They won’t let family or friends review your books. That makes no sense to me but there you go. According to the thinking at Amazon (do people think at Amazon?), family and friends might write an overly favorable review. My thinking is friends can give authors the best and worst advice. Some of my friends like my books and others don’t. Just like those people who aren’t friends. Couldn’t Amazon have some sort of disclosure when someone writes a review where they put, I’m a family member of this author or I’m a friend of this author. That way the person reading the review could make a judgement on their own. Is that too much to ask?
What really gets me are the other restrictions beyond families and friends. Bloggers are the best people to review books. They put the reviews on both the online shopping sites (Amazon, B&N, Kobo, iTunes) and on their own blogs. Yet, I’ve recently seen where Amazon is coming down on bloggers. If a blogger becomes one of your fans, that is, really enjoys your books and reviews more than one, well, that looks suspicious to Amazon. Good grief. What’s an author to do? Maybe turn to other authors?
Nope, that’s also a problem. According to Amazon, if you’re an author and ask another author to read and review your book (Something I might add that’s been going on for at least two centuries!), and you later read and review that author’s book (That’s just plain polite) Amazon frowns on the review. They will flag you and the other author. Oh my!
All of these regulations are in place because a small group of authors violated the rules. They purchased reviews (only positive ones) from sites that offer to do that or they put together a group of authors to review books only if they gave 4 stars or more. Two bad practices that now has authors scrambling for credible reviews.
I’m saddened by all this. I’ve read and reviewed books for years. I post reviews on nearly every book I read on both on Amazon and Goodreads. Why? I like to read reviews before I purchase. I go through them like any smart shopper. If the review is too glowing, I look at it askance. If it’s too negative, I give it the same amount of skepticism. But, looking at both the positive and the negative and what the people say in the review, really help me make my decision. For example, someone might give a book three stars because it didn’t have enough plot. Perhaps I like to read books without a lot of plot. As a reader I can make a choice as to whether that’s a good thing or not. I don’t need Amazon to tell me.
Authors are the company’s bread and butter. What if we all stopped writing? What if we all stopped reviewing? Then where would Amazon be?
Now you’ve heard my rant.What are your thoughts?