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Where Can I Promote My Book? > Amazon's new rules

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message 1: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
A former reviewer from Amazon who had her reviews stripped sent me a note saying that Amazon will only allow verified reviews from now on.
Also, she said the only free reviews will be through the Vine program- which the author has to pay for. I don't know if this is true.

I believe they restored my reviews but stripped me of my ranking.

I'm not sure if this is true- but it will be a major setback for indies who depend on reviews to help sell their books.


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments It doesn't surprise me that Amazon is changing things in a way that encourages people to spend money on their services, ie the Vine program.
I hope this is wrong but it rings true to me, unfortunately.


message 3: by Carole (last edited Dec 28, 2017 04:42PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
"This new policy comes on top of their other change of policy regarding Amazon book reviews, which in essence banned reviews from not only family and friends but also from authors or social media contacts.

Many articles were written about this draconian attitude, including this in The International Business Times, which covers the topic in detail.

One can only come to the conclusion that Amazon has had their fill of self-publishing, and are now taking dramatic measures to limit the chances of success for self-publishing authors.

I can say that from my experience over the last twelve months that I have been contacted by many people on social media, who have tried to post an Amazon book review for my books, and were rejected. Why?

Because Amazon deemed that we had a ‘personal’ connection. What? After exchanging a few messages on Twitter or Linkedin, we have a personal relationship? Really?"

Read the rest of the article

https://www.justpublishingadvice.com/...


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments I’m not surprised but in reality this will mean someone like me who doesn’t sell books to anyone other than those who know me, even if they only vaguely know me, will end up with no reviews. You can use our platform but we don’t want you to be successful. Cheers Amazon.


message 5: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1117 comments Worrying. I can understand them wanting to stop click farm reviews and paid-for reviews. But if, as you point out, they'll allow paid-for reviews by their own subsidiaries (or whatever) then this starts to get difficult to respect.

Authors may well return to trying to get published by the traditional publishing route. My mind goes on to all the ramifications of that!

Does anyone feel like they've been lured into a way of life and then had the rug pulled from under their feet? Perhaps not yet...


message 6: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1701 comments If they are making such a change, it's not yet reflected in their published guidelines. The last news stories I can find about restrictions on non-verified purchases are from about a year ago, when the currently stated policy went into effect. If a change was immanent, I imagine they would have announced it. If they haven't announced it, it may be something someone is thinking about, but probably nothing that's about to happen. (It takes time to implement such a change, after all.) And it could just be the rumor mill in action.


message 7: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 208 comments The $50 requirement has been in effect for a while...I believe it started at the beginning of this year. The article is mistaken when it suggests you can't leave reviews on free downloads. I get reviews on free downloads every time I run a promotion. The highlighted portions in the article are saying that you are not allowed to write reviews on Amazon if you have never bought anything on Amazon before. This weeds out fake accounts/fake reviews. Unfortunately many legit ARC bloggers/reviewers who weren't necessarily Amazon customers had their reviews removed when this change was implemented.


message 8: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
Daily I see reviews disappear. Mostly they are amazon top reviewers that are being stripped. According to my buddy a former reviewer she said only verified purchases will be allowed. Again. I don’t know if this is true but u have noticed in the past year that reviews hav trickled down to nothing. People have written me and said son didn’t allow the review. Also someone sent me an article that if u love naked socially or send the link of your book for them to purchase they will deny the review. I’m investigating


message 9: by Theodore (last edited Dec 29, 2017 08:10AM) (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1417 comments Carole wrote: "Daily I see reviews disappear. Mostly they are amazon top reviewers that are being stripped. According to my buddy a former reviewer she said only verified purchases will be allowed. Again. I don’t..."

What happens to books that are gifted, where the person doing to review indicates such and posts they still issued a unbiased review? (Which has been the norm?)

