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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Aug 15, 2018 01:14PM) (new)

Hello. I'm a relatively new author. I'm having trouble figuring out who can and who cannot post reviews for my book on Amazon as well as who I can and cannot post reviews for. I meet authors in these groups. Sometimes we're interested in each other's books. I've been happy to send gift copies for review if asked. And to receive them. Is this no longer something Amazon allows? The free copy? HELP. I'm confused and the folks at the other end of the phone to Amazon, as nice as they usually are, don't really know the answers. Oh, and I already know about the friends and family rule. Thank you.


message 2: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Something I've learned is that Amazon needs to be able to verify these are legitimate reviews on a book. That's either through verified purchases, or people that have little to no connection to you.

From what I've heard from other authors, it hasn't always been this way. Unfortunately, one bad apple spoils the bunch and a lot of people were using fake accounts/emails/or enlisting friends to do the same in order to bump their book up on Amazon.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Kaylee wrote: "Something I've learned is that Amazon needs to be able to verify these are legitimate reviews on a book. That's either through verified purchases, or people that have little to no connection to you..."
Thanks, Kaylee.


message 4: by Angela (new)

Angela Maher (angelajmaher) | 43 comments Free review copies are still allowed, but the review has to be worded carefully. It used to be the norm to say something along the lines of "copy received in exchange for an honest review", but now you need to avoid any mention of the word "exchange". Mostly you'll see where/how the reviewer received the copy, and a statement that there was no requirement for a review, the review is their honest opinion.
What is NOT allowed is review swapping. So, if you send an author your book to review, you can't return the favour, or I think you need to wait at least six months.
However, playing by the rules doesn't guarantee reviews won't be taken down. A lot of legitimate reviews still get caught in the net when fraudulent ones are wiped.


message 5: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Two of mine were caught by the wipe. The reviewers just happened to be friends and I had given them both copies. Happens a lot more than you'd expect because of the new algorithm they're using.

Review copies are touchy. Angela is right that they have to be worded very carefully.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Angela wrote: "Free review copies are still allowed, but the review has to be worded carefully. It used to be the norm to say something along the lines of "copy received in exchange for an honest review", but now..."

Thank you, Angela. I know Amazon has reasons and they're probably legitimate, but it does seem extra difficult these days. I know we're all in this together. That helps.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Kaylee wrote: "Two of mine were caught by the wipe. The reviewers just happened to be friends and I had given them both copies. Happens a lot more than you'd expect because of the new algorithm they're using.

I've had two reviews taken down also. And been denied access to others' books that I wanted to review, although that's only happened once. We're all in this together. Maybe Amazon will calm down. Meanwhile, I'll be very careful. We all will. Thanks so much.
R..."



message 8: by Cana (new)

Cana Gauthier | 3 comments I did a giveaway on Amazon earlier this year. Someone left me an amazing five star review, but it was gone the next day. I'm glad I got the chance to read it at least before it was deleted!


message 9: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments I've had I'm guessing about 50 reviews removed from each novel, all of which were legit, not swaps or anything. Caught in the net, I guess. Since Amazon owns Goodreads, have you folks seen anything similar happening here? Are the rules more relaxed with reviews?


message 10: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Reinbeck | 1 comments From what I understand, Amazon most likely tracks the IP address used to upload your book as well as tracking which IP address a purchase was made.

For example, My father-in-law wrote a book about How to write a memoir earlier this year. Since he isn't very tech savvy, he came over to have my husband assist with uploading his document to the Kindle template and helped him create his Kindle account.

Once his book was approved and available for sale we both (husband and I) purchased the e-book as a means of being supportive and also to see how quickly the sales showed up on his dashboard. Neither of us could leave a review because Amazon was quick to recognize that we most likely knew the author.

While we weren't trying to be deceitful, it is definitely frowned upon in the eyes of Amazon. I do understand, it is unfortunate. My book was released at the end of June, of the 52 readers that have a copy of it, 7 can't leave a review as they read the book before it was available (didn't buy a copy) or they are family to which the purchases were made using the same IP address. The other 45 copies are legit purchases and I'm still waiting for my first review.

