The author world is up in arms this past few weeks with an issue that started several months back and seems to be escalating. That is the deletion of many verified and non verified reader reviews on books across the globe.
Now this may not seem to be much of a problem to you if you do not self publish or even write and publish at all, but to those in the indie community, it’s wreaking havoc.
Reviews affect so many things when you are going it alone. Amazon rewards books with more reviews with little perks, appearance in newsletters and more exposure, ranking improves and of course customers are more inclined to purchase a book with many reviews than none. It has a knock on effect when you review strip both books and readers.
I mean, why would you continue to review when you are being punished for doing so?
There are people who feel they are doing something small to help out authors they follow and adore by leaving reviews, it’s their outlet to tell us how much they loved our book or things they did not like so much. Yet it would seem they are being penalized in case they have a biased opinion of the books they are reviewing.
Now I do not know how accurate some of these reasons are, bear in mind it is ALL speculation but as I am in a lot of indie writers groups, bloggers and readers groups, I have accumulated a list of reasons that people have been given as to why their reviews were targeted.
- A social media connection to the author of the book (friends on Facebook etc)
- A relationship to the author (family link or personal connection that is obvious IE surname, listed on social media as family)
- Reviewing all of that authors books over a short period of time with 5 star glowing reviews. Or leaving 5 star reviews on ALL the books you read.
- Wording such as ‘love’ ‘adore’ favourite’ when referring to the author – basically showing you are a fan and leaving praise. (Yes , I know – ridiculous)
- Goodreads connection (as Amazon now own it) and if you sign in via Facebook they can see who you are friends with on both platforms. It would seem friend requesting your fave authors is unheard of in the land of Amazon. Sorry Kat French we may no longer be allowed to be buddies.
- Reviewers who review books close together and multiple a week (because speed reading is apparently not a thing)
- Too many 5 star reviews and praise (seems you are not allowed to love a writing style and ALL of one authors books)
- Reviewing other authors books – seems writers are not allowed to be readers too.
- Review numbers not adding up to book sales (okay, so I agree with this one as it is a bit dodgy to have more reviews than book sales)
Now as I said, I have no clue if any of these reasons are valid and actually why Amazon are Nilly Willy removing reviews left, right, and center, but I can only guess there is some truth among them. Even I have been stripped of reviews on my books, one of them losing 15 so far in one month and I am starting to get really peeved. Those were genuine readers and reviewers with honest reviews.
As an author who openly encourages my readers to friends request, contact me, and interact, I feel that Amazon need to move with the times and realise not ALL reviews are biased. Some of us have fans and readers who then seek us out and become social media friends to strengthen their bond to our work. It’s not a crime and as paying customers they have a right to review something they purchased through Amazon. Being connected to someone you admire and whose work you love seems to be something that you only punish writers for having. Look at the millions of celebrities in other fields with mass followings and maxed out friends requests who never experience this kind of stupid.
Amazon are damaging their own credibility and ruffling a lot of feathers with this mass sweep of deletions. It’s madness and what do they hope to achieve with doing this? I have much respect to a platform which enabled my career and gave me an outlet to be seen and heard. It has literally changed my life and I can in no way fault their customer service when I raise issues on my KDP dashboard. I am always given the gold star treatment. In saying that however I am not immune to the loss of reviews and it stings. I earned those reviews with my hard work and commitment to my craft and as of yet I have had no response as to why I am losing them.
Now on another note, I do see why Amazon felt they needed to take action. I myself have witnessed underhanded ‘review collecting’ from authors trying to play the rankings. Having family, friends and paid reviewers leave them glowing reviews for books they have never read, or paying for page reads accumulations from shady sources. It does happen, although not commonly and I agree Amazon had to deal with these in some way as it was an unfair playing field for genuine authors. Having said that though, they have taken a problem of minor proportions and come out with world war worthy nuclear weapons of destruction. Over kill at its finest!
Authors, bloggers and readers on twitter are demanding answers and banding together to do so. If you want to get involved and help us get our reviews reinstated then please use the hashtag –
– on all social media. Support one another and tag, Pm, email anyone you think who will join this movement and highlight how this affects us a writers. I personally Tagged E.L. James as we all know she was the queen of self published before she signed her mega buck contracts, and as someone who is still down to earth and a supporter of the indie world I felt she might be a good tag.
Stand together and Amazon cannot continue to ignore the issue.
On a lighter note – go read a Carrero book and leave me a review .