customer Reviews to the same product, we remove the reviews to protect the authenticity of our review system.
To learn more about this policy, please review our Customer Review Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines) and FAQs (http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/…).
We encourage family and friends to share their enthusiasm for the book through our Customer Discussions feature or Editorial Reviews feature.
To find Customer Discussions, go to the book’s product detail page, scroll down past Customer Reviews, and click on the Start a Discussion button. To have your Editorial Review posted to the detail page, e-mail it directly to the author so they can add it for you.
Review Moderator Amazon.com
We appreciate the information you have provided. However, we cannot reinstate your Customer Review.
To protect the integrity of our review system, we do not allow closely associated customers to review the same product.
We cannot share any further information about our decision and we may not reply to further emails about this issue.
Review Moderator Amazon.com
THIS IS WHY I AM GLAD THAT WHEN I REVIEW I ALWAYS GO TO GOODREADS TOO AS WELL AS SEVERAL INTERNATIONAL AMAZON SITES. THOS REVIEWS ARE STILL UP.
As for me, I have a new release out, L.A. Punk Rocker and if you know anything about new releases, there is a ton of work involved. Interviews, updating sites and websites and general promotion. In the meantime, the book has been as low as #3 in the raking for Art & music and would love to see it become a #1 bestseller. This is more important to me than the reviewiing process though I have to say I have spent my days reviewing books and looking for repetitive words and typos like it was my job. I have done it from the goodness of my heart.
Now it is time to try selling this $1.99 book. I have spent too many hours letting amazon bring me down and to anyone who thinks reviews don’t matter. I disagree. If only you knew how many emails I have received today with upset authors who are distraught that the reviews I did for them are no longer there.
I don’t think there are that many people who have worked as hard as I have to help the Indie author. Indies Unlimited and the staff included. They work tirelessly as the obstacles keep coming.
I was pleased with the petition, which I have sent out to all my followers and posted on Facebook. An idea came to me. I think it might be a good idea to start some movement that basically tells Amazon that you will never again review anything – books or anything else you might purchase. If enough people start this movement it could change so many things. I was also wondering if we couldn’t establish a review system on IU. I don’t know how much work this would take from all our good administrators. But wouldn’t it be cool if IU became THE place to go for a book review!
Having reread Amazon’s “Customer Review Creation Guidelines”, it occurred to me that their definition of “close” (as in friend or acquaintance) has little if any legal legs to stand on, and could be easily challenged. I am beginning to lose reviews, and I do not like it at all. Is the reviewer “close” to me, as in friend or acquaintance? What is Amazon’s definition of “closeness”?
I know of no other business that disallows peer support and encouragement. It is so disheartening to see so many authors lose reviews (yes, me, too) simply because they have a connection via one or more social media. I know that all the reviews I write are honest, as, I believe, are all the ones I have received. Less than a handful of reviews of my books are from those that I have more than an on-line or cursory acquaintance with. I see this as a witch hunt, possibly a backlash against the accusation of sock puppet reviews. They sweep with a brush so broad that even the mice find no crumbs to eat.
Well said, Yvonne.
I like thus suggestion and would certainly be happy to upload any reviews I write to IU before posting them anywhere else. Of course, I wouldn’t like to deprive the authors of any other exposure, so at this stage, while IU gets established ad THE review site, I might have to post a few elsewhere as well.
If this is to work, might I suggest it runs as a parallel site, perhaps called IU Review? or something similar. It might simplify the admin doing it that way, and I’m conscious that IU is all run by volunteers, who already work hard on our behalf. 🙂
We could also encourage people to make more use of Smashwords, if this could be done without being partisan.
Sorry to disappoint you, folks, but running IU as it is now is a monumental task and comes with costs that are covered out of pocket by the EM and I since we provide IU features to authors for free (thanks to the generosity of the minions and guest posters). There is no way we would be able to start and run a review site as well. I have been managing IU on my own for nearly a year now, and honestly, there’s no way I could add to that workload. There are other review sites out there like Goodreads, BookLikes, LibraryThing, and Shelfari. If you want to steer clear of Amazon, you should look into participating in BookLikes. Thanks for the thought, though. 🙂
I’d be willing t chip in £10 every so often to subscribe to IU. It’s both an invaluable source of good information and a community where one can get honest feedback in ideas. That would be worth a small fee.
Thanks to those who currently pay the bills.
Thanks, Ian. 🙂
What’s wrong in all this is that the reviews Amazon SHOULD delete are those from people who don’t run free reviewer blogs, and/or DON’T know the writer. Those could very well be people getting paid for reviews, or trolls. But shutting the door to friends, or other writers, or to people who love books and run unpaid review blogs? That makes no sense, and it effectively cripples the whole reviewer-dependent idea of “social proof” for a book’s worthiness. But who knows? Amazon is a law unto itself, and may want to damage indie writers for some commercial reason its bean counters have identified.
Excellent points, Barry. I suspect that Amazon is looking to shed some indie authors and that the top traditional publishers are behind the push. There is a lot of competition from indies, and that is most likely hurting the publishers’ bottom lines. In addition, readers often complain about the poor quality of indie books. Amazon might be looking to recoup its reputation as well. Who knows?
I would have to ask Amazon what part of “knowing” someone invalidates what that person has to say? It is really an insult to someone who wants to do a review, as though they are saying, “We don’t think you are important OR we don’t trust you to write an appropriate review.” It is simply insulting.
I think Amazon is trying to address some issues that are legitimate concerns yet difficult to fix. This is the latest one of several strategic steps they have made regarding the review policies. I didn’t agree with any of them because in my humble opinion none of them have managed to accomplish anything beyond really ticking off quite a few people. And the issues around abuse of the review feature continue.
In trying to be all things to all people, by being responsive to customer concerns, they have consistently bitten back on the very people who they have always claimed to care the most about. The customers.
We are, after all, also customers. Consumers. I know I personally spend hundreds of dollars a year on their online stores. I’ve bought books, music, electronics, and even clothing from them. I opened an account with them when they first appeared online and have continued to look to them first. Buy with one click is my friend.
In return for that loyalty, they monitor my social media usage? My twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin cites? I’m mildly okay with them following my purchases on their site, though I have the feeling they are monitoring all my online purchases. But hey, that’s business. I can choose to take my business elsewhere if I’m really offended by it.
Knowing that they may scrub anything I write about a book written by someone who may have liked my page on Facebook, I am less inclined to write reviews for sure.
I think the advice to publish far and wide, not strictly with Amazon, is good. It only makes sense to not put all your eggs in one basket marketing wise. Its more work for us, but think of all the time we’ll have not reviewing.
Perhaps if some of the big publishing houses were a bt more willing to take on some of the excellent indie authors they might not be under such market pressure. They’re facing competition because they’ve been screwing authors for too long. The phrase ‘payback time’ comes to mind in a small way.
Just reading all these comments now. You guys are awesome and have made some very good points.
Talking to a big corporation like this is like talking to a brick wall. My fear is all the “crusaders” to fight back might get penalized. I don’t want anyone to lose their rights to publsih their books on Amazon since it is still the top selling book site. They still have a ton of power over us.
They might be wanting to weed us out and do have some very real problems with the system. It is open to a ton of abuse. Still by doing this it makes us against them and that is sad. Shouldn’t we be working together as a team? We make them money and they make us money? A partnership. Very good comments. Thank you! Love you all taking the time to read this and share your opinions!
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