Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Publishing On Amazon: The Case Of The Disappearing Review

If you decide to publish with Kindle Direct Publishing, be warned: Lately, Amazon is really cracking down on getting rid of reviews that don't seem to be legit. The idea is to prevent authors from posting "sock puppet" critiques, i.e. reviews that they themselves have posted under fake names. In fact, authors are no longer even allowed to write reviews of other books (which I think is so unfair, but that's a post for another time). Unfortunately, whatever software Amazon uses is a little too sensitive and often deletes perfectly legitimate book reviews. It's happened to thousands of authors online (just do a Google search and you'll see plenty of write-ups) and it recently happened to me.

A few days ago, I received a wonderful five-star review of BAND GEEK on Amazon from a reader named Cornelia. She (I'm assuming this is a she) wrote:

"Band geek Melinda falls for the zany, popular trumpet player Josh. Every girl in junior high or high school who longs for a boy to see past her exterior appearance and fall in love with the real wonderful person inside (a.k.a. most girls) will relate to Melinda and fall for Josh. He sees beauty and creativity in Melinda and leads her on adventures that help her see herself in a new light. What starts off as a simple love story evolves into an examination of the morality of revenge. Is revenge ever justified? How much is too much? The stakes increased as the novel progressed leading to an exciting and satisfying ending."

What I really liked about this review is not just the fact that she gave me five stars (though that's nice!), but that she seemed to really understand my story and what I was attempting to say. Plus, it's flattering to know that I touched her enough so that she felt compelled to write such a lovely review. I so appeciated her critique that I copy and pasted it onto my Facebook author page to show friends.

Boy, am I glad I saved it because a few hours later, it disappeared. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because I copied it and Amazon took it to mean that the review was already on another site. Perhaps the writer is an author hersef or had her Amazon account taken down. I guess I'll never know, but I'm disappointed that such a great review was removed. So if you're reading this Cornelia, I just wanted to publicly thank you for taking the time to read my book and write about it. I'm sorry that your review wasn't good enough for Amazon, for whatever reason.

For the most part, I've been happy with Amazon and think that the company is pretty fair. However, I'd like to see them have a less strict review policy. As an avid reader, I enjoy looking at others' book reviews and I'd hate to see too many legit ones get lost in the shuffle.

Speaking of which, please read and review my novel REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.

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