Friday, 7 March 2014

Amazon, what are you trying to tell us?

Recently author Lynn Shepherd wrote an 'open letter' to J.K. Rowling which predictably proved very unpopular and as a result brought the wrath of J.K. fans and others down upon her. She has since apologized and the media attention has died down, but the attacks haven't.
Authors should be supporting one another, knowing the struggle we go through to get our books out there and to have them recognized, and we should be celebrating the authors that achieve success. But, we are still human and make mistakes.
Which one of us hasn't said something in our lifetimes and wished we could go back in time to erase it? It's when my dear Mum's voice still echoes in my head: "If you can't say something nice, then don't say anything"  but we've all done it and sometimes paid the price for our ill-timed remarks. But how big should that price be?
As an author, I don't believe it should be paid on a site that professes to have strict guidelines about reviews. One only need visit Ms Shepherd's Amazon books to see how much she is paying. People have been able to leave comments, not genuine reviews, on her books. How is this possible and with so many without the 'verified purchase' that tells us that these people have at least bought the book. Emails that have said that these comments violate Amazon's policies are being ignored. Why is this? Shouldn't the books at least be purchased before a comment is made?
Amazon is quick to remove a good review from a book because it violates policy. Shouldn't this also apply to these comments? Whether you agree with the comments or not, the issue should be that these comments are in violation of a policy that every author who sells books on their site is subject to. And believe me, if it can happen to one author, it could happen to anyone.
Anne Rice has made her feelings very clear on the matter and supports the petition to stop this. In my last post I wasn't certain about this petition, but clearly there needs to be something done. I was foolish enough to believe that Amazon would remove these comments but sadly that has not been the case.
There are enough forums to vent on. By leaving these comments on there, what is the message that Amazon is sending out? I don't know, but I would love to hear other authors opinions on this or anyone that would help me understand this.    

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