How Amazon’s new rules about reviews will affect you.

Amazon has recently changed some of its rules in their neverending pursuit to police bogus reviews. Of course, this is resulting in more reviews disappearing, including legitimate reviews, much to many authors’ chagrin.

img_1123But what do the new rules really mean for authors and book reviewers alike? Author Anne R. Allen penned an in depth piece about the new Amazon rules on her blog and is really worth reading.

Among the many subjects Anne covers in her article, she discusses Amazon’s attempt to stop unethical authors from purposely trying to bring down their competition with bad reviews.

This is something that apparently happened a lot in the early days of indie publishing, when a handful of authors played Amazon like a videogame.

They would put a novel into a tiny nonfiction category like “Historical Cat Costumes” where they could be in the top 10. Then they would try to knock off the books ahead of it in that category.

So in order to push their book to #1, they’d go to Crochet Richard III’s Hat for Your Cat and leave a one-star saying, “I made this hat for my cat and Fluffy died of a brain aneurism the next day.”

Anne also makes the following suggestion to keep the Review Police from seizing your reviews in the middle of the night and throwing them down the memory hole:

. . . [D]on’t ask your Mom to review your book. Or your BFF. Especially if you gave her a Kindle Fire for Christmas.

This piece of advice reminded me of a 5-star review I saw recently that miraculously hasn’t been yanked yet. (Some names have been redacted to keep the review anonymous.)


Authors and book reviewers would do well to check out Anne’s blog post to learn more about how the new Amazon rules regarding reviews will affect you.

Why I will never participate in NaNoWriMo.

Right now thousands of writers are preparing to begin the annual National Novel Writing Month project on November 1st.

The annual month-long writing event, better known as NaNoWriMo, challenges authors to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.  This contest is quite popular and has helped launch careers of some authors as they ended up publishing the novel they wrote during NaNoWriMo.

img_1056NaNoWriMo promotes discipline, dedication, and perseverance to the craft of writing as authors must maintain a daily word count of 1,667 words a day for 30 days in order to complete 50,000 words by December 1st.

Although the idea of the project is fantastic, its timing isn’t. And it has nothing to do with it being football season . . . although that argument can reasonably be made.

No, the reason I am opposed to NaNoWriMo is because of the distraction it creates during the most cherished and anticipated holiday of the year for my family and me.

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful time of sharing, caring, gratefulness, and family bonding, and I look forward to it every year. The distraction of NaNoWriMo pulling me away from precious time with my family is not a compromise I am willing to make.

img_1055If you want to participate in National Novel Writing Month but, like me, you don’t want the most wonderful time of the year to pass you by while you’re staring at a computer screen, then I have a solution for you.

Enter JunoWrimo. No, it’s not a month set aside to write your novel in Alaska’s capital, Juneau, it’s National Novel Writing Month in June. And what better time to be spending in doors in air conditioning (and away from direct sunlight) than during the hot month of June?

So go ahead, write that novel in June and spend more of November sipping hot lattes by a fire, eating pie, playing in piles of leaves, and making memories with family and friends. You won’t regret it.