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I feel like I’ve committed a crime.

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AND I BLOODY HAVEN’T

Thanks to Amazon and their carte blanche attitude to book reviewers, I have begun to feel that I am in the wrong for a reviewing a book I felt excited and passionate about. Is this a good thing do you think? I know I will be very wary of reviewing a book ever again, epsecially as I will always be linked to my daughter and she will more than likely always be linked to authors and books.

As Julie says in her comment here,
Authors beware…

Funnily enough, I have just referred a client to Jo, and also won one of Lisa’s books. I’m feeling I’ve committed a crime before I write a review!!

I wonder how many authors are now losing their valuable reviews. There certainly does not appear to be an appeals process when you believe your review was valid and without inappropriate connections. I think in future, if there is a book review future for me, I will always write a disclaimer at the bottom. Not that will protect me from Amazon’s software, but at least I will feel happier that I will have offered up anything I feel should be taken into account whilst reading my review.

I am sure there are millions of bogus reviews on Amazon, and I agree that these should be addressed, but when I know my review was from an honest place…

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I am not alone, thank you Jo.

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Jo came across this today. I think she will be blogging later about Amazon book reviews. Meanwhile, here is a useful piece from Forbes.

Amazon deletes wrong reviews.

Wish I had seen this before the weekend.

What it highlights for me is, if I continue to pursue them, I am likely to put the very book I am reviewing at risk of being removed from Amazon. I am not willing to do that. So, on this subject at least, it’s goodnight from me and it’s goodnight from him.

I will add a link to Jo’s blog at http://www.writersblockadminservices.co.uk/ once it’s published.

Here’s the link to Jo’s blog:
Beware. Amazon could remove your book.

Amazon reviews are they moderated by software?

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Here’s a very interesting email I received from my very good friend John, a person who’s knowledge I trust implicitly. He says,

Kathy,

I know you and I believe it when you say that what this book is important and that people should know about it. The sad thing is that I suspect that no human being at Amazon has yet read a single word you have written. I imagine, and look forward to being proved wrong, that your review was analysed by a bit of software which decided that your language sounded like a publisher/author marketing a book. In your writing you say little that is personal to you about the book: how much it has helped you, how it resonated with you, what bits you loved, how you wished there were more like it. What you do say is that everyone in a particular market sector should read it and then give an overview of the contents. It sounds like a sales pitch and that is, I suspect, how the software interpreted it. It can’t help that you (i.e. your name) is connected with self publishing and that this book is published, essentially by the author.

I doubt also that the reply you got to your email was anything other than automated: it ignored everything you said; perhaps your second email will push the system into a human dimension and you can get a dialogue going. I have no idea how closely Goodreads and Amazon’s systems have been integrated so I don’t know if your review will remain.
I hope it does because, like I say, if you say this book is important and should be noticed I believe you. Good luck with it.

Love, John

Typical of me, I have now read the first bit of this more closely and from my recollection, I was much more personal in my original (lost) review). In fact Lisa’s book The Brightness of Stars resonated for me quite deeply in parts. In my review on Goodreads I am far less revealing of my own feelings whilst reading the book. Probably because, as I have suggested, this is the 3rd time I have written it and the spontaneity and passion I felt immediately after reading the book is reduced, and of course overlayed with the anger I feel towards Amazon. However, I do believe what my friend has explained above.

My name is connected with self publishing only due to Jo’s (my daughter) work at Writer’s Block Admin Services and her
e Book Formatting
I am a mother, and mother’s support their children where they can, and following her and retweeting her stuff is how I do that. Jo also published Dad’s book Sojourn in Silesia, I am named as an editor. So, I can see how the software has made it’s arbitrary decision about me and the book by Lisa Cherry (that if I mention again, I might end up looking like I am invested in it in some other way, rather than it’s message).

I’ve just had a chat to John, he’s happy for me to share is suspicions. He’s says I do sound like I am promoting the book, well yes I AM, because I believe it is important and I feel passionately about the subject. It makes sense now that the 2 emails from Amazon are pretty impersonal, and of course they can’t answer my further questions as they’re not real people. I am hoping that if I contact Amazon again (and again) that eventually a real person will come along and see the mistake.

Book club reading.

Earlier in the year I was invited to join a book club which circulates books here in France. I spent a few days considering the offer, since this would be a new concept for me. I agreed and am now a member of a group of 11, mainly women and one man. The book circulation starts in October, and it took me some time to find a book that I felt would be a suitable read, having studied the lists of books the members have either already read, or circulated.

I feel some trepidation, as I am not one for writing flowery reviews, or even unflowery. It’s not something I have ever had to do. I didn’t attend university, didn’t study literature and my writing is often straight and to the point. I read a book, I like it or not, and have little to say about why, unless of course it has impacted on me greatly. I am also aware I don’t tend to analyse the characters, or look deeply into the possible ulterior message running through the text. Another worry (anxiety) for me is, I hate feeling under pressure to read a book I haven’t chosen. I like to chose my own books, and get very impatient if I am reading a book that I dislike.

After some long thought and consideration, I picked up Zen and the Art of Cycle Maintenance. This is a book that belongs to my husband, we have quite a different reading list. I read 4-5 chapters before deciding I was very bored. I picked up another book The Blind Assassin and was bored beyond compare by page 10. I also thought I SHOULD read some Proust, since it seems I have missed some important classical education somewhere. I managed about 5 chapters before decided it really was a load of pretentious poo. This probably makes me a philistine. Oh well, so be it. Having said that, I picked up Titus Groan several years ago, another book belonging to mon marie, thinking how boring it looked. I loved it, and have downloaded to my Kindle to read again when I have time (in between book club offerings).

I am currently reading the choice I have made, and will be sending it off soon to the person I send to. I am looking forward to the experience (mostly) and hope that I enjoy it enough to carry on next year. I let you know the name of the book once it is in circulation, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

Please close the gate firmly, it’s been quite noisy and disturbing out there recently.

Kathy the sane.