Let me start off by saying that Little Red Bear and I do not live or die with book review comments, positive or negative. I write the stories that are in my head and as Red tells them to me, and we hope some others enjoy them along the way. A writer focusing on and being influenced by comments, positive or negative, runs the risk of the writer no longer writing their stories anymore, but rather writing for feedback reward, or stopping altogether if they allow their spirit to be crushed by negative feedback. Reviews are most important to me as guideposts to help lead others to my work.
Most folks I know look about as forward to the prospect of leaving a book review as they do to a root canal. There seems to be a back-of-the-mind memory association with grade school and book reviews, especially when one clicks on the Amazon “Leave a Review” tab and is confronted with all of their suggestions. It can be intimidating, and think may scare people away. So book reviews seem to be as hard to find as a needle in a stack of needles to begin with.
Last year, a gentleman purchased the print version of “The Adventures of Little Red Bear” directly from Amazon. “Verified Purchaser” as they say, the very best kind. He liked it very much and left a 5 Star review. His wife picked up the book and read it this past summer, just about a year later, loved it, and went to leave her own review last week. Not only was her review not posted, but his review was removed as well, a year later. I can only surmise that it was because the second review was possibly coming from the same Amazon account ID, and to Amazon smacked of review manipulation. They also both follow my Facebook personal and writer pages, which is how he found out about the book in the first place. That is how it’s supposed to work, isn’t it?
If authors are strongly encouraged to invest great time and effort building social media platforms to promote their work to followers (and by default, build Amazon sales), if the number of reviews is a criteria in determining whether Amazon itself promotes your book to others or not, if securing a review at all is so very difficult, and if they remove any reviews which even hint of a connection to an author thru social media, then there is a piece of this circular logic that I am missing.
If I do not actively promote my book to interested followers, how do they find out about it? If I do promote my book to interested followers and then their reviews are subsequently removed, how do others find out about it? And yet I see review after review on Amazon for both books and products with the phrase “I obtained this item for Free in exchange for an unbiased review.” So apparently it is okay to give your book away to a total disinterested stranger for a review, but a “Verified Purchaser” review is subject to removal because they are interested and may follow you on social media somewhere. Having one’s review blocked or removed is not exactly strong encouragement to ever attempt to leave another, for anyone.
To quote the King of Siam in “The King and I” — “It’s a puzzlement.”
So sharing this information for other writer friends who may be similarly affected, along with a link for more information to check out — “Why Has Amazon Removed My Book Review” by k-lytics.
Thanks as always for visiting! Little Red Bear and I are just going to keep telling stories and enjoying ourselves, regardless of what Amazon does or doesn’t do, because that’s simply how we roll here. Here is a link for “The Adventures of Little Red Bear: The First Holler” and there is one below. Following me here, your book review may not be posted, but you should probably read it anyway just for fun. — Jim (and Red!)