Writing Advice

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.)

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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.

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Story: The Visitor, Updates

My two closest companions and some great news.

It’s no secret that disappointment and discouragement are constant and close companions of the writer.

img_0107One of my greatest discouragements has been receiving so few reviews in relation to how many copies of The Visitor have been downloaded. I’ve worked tirelessly trying to get reviews for my time travel tale, including offering numerous free download days. The results? The Visitor has been downloaded hundreds of times over the past year but has only received 42 reviews.

The most recent example was this past Saturday when The Visitor was available all day for free. 229 copies were downloaded, yet to date, I’ve only received one new review.

I am truly grateful for each and every one of the reviews I’ve received over the past year, I’ve just found that it’s taken an inordinate amount of time to obtain that many reviews . . . time that could have been spent writing.

However, it was during this epiphany of disappointment that I was blessed with great news: This past weekend, The Visitor reached number 1 and number 2 in the following two categories:

Thank you to all those who helped propel The Visitor to those coveted spots on Amazon’s ranking.