Last Saturday was the 4 month anniversary of me no longer being allowed to review on Amazon. If you want to know all about my reactions, how pissed off I was, and where I was at that time, check out my original post here. Since, my Amazon Un-iversary was here, I thought “why not see where we are as a blogging/reviewing/authoring community.”
I’ve definitely noticed that more bloggers or regular reviewers are having their reviews suppressed, (Amazon’s version of “deleting” reviews, they don’t delete, they suppress. Not sure why they make that distinction, but they do). Nobody really knows why, despite much speculation. But it is happening. Amazon’s stated reasons are that the reviewer knows the author, but in this world that has gotten much smaller thanks to the internet, its impossible not to. People want to be close to the authors they admire, seeing them at signings is one thing. Seeing their lives, catching up with them, etc, that is important, as well. That doesn’t mean that bloggers or reviewers are friends with them, other than Facebook’s version of friends.
So, as authors’ reviews numbers decrease randomly, they are concerned, as well. Books that once had 100 reviews suddenly have 65. Those numbers are hard won. Many authors count on those reviews to draw new readers in, hoping that the positive reviews outweigh the negative in the purchaser’s mind, and they will click the all might “one click” button.
What people are missing is all the ways to get around this system. As I came up on my 4 month Un-iversary, I realized that I am busier than ever on this blog. I have many reviewers (who can still post to Amazon), who pick up the books that I can’t read and review. We review for multiple publishers, and post them either here, or on the publisher’s website, hopefully both. There is also Goodreads (although be careful, this is an Amazon owned site, so although my reviews haven’t been suppressed there, there is no guarantee that won’t happen at some point). I have been working with All Romance eBooks to see if they can come up with a system for adding blogger reviews on there. I hope you will see this very soon!
When was the last time you posted your review to Pinterest? I will admit, this one is a challenge for me, one I would like to get better at, but you could easily get review clicks from there. What about posting to Instagram? Another area that I have been working on building as a reviewer and blogger.
The key here is that “nothing will change, if you don’t change anything”. Amazon is able to do this because they are the largest retailer in the world, and they don’t really care a lot about ebooks, let’s be honest. They make their money on all the other things they sell. Ebooks are just a drop into the bucket for them. However, if you take away the clicks that get you there, then they lose revenue, and if you want to get Amazon’s attention, you MUST hit their revenue, their bottom line.
Rather than being concerned about what has been taken away, realize that Amazon will not give it back. They don’t have to. So move on. Find a different way of giving value to the authors you blog about. Ask an author to write a guest post for you, most are thrilled to be asked. You have their fans visiting your blog, where they will also read your review, which hopefully you’ve found several avenues to post to, if not Amazon.
Authors: maybe try a different way of dealing with reviews. Perhaps don’t require Amazon posting? Also, consider having your teasers made by graphic designers as square, so you can use them for Instagram, adding review quotes there. Also, and this is a difficult business decision, but when we give all the power to Amazon they can do what they want, so consider side-loading as an alternative to ‘Zon. Put your work out on wider distribution like ARe, BN and Smashwords.
But no matter what, both reviewers and authors need to SHARE the bloggers reviews!!! The blogger appreciates the assistance, and the author will appreciate the exposure. And if you want to get the reviews out there, you need to share. As a blogger, don’t be afraid to share another blogs reviews either. It never hurts, only helps.
In the end, if you give Amazon everything, they will take it. They have no loyalty to you, your blog, or the author. They are a business, and as such, they are in it to make money. In their eyes, bloggers and reviewers who do not purchase the product are of little to no value to them. So, create your own value outside of Amazon, and help to continue your own success, as well as the authors you want to promote.