Monday, 7 January 2013

Amazon's review system is badly flawed

Reports of Amazon wrongfully removing reviews are all over the net.
I had 22 x 5 star reviews removed on By His Grace in 1 day, leaving only bad reviews. As a result, my sales which for months had been in the rankings at the 800s to 2,000s, dropped to the 11,000s. The rest of the series immediately followed suit. My KDP income dropped to half, literally.
Okay, we all know Amazon is shutting down good reviews for reasons only known to themselves, so that was one thing, but then a reviewer left outrageous lies on one of my books on the Kindle UK site, and Amazon refused to remove it.
By His Grace is Christian romance - clean romance - the most physical intimacy that happens is that the two main characters kiss at the end of the book, a chaste kiss even.
Yet one reviewer wrote this (and my UK sales dropped immediately):
 great story spoilt by sex, 12 Dec 2012
The story was great..BUT the grafic detail of sex spoilt the story. much better to leave it to the imagination. but in this story it went on page after page so spoilt the book.

I contacted Amazon, and this is their reply: Author Central Team <>
to me
Hello Kathleen Wiseman,

I've read the review titled " great story spoilt by sex" for the book titled "By His Grace (The Morgan Brothers Book 1) (Christian Romance / Religious Fiction Romance)." I understand your concerns, but the review doesn't violate our posted guidelines, so I'm unable to remove it in its current format.

However, as the author of this title, you can provide feedback about this review by voting or commenting on it. To vote, click the "Yes" or "No" buttons next to "Was this review helpful to you?" To comment, click the Comments link at the bottom of the review.

We try to encourage our customers to give their honest opinions on our products while staying within our guidelines. As a retailer we are interested in cultivating a diversity of opinion on our products. Part of that is allowing our customers to air their honest thoughts on items they have received. Here's a link to our guidelines for reference:

We appreciate your understanding. We hope to see you again soon.

There is an increase of spiteful, one star reviews, and many of these have a struggle with the most simple grammar and even spelling - I wonder if some publishers are outsourcing for the purpose of putting one star reviews on their oppositions' books. Some of the one stars appear the second a book goes better than the 1000 ranking. I find this suspicious. I myself variably get a one star review after I tweet a specific book for any length of time, and other authors have told me the same thing has happened to them.
Reviews are a hotbed of opportunity for the opposition to drop sales on another's book. It is easy to lie and say book is full of typos, or badly formatted, and sales at once drop.
Amazon really needs to abolish reviews. People can download the first part of a book and see for themselves, so reviews are no longer necessary.
I for one can see the writing on the wall and am putting all my efforts into other retailers now, especially the Apple iBookstore which has always done the right thing by Indies.
So, here are the links to my books on the iBookstore.
and the first book of the new series, Romans. 99c

New Historical Romance book ROMANS

Romans (Early Christians Book 1)

My new historical Christian romance book is now out and has hit #1 on the New Releases  in Religious Historical Fiction on Amazon. It's only 99c on Kindle. Get it here on Kindle and here for Kindle UK. It is also on the Apple iBookstore here.

Julia is a young, wealthy, Roman woman living in Pompeii. Her life, dedicated to the pagan gods, is carefree. Her world is soon rocked, not only by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which threatens everything she holds dear, but also by the arrival of the handsome Marcus, a convert to the new religion, a follower of Jesus. Can she escape not only the deadly eruption but also her mother's plan to marry her to the deceitful fish sauce merchant, Brutus?