EMAIL SENT- AMAZON CEO Jess Bezos on 08/27/15
Aug 27, 2015 — Dear Jeff Bezos , CEO of Amazon,
I am a Independent author and I am writing you today to make you aware of a petition I started on Change.org regarding Amazon's "Know this Author Policy". Many readers, both mine and many others, are having an issue when posting reviews for books purchased on Amazon. After I had received complaints from both Authors and Readers, I decided to start this petition in hopes that Amazon would realize how unfair the portion of the review process is where data-mining and other proprietary practices of determining a review was a "personal" friend of an author is harming us who use the tools given to promote our books.
You can find the petition here:
I rely on using Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other resources to promote and make readers aware of news of my books as well as releases upcoming and out. Readers, blogs and others in the industry follow me and other authors--its just the nature of the independent publishing world. It's these resources that help us do business and try to compete in a very saturated publishing marketplace as well as stand out. Whereas I applaud Amazon's actions in trying to stop reviews from being used to bully and harm authors as well as try to make the review process one that is moral and fair, the process of deciding a reader "knows an author" does the opposite. The sincere and honest readers who love an author's books is not able to leave reviews because of this practice yet ones that are out to harm an author OR are paid to leave reviews can do so easily--negative or a review of a book that was never read.
Because common sense tells one that if someone who does not like or not even know an author would NOT follow that person on social media and therefore, Amazon would allow their review due to "NOT KNOWING" the author. This is backwards. It's those type that should NOT be allowed to leave a review. A loyal, sincere and honest reader SHOULD BE ABLE TO. For Amazon to decide if someone "knows" an author by using their net history to determine the sincerity of their review is ridiculous. Today's readers are savvy that reviews are sprinkled with friends and family, but who is Amazon to say those same people aren't also book lovers and did indeed enjoy a book? But those "friend or family" reviews aside, I love that my readers can't wait for my new releases after being so excited on my Facebook page or Twitter account. They go out, the buy the book and they read it with glee, so excited to share how they felt about the book. Imagine their distress and my own when told they can't leave that review because they "knew" me. I've never met them and in fact, I have maybe met personally 12 of my more than 5,000 fans across my social media identities.
I fully understand why Amazon needs to clean up their review process--and some of it is valid and I do appreciate the opportunity that Amazon has given authors and others like me to sell our books. But when we have to compete with authors that pay for reviews by the hundreds and those can be posted and my few hundred of readers CANNOT post a review? There is no way I can fight and compete against that, and it's tiring to try. Add to that--we are not able to respond or dispute the decision Amazon makes on these readers. They simply have their review removed, get no response or they get the one such as shown in the petition. It's very discouraging and it is forcing authors such as me and readers such as those who are unable to leave reviews take their business elsewhere or find other ways to leave reviews.
We are well aware that Amazon is the largest retailer for e-books and we are so grateful that indies are allowed to create books for sale through your site, but part of that business "partnership" is to allow all to have the same ability to have purchasers of our books to be able to assist us by posting reviews on why our books should be bought--as long as sincere and honest. Whether they know us or not should not be a factor. Amazon itself has told us that reviews are important due to the more reviews we receive, the more spotlight our books could have through your very service. By not allowing "ALL" our readers to do so? You are setting up for Amazon to be nothing but vicious or paid-for reviews. I would hope that is not the mission or wish of your company.
Please consider my petition and I look forward to hearing from you either way.
Thank you for your time,
Jas T. Ward
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