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- The Hack’s Guide to Dealing with Book Reviews August 19, 2017 Bill Ferris
Category Archives: MarketingImage
Dear Mr. Bezos, et al,
I would like to take this opportunity to implore you to reconsider your decision to remove a number of reviews from your web site. I fully acknowledge that you, as the business, have a right to do as you see fit with your company. I would however, like to point out a few things to you regarding this new enforcement of a policy we were unaware existed.
By disallowing authors from posting reviews for books written by other authors, you are eliminating a huge venue for the promotion of the books you sell. As I am sure you are aware, for decades, publishing houses have relied on the “blurbs” of other authors to promote their books. This is common practice and should not play a role in the financial considerations of the “blurbing” author.
I hope you will reconsider your stance that authors are in competition with one another. This goes without saying, but with a few exceptions, authors have learned to co-exist peacefully without raking each other over the coals and trying to ruin one another.
Your determination that an author stands to gain financially in some manner when offering a review of another author’s book is simply befuddling. It’s a big industry and we deserve more credit than to be lumped in with the corporate moguls who are only in it for the money, no matter the cost to those they tromp on. I gain nothing by reviewing a book by Nora Roberts, except perhaps the knowledge that if I loved her latest book and say so, someone else will see my review on your site and buy that book to read.
I would also like to point out that there are by far more effective ways to handle some of the problems you have surely run up against in your review process. Instead of alienating us, why not incorporate some new aspects into the submission process. I would think that by allowing the reviewer to clearly state their relationship to the book (for example, a series of choices with radio buttons indicating this information):
Other readers and potential consumers can decide on their own whether a certain review merits their consideration. I feel compelled to tell you that so many authors feel abused by Amazon.com with this enforcement of the “no competition review” rule. As it stands now, you are not only alienating publishers, editors, and authors, but also booksellers, as they are the ones who truly stand to gain financially by posting favorable or over-exaggerated reviews. How will you weed out their reviews?
On behalf of multi-purpose readers worldwide, please reconsider your actions and give some thought to simply allowing people to say how they feel, no matter who they are.
So, I belong to numerous Yahoo groups that focus on various things. Some of them are just for fun, others I rely on for networking, industry news, and learning. Recently I have discovered that on a couple of them that claim to be for industry professionals, those professionals don’t seem to be able to stay on topic, focus, or acknowledge that someone other than them could know something. There are four in specific that I will not name.
So the first one is a genre group for readers. However, if you are an author and a reader you are not allowed to mention your books or the books of anyone you know personally as it is considered promoting and that is against the rules on the group. Um…WTF? When you go into a readers group and you talk about the books you are reading, you are pretty much promoting that book…just make sure it isn’t anyone you know or you are gonna get yelled at…every time!
The next one is a group for authors to learn about industry news and writing opportunities. However, if you are a publisher, you are not allowed to mention or promote your own company because it is considered biased and is not productive for the other members.
The third group is supposed to be an industry discussion group on a certain aspect of the industry. However, most of the people on this group lurk, another big portion use the group as a place to market their own work, and another large portion only post when they have something to argue about, which seems to be frequently. Now, this is the group I wanted to be most active on because the topic is very important to me. Problem is, my notes only seem to get through every so often. I recently posted something that could have been very helpful to almost everyone in the group at some point, and it managed to incorporate the actual topic that is supposed to be the focus of the group. Why was I censored? I have no idea.
The fourth group, my personal favorite, is a group that focuses on a specific item. However, you can only discuss that item if you don’t mention your direct connection to that item, the connection of anyone you know to that item, or your actual opinions on that item. This is NOT a moderated group so all the notes go up, but there are people who are moderators who go through and if they think you have stepped over a line they delete the text of your post. I recently had every single thing I posted censored. When I asked why, I was told that it’s because I was blatantly promoting myself. When I explained that I had not written any of the books I had mentioned, I was told that they knew I had published 3 of the 10 books I posted about. Okay…still not my books. I was then told that I had a personal stake in those three books and I was not allowed to post about anything I had a stake in. Huh?
So my question is, why the hell do people start groups where you aren’t allowed to talk about anything that is of any value or relevance to the topic of the group?
That said, I have opened a new forum for authors, publishers, publicists. It is meant to be a place where authors gan go to brainstorm marketing, network, and give and get ideas and help wit marketing books. It is not a readers group, it is not a device group, it is not a genre group. The only rules are that there is no discussion of religion or politics (not the place and it always ends badly) and no flaming of fellow forum members. Simple enough.
If you fit into one of the three categories, feel free to join us. I would love to actually talk about marketing in an open forum. Marketing Masters: http://marketingmasters.proboards.com/index.cgi