Some time ago I wrote a review of a book that had been sent to me by an author I’d met in an online writer’s group. It wasn’t a rave review, nor was it a scathing review, but I did point out that there were some problems with the plot and some of the writing was less than stellar. I also pointed out what I liked about the story and what I thought had been handled well in the writing.
I’ve been a reviewer for a long time. Long before Al Gore gave us the Internet and long before Amazon started dominating the book business. When my reviews appeared in newspapers, a short bio always appeared at the end, as most reviews still do in newspapers. So the day I posted my review on Amazon, I thought it would give my comments credibility if I included the bio, which simply read: Maryann Miller, author of suspense and mystery including One Small Victory.
The Amazon Police, as I have come to think of people who scour forums and reviews and other public places on Amazon to find some author breaking the commandment that Thou Shalt Not Promote Thy Book on Amazon, found my review and my bio. They promptly left comments on how tacky that was for me to plug my own book under the guise of writing a review. Guise? What exactly did they think all those words that preceded the short bio were? Then the infraction was called to the attention of somebody at Amazon and the review was taken down.
That was too bad. Not for me, but for the author who now has one less review to help promote his book on Amazon.
What boggles my mind about all this is why the people who visit Amazon to buy books, are so rabid about an author not being able to even include a title of his or her book in a comment or anywhere else. Aren’t they there to find out about new titles and new authors?
Yes, I know there are a few authors who have abused the process and spammed every forum on Amazon when forums first started, but the majority of authors are not that prone to gorilla marketing. If there is a good discussion going in a forum about plot and character and good writing, it is nice to know if some of those making comments are writers and what they have written. If the comment is particularly interesting and well thought out, I just might even check out the book. What a concept.