Saturday, 6 September 2014

Amazon... why do you hate me so?

My last review disappeared off Amazon earlier this week. Poof! Gone forever. I'm trying very, very hard not to take it personally, but it's quite hard to when it seems so... so... so... personal?

My darling, my one true love, my partner and soul-mate read my book when the proofs first arrived. I might hasten to add that neither of us really believed he would finish it, and I had long ago given up the idea that he would even start. My darling's taste runs to more of a military bent, and even that can't be tainted with things such as emotions from people involved in the operation of military equipment, or - god forbid - tales of their families. He and Jane's Information Group get on very well indeed.

The last novel he tried to read was Insomnia by Stephen King. He'd enjoyed a few Stephen King books up to that point - the ones with more realistic settings and fewer monsters. He didn't finish this one though. And he never tried again. So from 1994 onwards he has been fiction-free.

He finished it in three days and was quite pleased with himself and with me. When he said how much he liked it, I said "well why don't you review it then" which he did.

Amazon approved his review, and then took it down overnight.

So, no family members allowed then. Odd, since I am self-published so it might well be expected that for a while the only people I will realistically be able to sell to are family, friends and co-workers.

Onto the friends then!

A friend's review went up. Perfect. It stayed up for about three weeks, and then it disappeared off the face of the earth.

"But you can always get them to re-post it," I can hear you say, because I often carry on full-length conversations with a variety of different people that I've never met in my head (it's how I win arguments you know) so I'll tell you what I've already told the inside-my-head you. NO YOU CAN'T.

It's hard slog to get someone who'll say something nice about your book to your face to actually type that same something up and put it on a website. That's five, maybe ten minutes out of their lives that they're not getting back, and they are quite happy to let you know it.

So my darling popped his up again and this time it stuck. One day, two days. I got used to seeing it there whenever I clicked on my book to see what it looked like (something that I either pridefully or paranoically do every day at least once.)

And then another friend was cajoled into buying my book on Kindle.

(as a short aside I'd like to reassure you that these aren't the full extent of my sales BTW. I may be a debut self-published novelist which I realise makes me less in the publishing world than the dirt sticking to the chewing gum on the underside of your shoe but I do have some manipulation sales skills)

He read it in less than a day and came over to tell me how wonderful it was. I agreed wholeheartedly with him, and then mentioned how reviewers get into heaven before nuns even. When he agreed he would indeed like to do that I nearly wept with joy. Two reviews. Two. On Amazon. It was going to be a thing of beauty. Knowing how promises fade with the walk out of our front door I even set him up on my computer, logged myself out of Amazon and let him log in, while I tried to stab clickers in the neck with hand-made shivs in the other room.

The review never made it.

Amazon sent him a lovely email saying they wouldn't post the review, so he popped it onto Goodreads instead. Not only did Amazon not accept his review, they seemed to notice once again that my darling had reviewed my book and took that review down as well.


So now I have a lovely link saying 'Be the first customer...' and a lot of sadness in my little author heart.

Why, Amazon. Why? Surely you could just let them put up their three puny reviews? Is it really so horribly misleading that people I know buy my book and like it? Shouldn't they have the same opportunity to hold an opinion as the one offered to people who don't know me? (I realise that I'm making the presumption here that Amazon is not just callously taking down US and UK reviews as well for my book - but I don't have proof of that, and now I'm starting to wonder...)

If you would like to see some reviews, from people who both do and don't know me, then feel free to avail yourself of the following links:
Barnes and Noble
Google Books

Those sites love me Amazon - why don't you?

Send to Kindle

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