For the first time in almost 12 years of writing book reviews and posting them on Amazon (among other places), I’ve received that “first warning” email about content guidelines from an auto-created faceless, no-name entity. Not even a real person or department to contact. You just violated our guidelines…
It’s a Book Review! It’s an opinion about a story!
I don’t understand Amazon’s algorithms. I will go back and strip down a review to the very bare basics and repost it… comes back with a “thank you” email. But I’ve no idea what “guidelines” I’ve crossed, for they are very vague, very broad. Some are no-brainers, and I’d never cross those lines. Yet, I don’t know what I’ve done wrong on these posted reviews to ensure that I don’t do so again. It’s a catch-22, an endless loop that I’ve no clue how to navigate through.
If I’m banned from Amazon if I cannot give reviews for books there, then… I might as well close down my three websites and keep my opinions to myself. Why? Because so many places that I receive ARCs from have an Amazon review as a requirement. Authors expect to see Amazon reviews when gifting ARCs to me. And they have that right, for Amazon is the golden grail in its reach to potential buyers. I get it.
No, that would be giving up and letting a company destroy something that I love doing, and I won’t do that. But it would restrict where I can post reviews like Goodreads, BookBub, or maybe B & N beyond my own site. I’ll cross that bridge when and if I come to it.
The only thing that I can think of to do is to have a separate review to post on Amazon. Basic, informational, bland but honest. Beyond that, I’ve no clue what else I can do. Simply rating a book there doesn’t give that impact that authors and publishing houses want.
I’m very depressed and worried right now because hours after receiving that “first warning” email, I got another rejected post email about, you guessed it, guidelines again. Plus, some of these emails are days, if not weeks, after I posted the review. What you see on my websites is what I’m posting on Amazon… I see not one damned thing wrong with any of them.
If you have any thoughts, suggestions, or things that you’ve done in similar circumstances to appease the great Amazon… please share. I’m about at the end of my rope.