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Author Chat! > Amazons New Rules

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message 1: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 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 D.R. (new)

D.R. (woodhawk) | 20 comments I still have reviews for my book on Amazon that are not classified as "verified purchases". What is the difference between verified reviews and verified purchases?


message 3: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Just verified purchases- In other words, they are reviewing the book they bought. You can't give it to them.

When I said verified reviews- I meant verified purchases.


message 4: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 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 5: by M.F. (last edited Dec 28, 2017 06:12PM) (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 30 comments So - I'm assuming that for those who get gratis reads via NetGalley for example, will have their reviews invalidated and/or stripped as well?
In any case, this is a big mess.


message 6: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
I'm not sure. But, yes. If they do that, it's bad for indies.
IF this is true, the whole industry has shifted. The only way we'll be able to get reviews is if we sign up for the Vine program- ( I tried once and I remember it was expensive). I don't recall how much.Or if they are written by people who purchase the book- BUT according to this article- if people know you on social media- even if it's not really "friendship" they are eliminating them anyway.

Bloggers who are given books won't show up in the review section. According to that article, the reviews written by people who download it when the book is free- in KU- won't count either. So, I am glad I (thank you CL for that great post) pulled all my books out of KU. I am in the process of putting them on D2D.


message 7: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Again- I'm not sure- just reporting what I've heard and seen on the net.
Everything this person told me has been pretty accurate, though.


message 8: by M.F. (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 30 comments Wow...

This just doesn't make any sense; Amazon is one of the largest in self-publishing, yet it takes a basically negative approach towards indie authors/reviews? The cutting off the nose to spite the face is just...weird.

I guess it's good that I don't like social media (Facebook), and am writing under a pseudonym.


message 9: by Carole (last edited Dec 28, 2017 06:48PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
It's sad. It relegates this to a non-business. In other words, write with no expectation other than to publish and not earn money.
It's shifted- and we'll have to find new ways to publicize our books.


message 10: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments Are you doing your children's books with pictures on D2D?


message 11: by Briana (last edited Dec 29, 2017 05:36AM) (new)

Briana Michaels | 38 comments I don't know about this... the wording is too vague to be angry or worried yet. I've had my books free before and downloaded them to my kindle when they were free. The button I clicked on said "Buy now for Free" so I'm still "buying" it. Plus, when I click on it now, the bar at the top of my Amazon page says, "You've already purchased this item on *this date*. I think this means even though it was "free" it's still considered a "purchase" and we don't have to worry about it so much. I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens...


message 12: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
I guess we shall have to see what it means. Erica. I am in the process of trying convert my files as cheaply as possible. My children’s books plus my sons books. I have a few of his in electronic format already so now downloading to d2d. As they come out of their ku contracts I will load them onto d2d. I’ll just have to watch the rankings over the next few months and report back whether the move was worth it


message 13: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments Keep me posted on the process of covering children's books with pictures to D2D. I tried recently, not for this reason, and am having difficulty finding a format that keeps my layout and is acceptable to D2D. They want a word doc or an epub and I can't seem to get my book in either of those formats without images cutting off or the words and pictures shifting around.


message 14: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Working on it as we speak


message 15: by Carole (last edited Dec 29, 2017 12:34PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 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 product- 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 16: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments Congrats, Carole! I completely agree. It is about selling yourself-also not talking streetwalking, Lol. I always seem to get a little boost after a live meet and greet event and sometimes after online events where authors get to interact with the readers. It give people a chance to learn more about YOU not just your books. :)


message 17: by Amy (new)

Amy Hamilton | 124 comments Well done Carole. It's a relief to be honest. If they'd permanently done that to you, the likes of me stand no chance with anything.


message 18: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 348 comments Yay, pleased you have your reviewer rank back.


message 19: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Thanks for your support, guys. It means the world to me.


message 20: by Alyson (new)

Alyson Stone (alysonserenastone) | 194 comments I've heard a lot of people complaining about this. Hopefully Amazon sees this and changes everything back to the way it used to be.


message 21: by Carole (last edited Dec 29, 2017 04:55PM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Alex wrote: "Yay, pleased you have your reviewer rank back."

Yes- Alex- it returned today. 3257 in the states.



Reviews might have been wiped out on Amazon UK, Ca and AU. Can anyone check and see if my UK reviews are still there?

I usually put them there for authors who originate from those countries.

When I log into those accounts they say I have no reviews.


message 22: by M.F. (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 30 comments Yaaah! *claps*


message 23: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 348 comments Your review is still there on Where There's A Will in the UK Carole.


message 24: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
I'll have to call them tomorrow. I think it's a log in problem.


message 25: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 348 comments Carole wrote: "I'll have to call them tomorrow. I think it's a log in problem."

I hope you get it sorted soon.


message 26: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Me too!!


message 27: by Carmel (new)

Carmel Hanes Awfully glad you are getting reviews back, as well as your rank. As a newbie in this world and venture, it has been troubling to read about your experiences, as well as those of others.


message 28: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
You have to keep trying new things.


message 30: by Christine (new)

Christine (christineroney) | 34 comments Great article, Carole!


message 31: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Thanks Christine


message 32: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 12 comments M.F. wrote: "So - I'm assuming that for those who get gratis reads via NetGalley for example, will have their reviews invalidated and/or stripped as well?
In any case, this is a big mess."


