Category Archives: Reviews

The Case of the Disappearing Reviews (on Amazon)

They say that independent reader reviews are important to Authors. That’s a reasonable statement and one I have always accepted as true.

I often read reviews, but it doesn’t always determine whether I actually purchase a book or not. This really only happens on Amazon, because when I walk into a bookstore, I purchase books for different reasons. Maybe it’s the cover; often it’s the blurb on the back; rarely it has to do with publishers hype and it’s almost never is based on the book’s reviews.

Buying from Amazon requires a different approach than buying from a bookstore. Amazon publishes (and sells) hundreds and thousands of books by Indie Authors and the only way to identify a good story is to read some of the reviews, often a good story will shine above the rest because of the nice things their readers say (but not always).

This doesn’t always work because you can’t base your purchases on another person’s tastebuds.

Recently Amazon decided to remove some of its Authors reviews. There has been a lot of talk about why this happened but no one seems to know for sure. They did update their review posting guidelines but there doesn’t seem to be anything in the new guidelines to justify removing the old reviews.

Basically, you can’t pay a person for a review (among other things). This doesn’t include giving away a copy of your book to a reviewer because this is how the big boys work – sending out review copies of books to readers and bookstores to gain reviews and establish a prepared market ready for release day.

When I took my book into a local bookstore they asked for a ‘free’ review copy, in fact they expected it and demanded it. I originally purchased five books for this purpose and passed them around locally so I was happy to offer them one of these copies. Every time I ask a store to stock my book, they ask for a review copy. It seems to be the accepted norm with in the publishing industry.

Now, this is all fine and dandy but when Amazon reviewed their policy and removed the offending reviews, they took away over half of the reviews that had been posted on the Amazon page for Tomorrows Child!

I imagine a computer program did the work because I doubt that Amazon has the staff to read each offending review. Unless they have employed 1-million literate Lemmings to censer book reviews.

I assume they did this to all authors but I could be wrong, perhaps they just targeted indie authors. When the Lemmings went to work, they left me with three reviews! When they censored the reviews of EL James – Fifty Shades of Grey, they could have taken away 10,000 reviews (who really knows) but that still left her with over 13,000 reviews! (based on the +50% reduction rule they used for my book!)

I still don’t know why my reviews were removed and they didn’t appear to have broken any review laws… but who knows. Only Amazon and the Lemmings can tell us what really happened.

Anyway, I have decided to publish a review page – A central place to store my reviews should Amazon decide to remove the remaining three!

Reviewers go to a lot of trouble to write and post a review. They read your book, take notes, write thoughtful reviews and then go online and post them – usually on multiple sites. This is time consuming and even if I do give them a free copy of my eBook – they will earn themselves a whopping $2.99 (in virtual products). (I am sure we have many, very rich reviewers out there!)

Indie Authors need reader support so if you still want to leave reviews for Authors you love, please do. Post the review on Amazon and any of the other sites that promote the work of Indie Authors.

If you’d like to write a review for Tomorrows Child, post it on Amazon or Goodreads or wherever you purchased my book, but I would be most grateful if you also send the review to me so I can post it here on my website.

See the Review Page for Tomorrows Child