So I self-published nearly three months ago with a 46-page short story, followed up six weeks later with a 40-page short story. I am still feeling my way around in the dark and trying to make connections. Build a brand, find time to write, edit, etc… you know what I’m saying – nothing I haven’t said before.
So the difficulties of self-publishing are evident. Who buys the work of a self-published author? Well, initially it is friends and family, certainly with book one. Whether they like your style of writing and assuming you haven’t written a pile of crock determines whether they move onto book two. Yes, they buy at first because they know you but they don’t have to leave a review. Assuming you know they bought it, they can if so inclined make up a million and one excuses as to why they haven’t left one. The best one and also the one that has the ring of truth is finding the time in our hectic schedules to do it.
This post isn’t about whether they left a review or didn’t, I appreciate that they supported me enough to buy it. The review is the part that boosts my flagging confidence when all the hard work doesn’t seem to be paying off.
I discovered this week that I had two reviews left for me that were taken down by Amazon, actually they didn’t appear. One was by a friend – she preferred book two and wished to leave a review for this one. My sister also left a review. I contact Amazon to ask why these reviews hadn’t surfaced, and they told me it was because the reviewers knew me! (I know exclamation marks should be used sparingly, and I will try to limit it to just this one.)
I know Amazon want to try to maintain the authenticity of reviews. But when someone has purchased a copy of this book, regardless whether they know the author or not they surely have the right as a customer to leave a review. It doesn’t mean their review is fake, or biased. I could understand this when someone leaves a review without it being a verified purchase.
Come on Amazon be fair, until an independent author has established themselves the majority of their reviews will be by people who know them. As they network they will make online friends within the writing community, do these reviews also count as being unacceptable? Trying to get noticed out there is hard enough without silly rules to make it harder. Amazon I have brought new customers your way, ones that otherwise would not have made that purchase. I know the sales that I have generated, the 30% you take is a mere drop in the ocean to you. If you add the sales of all the Indie authors around the world together and consider their fan base then these “friends and family members” are bringing you in a sizeable revenue.
Each sale I make and each review I receive brings a smile to my face and makes the process worthwhile. So come on Amazon please don’t deny my right to these reviews and the customer’s right to leave them.