It’s been a long month.
Apart from the usual writerly stuff (you know, the stuff a writer thinks s/he’s going to be doing like… er… writing) authors across the world have been struggling with Amazon‘s widespread and apparently random deletion and blocking of reviews and trying to navigate the European Union’s new GDPR law.
I’ve been revising the first draft of my next novel, “Private Vices“, with the intention of publishing in late summer. I became distracted by thoughts of new adventures, so I had to roughly draft out a novella-length sequel to clear my head. I’m also running two sci-fi novellas past critique groups for publication over the next 12 months. Busy, busy.
So I did not need two huge, sprawling organizations subverting my efforts…
AMAZON: REVIEW MASSACRE
In an attempt to banish fake and paid-for reviews, Amazon has
set loose the dogs of war launched a Terminator-style set of automatic systems that are cutting swathes through valid reviews and blocking new ones – exclusively good ones. I lost most of my novels’ reviews and know of two genuine reviews that were blocked. I can’t tell how many others were blocked.
Authors worldwide are shrieking in pain… Okay, they’re pretty darned unhappy about it. Amazon seems uninterested in responding, let alone admitting fault and fixing the problem.
One author described it as lighting a candle with a flamethrower.
AND GDPR: DATA PRIVACY
“GDPR” means the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the free movement of such data and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation).
Whew! (Takes a breath.)
They call it a regulation. In English, a potential fine of €20 million sounds a bit more serious than a regulation. And it’s why you’ve probably been receiving a million emails recently about privacy policies and asking you to confirm your subscriptions. Sadly, requests for confirmation are possibly in breach of GDPR. Advice differs.
Don’t blame the senders, blame the EU. Top-price consultants are giving different advice on compliance, so what chance does anyone have until there’s a knock on the door offering clarification in court? Some companies based outside the EU are saying they’ll stop doing business with EU residents to avoid the hassle. (Nice one, EU.)
Seriously, any informed comments are welcomed using the Feedback Form or to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy reading! (But don’t rely on reviews on Amazon to indicate a book’s quality any longer.)
8 thoughts on “Struggling Author”
Thanks for your thoughtful comments about GDPR, and for your on-target comments about Arrogant Amazon. On this side of the pond, Amazon now is also busy screwing up the shipping of books that they publish! Are they destined to self-destruct? Perhaps once Jeff Bezos begins to realize his billions are in peril, he may actually start paying attention again.
I agree. I cannot believe how wrong Amazon’s foundation business (books) is going. The reviews massacre, ejecting authors from Kindle Unlimited, axing Kindle Worlds, and now banning ARC reviews, I heard… I didn’t know about the distribution issues.
Looks as though Bezos is more interested in space, these days. He should buy my books!
(Actually, I’d prefer it if he didn’t obstruct me from selling them.)
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Andy…are you in England or Europe? Just wondering. I’m in America and I am also scratching my head over a lot of the things Amazon is doing…I, too, over the last year have had reviews disappear for no reason I can see. One day I have 30 and the next day 28. No explanation. I’m just glad I’m wide (sell everywhere), but still need Amazon as they’re my biggest seller of my books. Ah, we are all just tiny boats on the wild seas of Amazon’s vast and cold ocean. Hang in there…or hang on to the boat!
I’m from England, but I live in Luxembourg. No escape from GDPR for me!
I keep hearing bad news about Amazon. James (above) mentioned distribution issues now, to add to the rest.
I’m wide too. (For non-authors reading this, it does not refer to my waistline. It means I distribute my books through several companies as well as Amazon, thank goodness. To see which other distributors, click https://www.books2read.com/FacesOfJanus)
I think I need to boost my non-Amazon profile/presence/marketing as the Zon is not responding to the hail of complaints pouring down on its head from thousands of authors. It almost looks like they’ve lost interest in distributing books.
I agree, we just have to keep on keeping on!
I was told a long time ago that Amazon does not care about selling books…they are just a lead-in to get people on the Amazon site and then after they look/buy the books it’s hoped they buy other (material) items. We are not a money maker for them…or so I’ve been told. Which would explain the cavalier way they treat all of us authors. Just saying. But, for me, a child of the old legacy publishers from 1984-2012, I am grateful every day for Amazon and all the other Internet book sales venues. I once got 4% royalties on my Leisure and Zebra paperbacks and made a pitiful pittance every year. Now, with Amazon and the others I make as much or more every month as I once made in a whole year! It’s all a matter of perspective. I complain about Amazon’s tactics but, for me, it is SO MUCH BETTER than the old days with the traditional publishers.
Yes, Amazon’s better than nothing and better than earlier days, but we can hope for professional, appropriate treatment, surely?
Can we? Life is rarely ever fair…but we writers do the best we can…always. Love your blog Andy and though I don’t often comment (so busy, busy, busy-you know how it is) I appreciate it.
We can but hope 😉
Thanks for eyeballing my posts. I, too, rarely comment on blogs I follow. As you say, time is the enemy. Or (as Capt. Kirk should have said), “Time! The Final Frontier.”