Amazon Book Reviews
My take on the recent controversy regarding Amazon book reviews is that Amazon seems to be disregarding the modern trend in the book reader-writer relationship.
In the ‘old days’, readers were not encouraged to form any type of relationship with their favourite writers, who mostly liked to maintain an image of cool aloofness. Any reader seeking a closer intimacy with a writer had first to write to the relevant literary agent, who passed the letters on. This is probably still true of the internationally famous, but the rest of us indie, self-published authors find it better to be be more accessible to our readership.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, Amazon is in the process of scything out millions of reviews where they think the author knows the reviewer (and thereby suggesting corruption, which does exist for sure).
I am an unknown author in the scheme of things, but it is not unusual for me to receive two dozen emails and posts a week regarding my books from readers who are total strangers. I reply to each of these no matter what they are about and I am normally thanked for doing so.
The relationship stops there about half the time, but I regularly write to others, share jokes and photos etc. I have even met a few when they have visited Thailand, which involves not inconsiderable expense on my behalf as I live out in the wilds, but I do it to meet people who like my work.
However, the point is, long before this relationship has been formed, the reader has usually written an Amazon review or two of my books (they tend to be in series), so I (and they) are now to be penalised because I am accessible.
That doesn’t sound right to me.
Is Amazon trying to tell me, with the subtlety of a sledgehammer that I may not talk with readers who like my books, if I value their Amazon book reviews?
Basically, there are two types of reviewer. The one that posts a review and then emails me to say that he or she enjoyed the book and has posted a review, and the one who doesn’t contact me and posts an average to bad review.
By Amazon’s new rule, I will lose all those good reviews yet get left with all the crappy ones. That isn’t fair at all, and certainly doesn’t leave Amazon with a balanced public appreciation of my books.
I can only infer that Amazon would prefer me not to talk to my readers, as the well-known authors don’t talk to theirs, but that is not fair – we are different horses running different courses.
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All the best,
PS: Don’t take any notice of Amazon’s draconian rules on Amazon book reviews, please leave comments and reviews, I love to read them, and get in touch if you like.
Podcast: Amazon Book Reviews