life, thoughts

Self-Published Authors, Reviewers, and Book Readers, I Need Advice

Hello there friends.

I have a dilemma, and perhaps someone might have advice.Bear with me while I explain.

Potential buyers of books not only read the plot description of a book to see if it’s something that interests them, but they also read reviews. How does an author get reviews for a newly published book if there aren’t any yet?

Well, an author gives away some free copies and hopes that those people who read it will volunteer an honest review. (Sometimes authors pay for reviews, but not in this case).

What happens if those readers who received the free copies put up a review, but Amazon takes it down?If the author is contactable, the reader contacts the author to tell them the review was taken down and they don’t know why. They received a generic response about Amazon’s guidelines which they did not violate.

So, the author contacts Amazon to ask them what can be done to ensure readers who are given free copies can put up an honest and voluntary review.

Amazon then sends the author a generic link to their guidelines. The same guidelines that were not violated by the reviewers. This response does not solve the problem.

I apologize for speaking of myself in the third person, but yes, this is what happened to me and my reviewers. I know that Amazon likes to see verified purchases, but at some points free copies are offered. Sometimes Amazon will remove reviews because they don’t trust the reviewer is being nonbiased. All of my reviewers, however, have put in their reviews that they are giving an “honest and voluntary review.”

I’ve written to Amazon three times now. The only variation of a response I received from the generic guidelines, was to tell my reviewers they need to contest the removal of their review with Amazon.

Okay, I feel fortunate that anyone would take the time to read and then review my book. Why should they be expected to go through Amazon’s red-tape to get that review posted? Moreover, why would anyone review a free book if they had to jump through hoops to get a review posted?

Having reviews is of huge importance for authors. How are we supposed to get anyone interested in our books if potential readers don’t see any reviews? It looks bad.

Am I the only author this has happened to? Are there any other reviewers who have had this happen? If so, did you find a way to fix it?

Does anyone have any advice on how to get reviews that stay up?

P.S. There is no customer service phone number. Amazon will only correspond through email for this issue. I asked about that, too.






20 thoughts on “Self-Published Authors, Reviewers, and Book Readers, I Need Advice”

  1. it’s a horrible situation to be in! I second the GoodReads review, What I did when it first released (I was in KU) was do a single “free” day the day before my actual release and asked my ARC team to buy a copy that day so it was a verified review. I’ve seen others drop theirs to 99c for a day for the same thing – most ARC readers, if they’re fans are willing to pay 99c to support you and give you a verified review – I know it’s stupid Amazon has this issue – you should be able to give away free copies… this is just some ideas for how to solve the problem – good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Karen. Thank you so much for stopping by and offering those good suggestions to get reviews. Checked out your site. Gorgeous book covers!


  2. Hi Lori – this might not be the answer you are looking for – but I have just assumed readers cannot leave a review on Amazon if they did purchase the book there – and i learned this when someone reviewed lady by the river – I gave her a copy and asked for feedback and she told me she would go over to good reads to leave the review – and she did just that
    And so for book reviews — while I would really love more Amazon reviews for my books – I gladly accept Good Reads and Blog Post reviews as viable

    I do know an author that gave our Amazon gift cards so folks buy the book on Amazon and leave a review that way – it adds an expense but could be an option –

    And one more side note – I am glad Amazon does have some restrictions on reviews because book giveaways can sometimes lead to unhelpful reviews or something just feels “off” when we read 35 raving reviews from unverified purchases
    A handful of years ago I saw this with a book from a lady who ran a “grapevine” healing site (think it is down now ) and her many book reviews had so much praise and the verbiage all seemed overdone and prompted (if that makes sense)
    Another thing to consider is making a blog page for your book where you share snippets of reviews ….
    Best wishes ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿ“šโ˜€๏ธ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey there, Mrs. Priorhouse. Thank you for the suggestions. I gave away few books for reviews (5 to be exact) that I bought from Amazon and also sold a couple of those (they paid and won’t be able to put up a review either). I wish I knew how to sell a new release that not many people have read without reviews. Iโ€™m paying for Amazon ads and can see people clicking on the book but not purchasing. Iโ€™ve been told itโ€™s because of the lack of reviews. Like Kate commented, seems like a Catch 22. ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ I like your suggestions though. Iโ€™ll see if those reviewers whoโ€™ve been removed will consider putting them on Goodreads. Thanks for the good wishes. ๐Ÿ’—

      Liked by 1 person

          1. Sadly the “bestsellers” are often very AVERAGE books but they have e a ton of money promoting the heck out of them – so I have learned that best seller does not always mean good – maybe 30% of the time – the other times they have just been marketed with money infusions
            If they got lucky with a celeb or influencer bump

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, I agree. Also, bestsellers are often celebrities, media personalities, or long ago established authors who sell books merely because of name recognition and not their writing.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. yes – and recently I have seen some authors have their book clubs and friends by the book (not sure how they do it – presales is part of it) and they somehow reach best seller status –
                – I really don’t know how some folks get all that done –
                but I do wish you well with your book promotion – what is the name of your book? I will check it out on amazon

                Liked by 1 person

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