And what about books that are given away on Goodreads' Giveaways? People who win those may or may not be Amazon customers? Besides, aren't they fostering the very environment they now want to squelch?


message 10: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 208 comments I'm wondering if they started a new batch of review deletions recently. Bloggers definitely noticed it happening months ago when Amazon published the guidelines including the $50 minimum. Many stopped reviewing altogether :(.

Amazon's review system has some serious issues. I was just looking at a book on Amazon this morning, The Far Side Gallery 2, and almost every review on the page was about fly and mosquito repellent!


message 11: by Theodore (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1417 comments Marie Silk wrote: "I'm wondering if they started a new batch of review deletions recently. Bloggers definitely noticed it happening months ago when Amazon published the guidelines including the $50 minimum. Many stop..."

The benefits of technology (;>) Who needs human beings when we have so many "schmart" machines?!


message 12: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
We’ll keep calm and ask on is up on d2d. Sixty nine more to go lol


message 13: by Carole (last edited Dec 29, 2017 12:33PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
BTW as of ten minutes ago- my rank on Amazon has been restored.

Reviewer ranking
#3,257

You may think it's silly, but the rank meant something to me- It was tangible proof that I contribute to our community. I've read and reviewed enough books for people to vote up my reviews as helpful. That maybe I am growing into being an influencer.
I used my rank as a marketing tool- making myself a more recognizable voice in the book world. Many people have used one sentence from my reviews on the cover or on the first page of their book. Does that lead to potential book sales or interest for my own products- I believe it does. "Well, Carole P. Roman likes it- let's see what she has done- oh- she has multiple blog shows, a magazine and over fifty award-winning books- maybe I should buy this and hers as well."
Make no mistake- I don't see myself a celebrity- but celebrity endorsements work- and since my endorsement are given freely- I guess they are the next best thing. lol.

I think- one of the most effective marketing tools is not to "sell" your book, so much as "sell" yourself (or brand- I'm not taking about streetwalking here).

Things are shifting in our world- what worked before in marketing is not working now- we have to find ways to sell our product. If Zon is giving us lemons- we have to find a way to make lemonade and I think we have to proactively find ways to make our books known.


message 14: by Dale (last edited Dec 29, 2017 12:43PM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1701 comments Carole wrote: " we have to find a way to make lemonade and I think we have to proactively find ways to make our books known."

I read an interview (I think) some months back by an SF author who had achieved some success. He wasn't an indie author, but he said what he did, and what he recommends other authors do, is:

1. Write a really good book. (The remaining steps don't work if you haven't.)

2. Attend literary conventions for your genre.

3. Talk to people and give away free copies of your book.

4. Rinse and repeat with subsequent books until you have a following.

The point here, he said, is to connect directly with likely readers of your books. Of course this isn't easy or cheap (he said he applied his advances to stocking up on books to give away). But eventually, if you did #1 correctly, people will start to know your name and be interested in buying the next book you release.

To what extent that kind of thing can be done via social media and other online venues, I don't know. It's probably easier to get somebody to accept a free book when you're handing them a copy than it is to ask them to go somewhere and download it. If you're not hovering over their shoulder waiting, they might not do it. ;-)


message 15: by Helen (new)

Helen (helenpicca) | 48 comments Carol, I did note one day that your review of my book had been removed. But then one day, not long after, it was back. And it is still there. Thankfully.


message 16: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
;)


message 17: by Nancy (last edited Dec 29, 2017 02:43PM) (new)

Nancy Quinn | 46 comments Does Amazon monitor an author's social media connections? How do they determine which reviews to remove or post? This is confusing.


message 18: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
Probably. Amazon owns Goodreads.


message 19: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Probably won't be long before they own or at least have a connection to Twitter/Facebook etc.
Another few years and there will only be about half a dozen global conglomerates that own every other business in the world.


message 20: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
It feels like that's where we are going.


message 21: by Judy (new)

Judy Martialay | 320 comments Dale wrote: "If they are making such a change, it's not yet reflected in their published guidelines. The last news stories I can find about restrictions on non-verified purchases are from about a year ago, when..."
I like this, and hope it's true..


message 22: by L.E. (new)

L.E. Doggett (ldwriter2) | 53 comments Hmm. Need to check my reviews and my wife's. Actually hers are mine because of that $50 rule. But I should be okay when it comes from that now. but I do have a couple of reviews coming up soon.


message 23: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1117 comments Carole wrote: "It feels like that's where we are going."

