L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 18, 2015 - 10:14am

http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/amazon-book-review-policies-are-killing-self-publishers/

Has anyone else heard of this policy change from anywhere else? If true, how will this policy change end up effecting the industry for indie publishing? Large effect, small effect?

Or will it be negligable like the change from goodreads to booklikes as the 'review' platform.

For a less 'end of the world' hypothesis myself, I speculate more that it won't end self-publishing so much as change the location where it happens.

Brandon's picture
Brandon from KCMO is reading Made to Break October 18, 2015 - 11:30am

Let's get to the root of the problem here. If you're giving away your work for free, you're operating under a terrible business model. I don't know anyone who's ever increased sales by giving away their product at no cost. This also sets an expectation in the consumer that they shouldn't have to pay for something that was previously given away for nothing.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 18, 2015 - 2:21pm

@L.W. Flouisa - This guy needs to reread the policy. You can put a review on free content, I just did it to make sure I was right. You CAN NOT review anything until you've bought something.

@Brandon - I've read some fairly successful authors who say they've had luck with giving away the first book of a series. The first is free, and 2 to 6 charge kind of thing.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 19, 2015 - 2:20pm

^

I've heard of this. Get them hooked on the first one, 99cents for the second, couple bucks for the third...

Like dealing drugs.

I'm unclear why amazon is doing this though.

Dwayne's picture
Dwayne from Cincinnati, Ohio (suburbs) is reading books that rotate to often to keep this updated October 19, 2015 - 7:04pm

@Thuggish - Well, they aren't doing what the article said, they are stopping profiles that never bought anything from posting reviews.

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 20, 2015 - 8:26am

so if you "bought" a free book (downloaded) you can still review, yes?

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb October 20, 2015 - 11:33am

Dwayne said it pretty well but here it is again: the rule is NOT that you can't review free books. The rule is that before you can post a review, you have to purchase something thats costs you cash on Amaon. I've posted reviews of free books, and had them posted when I've given away free copies of mine. 

I'm risking nothing by publically posting this on a forum. Of that I'm certain.

I also post reviews for other indie authors to whom it could be argued that I have 'connections.' I've just been through all the books I can remember doing that for and none of these reviews have been taken down by Amazon, including those for free books. They're trying to crack down on fake reviews that might mislead consumers about the quality of a product, so they put these kinds of clauses in about not allowing reviews from friends of authors, but if a review is obviously genuine (IE it's critical, balanced and it's obvious that the person has actually read the book and is going to inform potential customers in the right way) then it will stay up there. I'm not saying there haven't been unfair removals, but so far I've never had a problem.

 

From the article:

One can only come to the conclusion that Amazon have had their fill of self publishing, and are now taking dramatic measures to limit the chances of success for self publishing authors.

I seriously doubt this is true. If they'd had their fill or self-publishing, they could withdraw the option for people to self publish through KDP altogether, yet they haven't. It's a business oportunity - why set it up so that the people who enter into it have limted chance of success? There would be no money in that for Amazon. If people were limited in their chances by Amazon then they'd head for Amazon's competitors. Again, why would Amazon want to encourage that?

 

Clearly the benefits of giving exclusivity to Amazon by joining KDP Select is now not a great deal at all.

It never was for everybody - I tried it for the required 90 days and made very little from it, so I went back to publishing wide. Other authors have more than doubled their income using it. I doubt they'd agree it's not a great deal.

Let's try another angle on this as well: reviews on Amazon are not everything anyway. They help with your marketing, and sometimes they boost sales, and if someone writes one and lots of people share it then it helps your visisibility, which is crucial in indie-publishing. Yet I've found a blogged review that can be shared on social media can actually be far more effective in getting attention than anything posted on Amazon. I publish wide, and if a reader puts a review on iBooks that doesn't appear on Amazon, I might send a polite request that they also post it on there but I'm never bothered if they don't.

Self-publishers should not be overly obsessed with Amazon reviews. Not every reader is going to write you one anyway. Case in point: I got two new ratings for my book on Goodreads this week, and neither came with a review. Am I going to PM that reader and nag them for one? No - it's more important that they read they book and liked it. When my sequel comes out hopefully they will buy that too. Getting your book into the hands of readers is important, and indie authors should not make the mistake of thinking that readers who don't post reviews are any less vaulable. Readers who don't even post a star rating on Goodreads or give me any indication they're out there are still readers too. Why risk making them feel unappreciated by coming across as a review-obsessed author?

Thuggish's picture
Thuggish from Vegas is reading Day of the Jackal October 20, 2015 - 2:11pm

Your explanation makes it sound more like Amazon wants to make (better) sure that real people are writing reviews, and only writing them once.

Chacron's picture
Chacron from England, South Coast is reading Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb October 20, 2015 - 2:27pm
L.W. Flouisa's picture
L.W. Flouisa from Tennessee is reading More Murakami October 23, 2015 - 7:07pm

I don't see anything wrong with only writing a review once, though that should include the ability to edit it me thinks.