Category Archives: Blog

The Hard Truth on Amazon’s Book Review Policies

Everyone knows someone who knows someone who thinks they know the policies for reviewing books on Amazon. Well, I don’t want to take the word of Sally’s aunt Matilda who has a friend with an uncle…

I did my own research on the polices. I went straight to the horses mouth – Amazon and read all of their rules. Here are the policies all boiled down with direct quotes from Amazon. The titles are a direct link to the specific page so you can read all the technical stuff.

Amazon’s Review Dreams

Quoted from Amazon:

Customer Reviews are meant to give customers genuine product feedback from fellow shoppers. Our goal is to capture all the energy and enthusiasm (both favorable and critical) that customers have about a product while avoiding use of reviews to outright advertise, promote and especially mislead. We have a zero tolerance policy for any review designed to mislead or manipulate customers. Customer Reviews help customers learn more about the product or genre, hear the reasons behind your star rating, and ultimately decide if this is the right product for them or not.

Authors and artists can add a unique perspective and we very much welcome their customer reviews. While we encourage reviewers to share their enthusiasm and experience, there can be a fine line between that and the use of customer reviews as product promotion. We don’t allow anyone to write customer reviews as a form of promotion and if we find evidence that a customer was paid for a review, we’ll remove it. If you have a direct or indirect financial interest in a product, or perceived to have a close personal relationship with its author or artist, we’ll likely remove your review. We don’t allow authors to submit customer reviews on their own books even when they disclose their identity.

The What, How, and When Review Policies

Directly quoted from Amazon:

Eligibility

To contribute to Customer Reviews or Customer Answers, Spark, post on Customer Discussion Forums, or to follow other contributors, you must have spent at least $50 on Amazon.com using a valid credit or debit card. Prime subscriptions and promotional discounts don’t qualify towards the $50 minimum. In addition, to contribute to Spark you must also have a paid Prime subscription (free trials do no qualify). You do not need to meet this requirement to read content posted by other contributors or post Customer Questions, create or modify Profile pages, Lists, or Registries.

 

Now That We Know How to Qualify, What’s Next?

Directly quoted from Amazon:

Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

For more information and examples, read About Promotional Content.

Customers can submit 5 non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews each week. Non-Amazon Verified Purchase review counts are calculated each week from Sunday at 12:00am

GMT through Saturday 11:59pm GMT. This policy does not apply to Vine reviews or reviews on digital and physical books, music, and video.

When we find unusually high numbers of reviews for a product posted in a short period of time, we may restrict the number of non-Amazon Verified Purchase reviews on that product

You may not manipulate the Amazon Verified Purchase badge, such as by offering special pricing to reviewers or reimbursing reviewers.

The Rules of the Amazon Road When the Book Is Free

Quoted directly from Amazon:

Although products may be provided to customers for free or at a discount, and those customers may write reviews, any attempt to influence or manipulate reviews is prohibited, including conditioning any future benefit on writing a review or the content of the review. Benefits include but are not limited to: future opportunities to receive free or discounted products, continued membership in a program or club, cash rebates or gift certificates, entry into contests or sweepstakes, bonus digital content or credits, and ratings or referrals that may affect the recipient’s chances of receiving other benefits.

Amazon Itself Pays for Reviews

Direct quote from Amazon:

The Early Reviewer Program encourages customers who have already purchased a product to share their authentic experience about that product, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. Amazon shoppers depend on reviews to learn more about products, and this program helps to acquire early reviews on products that have few or no reviews, helping shoppers make smarter buying decisions. Customers who have purchased a product participating in the Early Reviewer Program may be asked to write a review and those customers who submit a review within the offer period will receive a small reward (e.g. a $1-$3 Amazon.com Gift Card) for helping future shoppers.

Reviewers will receive a small reward (e.g., a $1-$3 Amazon.com Gift Card) after they have submitted an authentic review within the offer period which meets our community guidelines. This small reward is given to thank reviewers for sharing their authentic experience, regardless of whether it is a 1-star or 5-star review. The nature of the review does not affect the reward or the chance of getting future rewards.