I wonder/worry about the world our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren (even if I haven't got all of those yet!) will live in. I suppose they will adapt.


message 24: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments I guess I'm lucky there, Anna, since I don't have kids and neither expect nor want to have them in the future.
I would like things to become easier and better in the here and now, a return to a more simple way of life would be good. I'd happily give up the internet and computers if it meant less chaos and confusion and complication in the world.


message 25: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
Anna Faversham wrote: "Carole wrote: "It feels like that's where we are going."

I wonder/worry about the world our children, grandchildren, great grandchildren (even if I haven't got all of those yet!) will live in. I s..."

I'm afraid they'll never know the difference. They'll live in the United Staes of Amazon.


message 26: by Matt (new)

Matt Cowper | 56 comments Alex wrote: "Probably won't be long before they own or at least have a connection to Twitter/Facebook etc.
Another few years and there will only be about half a dozen global conglomerates that own every other b..."


The tech world promises constant disruption, but the eventual outcome is what you stated: a handful of companies gobble up everything.

I wish someone would give Amazon a run for their money, but every other company involved in e-publishing seems to be just hunkering down, or retreating from the field entirely. See: Pronoun.


message 27: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Pronoun distressed me greatly, Matt, I was just starting to make some real progress with my sales when they announced they were shutting and put me back to square one.

The most recent acquisition by Disney is troubling because of the TV/Film franchises they now have control over. Chances are they'll be releasing a steady stream of films to grab more cash, just as they've been doing with Star Wars.


message 28: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
So, now if your book gets too much traffic- it's no good. A note from our friends at Amazon- I guess the book stirred too much interest- might have made a sale and that's 'unacceptable'?


Thanks for using Amazon KDP. During our review, we found that the search keywords for the following book(s) create inaccurate or overwhelming search results and impair the customer experience:

The Battle for Darracia: Books I - II - III by Cash, Michael Phillip (AUTHOR) (ID:6291608)

Search keywords that are not accurate descriptors of your book’s central storyline or are completely unrelated to its content may be misleading to our customers and are unacceptable. Misleading search keywords such as reference to other authors, titles, promotions or sales rank result in confusion for customers as to why your work is included in search results. To check out our Metadata Guidelines, visit: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A... ;


message 29: by Dale (last edited Jan 04, 2018 05:59AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1701 comments Carole wrote: "So, now if your book gets too much traffic- it's no good. A note from our friends at Amazon- I guess the book stirred too much interest- might have made a sale and that's 'unacceptable'?"

The policy actually makes sense. Whether or not it was correctly applied to Michael's book is possibly another matter. It would depend on what the keywords were and how well they relate to the book's genre and subject.

I could probably boost my search results by comparing myself to Stephen King and suggesting my novels are reminiscent of 50 Shades of Gray, but that would be grossly inappropriate given our respective genres (and probably other things). ;-) I'm sure you're not doing anything so outrageously inappropriate, of course, but likely there are some blurry lines that you inadvertently got tangled up in.


message 30: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments I hope they made suggestions for what you should have used instead.


message 31: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
Nope to everything. This is his least sold book- so it makes no sense. we put it under coming of age (it is), space (yes again) , sci fi ( yep), fantasy ( I wouldn't call it anything else), oh and YA .
Nope- When we do this-we never compare to traditional authors. I would think it's presumptuous. Anyway, the reviewers do that enough for us.

They have it under short stories- which was a category we never placed it in.


message 32: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments They put books in short stories based on page count, Carol.

