Some of you might have seen me mention on twitter that Amazon took down all the reviews for Grudging. There weren't that many, but it still hurts. Apparently, this was done because the people who left the reviews follow me on social media or maybe because they are also writers and more suspect. I didn't give the reviewers copies of the book. I didn't trade a review for a review with them. Heaven forbid, I didn't pay them. I've never met them in person. They aren't family members.
It seems that followers of an author on social media can't leave reviews because they might benefit financially in some way. It's unlikely that I'll benefit financially in any way other than to take my family out for ice cream. Grudging is digital first. It's not going up in bookstores. The publisher hasn't done any marketing to get it noticed. I don't expect to make more than a pittance from sales. How could I manage to benefit other people?
I worked extremely hard to get the word out for Grudging's release. It was all I did for over two weeks and was very stressful to boot. I used social media and the contacts I've struggled for years to create. We are told to make friends because not only is it good to have friends, it will help your writing career. I did interviews. I arranged a book release tour, which I didn't pay for--all reviews from it should be allowed (but one of those was taken down also). I emailed dozens and dozens of book bloggers, telling them about Grudging and how they can get a review copy from the publisher, not from me. I followed in the footsteps and advice of other writers whose books have come out and did the same sort of marketing.
But in the big picture, because of the lack of marketing from the publisher, the only people likely to know about my book are the people who know me from social media--thus rendering all possible reviews ineligible and tainted to Amazon.
To say I'm discouraged is an understatement. It's hard to feel penalized because you have social media contacts.
It's a proven fact that reviews help sell a book. They make people more confident to buy a book. Having more than X (supposedly 10 or maybe 50) number of reviews means Amazon will help promote you by putting your book in their advertising. I worked my tail off trying to find book bloggers who might be interesting in reading Grudging. (Post to come.) I didn't ask for anything other than honesty in their review. (If they don't like it, I hope they say so and why.) In return, many of those very nice people followed me on twitter. I don't think any of the reviews given to me by them will be allowed to stay.
At this point, I feel like throwing in the towel.
I know it's not personal. It just happens that I have a lot of friends from social media, and they are writers. It's a good thing that Amazon weeds out fake or paid reviews. They want things to be fair. I agree that it should be. Unfortunately, that doesn't make me feel much better. Doing promotion for myself instead of my contests makes me uncomfortable to begin with. It's hard to talk about your books all the time. Reviews do that for an author so we don't have to.
I don't know what to say. I don't have a solution. But if you wanted or planned to post an honest review of your thoughts of Grudging to also please copy that review to Goodreads in case the other gets erased. Maybe those will get seen. I want to thank everyone who has supported me and your generosity. It means a lot.
Thanks to everyone that has gotten a copy of Grudging and who plan to review--or already have. You don't know how helpful that is to a writer.
Obviously writers do this because they love it, not because of the money. But it's hard when someone enjoys your story and their opinions are not allowed to be seen.
I certainly don't regret any friends I've made from social media. I'd rather have you than all the reviews in the world! But it would be nice to have both. :-)