You Can’t Fight City Hall (or The ‘Zon). Or Can You?

You Can't Fight

An author friend once told me that when you get to 50 reviews on your book, Amazon will start promoting your book to it’s millions of subscribers. Other authors said they didn’t notice a difference once they reached or surpassed 50 reviews. At the time, I was a newly (self) published author, so I filed this information away for a later day.

For my first published book, The Many Lives of June Crandall, that day has arrived.

For several weeks now, June has been sitting at 49 reviews. Oh, it got to 50, but then suddenly that 50th review was removed! So I ran a promotion for the book, which usually generates a few reviews.

And it did. I got up to 51 reviews. Woot! Now we’ll see how the power of The Zon really works. Right?

Wrong. With a few days, both of the new reviews were taken down. Again! I was outraged! I’ll bet they would never do this to James Patterson or Nora Roberts!

These were honest reviews from total strangers who received no encouragement or compensation from me for leaving their reviews! They did so out of the kindness of their hearts.

To put it mildly, I was not happy with Amazon. For a millisecond, I considered removing all of my books from Amazon and taking my business elsewhere. But, considering that 99.9% of my book sales come from The Zon, I quickly reconsidered.

So instead, I wrote them a letter asking them nicely why they keep removing the reviews for this book. Here is how the communication went:

ME:

Dear, Amazon. I noticed that every time I get to 50 reviews on my book, The Many Lives of June Crandall, the 50th review disintegrates into Fairy Dust and once more leaves me with only 49 reviews the review gets removed.

 Is there some secret society you get to join when you have 50 reviews that only traditionally published authors get to join? If so, how much do you want to let me into the club? Would you kindly stop doing this? I fully understand your review policies and can assure you that none of the reviews you removed violated them. And by the way, can I have the FOUR reviews you stole from me back?

Sincerely,

Author Suzanne Whitfield Vince

AMAZON’s RESPONSE:

Hello Suzanne,

Customer Reviews are removed for the following reasons:

• The review violates our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).
• A customer can decide to remove their own review.
• The review is on a page that incorrectly links multiple items. We remove these reviews when we separate the items.

To learn more about this policy, please see our Customer Review Creation Guidelines (http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines).

Best regards,
Yorwin P

So, obviously there IS something to the 50th review. Maybe once a book gets 50 reviews they have to spend money to help promote my book. And maybe they don’t really care about helping little peons independently published authors whose sales are, well, not enough to retire from the day job on. Yet.

Either way. We all know reviews sell books. And the more the better. They help people like me get ads on sites like Book Bub, who want a minimum of 50 reviews before they will even consider your book for their site (some say the minimum is 100, but I know some authors who got in at 50+).

And so, I am launching full scale war against Amazon a massive campaign to blow right past the 50 review mark. Whaddya say, are you in?

Let’s BLOW past that 50 review mark!!

Here’s how you can help:

Step 1: Download the book, which for a limited time has been reduced to ZERO AMERICAN DOLLARS. To download your FREE copy, just click on the image below.

MLJC FREE BOOK Image for FB

Note: Free offer also available on Nook, Kobo and iTunes.

Step 2: If you can find it in your heart, please leave an honest review. You can do so by clicking this link. Note: you may need to sign into Amazon.

From the bottom of this author’s pea-picking heart, I salute thank you.

Sincerely,

Author Suzanne Whitfield Vince

4 comments on… “You Can’t Fight City Hall (or The ‘Zon). Or Can You?”

  1. Hi Suzanne – I have ‘heard’ that if you connect with your readers through Goodreads, Amazon (their parent company) can see the link. Amazon considers this a solicitation (???) for the review, which they consider against the rules. (Is this supposed to be like paying for reviews?) Then they take the review down. I’m not sure if this is accurate info, but thought I’d mention it. For exactly this reason, people are recommending authors avoid advertising to readers or mentioning reviews to readers on Goodreads. More to think about! Best of luck blowing by 50 and reaching the stars! Hugs – Yvonne

    • Hi Yvonne,

      I haven’t done much with Goodreads in a long while, but I have done some giveaways in the past with fairly good luck. Those reviews seem to have stuck. So far, I’m at 64 reviews!! I’m thinking that perhaps they were removing the reviews because this book was permafree for until last week. Now that I’ve taken it off permafree, we’ll see how this goes.

      Thanks for stopping by! Hugs,
      Suzanne

  2. Hi there, Suzanne! I have had the same issues regarding reviews on Amazon. When you’re newly published and have only ten reviews, you certainly don’t want any removed. 🙂 I contacted Amazon, but as you likely know, you can’t speak to anyone in the “review department.” It’s all via email. They sent me the same email response they sent to you. It is ludicrous for Amazon to think that we will have no contact whatsoever with buyers of our books when we live in a world of constant contact through social media, even with people we have never meet, nor ever will. As authors, we’re going to market our books through social media, book signings, readings, etc. So again, to think we will never have contact one way or another with some of our readers makes absolutely no sense. Regardless, that is their stance. After a couple of back and forth emails with Amazon, their appeals board stated that if any of the people whose reviews were removed contacted them directly, they would tell them why they were removed. Just a couple of examples …Two people that I know of through book marketing were very excited to post a review of my book, as it really resonated with both of them. One had her review removed and the other’s review was never even posted, as if it never existed. You can imagine my anger and concern, as how many other reviews of my book have never been posted…ones that I may never know of? Both of these ladies did contact Amazon and asked why they were removed and they never heard back. One lady contacted Amazon twice. Neither is on Goodreads, so no connection there. Then, I got some random email just the other day, out of the blue, that if I don’t stop trying to solicit reviews, I may not be able to publish through Amazon or continue to sell my books through them. Really???!!!! WTF? (pardon my language) I was outraged, as it is clear that they play God while blocking/removing reviews, and staying contained in some vacuum where even other departments of Amazon cannot reach them unless by email. I decided to leave it all alone and hold my breath in hopes that no more reviews of my book would be removed. I’m at a big whopping six reviews now and am happy about even that, considering all that Amazon has done. I’m almost paranoid to do anything at this point. Amazon may be Goliath, but they aren’t allowed to mess with someone’s livelihood, and I am far from alone. I think more people speaking out could help remedy some of these issues. On a final note, I will say, that wall the review board hides behind is somewhat transparent. With social media and social networking, even some of Amazon’s employees, to include In-House Attorneys, are on LinkedIn, so they surely know “connecting” with the general public isn’t THAT hard. 🙂 Wishing you all the best!

    • Hi Laryl,

      Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my post. I agree that what Amazon doing is becoming readily transparent because of social media (and people like us who are daring to speak out and take a stand). I’ve gotten 15 reviews (that I know of!) from this post and I’m checking that number every day. Every one of them said they would contact Amazon if the reviews are removed (these are people I’ve never met), but from what you’ve said, that doesn’t seem to do much good. However, another public post wouldn’t hurt 😉

      I wish you much success with your writing.

      Best,
      Suzanne

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