This whole process is becoming more and more impenetrable. I worry what the next move from Amazon will be. It wouldn't matter so much if they weren't the biggest market by a mile, or there was anyone moving up to take advantage of all this and at least try and compete, but there isn't.


message 33: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments I hate to be pessimistic. (That's a lie, it's my natural state.) I'm beginning to wonder if all this is the beginning of the end. If Amazon carries on the way they are, Indies will just be indulging in a very costly hobby. And that's not what I set out to achieve.


message 34: by Anna (last edited Jan 04, 2018 09:00AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1117 comments Amy said: "If Amazon carries on the way they are, Indies will just be indulging in a very costly hobby. And that's not what I set out to achieve. "

Perhaps it's what Amazon set out to achieve?

That's me being cheeky really. I wonder if they are being pushed by the big publishers and they see the money for advertising etc is with the big publishers.


message 35: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Everything I hear makes me glad my books are available on sites other than Amazon, even if they don't do great. I get the occasional sale elsewhere which gives me hope I could still make a bit of money (I was about to type 'a living' but I'm not so confident on that) even if things get worse with Amazon.


message 36: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments Anna Faversham wrote: "Amy said: "If Amazon carries on the way they are, Indies will just be indulging in a very costly hobby. And that's not what I set out to achieve. "

Perhaps it's what Amazon set out to achieve?"


I'm beginning to wonder.

@Alex, I've always thought it's wise to not put all the eggs in one basket. Although I possibly sold two books on iBooks.

I never thought those who were successful for years would now be unsure of the future. Eye-opening.


message 37: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
"If Amazon carries on the way they are, Indies will just be indulging in a very costly hobby. And that's not what I set out to achieve. "

I have come to this conclusion as well. They've put up a concrete ceiling and I don't see a way through it. If you can keep costs low and be satisfied with just publishing, promoting in the new limited way and making vacation money- this is what I see as the future right now.

I have stopped publishing. However, I will continue to promote our books. We have too much invested to let it go.

I think the future is going to be getting your name on as many sites to make you visible. If you haven't already join places like Bookworks and Medium. Build a blog audience. I think Facebook may be done- as it is being watched. If you are friends- the bots on Amazon will eliminate reviews. In other words, if people follow you, like fans, you engage with them on Facebook, give them links to buy your books, the reviews will not go up.
I've been thinking Ted, that maybe some of the "winners" might have written reviews, but Amazon in their infinite wisdom has chosen not to allow them. Of course, they still could have written a review on Goodreads- but truth be told, while I have a lot of 'friends" on Goodreads, they are mostly people I don't know.

I also argued over my own reviews, challenging Amazon to look up the timelines of the conversations. No one asked me to write them, they didn't know I wrote them, and I bought all my books. I'm glad they decided to allow me some modicum of freedom of choice. I suppose if they were all paid for on the Vine program and I was a member- it would be okay.


message 38: by Theodore (last edited Jan 04, 2018 10:10AM) (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1417 comments Carole wrote: ""If Amazon carries on the way they are, Indies will just be indulging in a very costly hobby. And that's not what I set out to achieve. "

I have come to this conclusion as well. They've put up a c..."


That would be a significant scandal if the winners of Amazon's Goodreads who posted (or attempted to post) reviews on Amazon had those reviews removed. Then, the ONLY purpose of the Giveaways would be to draw people to Goodreads for the purpose of taking authors for their books, many of which would end up for resale on Amazon in the end anyway. However you slice it, Amazon wins coming and going, and the indie authors take it in the ear (and the pocketbook).


message 39: by Matt (new)

Matt Cowper | 56 comments @Amy - "I never thought those who were successful for years would now be unsure of the future. Eye-opening."

For years, most of the "how to" or motivational writing from the big names in self-publishing painted a rosy picture. Just work hard, and people will buy your books!

Now even Joe Konrath (the quintessential Amazon worshiper) admits that his income is down and that Kindle Unlimited might not be such a good deal for authors after all. David Gaughran is calling out Zon every blog post. Many more authors are deciding to go wide.

YouTube is facing similar backlash from its content producers.

