Saturday, 22 December 2012

A rant to match the new address: Indies again.

How are you, guys? Sorry if you have been searching for my blog and got the following message:

Yep, I've been a naughty girl and changed the blog address. I started a new site for my books and what inspired me to write them, and wanted to have this blog for ranting purposes and all the other stuff I'm blogging about. I thought it's time to separate them. The book site is for readers only and this one is for anyone who's interested in what I have to say.

Right, and because this blog is called Stella Deleuze rants, it's only appropriate if I launch right into one.

You know the newest petition that's making the round? The one against Amazon's deleting reviews without explanation? Well, I'm not going to sign it. And I'll tell you why: Indies with their fake reviews, with their attacking reviewers, with their slagging off or tagging and sabotaging other authors' books, shouldn't be surprised that Amazon takes to those measures. Amazon probably gets thousands of requests to remove negative reviews from furious self-published authors who think their precious book doesn't deserve the 1-star review it received, or they get abuse reported because someone doesn't like it that a fellow author, who just happens to be higher in the charts, gets a bloody, and probably fake 5-star review! How dare he! Amazon, do something about it!
I could imagine that all the recent press about uncovered fake reviews pressured Amazon to make changes. And, as usual, Indies brought it upon themselves. Shame it's the bad apples that make everyone suffer. Yet again. Even if the petition would work, which I somehow doubt, it would just result in Amazon having constant e-mail battles with Indie authors who appeal Amazon's explanation as to why they'd removed reviews. And we still would have a continuation of the same fake review/slagging off nonsense.
I'm sick and tired to hear about the complaints about the issue revolving around reviews. The only people I find it unfair against is when it happens to honest reader reviews; those readers who took the time to draft a write up to help other readers make a decision. I don't get why authors with 50+ reviews throw a hissy fit when three of them get deleted. Yes, it may temper with your star-rating, but heck. If you have already over 50 reviews your book is probably selling well enough. If the book's not selling at all, three more or less reviews will hardly make a difference, right?
Those of us who only have very few reviews (and I'm one of them), and received them from readers, not authors, are pretty safe, I would assume. I only got one 5-star-review removed from Tony (an author) who happened to love my book. It was put back in place when he enquired. And, as expected, a case of another Indie who didn't take it too well that Tony didn't like his book, reported abuse and asked Amazon to remove it. As a result, all of Tony's reviews were deleted. He'd just been honest.
I don't blame Amazon for having enough of it. I really don't. What worries me the most is that if Indies don't stop, Amazon may one day decided to ban all of us and return to work with traditional publishers only. 
By the way: one of my books with only one (5-star) review proves to be my bestseller, leaving the one with 15 reviews, overall rated 4.5 stars, easily behind.

Indies, stop complaining and get on with writing. Your readers will thank you for it. And if you really are that cross with Amazon, take your books elsewhere. It's not that anyone forces you to sell through Amazon. And don't complain they have the monopoly on the market: you've made it happen.

Note: shoes are there, put them on on own peril. :-)


  1. As an author who reads extensively (starting decades before I wrote my first word) I resent not being able to review the excellent books I have read (and paid for) simply because I am also an author. As a book buying customer I should have the same right to leave my opinion, should I choose to, as anyone else. All they managed to accomplish was to steer me towards buying from other sites. No one buys a book because of the reviews, Amazon or anyone else who thinks so is just deluded. You buy a book because the story appeals to you, or the writer's other books were enjoyable - period. Reviews are merely the easiest way to feedback your enjoyment to an author.

    1. I agree that authors should be able to review, too, when they're honest. Like yours and Tony's, and from what I've seen, it's not that all authors' reviews are deleted. I could imagine they've installed some bots like on the forum, but why reviews exactly got removed: no idea. I never reviewed books in the past, not as a reader and only made an attempt later. But, in general, if I really, really love a book, I'd get in touch with the author, I suppose.
      As I said, it's again those who had to play the system who got everyone in trouble. If we keep the system as it is intact, we'll still have the same issues. I have no solution for this debacle. Maybe if authors could get second account, but this would probably drive the abuse even more.

    2. any reviews from an address associated with an author central account are deleted - not sure what other criteria they are using ;)

  2. I write professional reviews, and that takes considerable time and effort. I am also an author - a fact which Amazon uses to discredit my opinion and removes or disallows my reviews, but only for indie authors. They are being singularly discriminatory in how they apply their rules and regs. None of the reviews I have written for any Big Six author has been removed, ever.
    BTW: in nearly 90% of the cases, I purchase the title to be reviewed. As a consumer, that should give me the right to express an opinion about an item for which I paid cold, hard cash.

    1. Which is a shame.

      I wonder why those reviews disappear. I could imagine that only happens if someone complaints. Of course it's not okay to have honest reviews removed. Author or not, but I can understand why Amazon tries to get a handle on it. It's a massive shame it had to come to this, but, as I said, it's all down to those who can't leave the reviews alone.

  3. Stella, thanks for bringing a fresh look to a problem where we've mostly been hearing from the "whiners." Keep on ranting.

  4. If Amazon was even handed in its approach I don't think anybody (at least, anybody rational) would mind. But they're not. The removal of reviews, from what I've heard, is discriminatory. As Diane said, it's aimed at Indies and seems to be aimed at 5 star reviews. As you've said yourself, review manipulation includes putting 1 star reviews on books. These do not seem to have been removed.

    So you've made a point worth making - but Amazon is misusing its power.

    1. Hey, Greta! :-)

      I think a lot of it has to do with the Locke case and others who have bought favourable reviews. This uncovered flaws in their review system and now, since Indies are making waves, everyone knows that Amazon has taken notice.
      That all on top of Indies throwing hissy fits. I have my doubts that people go through the reviews, deleting them, and I suspect, although I have no proof, that deleting appear when someone hits the abuse button or complains.

      As I said, I don't have a solution; I don't care very much either, I just get on with my writing. But I had to rant. Haven't ranted for a while. :-)

  5. I agree with you. I'm surprised that has taken so long. There are quite clearly some writers who are more interested in gaming the system than improving their writing. They obviously have not taken off all reviews by authors. I don't write many, but mine are still there.