Every time I release a new book, I go on a tireless campaign to commission reviews. And when I say tireless campaign, I mean that I beg every follower on each of my social media outlets to take pity on me and post a review of my book on Amazon.
I hate to say it, but my begging usually doesn't work. The people that would be affected by it are those that have already left a review. Those are my die hard fans who love all of my books and make me happy to be a writer. I love those fans, and I love their reviews. Like any writer, I'd also love to see more reviews.
Every time a review comes up on Amazon, I hold my breath waiting to see what the reviewer thought. Most of the time, the response is good. I'm sure I've never told you this, but I always print out the first five star review that my new novel gets and I frame that alongside a picture of the book cover. Then I hang it in my office to serve as a constant reminder that someone likes what I do.
As I said, I love not only my reviews but my fans. Anytime a fan wants to friend me on Facebook, I accept. I love to hear from them and connect with them. Building relationships with readers is part of what makes me a better writer. I get to hear first hand how they felt about my characters, plot, etc.
Well, it seems that in befriending my readers, I'm running the risk of Amazon deciding any reviews posted by my "friends" are in violation of their review policy and could therefore be taken down. Yep, it's true. Your friends and family are not allowed to post reviews of your books. If they do, and Amazon discovers the relationship, the review is removed and the reviewer is notified.
I'm just going to say it. Give me a break here, Amazon. I'm not Nicholas Sparks or James Patterson. I don't have so many best selling books and readers that I couldn't possibly keep track of them all. I'm an indie author who relies on having a good relationship with my readers in order to help me sell more books. So what if they friend me on Facebook? That doesn't mean it's going to change their opinion of my work.
As far as my family not being allowed to review my books? I guess I can kind of see that. I'm always skeptical when a family member raves about my book because I'm not sure whether it's genuine praise or obligatory. I will say this though. Since I'm an indie author, my family members are usually the first to buy my books and show their support. I say if they bought the book, let them post the review.
No, I don't know the logic behind Amazon's policy, and I don't really care. I have a number of books on Amazon's site, and they each have less than ten reviews. Some don't even have one review. So, Amazon, if you're reading this, please leave my reviews alone! I need them more than you can possibly understand.