A bit of back story. There is an indie author who’s blog I follow and books I buy. He’s an amazing hidden talent, and in the interest of promoting good writing and things I personally believe in, I have attempted on numerous occasions to review his books. Each time I do, the review is removed almost immediately.
As we move forward, keep in mind that my reviews for him were being snatched down before he had any contact with me.
I let him know that this was happening, because whether or not Amazon saw fit to publish my glowing reviews, I wanted this author to know I’d made the effort and believe in what he’s doing. He responded in kind by buying, enjoying, and attempting to review Erotic Passages.
Do you think fucking Amazon would allow such kindness? Oh no. No, this is ‘review swapping,’ and is strictly prohibited. Because I have read and enjoyed his work, he’s not permitted to read and enjoy mine? Additionally, he’s now not allowed to speak honestly about MY work! Is it just me, or is this a ludicrous policy instated by Amazon and enforced by “bots”? Yep, you got it. It’s not even real live, breathing people making these ethical judgement calls. It is fucking algorithms.
As far as ‘review swapping,’ I am not sure why this is an issue. If authors wish to assist one another in this jungle that is book promotion, how is that anyone’s business but their own? WTF does Amazon care? More Reviews = More Sales = More Money in Amazon’s Pockets. They tell us reviews are essential to sales. But we are not allowed to solicit those reviews?
Amazon claims that it is a policy to protect their buyers from dishonest reviews. A nice thought, but impossible to enforce. What ends up happening with such a policy is, the cheaters find ways to bypass the rules and keep on cheating, while good honest folks get thrown out with the bathwater. And the buyers it was supposed to protect are no better off. Amazon should not be trying to judge the ethics and morals of its authors/reviewers/whatevers, and especially not through algorithms. Yesterday, I was accused of all sorts of unethical behaviors, all assumed because I was taking issue with this policy. That because I believe authors should be given the freedom to support one another, that meant I was out begging for 5 star reviews and lying to my readers. What?! After a three page discussion, it finally came out that I was considered lazy and to be taking shortcuts to move my book (which I must suck at, because it sure as hell ain’t moving, btw) and that I should self-promote like any other self-respecting author by blogging and using social media…
Oh my goodness. Bottom line? They didn’t care to know my story. Turns out I AM doing this the right way. Blogging was how I came upon this other author and bought and read and attempted to review his book. And Amazon pulled it. Just in case I was doing something wrong. On the off chance I’m a liar. I’ve been tossed with the bathwater.
Where exactly does free enterprise and capitalism come into the equation? Freedom of expression? Censorship? How far do you want to take this, Amazon? Because I feel like my rights are being tread upon.
This is not ethical behavior.
If you are an independent author, or a concerned citizen, and would like to help me get this word out, please hit reblog. Let’s let people know what’s happening, and why their books are sitting on the digital shelf gathering dust. Or do your own post, with your own experiences. Because I’m not the only one, I know that. And maybe Amazon is bigger and richer than god, but we made them that way. Without consumers? They are nothing.