As for exchanging a copy for a review, that's just not my style. I'd rather earn it the hard way and avoid getting caught up in a scam or having my account under review.


message 11: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Tantra,

from what i'm seeing the rules are far more relaxed here. I have had a review swiped but that was because of an issue with that user misusing their powers.

My guess since a lot of goodreads reviews aren't posted on a site where you can purchase the novel, they aren't as closely monitored.


message 12: by Kaylee (new)

Kaylee Dolat | 91 comments Hannah wrote: "From what I understand, Amazon most likely tracks the IP address used to upload your book as well as tracking which IP address a purchase was made.

For example, My father-in-law wrote a book abou..."


I'm constantly worried about having my account under review. A lot of people that are buying and reviewing my books are people from my church or writer's groups. Not a lot of outside-the-area sales yet.


message 13: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments Thank you, Kaylee.


message 14: by Gabriel (new)

Gabriel Blake (gabrielblake) | 8 comments I tried to leave a review on Amazon for Friend Request. It said it was possibly a bias review. I emailed and told them I’m not friends with Laura Marshall on any social media and have never met her in my life. They did not reply.


message 15: by Jeff (last edited Aug 16, 2018 06:12PM) (new)

Jeff Walker (jetplague) | 33 comments I'm absolutely upset that one of my books has only one bad review posted on the amazon site, I have others ya know, not just that one. I just launched an audiobook of the same title and now it's linked to that bad review of the ebook. The other reviews are at a rank of four and five! Where are those ones? Why is amazon only linking that one review only??

It's frustrating that it's not sharing the rest of the reviews on the site and ultimately killing my book in both formats. I don't care if they're even all bad or mediocre, I just want to see more of the reviews and rankings it got.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm so glad I decided to start this thread. I have no solution for Amazon's treatment of its authors. But here's a thought: There are literally millions of us trying not to offend Amazon. There's power in numbers...


message 17: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments Wow, Jeff, that sounds awful!

It's amazing we can get ahead at all on Amazon. I have to wonder if Amazon is picking on people who aren't published by their own imprints, to lower the competition.


message 18: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Jeff wrote: "I'm absolutely upset that one of my books has only one bad review posted on the amazon site..."

I dug around and I think I found the review in question, Jeff. It's not a bad review. The reader simply says that they aren't sure if they're going to read your full novel or not, based on your short story. It's an opinion and all readers will have them. Just because someone is not handing you a five star review is no reason to call their review "bad".

Keep in mind, folks, these discussions are public. I have seen some authors go down in flames for publicly complaining about "bad" reviews. If you take a moment to read our code of conduct, you'll see that we discourage discussion of negative reviews. They happen. No one has ever written a book that pleases all readers and I doubt any of us will ever achieve that. So, take your reviews, all of them, with a grain of salt and move on.


message 19: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "I'm so glad I decided to start this thread. I have no solution for Amazon's treatment of its authors. "

You mean letting me publish the kinds of books I want to publish so I don't have to jump through hoops to please a traditional publisher? And I get to do this for free? And I make money from it? How dare they!

I think that Amazon placing some criteria on what they allow for reviews is a really small price to pay for getting to use their service for free. Reviews are not there for us authors anyway, so why worry about them?


message 20: by Tantra (new)

Tantra Bensko (tantrabensko) | 14 comments If the hundred or so legitimate reviews of my books they took down for no reason had anything to do with their criteria, I wouldn't worry about it, either.

Reviews are for readers to chose if they want to buy our books and I want to sell books. They are also for readers to express their thoughts and feel connected with the books and I respect those readers. And I personally love hearing their thoughts because I don't write for myself but for them. Not sure why that is a bad way to feel.


message 21: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 552 comments I've just been trawling through some best sellers on Amazon. I came across several that had something like 3.5 star grades which were doing amazingly well in the charts.

Quit worrying.


message 22: by Dwayne, Head of Lettuce (new)

Dwayne Fry | 4356 comments Mod
Getting way off topic and getting negative. And as mentioned, this is not the forum to discuss reviews. Talking about what Amazon allows and does not allow is fine, but we're getting into territory of people complaining about negative reviews and how "unfair" Amazon is for enforcing their policies.

Focus on writing. Leave the reviews for readers.

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