Amazon, We Have A Problem

About a month ago, I went to check out the reviews on Amazon for THE GIRL and noticed something quite strange. Where I once had 13 reviews, I now only had 10.

As any Indie author out there knows, the reviews of your books are like little nuggets of gold, especially the good ones, and you scramble to collect as many of them as you can, in hopes to draw more of the same. So you can imagine my consternation upon discovering what appeared to be the loss of three such heavenly morsels.

IMG_2584 This is my not-amused face

Amazon deleted 3 excellent reviews of my book. But why? And how can they do this? According to a 2012 article from the New York Times, this is Amazon’s new policy to curb false reviews:

In explaining its purge of reviews, Amazon has told some writers that “we do not allow reviews on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product. This includes authors.” But writers say that rule is not applied consistently.

The article goes on to explain that:

In some cases, the ax fell on those with a direct relationship with the author.

“My sister’s and best friend’s reviews were removed from my books,” the author M. E. Franco said in a blog comment. “They happen to be two of my biggest fans.” Another writer, Valerie X. Armstrong, said her son’s five-star review of her book, “The Survival of the Fattest,” was removed. He immediately tried to put it back “and it wouldn’t take,” she wrote.

In other cases, though, the relationship was more tenuous. Michelle Gagnon lost three reviews on her young adult novel “Don’t Turn Around.” She said she did not know two of the reviewers, while the third was a longtime fan of her work. “How does Amazon know we know each other?” she said. “That’s where I started to get creeped out.”

Well, apparently a year later, Amazon is still conducting their purge, removing what they consider to be false reviews without providing any forewarning or justification. Two of my reviews they removed were from people I don’t know, the other is the following review from my brother, who genuinely enjoyed my book and last time I checked, has no financial stake in it whatsoever.

IMG_1598 Me and the bro

I’ll preface this by saying I’m an attorney by day and for some reason I dream of being Jason Bourne by night…so I tend to fly through spy novels.  Fantasy novels never really appealed to me…until a friend turned me on to Book One:  The Girl (The Sanctum).

I was turned on to the book a few months ago…I had the opportunity to read it ever since early November.  I just never found the time because the NFL season was in full gear, the college football season was going strong, and I honestly had forgotten about checking the book out.  I finished my christmas shopping, I handled all of my holiday parties, the college football season ended, and I found myself staring at my fantasy football page waiting for my championship game and realized I couldn’t do much more to fix my squad heading into my super bowl of fantasy match ups…so I decided I’d give Book One:  The Girl a shot.  It didn’t disappoint!

I quickly got into the book once I realized that all of these vampires, magicals, and warriors were all hanging out with us regular folks.  I know this probably sounds like a simple thought to most of you…but I never realized that we normal folk were included in these books!  So I quickly jumped into the book.

The plot moved along really well.  There was plenty of action, but rather than focusing on too much action, Mrs. Blaylock did a great job of having enough action to move the story along, but also doing a great job of developing the characters and the relationship dynamics and historical dynamics of the characters.  Seeing as how this is Book One, and there are presumably other books to follow, it was interesting learning about The Sanctum and the prophecies and everything that led to time when the book takes place.

As for the characters…I enjoyed seeing the relationships between Ryker and Wyatt grow to include Jools and Dev.  Darby added a nice touch (somewhat made me think of the Patricia Arquette character from Boardwalk Empire this past season…go figure!  Funny thing is now that I say that, doesn’t Steve Buschemi seem like he might be a real life vampire?!?!?!).

Overall I really enjoyed reading the book!  The plot really moved along at a nice pace and each chapter left me wanting to read on and on.  It didn’t take me long to finish this one, and now I’m ready for Book Two!

 

A month later, Amazon’s deletion of my reviews still irks me. And has me checking my book every morning, to see if any other reviews have met the Amazon chopping block.

Being an Indie author is tough enough, I don’t need Amazon adding to my stress.

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8 thoughts on “Amazon, We Have A Problem

  1. I can’t be sure about this, but I believe reviews are less likely to be removed if the reviewer reviews lots of books by lots of writers from lots of publishers. Does your brother review lots of people’s books? Or was yours a one-off?

      • Then I’m afraid that’s your answer. You’re saying to Amazon, “He didn’t review my book because he’s my brother–he only reviewed it because he liked it” and they’re saying, “So he didn’t enjoy any other book he read? Ever? Because yours is the only one he ever reviewed.” They don’t really believe that it’s coincidence that he’s your brother. Get a family member who already has 200+ reviews on Amazon to give you one and it’s unlikely to be removed.

  2. Unfortunately, their analysis doesn’t leave room for the “mine is the only book he’s ever bothered to review” review. But ignore my brother…I wonder what Amazon had against the other reviewers. They were complete strangers. Anyway, thanks for the insight. I’ll have to tell my brother to get to reviewing so maybe his Book II review will stick. :)

  3. This is worrisome. And it kind of ruins the buzz of getting a review. now instead of “Squee! they like me, they really like me.” now it’s: “Oh please, please Amazon don’t delete it.”

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