Tag Archives: Nora Roberts

Open Letter to Amazon.com

Re: Amazon Reviews

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):

  • Reader
  • Author
  • Publisher
  • Editor
  • Bookseller
  • Librarian

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.

With respect,
Karen Syed
Multi-purpose reader


Why Would You Do That?

And here we go again. I have been doing a LOT of reading this past couple weeks and I have run across a few things that are really bothering me. Huh, imagine, me complaining about something. Whooda thunk it? What am I bitchin’ about this time, you ask?

Well, it’s a POV (point of view) issue. I keep reading things that just don’t work for me. If we are clearly in the protagonist’s head, we should not read things like:

“If you are going to kill me, then do it now.” Her steely eyes flared with white-hot anger as she stared at the murderer before her. “I am not afraid to die.

Really? She is looking at a murderer, not herself in the mirror. Do you think like this when you are in a situation?

Or maybe:

Gale stared longingly at Bob. She tossed her wavy auburn tresses back over her slender shoulder, radiant with desire.

Okay, that one is almost verbatim but  changed the names to protect the goofy.

Seriously writers, think about what is happening in your scene and if you are clearly in a characters POV, then PLEASE, for the love of Pete and Mike, don’t put in your goofy adverb-riddled descriptions just to impress the reader, or worse yet, pad your word count. It is lazy and distracting. Would Gale really think this about herself as she looked at Bob?

And while I’m at it. Don’t do things like:

Jesse smiled at her new husband. “Drake, you can’t imagine how happy you have made today.” Her heart pounded so hard in her chest she thought she might explode with desire for him. “I never dreamed I would be so lucky as to marry a man like you.” Drake realized at that moment how lucky he was. “Drake, please kiss me.”

Okay, it is one paragraph, pick a POV and go with it. I used to be a POV purist. One POV per scene, no exceptions, then I started reading Nora Roberts. You can either be a POV purist or you can enjoy her stuff.

At the very least, don’t change POV multiple times in one paragraph. It is just downright confusing and it really pisses me off when I read it. Especially if I am liking a story and then this starts happening.

So, for the sake of your readers and your career, pay attention and keep it all clean and in perspective.

You may adjourn to the rest of your life now.