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Some thoughts and pimpage

Recently, there has been renewed outrage at Amazon. I know. I know. When isn’t there outrage from some quarters about anything Amazon does? In this case, it has been centering around Amazon’s review policy. Needless to say, authors and readers have been lighting torches and marching down the narrow, winding road toward the Castle of Bezos.

This latest round of outrage actually started this summer with articles like this one from Gizmodo. The article is based on a blog post by a third party complaining that a review they had written had been rejected by Amazon because Amazon thought the reviewer “knew” the author. Oh the outrage that followed, the worry that Amazon was reaching into our social media and more to find out who we might or might not know. Worse, it meant — gasp — family and friends would no longer be able to review books by their loved ones.

At that time, both Cedar and I wrote on the issue. I can’t speak for Cedar but I have yet to have a review rejected because I know the author — and because I review very infrequently, those reviews are usually for folks I know. I have yet to be contacted by friends, either face-to-face friends or social media friends, to say they have had reviews rejected under this policy.

This past week, the controversy has been renewed. The hue and cry has been strong on Facebook as outrage built. Then Chris Meadows from Teleread took matters into his own hands and went directly to the source. He emailed Amazon and asked the very simple question, the question at the heart of the controversy: Will Amazon remove or refuse to post reviews from it “thought could be potentially biased”?

The response Chris received was simple, direct and to the point.

“Following an Author does not indicate a ‘close personal relationship’ and does not violate our review guidelines.”

So, following an author on social media will not automatically mean you can’t post a review of that author’s work. As long as you follow the guidelines Amazon has for reviews, don’t worry. Don’t decide not to review something simply because you have heard Amazon is doing something “evil”. As authors, don’t panic over something YOU READ IN SOCIAL MEDIA. If you receive notice that a review has been rejected, ask why. Be persistent because you will initially get canned results. If you continue to be unsatisfied, well, it isn’t difficult at all to find Jeff Bezos’ email address.

In other words, quit jumping on the wagon with the rest of those who react before finding out all the facts. And read the review policy because, dollars to doughnuts, if a review is rejected, it is probably not because you follow an author on social media but for some other reason.

Now for the pimpage.

Nocturnal Challenge (Nocturnal Lives Book 4) has gone live. That means those of you who pre-ordered it — and thank you so much for doing so — should have it on your devices this morning. If not, it should be delivered shortly. The funny thing is, it wasn’t supposed to go live until today and I started receiving notices that people had downloaded it last night. I’m not complaining, mind you. But I was all set to do by gleeful “It’s live!” combined with the terrified “OMG, it’s live!” this morning. So I wasn’t ready for all that last night.  😉

Any way, Challenge is the fourth book and fifth title in the Nocturnal Lives series. It is also, in all likelihood, the next to the last book in this story arc. I love these characters. So I doubt this book and the next will be the last time we see them. But the events the series has been leading up to have come to a head and the next book is when everything gets resolved — one way or the other.

But, for now, Challenge is out in the world as an ebook and the print version will follow next month. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the corner, biting my nails and waiting, praying that everyone loves my book baby.


  1. Yeah, the only time I have ever had a review rejected was because I called the villain an a**hole (without the asterisks). I changed the wording and it went right through.

    I’m a freakin’ writer. Most of the books I review are by people I know or will end up knowing or would like to know. You’d think that if anyone was going to get reviews kicked back, it would be me. So when I heard this kerfluffle the last time, I waited. I reviewed as usual. They all went through. Even the one where I said the writer was a friend of mine. This is just another smear campaign against Amazon. :yawn:

    Reviews books, be conscientious and specific so Amazon can tell you actually read the book, and everything should be fine. I suspect the review that got kicked and started this whole thing was what Amazon thought it was – a review left simply to boost a writer’s star count without any factual basis for the stars. (And one hopes that Amazon would be as conscientious about low-star reviews, but I ain’t holdin’ my breath.)

    December 15, 2015
  2. Amazon is going to gather up complaints, because it’s the big dog on the porch.
    Mine is different; Amazon began their new KU program with much hype and authors of novels liked the idea. I did. Something that bothered me, though, was a lack of set per-page royalties. Amazon put money in the pot in the beginning, we were all going to share that, and slowly the amount we were being paid for a borrow shrank. That trend is continuing, the money slowly being chiseled away. And yet, Amazon begins with an amount that is likely to small for the expected traffic, then adds more at the end of the month, thus setting the payout to authors. Which, over time, keeps shrinking.
    As for your book, I sympathize; my book, The Ship, went live on Sunday. I’m not superstitious, no not me; but publishing on the 13th, then finding that Amazon’s Kindle page count is 666…

    December 15, 2015
    • I’d see that as a good omen, but I’m a (recovering?) pilot and musician, we tend to have Odd ideas about luck. Like encouraging black cats to hang out around the airport. *touches wood*

      December 15, 2015
    • Basara549 #

      heh… I wrote a fanfic for an animated TV series, BEFORE the WWW, that spooked me (the original draft was completed in 1991, and had started as a time killer while I was having health difficulties with passing the tests to transition from reception to Basic in the army in 1988).

      As I started arranging the material to start typing it into my Atari 130 XE’s word processor (50k max file size), I came to an odd realization. I had handwritten 4 “books” of the fanfic, and the paper sizes varied wildly over the 3 years of writing (8-9″ notepads, both ruled and unruled, LEtter & legal notepats, wide ruled and college ruled filler paper and spiral notebooks, and a few other odd bits). Yet, despite the varying paper types, somehow all four books came out to EXACTLY 250 pages each, or 1000 for the whole,

      It unnerved me so much (especially since the last chapter effectively came to me in a dream that wrapped up all my loose plot threads I’d been head-desking over for weeks – this was TOO damned regular) that I split off parts of books 3 & 4 and used them as the core for another book, with the old book 4 and an epilogue becoming book 5.
      After 20 years of refining it and typing it off and on (and going through every OS from Windows 3.11 to XP, and having to scan printouts of the early Atari work), between jobs (and sometimes at work, when I had jobs that had me waiting for customers to call on me), the entire work ended up over 360k words. I have no regrets.

      December 16, 2015
  3. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

    Oh, you have a new book out? [Kidding Grin]

    Will be purchasing it later today. [Smile]

    December 15, 2015
    • Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard #

      Finished It!!!! Very good read so I want the next one! [Smile]

      December 15, 2015
      • After I finish the next Ellie book (out in the next week or so), the next Honor and Duty book and the next Sword of the Gods book. Oh, and I’ve promised another in the Hunted series as well. Sigh. I need a clone.

        December 15, 2015
  4. I have never had a review rejected, or taken down. There is a reason, though, that I always buy (or KU) a book I’m going to review and I don’t accept review copies.

    And I preordered Challenge, so it landed in my kindle app last night. 😀

    December 15, 2015
  5. The interesting thing to me is that the story was taken at face value.There’s a tendency to do that when a story agrees with a bias.

    December 15, 2015
  6. When i review a book by someone I know, the first paragraph describes my relationship with the person (if any) and how my review may be biased. I generally post the same (modulo reformatting) review on Amazon, Goodreads, and my own blog. I have not noticed any reviews being taken down, but I don’t go looking for it, either.

    December 15, 2015
  7. mrsizer #

    Sigh. I had been planning to put the Christmas tree up tonight.

    December 15, 2015
  8. Chuck-K #

    I am reading Nocturnal Challenge right now. I had pre-ordered it. Only five books? You’ve got to bring Mac back for another series.

    December 16, 2015

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