Once these tech companies get the attention of large companies and advertisers, they can treat the little people however they want. Our meager protests don't matter in the face of massive short-term profit.


message 40: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 2560 comments I came out of KU early on, but only because I wanted to see if I could get iBooks to publish my erotica after hearing it was difficult to do. And yay they did, I think I sold two copies. :)

It's all changed. Reading past articles it's like it's a different world now.


message 41: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
I couldn't agree with you more, Matt. It was s subtle shift. If you remember I wrote last year in Feb- something odd was going on at Amazon-
This was a viable business- we had a clear direction, with numbers projecting great profits.
It started with that page sharing thing. We noticed our Kindle income swindled. Then, with the books bin- or third-party sellers- the paperbacks tanked. They followed with an aggressive policy stamping out reviewers so that there can be little or no advancement.
The whole thing has to be reevaluated. One can still publish- I guess if you keep your expenses low, and perhaps follow the strategy where you have one free book and the rest people pay for- I guess it may provide some sort of income.
I plan on devoting my energies to building a blog audience, and followers. I think it is the only way left to promote. that is affordable. To invest any money in it at this time is the same thing as throwing it in the garbage. I never felt that way before.


message 42: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments That's what worries me, Carole, I don't have a lot of money to pay for promotion, but I'm reluctant to spend what I do have - saying that, I have an ad going on Saturday and though I don't expect much from it, I can only hope it doesn't trigger a rank-stripping or anything similar.


message 43: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
That scares me, too.- I am reducing all my ad expenses and optimizing free resources right now.

I'm sure you'll get some sales from it, Alex- It's one of the only ways left to promote our books. I will still do those as long as the prices are kept low.- but things like NetGalley, sending books out to reviewers, even blog tours- may be off the table.

I may do a giveaway from my own mail chimp Maybe I'll do one each month-- If anyone is interested in participating- let me know and we'll do up something for the month of January- Whoever gets picked by a consumer (winner) can send an electronic copy of their book?


message 44: by Theodore (last edited Jan 04, 2018 02:37PM) (new)

Theodore Cohen (theodorejeromecohen) | 1417 comments At this point, the ONLY marketing I will do are KDP discount sales through eReader News Today (ENT), with at least one Book Of The Day sale, if they will accept one of my Flash Fiction Anthologies for that slot sometime this year. I'm through with all the other noise.


message 45: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 210 comments I have to agree about ENT. Without a doubt they were the best of all my promotions. I will be doing the same, trying to get a slot for Going Gone!

I hope to have my next book out by the end of first quarter. I am taking a hard look at what worked and didn't on my promotions for the first two. There are a number of paid ones that didn't bring diddly squat and won't use again.

I saw an article that stated book reviews from blog tours was on the hit list.


message 46: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 210 comments Carole wrote: "That scares me, too.- I am reducing all my ad expenses and optimizing free resources right now.

I'm sure you'll get some sales from it, Alex- It's one of the only ways left to promote our books. ..."


Count me in. Where you go, I am happy to follow.


message 47: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4588 comments Mod
Thanks, Anita. You make me smile. Any book you write is a welcome addition.


message 48: by Alexis (new)

Alexis | 861 comments Carole wrote: "I couldn't agree with you more, Matt. It was s subtle shift. If you remember I wrote last year in Feb- something odd was going on at Amazon-
This was a viable business- we had a clear direction, w..."


Well, this sucks. I had a plan as to how I was going to promote and sell my books too. I’ve been DREAMING of quitting my job and focus on writing romance but man.. I’m not sure that’s realistic anymore. It’s like publishers sat Amazon down and told them; either you make indies lives as miserable or we pull our books and start our own bookstore.


message 49: by Angel (new)

Angel | 722 comments Check this out about Amazon: http://www.wapt.com/article/the-riche...


message 50: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments All I can say is, I hope the stock market crashes (I don't want most people hurt, but a major stock market crash would do some serious damage to Bezos and I like that idea right now since most of his wealth is based on shares, not on something more tangible)


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