Aux armes, Bookworms!

Rouget de Lisle singing the Marseillaise.
Isidore Pils [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
We bookworms are peaceful creatures, caring and sharing, communicating our joy and enthusiasm for a good read via book blogs, book clubs and book reviews. One of the biggest platforms for reviews is Amazon (where many bookworms spend zillions buying their fodder). But Amazon has recently introduced a rule which, like Rouget de Lisle singing the Marseillaise, has got us rampant. May is a month for revolutions. Even a worm can turn.

Today I’m reblogging an excellent post from author/blogger Barb Taub, of great relevance to all book lovers who buy from Amazon and leave reviews on their site.  This is something I do myself: it helps other readers and of course helps the author (and as an Indie author I can tell you those reviews are important ). My  policy is to leave a review on various sites-Amazon US (com) Amazon UK, Amazon France etc. But two days ago I tried to leave a review on the US site and it was refused. Why? because Amazon has a new rule, as Barb explains in her blog: ”You must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com in the past 12 months’ in order to leave a review.’

What???? So customers like myself, who since 2007 have spent thousands of euros (I live in France) on Amazon products, not to mention the Maître de Maison, who is on Amazon Prime and whose credit card is even more dented than mine, are now being told we have to spend $50 on the US site just for the privilege of being able to review, for absolutely free, a book bought from another Amazon site? As one commentator, S. K. Nicholls, said ‘Amazon won’t post a paid review…but demand payment for your RIGHT to review.’

Catch 22

This is clearly nonsense.  It becomes even more nonsensical when Amazon won’t let you buy something on its US site, but re-directs you to the country where you live. I am a member of the excellent Kindle Unlimited scheme whereby I pay 9.99€ per month to ‘borrow’ 10 e-books at any one time  but see on the left what happens if I go to the US site to browse? Talk about Catch 22…

Here’s what Barb Taub says:

An open letter to Amazon:

Dear Amazon,

I should be your Holy Grail. I’m the real deal, an actual reader who goes through books carefully, thinks about what they mean and how they’re written, and then writes a considered, thoughtful, and hopefully helpful analysis—in other words, I’m a book reviewer.

Writers, potential customers, publishers, and oh yes—you, Amazon—should be jumping for joy and giving thanks that I’ve taken hours to read and yet more hours to craft reviews for hundreds of books. Instead, Amazon, you’ve decided to punish reviewers like me.

In the name of discouraging “fake” reviews, your new policy requires reviewers like me to spend $50 on Amazon’s US site and even more, £40 on Amazon UK before I can share my review. Have you thought about other solutions, or the effect this will have on legitimate reviewers?

The full article is here: do please read it and add your voice to the protest by sharing and commenting.

Don’t throw out the baby! Why #Amazon doesn’t want your #BookReviews

Get rampant! Join the protest by reblogging/commenting on Barb’s post.

 

Ding Dong it’s the Avon lady

Yes, it’s time to bring out the free samples and aim for that shiny ‘Salesperson of the Year’ badge. As author John Dolan put it:

‘I didn’t know when I started this writing lark that I’d have to become a double glazing salesman’. (Fans of witty gritty noir thrillers with complex PIs check out John’s totally addictive series ‘Time Blood and Karma’ http://www.amazon.com/John-Dolan/e/B008IIERF0)

When Amazon introduced the idea back in 2007 that writers could become publishers, a revolution started. All of us who had a book somewhere in our head needed only (?) to write it, then follow the Kindle Direct Publishing guide and lo, our Word document shift-shaped into a digital book which could be read on any ebook reader, tablet, smartphone or computer. No more hanging about waiting for agents to decide whether or not the manuscript was ‘what they were looking for’ – almost certainly not – no more crushed egos as rejection slips dropped like confetti through the letterbox. A revolution indeed.

But don’t forget the fat lady.

You’re an indie author. You are happy and modestly proud. You’ve come up with the riveting plot, the unforgettable characters and the pithy dialogue. You’ve negotiated the steps in the KDP guide. Amazon has fired your oeuvre on to a cloud. Isn’t that the end?

No, because your book is sitting up there, sad and lonely, lost among millions of others.

is that one mine?
is that one mine?

How are people going to find it, let alone buy it? You don’t just want it to go drifting off into space like George Clooney in Gravity, never to be seen again, do you? (Personally I was disappointed to see George disappear so soon.)  So it’s up to you to get out there and find your readers. In other words you have to do the marketing equivalent of Sandra Bullock grappling with airlocks, activating undocking systems and launching herself at a speeding space station with a fire extinguisher.

First this means putting in hours of research on the internet finding out how to market. Then you have to apply the techniques to your magnum opus and hope your book shoots onto another, loftier, cloud, this one bearing the label ‘Top 100′. For the technologically challenged among us, this process also involves eyeball to eyeball confrontations with stuff you never dreamed existed. URLs, RSS feeds ASINs and bitlys. At the end, like Sandra, you’ll be down to your underwear, sweating profusely and holding a one-sided conversation with machines.  Note: For those who don’t like vodka, I can recommend sauvignon blanc.

And so to the subject of this blog. My first ebook, Biarritz Passion: French Summer Novel Book 1, will be on free promotion between May 4th (afternoonish if you live in Europe) and May 8th. Spread the word to your millions of Facebook and Twitter buddies! (I don’t have any).

N.B. Book 2 in the series, Hot Basque, is scheduled for launch shortly afterwards. I prefer not to give a specific date. All those clouds, not to mention stuff flying about in space. Remember Sandra saying ‘OK we detach this, then we go home. Piece of cake’? That was just before the space station was hit by flying debris and exploded into 500 zillion lethal fragments. Just suppose that while my finger hovered over the ‘Submit Hot Basque’ button a meteorite happened to bump into the satellite that provides our internet connexion. Or hurtled through the ceiling of my study and blew up my computer. Or –

Well, you get it.

Watch this space…

oh no...
oh no…