What Amazon’s New Review Policies Mean to “Writing to be Read”

writer-frustration

Originally, Part 2 of my Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. Self-Publishing series was scheduled for today. The series will continue next week, but today I need to talk about the new changes in Amazon’s review policies, because it may directly affect the authors of the books I review.

Two of my reviews have recently been pulled by Amazon. The reason given was that I hadn’t spent at least fifty dollars on Amazon this month. Under their old review policy, if you had ever made one purchase on Amazon, you were eligible to post a review. I also noticed it posted that their review policy now states right on the review site that they do not accept reviews that are done with a free copy as compensation.

There are two issues here. One, I’m offering a free honest review, but it doesn’t make good sense for me to spend fifty dollars a month just so I can post them on Amazon. I don’t my reviews think I have ever spent fifty dollars on Amazon in one month. I am a starving writer, after all.

The other issue is the fact that I do offer reviews in exchange for a free copy of the book. It’s what I do. And I had been previously advised to state in my review that, “I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest interview.” This was supposed to make it so Amazon would accept the review, because it was right there out front where everyone could see, like a big disclaimer. Now, including this information will get my review kicked back.

Besides that, I don’t believe in paid revues. As a reviewer, I would feel obligated to give only favorable reviews if they were bought and paid for. I don’t give bad reviews often, but if I do give an honest opinion of the book, even if it doesn’t shine a positive light on the work. This new policy of Amazon’s will disqualify almost every review I give.

So, from here out authors please be aware when submitting a book for review, that while I have in the past submitted basic reviews to Goodreads and Amazon, I can no longer guarantee the Amazon posting. I don’t plan to start making purchases on Amazon for the privilege of posting. I can’t afford to do that, and I don’t think I should have to. But, I do plan to keep doing honest book reviews and posting them on my blog. Since Amazon has recently acquired Goodreads, there may be problems in the future if they adopt the same review policies there, but until that time, I plan to continue posting basic reviews on Goodreads. I can also post on Barnes & Noble and Smashwords if requested.

I know that Amazon rating is like gold to authors today, where the majority of the market trends are determined by reviews there, and I’m all about helping out my fellow authors, so it pains me to be unable to provide this service any longer. I can only hope that it won’t discourage authors from submitting books for review. I will also continue to heavily promote my reviews on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pintrest and Tumblr, just as I always have.

So that’s where my reviews sit at this time, and I may still have an upset author here and there, who didn’t see this post. But, hopefully, this post will make what authors can expect from my reviews clear, so there will be no misunderstandings in the future. I want to thank all the authors who have sent books for review in the past, especially for their patience when my review que got backed up due to technical difficulties, of which, I have many. Ask that authors submitting books for future review, do so with the understanding that the review appearing on Amazon is not guaranteed

Kaye Lynne Booth does honest book reviews on Writing to be Read, and she never charges for them. Have a book you’d like reviewed? Contact Kaye at kayebooth(at)yahoo(dot)com.

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6 Comments on “What Amazon’s New Review Policies Mean to “Writing to be Read””

  1. Constance Parrott says:

    Kaye, thanks for an unexpected jolt on a Monday. I had some choice words to say about Amazon but they (the words) are profane and naughty. Rather than stink up your column today, I’m merely noting that I have now been advised. (growling)

  2. Constance Parrott says:

    Me again, Kaye. On a whim, I decided to download from Amazon your short story LAST CALL. Amazon said you had three reviews. I like reading reviews, so I clicked on them. There was only one because it evidently was the only verified purchase. I felt short changed. Two other people went to the trouble to review but theirs were discarded? I’m new to reviewing. After reading your blog this morning and seeing in action what you had warned me about, Amazon is leaving a bitter taste in my mouth.

    • I definitely feel they are short changing readers who are looking for reviews, as well as sticking it to the authors who are told they must have the reviews to move up in the ranks, but then not allowing them to do so. I wonder if paid reviewers have problems posting their reviews. To me, if I accepted payment for a review, I feel obligated to provide a positive review, even if it wasn’t my honest opinion of the book. That’s why I don’t do paid reviews. My reviews are honest. On the bright side, I had one author contact me, who suggested rewording. Instead of saying, “I received an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review”, as I had previously, she suggested saying something along the lines of, “I received a no obligation, free copy of this book, which I choose to review.” Who knows? I might work until Amazon figures a way to get around that one.

    • Also, Connie, thanks for buying my book.

  3. […] monopolization affects authors and reviewers as well, as is discussed in What Amazon’s New Review Policies Mean for “Writing to be Read”. As much as Amazon’s review policies effect the reviewer, they also effect the authors who […]

  4. […] part Making of a Screenplay series,( Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), my Tribute to My Son, and What Amazon’s New Review Policies Mean for Writing to be Read. More recently, my ten part series on publishing, Pros and Cons of Traditional vs. Independent vs. […]


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