Is Amazon Screwing Indie Authors?

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.




19 thoughts on “Is Amazon Screwing Indie Authors?

  1. Wow, I never knew that. Thanks for sharing. While I understand that amazon wants to try to protect customers from false reviews, I think they’re doing a serious injustice here. Why can’t authors read other author’s books and comment? Perhaps instead of a global policy, they should review these positive author reviews on a case by case basis (make sure the book was actually purchased, etc) especially as the self publishing industry continues to grow.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My point exactly! I’m not saying there’s no need for some ‘oversight’. But just lumping everyone together and making everyone pay for the same sins, in a way that hurts their sales, that isn’t right. Thank you for commenting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While I like the passion in this post I have no clue why do you expect anything from such a conglomerate. They only think money and nothing about anything beyond it.

    “The rich get rich and the poor get poor
    that’s how it goooooooes

    everybody know”.

    Perhaps it is a culture stuff, the expect rights and ethics, in which case, I envy you very much.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, I’m an idiot 😉 lol No, seriously, what they’re doing doesn’t surprise me, not at all. It is expected. I just think people, and especially people in self publishing, should be aware. There are other, less popular places to peddle our books. And alot of what Amazon is feeding us in terms of being ‘the best’ place to sell books? Well, I think that’s what they want us to think. Pull us in, then make sure we don’t do TOO well, unless of course, it’s someone like EL James, where Amazon stands to profit big. The little guy though? Not a chance.

      Whether or not there’s anything to be gained from it, I feel people have a right to know. As far as my expectations? I fully expect to be screwed over until the day I die. 😉 Because I refuse to be dishonest and shady in my dealings with people. At least I’ll be able to sleep at night.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A few years ago, I bought a book published by a good friend of mine. I bought it directly from the author. It was an excellent book of poems that I really enjoyed reading. Later while browsing through Amazon I ran across her book. I thought this was great, I wanted to leave a review for it, but when I submitted the review they wouldn’t except it because I hadn’t bought the book through Amazon. It seems to me that they should welcome any promotion of anything that they sell, whether purchased from them or not.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maddening, right? This happened to me last night! Someone I’d gifted the book to (and I had to pay for my own book to do so!) wanted to leave me a reviews, just out of kindness. It wasn’t allowed. Yet I’ve had others who have had no problem leaving them.

      The entire policy makes no sense at all.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. No, it’s mr I’m so sorry this happened to you, too! I wish there was something we could do, but I know it’s a hopeless battle.


  4. Listen honey, I have had reviews removed by Amazon. I know cos these people contacted me to say that their review was never processed. I never asked for these reviews. These were from supporters–fans if you like– who had bought their copy and were verified purchasers. Amazon are absolute hypocrital bastards in terms of what they let by them and what they refuse. I can tell you of at least one author I know of who buys her own book, one ecopy each day to keep her ranking up and in with one of my publishers. Do Amazon do anything about that? Ok it’s her own money but they are bound to clock that sale is to the same kindle so why should it count towards her ranking? I can tell you of plenty authors who get away with writing several glowing five star reviews of their own work under diff names. One in particular- a debut author- had these reviews up before the book was out. How she got away with it? She’s with a big publishing house. Noticeably Amazon never touch them

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that is detestable on Amazon’s part. And also what I mean by, the cheaters will always work the system, and be successful at it.

      I also learned yesterday that Amazon pulls NEGATIVE reviews on products, too, because they hurt sales! So, lemme get this straight: authors aren’t permitted to provide other authors with reviews because they may be ‘biased,’ however, we’ll pull unbiased poor reviews cause it hurts our sales.

      It positively blows my mind.

      Thank you, Shehanne! 🙂


  5. I am appalled by this story, naive that I am! I, too, have had reviews deleted, with some lame explanation that something was disallowed, although I have no idea what it was about my review that was objectionable.

    What is even more atrocious to my mind – or perhaps on the same plane – is how any author snatches 28,353 reviews!!! Really?? Is that even possible? I happen to know that some authors BUY them – yep, purchase services that promise reviews. Oh, don’t get me wrong: I don’t mean to disparage the likes of Patterson or Leon Uris, or any of the other greats – gleaning those huge numbers is understandable; but for some unknown to show up with reviews in the thousands is, hm, suspect.

    So, here’s to Amazon’s stellar reputation for promoting and enabling us indies to prosper – after all, doesn’t Amazon make a cut on our sales??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen! And isn’t it suspect but that perhaps those thousands of reviews, the majority of them, are great?? Hm. Great job, Amazon, on keeping things ‘unbiased!’

      I am so sorry to hear you’re experiencing the same, Maria! I have purchased and reviewed your books, I wonder if those remained? Unlikely!


  6. Felicity, I thank you from the bottom of my being. I’m a great fan of yours – just checked my books, and see no reviews of which you speak – unless you wrote some for my “other” books (pseudonym?).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, don’t mention it! I am a great fan of yours’ too! I believe I have done both, but clear to my memory are those I did for your poetry collections 🙂

      Regardless, please know that they are on my kindle, and are frequently reread and always enjoyed 🙂


  7. Hard to get your work out. I have bought books at Barnes and Noble of new writers. A lot of writers have found alternative ways. Barnes and Noble allow you to order and they are printed to need. I’m researching this. Amazon had got a lot of negative reviews lately.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will buy your book today at Barnes and Noble. I’m old. I like paying cash. I would recommend putting Barnes and Noble. Last book store standing and easy place to order your book.

        Liked by 1 person

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