Amazon refuses to post two of my reviews. I think it’s only two; it could be more. My debut novel, The Missing Five, hit the scene November 3, 2013 and is selling through several book retailers, including Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Smashwords.com.
I sent out a mass email informing everyone I know—family, friends, coworkers—of my accomplishment. I am proud of this achievement, publishing my first novel. And, they are proud of me and demonstrate it by purchasing my novel, attending readings and/or signings, and congratulating me verbally. So, imagine my surprise when a friend I talk to about three or four times a year called and said, “Gwen, I bought your book and just finished reading it. This is a winner! I couldn’t put it down. I’m so proud of you.” Her accolades meant the world to me because she is not one to give a compliment haphazardly, and when she does, believe me you, it is one that the receiver deserves. Bottom line—she says what she means and means what she says.
She wrote a review and posted it to Amazon.com. I waited and waited and waited for her review to show up. It would be my first review, and to say I was tickled pink is an understatement. I wasn’t concerned so much with the number of stars she would give the novel, I couldn’t wait to read her words, which were important to me. The review never posted. After a week, I emailed Amazon.com requesting a reason to why the review hadn’t posted and never received a response, although the website states it will respond within 12 hours. I was very disappointed because I expected better customer service from a retailer so large and prominent. I wondered out loud why more retailers couldn’t exhibit the same kind of customer service provided by Nordstrom. This sentiment usually crosses my mind each and every time I encounter unprofessional customer service. Oh well, I dismissed it.
Then, it happened again this month. Another review wasn’t posted. After 48 hours, I sent Amazon.com another email and still I did not receive even the professional courtesy of a response. I did a Google search to see if this was happening to other authors. Well, lo and behold, it was. So, after a lot of researching, I found that Amazon.com stopped posting reviews it perceived were from family and friends. If the reviews were five-stars, they were considered bogus, inflated, or down-right deceitful. Now, I’m really annoyed. Their customer service couldn’t take less than a minute to reply to my email to offer this information, which is probably a form feedback response anyway. Unbelievable!
First, I applaud Amazon.com for removing reviews from its site that do not follow Amazon’s guidelines for posting reviews and Amazon.com validating that this is the case. Second, it’s unfair that Amazon.com polices reviews. Consumers are intelligent and capable of deciphering a genuine review from a pompous, bloated review. Whatever happened to caveat emptor, let the buyer beware?
Amazon.com, you definitely don’t know my friends, family, or coworkers! So, I’ll tell you who they are: they’re mature, intelligent readers and buyers who will only provide honest feedback and critiques of my book no matter what relationship they have with me. And, you don’t know who I am. I would never lower my standards to ask for a favorable review if my book didn’t deserve one. How else would I write a sequel and learn from my mistakes if I were given favorable reviews that were a sham. But, I understand from your viewpoint, this is exactly what some authors are doing. Shame on those authors who stoop so low just to get a favorable review in order to sell their books. Unfortunately, self-published authors have to bear the brunt and suffer the consequences. Wow, I guess a few bad apples can spoil the whole bunch.
Finally, since Amazon.com is policing reviews, and it’s already very difficult for unknown authors like me to get reviews, I ask readers who don’t know me and have reviewed other books on Amazon.com to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to receive a complimentary copy of The Missing Five. All I ask in return is for you to post your honest critique, review, or feedback of my novel on Amazon.com.