Amazon Product Reviews

I self published a novel on Amazon.  I’m proud of the accomplishment.  I may never get anything out of it.  I may write a dozen more novels, and never sell a dozen copies of each.  I don’t care.  It’s an accomplishment in itself to have a book published with my name on it.  I put in the hard work, and spent many an hour at the computer typing away.  Reviewing.  Editing.  Formatting.  Reviewing again.

So I guess I should have put a disclaimer out there to people that know me.  I told people that knew me that I published.  What I didn’t tell them was that they aren’t allowed to post a review or rating on my book.  It doesn’t matter that I didn’t ask them to do it.  People I know, even family members, believed they had the right to put a review on the product page.  They did this on their own.

Now Amazon is emailing me, and telling me that I may have manipulated product reviews.  There can be only one thing they’re talking about…  My ebook.  I have been reviewing products on Amazon since 2005 or so.  I only hear from them now, one month after I publish my own book.  I have zero reviews, and saw that some were there in the past.  But Amazon removed them.  Fine.  I didn’t know people were going to review, and I didn’t know whose was removed.

To be told that I may be manipulating product reviews is embarrassing, and a huge slap in the face.  I know the stories that exist.  People can give prizes or money for reviews.  People can pay for them, or do review swaps with other authors.  I’ve been trying to do this with as much integrity as possible.  That’s why I have zero reviews, and I am not out asking strangers to review for money, or for a review swap.

I don’t know if Amazon is removing all reviews on my book now as they come in.  If they suspect that I’m manipulating them, then they could be blocking anybody from reviewing.

I didn’t quit my day job.  Writing a novel was an accomplishment for me.  I have a new hobby.  I’m writing another novel as we speak.  I plan to write as many as I can.  I like to do it.  I’m not doing it for recognition, or fame, or fortune.  I’m not trying to claw my way up the Best Seller’s list.  I like the fact that I wrote a book, and want to write more books.  That’s it.  That’s my end goal.  To tell stories, and hope other people may enjoy them.

I still have my day job, and I have no plan on quitting.  I’m on a rant right now, but its ok.  I’m really mad about this.  I am trying to do things the right way, and being very honest in this process.  There are others out there manipulating the shit out of their stat’s.  I bet you that someone paid for a review just this second as I type this, and another review was paid for as you read this.  And I’m the one singled out for manipulation.

Oh well.  I let all the people who I told about my book release know that they can’t leave a review or rating on my book on Amazon.  That was embarrassing.  A month ago I’m telling people to enjoy the book.  Now I’m telling them not to review or rate it.  They are affecting my ability to publish my novels in the future.

I replied to the email that Amazon sent.  I hope my frustration didn’t show through too much.  I may have burnt a bridge with them.  I requested evidence, and told them about how I’m being honest about my process.  And that I can’t help what others do.  That I told others not to review, and will do so again.  I told them to leave forum discussions at the bottom of the book’s product page.  That I don’t buy or swap reviews.  I guess I’ll see what they when they read that email.  Maybe I’ll be banned.  Oh well.

I rather be banned defending my integrity, than get banned by being dishonest.  I’ll probably get banned anyways because friends or family left reviews when they shouldn’t have.  Reviewing without my knowledge!  Incredible.

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