RAPED AND PILLAGED!

A couple of weeks ago, I awoke to the horrifying realization I had finally been raped and pillaged by the Amazon Review Police. Like so many authors before me, I was immediately filled with righteous indignation and rage.

“HOW DARE THEY!” I railed to the empty room, which rapidly brought my wife hurtling down the stairs at a breakneck pace to see what terrible accident had befallen me. After assuring her that all was fine, I sat down at my laptop to seethe and stew at the injustice of it all. My gut reaction (and anyone who knows me well, will know how BIG a part of my decision-making process, my gut is), like so many others in this position, was to fire off a demented and angry email to those awful people at that evil empire.

For once in my life, I didn’t listen to my gut, I listened to the calming, dulcet tones of my beloved wife. “There’s a reason for everything honey,” she said soothingly. “If you can’t review on Amazon anymore, there will be something better coming along shortly. It’s the way the Universe works.” Oh yes, there are times I fume at the calmness and control my wife possesses. but, this time, I was glad I followed her advice and didn’t react in the heat of the moment.


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Now, I have no idea why Amazon targeted me for their retribution. There could be any number of reasons why, but at the end of the day that is irrelevant. I don’t like the fact that Amazon rules the self-publishing market with an iron fist. I would love more competition in this market, but the reality is most ebook sales happen on Amazon’s website. That’s just the way it is. I remembered the old adage. “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

Despite my inherent antagonism to Amazon and the dominant position they hold in the ebook market, I keep reminding myself of one important factor: Without Amazon, very few of us would have had the opportunity to fulfill their lifetime dream and become Authors and in my case, full-time Authors. For that we must always be inherently grateful.

The first I knew that Amazon had deleted all my reviews (I would guess, some 150 odd, at the very least) was when I started receiving messages from other Authors, sad that my reviews had disappeared from their books. Invariably, their comments were always the same in tenor. “Your review was one of my favorites. I’m saddened that it has gone.Your review was thoughtful, honest and helpful” Rest assured, I was just as saddened at the review’s demise, but after much thought and contemplation, I decided there was nothing for it, but to accept their, in my opinion, short-sighted decision.

I believe they have, by their actions, lost one of their more, honest, helpful and thorough reviewers. I bought the books, I read them from start to finish (even the ones I didn’t like) and I spent a considerable amount of time composing and posting my reviews in a number of places. On reflection, I have decided their decision is their loss, not mine.


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I did get a little frustrated by some people who sent me messages telling me it was my own fault; that I should have done this thing, or that thing, disconnected this link or that link, or posted from a different IP address. The reasons were numerous. My reaction to this is simple: I don’t believe I’ve ever “bought” or been paid for a review, my reviews are honest, thoughtful and thorough. If that’s not good enough, then so be it. It appears the trolls who happily besmirch other authors with one-star reviews and negative comments are acceptable, but my reviews are not. Their choice!

It is Amazon’s website; their private kingdom and as such they have every right to set the rules (silly and indeed prejudiced against Indie Authors, as some of the are) so I have no problem with them enforcing those terms and conditions. I just wish they would stop targeting Indie Authors exclusively and concentrate also on the MILLIONS of fake reviews that legacy published authors attain through intermediaries. That having been said, I would challenge most Indie Authors to prove to me they have never broken any of Amazon’s terms and conditions. We all know the value of reviews for our books and we all want them. Yes, I’ve done reciprocal reviews, but those reviews were not “paid for” in my language, they were honest reviews of other author’s books I have bought and read. I am reading more books these days than I probably used to, but the difference now is those books are almost 100% Indie Author’s books.


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As I have contemplated the situation over the past few weeks, I wondered what I would now do about my reviews. Two things are clear: 1/ I will continue to read voraciously and my diet will almost exclusively consist of indie books. 2/ I will continue to review EVERY book I read, it just won’t be on Amazon anymore, which is sad for the authors of those books, but no real skin off my nose. I will review on Goodreads and my own website exclusively.

Some time ago, I began a review section on my website, where I posted my reviews that I was already posting on Goodreads and Amazon. Interestingly enough one friend has suggested it is this review section on my website that Amazon may have objected to. They apparently may believe they own the copyright on MY words on MY review on THEIR website. If that is written into the terms and conditions of their website use, then fine, that is the case. This friend suggested that my review section of my website made me (in Amazon’s eyes, at least) a professional or editorial reviewer. To that assertion, I saidBOLLOCKS!

I had a review section on my website for two reasons. 1/to have more content that may interest visitors and 2/ to hopefully draw more people to my website, so they would read the other content I had created and also hopefully discover my wonderful and fantastic novels. If that makes me a professional reviewer, then so be it.


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The idea that I would or could be a “professional” reviewer got me thinking – why not? I still buy all these books and I still read them, from cover to cover, so why not offer my services as an editorial reviewer?

Now, as an editorial reviewer I cannot post that review on Amazon, that is clear. (I can’t anyway, because I’m now persona non grata with the powers that be), so what I would be offering is to post these reviews on my website, Goodreads and indeed any other site (apart from Amazon) that the author requested.

The important thing here is what is the quid pro quo? There is none. This is a service I am happy to offer for free. You supply the book, or give me an Amazon gift voucher, or provide it on Amazon as free and I’ll review it – end of story.

This is the “something else” that my wife talked about earlier in this blog. Rather than Grant Leishman – Author. I am now; Grant Leishman – Author, Blogger and Editorial Reviewer. If anyone wants to take advantage of this service, I intend to update my website to provide a sign-up option for people to use, but in the meantime, if you want me to review your book, just contact me, through the contact form available on this website under Contacts and Links. I’m more than happy to do it.

As one door closes, another door opens. Life is like that – we never know how the journey to our dream is going to pan out, we just have to follow the twisting, turning labyrinth to find the prize at the end.

Amazon’s loss is my gain!


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One final point, before I end today. Someone asked me why I hadn’t even questioned Amazon as to why they had deleted my reviews. “At least, you’d know then, what you’d done wrong and you could rectify it.” The answer is plain and simple – FEAR!

I have heard the horror stories from other Authors who have dared to question the all-mighty mega-conglomerate, that is Amazon, and their reward for their indignation and anger; to have their own books pulled from Amazon’s website. Now, again, as I stated before, it is their private fiefdom and they can literally do what they want within it, but to take away the one opportunity us Indie Author’s have to have our voices heard is cruel and unusual punishment in my book. I cannot and will not take the risk of losing what is the opportunity to “live my dream” as a full-time author. I cherish that way too much.

The day may come when Amazon’s dominance of this market is broken and real competition becomes a reality. When that day comes, I will cheer and shout “Viva La Revolucion” along with the rest of the peasants, but I can’t, at this point in my fledgling career as an Independent Author risk the chance of losing it all over this matter. Sad, but true. For now, I will bow obsequiously at the foot of the Bezos Throne and accept their ruling.

Till next time, have a wonderful, peace-filled day!   


CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY!

EMBRACE THE OPPORTUNITIES LIFE PRESENTS TO YOU AND ALWAYS, ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS! 

Have a great life and spread the love! 

Changing the world – one reader at a time!

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