I go forward with this blog post with trepidation. First, because I’m talking about the behemoth that is Amazon, and second, because I don’t want to scare away my new blog readers. To my new blog readers, welcome gentle people. Please know I remain positive and I do not complain often.
So why is this tiny gnat lodging a buzzy complaint about the giant? I’ve done all I can to try to make the situation right but I’ve gotten nowhere, so I’m blogging about it.
I write reviews. I don’t always blog my reviews so you don’t see them all the time. You would certainly get sick and tired of seeing reviews of books every week as if I have nothing else to talk about. Or maybe you’d rather…umm…err. Anyways. Amazon is picky about their reviews these days. Bless them. I’m all for their little selective hearts. I wouldn’t want to read a mother’s review of her son’s wondrous attempt at literature, and you would not have wanted to read my mother’s not unreasonable, but not very kind reviews of some of my past work. So I’m all for Amazon rejecting reviews written by relatives and close personal friends of the author. However, and here’s where what happened to me has to be revealed, I wrote a review of a woman’s novel. The novel had been given to me to pass on to someone else. The other person didn’t like it because of the subject matter, and so, curious, I thought I would read it. I found the book sad, but the ending was powerful. The book was a memoir. I wrote a decent review and posted it. Amazon rejected it. I emailed their review department to ask why. They stated that I was a close personal friend of the author and therefore my review was not acceptable.
I’m not a close personal friend of the author. I hardly know the lady. I see her at book events. I like her. She seems sweet and gracious. But we’ve never spoken on the phone. We’ve never had coffee together. So why would Amazon say I was her close personal friend? That’s nuts. And creepy. So why does this bother me so much, besides the creepiness factor? Because if they can say that about me, what are they telling people (who may or may not know me) and are trying to post a review on Amazon about one of my books? Yikes! I need all the reviews I get!
It isn’t as if I didn’t email back and forth about this issue with Amazon’s review department. They would not reveal HOW they KNOW about my close personal friendship with this poor author. Apparently their methods of detection are top-secret and must never be revealed. And another beef I have with this razz-a-ma-tazz Mr. Amazon review board is this – how is it reviews that are tragically unkind toward an author and aren’t even about the book are not taken down? What about reviews that reveal all the story’s plots and subplots thus spoiling everything for future readers, why are these not hidden?
I am friends with a lot of authors. I’ve had lunch with Jane Yolen. Bless her. I hope she doesn’t mind I said that. I doubt that she’ll ever know I did. (Shh. She’s famous!) Ha! I could go on and on about the many author’s I’ve met over the last thirty years. (Name dropper? Moi?) I’ve reviewed a majority of their books. Oh my! Will they take down my other reviews now? I’d hate that. I feel like the lion on the Wizard of Oz movie when talking about this. “Put ’em up, put ’em up! Which one of you first? I’ll fight you both together if you want. I’ll fight you with one paw tied behind my back. I’ll fight you standing on one foot. I’ll fight you with my eyes closed… ohh, pullin’ an axe on me, eh? Sneaking up on me, eh? Why, I’ll… Ruff!
Now for the denouement: I forgot to mention that I left something off the review that is of utmost importance and would have prevented this sorry state of affairs. I failed to add to the review these words “The author gave me a copy of the book for a fair and honest review”. It was a “slip of the pen” – I pressed send before thinking it though, aauurgh! Those words would have saved the day. Unfortunately I am not allowed to go back and fix it. Amazon, the bully, is completely unforgiving of such things. But not to worry. I have given my good review of Mary Perez’s “Running in Heels: a memoir of grit and grace” on Barnes & Noble’s site and on Goodreads. And in those places my review remains.
If you bought a book from me at a Kroger, you may wish to leave a review of the book on Amazon (I hope. I hope. I hope.) but be sure to include the fact that you purchased the book at a book signing. I’m afraid that if these words are not used in some form or fashion you may be accused of being a close personal friend and…and…oh my… how horrible would that be??
Not horrible at all gentle readers. I continue to make many wonderful friends as I sell my books. I hope we continue to be such. Thank you so much.