Per Amazon's review policies: "4. Can I pay for someone to write a Customer Review for my book?
"We don't allow any form of compensation for a Customer Review other than a free copy of the book provided upfront. If you offer a free advanced copy, it must be clear that you welcome all feedback, both positive and negative."

It appears Amazon does allow people who have received free books to review them. But it also appears that this may only apply to "free advanced copies." That would seem to include NetGalley.
https://www.amazon.com/gp/community-h...


message 33: by M.F. (new)

M.F. Hopkins | 30 comments Thank you, Stephen!


message 34: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments Any luck with D2D and your children's books, Carole?


message 35: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Hi Erica,

Brit is going to try one this week- She successfully loaded on of Michael's.

We were going to explore Ingrams and see where that gets distributed.

I think Ben's wife can turn a pdf into an electronic copy. We were organizing Michael's books first- and found a whole bunch of e copies we made when we first published.


message 36: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments I have everything but an epub. I feel like there has to be a trick to convert easily, but I am stuck. I'm sick of technology right now.


message 37: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Brit was working on it for two days. I'll have her contact you as soon as we figure it out.


message 38: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments I would appreciate that. I am still working on it too so I will let you know if I make any breakthroughs in the meantime. Wouldn't count on it though lol.


message 39: by Anita (last edited Dec 30, 2017 07:47PM) (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 66 comments Ingram distributes to 70 retailers. D2D distributes to 10 and Smashword has 14. Links follow:

https://www.draft2digital.com/partners/

https://www.smashwords.com/distribution

http://www.ingramspark.com/plan-your-...?

I use a combination of Ingram and Smashword because Ingram does not distribute to Overdrive which is the eBook side for libraries. Smashword does. I deactivated all the channels on Smashword except for the distribution to Overdrive.

Also, Ingram has an extra step for iBooks in that they have an agreement that must be authorized. I didn't find out about it until I called to see why my books weren't on iBooks. I had already loaded to Smashword, and it was just easier to activate the iBook channel.

You may already be aware of this, but will pass on anyway. Calibre is a free software program that will convert to both ePub and Mobi. I have been successful in using this program for written manuscripts and an illustrated children's book.


message 40: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 66 comments Forgot to add that Ingram does pdf to epub conversions. Cost is $.60 per page.


message 41: by Josie (new)

Josie Jaffrey (josiejaffrey) | 26 comments I use and love Calibre. It’s super easy and free.


message 42: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments I must be doing something wrong. I have been using Calibre. I am trying to convert my children's picture book PDF to an epub, but the finished product crops in on my images and shifts my text around. Also, I loose my page spread layout.


message 43: by Erica (new)

Erica Graham (erica_graham) | 268 comments I have a mobi that I tried to convert to epub with Calibre too, my text was in the correct places and the layout was also correct, but my images were grainy and I couldn't see half if the right side of each page spread layout.


message 44: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 66 comments I just got an interesting email from Kindle Book Review. Anyone know about it?

Fast Track Pro--$95, 8 reviews, 4 on Amazon and 4 copied to Goodreads.

I couldn't find anywhere on their website if the 4 copied to Goodreads are the same as on Amazon or different reviews. Since the word copied was used, the assumption would be yes, which makes it interesting that Goodreads was included.

Fast Track--$49, same as above only it is 4, 2 on Amazon and 2 copied to Goodreads.

I found the following in their FAQs.

Are you part of Amazon?

We are an Amazon associate and receive a small fee whenever our subscribers purchase from Amazon.

Why do your reviewers have to buy the book on Amazon? Can't I send a MOBI or PDF file instead?

By default, Amazon now only displayed "verified purchase" reviews.


message 45: by Anita (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 66 comments Carole wrote: "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 o..."


OMG--this is fantastic news. I am so happy for you.


message 46: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Thanks, Anita. I'd be wary of anyone selling reviews. I don't trust any of them anymore.


message 47: by Anita (last edited Dec 31, 2017 08:49AM) (new)

Anita Dickason (anitadickason) | 66 comments I agree, what I found interesting was that tidbit about being an Amazon associate.


message 48: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 1242 comments Mod
Yeah- they call themselves that- but I kinda doubt they are. It sounds suspicious. I would copy the email to Amazon and ask if it is okay.


message 49: by Stephen (new)

Stephen Shender | 12 comments I would not pay anyone to review my book on Amazon. It's dishonest and a disservice to readers. I prize reader ratings and reviews, which I've found are not easy to come by, despite the fact that most people who've read my book have said they enjoyed it. In the past year since I published my novel, I've accumulated 28 reviews/ratings on Goodreads (average, 3.89 stars) and 12 reviews on Amazon (average 4.2 stars).


message 50: by Simi (new)

Simi Sunny | 173 comments Carole wrote: "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 ..."


Oh no...


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