Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Amazon is Deleting My Reviews and I Think I Know Why

Note: Make sure you stick around until the end so you can get the post-script for this story.

It was bound to happen eventually, I suppose. It's one of the trials all new authors face with Amazon.

I was really excited a few weeks ago when I FINALLY started getting reviews for Hell Comes to Hogtown. It's been out for two months so I was getting nervous. While I had some comments from people saying "Yeah, it's great," no one had committed words to paper (well, bytes on a website) to officially endorse the book. When it finally happened I was thoroughly relieved that I hadn't been wasting my time. In fact, it absolutely made my day when the first review was quite glowing and was from someone I didn't really even know.

After that my friends and family jumped on the bandwagon and started leaving reviews, too. I was getting hyped, now. I was actually building momentum! Maybe I'll actually get a similar number of good reviews that I did with Ten Thousand Days - I hope so, because I think Hogtown is a much better book. I was flying high.

And then two of my reviews were deleted.

Now, I've heard the stories of reviews being removed from many other authors, so I wasn't surprised. I know it happens, and sometimes you can't even determine why. Did Big Jungle think you paid someone to write it? Created a fake account to leave a review for yourself? I've heard rumours that Amazon actually goes after people who are linked to you on social media sites, which is iffy because obviously that's how people connect with fans these days, but at the same time I wouldn't put it past them.

Now, full disclosure, the reviews that were removed were from a good friend of mine and my mother-in-law, so I could see Amazon claiming a conflict of interest. Of course, how do they know they were related to me? Lots of other people I know have had books reviewed by friends and relatives, too. I myself had friends and relatives write reviews on Ten Thousand Days, and they're still there. Why did they target these two particular reviews?

Sounds like a case for these dapper gentlemen.
I'm pretty sure I figured it out. Both reviews that were removed were specifically on, And what do those two people whose reviews were flagged have in common with me and the site? Both of their addresses are linked to my account, because I've sent items to them that I've purchased on Amazon. Linking those user accounts to me and flagging them would have been the most obvious thing in the world to Big Jungle.

Of course, those purchases were made years ago and had nothing to do with this book, but I can obviously see that it could look suspicious. And the reviewers did have a personal connection to me, so it's not like I can really argue that they were unbiased. But it still sucks. I'm just leaving my story here as a warning to other writers.

All that said...

I am greatly interested in reviews from people who are not personally connected to me. I will gladly provide electronic copies in exchange for an honest review. As you all know it's a tough world out there to get eyes on your product. If anyone is interested in a horror-comedy with oddball characters and a lot of cuss words, please hit me up in the comments below!

* * *

Fitz is a broke night manager for a grubby comic book store. His only friend Dee is a drugged-out, womanizing pro-wrestler. Together they’re the most pathetic losers on the face of the planet. Their lives cannot possibly get any worse.

And then they’re implicated in the kidnapping of the prime minister’s wife.

On the run from the cops, Fitz and Dee discover there is something far worse than the RCMP stalking the dark streets of Toronto. They are being hunted by an ancient demon of unspeakable evil with an insatiable taste for blood... or maybe it’s just your run-of-the-mill giant murderous hobo?

Either way, life in prison might be better than whatever the creepy drifter has in store for them…

* * *

EDIT: At some point during the day I posted this, my deleted reviews actually reappeared on Amazon. I have no idea why, they had been gone for two days so I assumed they were lost forever. Maybe it was just a glitch? Maybe Amazon customer service actually looked into it after I contacted them on Twitter? Who knows? But let's just say I'm happy they're back and I'm sorry for the fire drill. :-(

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