Every author looks forward to their release day. That first really good review. The first time a fan says they love the book. That moment when you feel like you accomplished something great. I know on my release days I take my children and we go spend the day together without me behind a computer typing out a new story for people to read. It is the one day where I sit back and relax (or hide in a closet dependent on the beta reading) My release day however was the absolute worst and it is in part thanks to Amazon and their new policy.
Everyone does what I did. We ignore what we see online. I saw a petition and ignored it because it hadn’t affected me, little did I know my time was coming as is every other authors.
Sign the Petition here asking Amazon to get rid of this author policy
Now let me explain what I mean by the worst release day…
First I was made aware of an issue the night before release and I stayed up all night on coffee to fix it so when it released I could immediately send a new corrective file. This wasn’t Amazon’s fault it was mine, but everyone needs to understand a back story. After working on this book for months I didn’t change something that was supposed to have been changed. By 6AM I started to think that I had had too much coffee, or maybe too little because my inbox started notifying me of messages coming in like clockwork. My reviewers were emailing to tell me they couldn’t post a review.
I emailed Amazon to find out why they could not post… Here is their reply.
This is only the tip of the iceberg. Createspace swore my book was released and even sent me a link to find the paperback, but yet it is not with the ebook anywhere. In fact it doesn’t show up at all. This doesn’t help my mood, but I deal with Createspace on that and go back to Amazon who since our phone call had enrolled the new book in KU without consent. Now I had my other book in KU and like the idea of it, but their new policy about half a penny a page per page read is like putting my book on clearance and leaving me to pray that someone finishes it. Some authors are benefiting while others are trying to figure out how to put food on the table. (Mine are right at 260-300 pages not 50 pages long.) I went from $200 a month to $40 with their change. That doesn’t even cover gas for the month.
I was told to be removed from KU it would take 90 days which is odd because that is how long we are stuck being Amazon’s. When you enroll in KU we can put print books wherever, but you can’t list your ebook anywhere else for those three months. I seriously have no issues with KU other than the new payment program.
So now my ebook is released, and in KU, but the print book is still missing (no they don’t find it, it has to be started all over again)
Now Amazon has already discriminated against me by assuming who has a relationship with me. They have already played big brother and stepped in and said I could not have a review because of what their records show. The same people who can see inside your kindles and phones to know exactly how many pages you read have crossed a line. I had to call and threaten to remove everything from Amazon and take my books to smashwords or D2D which I should have done anyway considering the fact that at this point I want to cry because my release day is ruined and I didn’t get to spend it with my kids. I spent it fighting with Amazon.
Then when reviews got through the first barrier this happened:
See anything wrong here? I got to keep my stars but not the reviews, (6 hours or more like this) and Amazon claimed this was not a problem. I begged, pleaded, and even cried for them to fix this and leave my book alone. To stop being my mother and choosing who could come and play with my toys (read my books). I seriously put blood (paper-cuts), sweat (pacing, nerves) and tears (which are usually happy tears) into my books. After begging and promising to stay in KU… Magically two reviews were released within minutes, but not any others. Coincidence or plotting?
As you can see I have three reviews, but they only released 2 of them after my begging and pleading. I had a (unnamed at their discretion) blogger try to help me only to get herself in trouble. This is unfair. People who know you and beta read the book, or received an arc are going to leave a review. I ignored the petition at first, but have since signed and you should too. Sign it if you are an author and want the freedom to have those “you know” review your work. Sign if you are a fan because it is your reviews that keep us writing and now Amazon is saying you can’t post it if you “know us.”
Before you ask, this is what happens when you appeal it.
And yes they have been removing my “earned not bought” reviews on ALL my books today! It is open season on indie authors and the hunter is Amazon’s policy. You know if my mother bought a book and verified the purchase she cannot leave a review, and neither can a complete stranger because Amazon “assumes” they know us too, so then the question becomes who can review and will they remove those reviews as well? No one has been able to figure out how they are data mining and putting people together.
When you ask how they know who is your friends and family you get this brush off.
Amazon needs to stop because this is censorship at it’s best. For the last three days my husband has come home to me in tears as they continue each day to tear me down a little further. I think I poked the bear with this post, but as per their actions I have nothing left to lose by coming forward and saying enough is enough!
My Message to Amazon regarding their new author/review policy:
You took what should have been the best day and destroyed it with your ridiculous author policy. You took my kids special day with me and turned it into a pissing contest of David vs. Goliath. You claim people who know us cannot leave reviews, but we are everywhere, and we know everyone. We are the postal workers, bankers, and school teachers. We are mothers, daughters, and family to many. We are the men who fix the cars you drive and write the next bestseller. We are authors, and we are everywhere. We have events and gain followers, so who are you to determine who we know and don’t know? How do you know who we work with or who we are related to? Honestly, you should learn to mind your business to build a better business!
I understand why I cannot post a review on my own book, but I do not understand why you are discriminating against us and choosing who can and cannot post reviews because “we know them.” We know everyone, each author event brings in hundreds, and we know them they follow us, we talk to people, and they leave reviews. We use the same beta readers, because using outside sources gets your book pirated so when are you going to stop playing God, and deciding what we can and cannot do? It seems as if you discriminate against Indie Author business every time you roll out a new author policy.
Your new KU author policy has made waves but nowhere near what your “big brother” policy has done. How about instead of you posting new rules and policies and us petitioning, sit down with me or any other author that uses your services and brainstorm to find something that works for everyone. I know I would make myself available for that if you only asked. Fire those people who make the policies, because they are ignorant of the author lifestyle. Save the money, and bring us on board, and we will work with you. Otherwise, our business will go elsewhere. I know lots of other businesses who would love to inherit your lost business.
P.S. I am not the only one, hundreds have come forward as a victim of this both as a reviewer and an author. One even has a blog about it here.