If Amazon is paying people for reviews, why can’t you get a review for free? If your reviews get deleted, I wouldn’t try to use this as an argument, but giving a free copy of your book for one honest review is NOT against the rules.

To help illustrate, here are a few examples of reviews that we don’t allow:

  • A product manufacturer posts a review of their own product, posing as an unbiased shopper

  • A shopper, unhappy with her purchase, posts multiple negative reviews for the same product

  • A customer posts a review in exchange for $5

  • A customer posts a review of a game, in exchange for bonus in-game credits

  • A family member of the product creator posts a five-star customer review to help boost sales

  • A shopper posts a review of the product, after being promised a refund in exchange

  • A seller posts negative reviews on his competitor’s product

  • An artist posts a positive review on a peer’s album in exchange for receiving a positive review from them

What Is a Verified Review Badge?

The direct quote from Amazon:

An “Amazon Verified Purchase” review means we’ve verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn’t receive the product at a deep discount.

So there you have it. The good, the bad, and the ugly about getting and giving Amazon reviews on free books. Now you have all the information you need to make the decision to offer a free copy of your book for a review or not.

I do free book reviews and post them to The Naked Reviewers website. What are you waiting for? Sign up for a free book review today!

Book Review – a clear day in october

A little about Jim first:

Jim Lewis is an internationally-published poet described by his friends as a Renaissance Man, multi-talented, remarkable, or sometimes as “odd, but in a good way.” By profession, he is a certified Family Nurse Practitioner, with a parallel career in technology. By hobby, he is a musician, writer, photographer, and kayaker.

Jim s interest in writing goes back to his early youth, but he only started to send out his poetry to editors and publishers when he reached his sixties. To his surprise and delight, several pieces were quickly accepted for publication, and so for the first time he envisioned a collection of his favorite poems.

These hand-picked favorites have been paired with his own photography to share with you as a clear day in october.

To find out more about Jim, please visit his website.

My Review:

Well done, Jim! This book is fantastic!

Honestly, I’m not a fan of poetry. Then I met a friend at her job for lunch and she had a copy of a clear day in october. She thought I might like the pictures as I love photography, so I borrowed it. What an unexpected delight I found in the words. I fell in love with the poetry, and felt compelled to leave a review.

Jim Lewis has opened my eyes to the world of poetry with a clear Day in october. I loved this book. I give it 5 out of 5 stars. Not only are the pictures worth 5 stars, the poems are exquisite and deserve the highest rating I can give as well.

I loved the poem, Empty. The haunting words struck a cord in my heart and the photograph with it brings the feelings home. It haunts me still. Quietly, for Mother Theresa was a beautiful tribute, and First Lie will speak to everyone.

Jim brought out all of my emotions with his lovely words, and the pictures make me want to do some traveling. He’s a fantastic photographer, and the book is worth having on your coffee table just for them.

I highly recommend a clear day in october for anyone who enjoys poetry, photography, and a warm feeling inside.

First poem, up for discussion:

salieri’s lament

heaven plays its humor out in men like me
plants in us desire to sing praises
the full fruit of our talent, sweet—
but common and pale
beside the flower of genius
such an ungodly prank
to fill me with yearning
then give another the voice of my songs
music i have dreamed and forgotten at waking
lines and phrases of eternal echoes
revealed in details i can’t write
that dissolve to simple melodies
and little pleasantries
for the popular court
what loving creator would place me here
driven to produce, then reduced
to grudging applause of the upstart genius
who thanks me for a trifle composed in his honor
then having played it once
criticizes and improves impromptu
infuriatingly right
with every remake and remark
making me less a heavenly handiwork
more a celestial satire
who will remember i was here
when no one notices the shadows
that make the light more bright?

Discussion:

I like this poem. I’m not a poetry expert, but I think it’s well written and it captured my interest. It put a little catch in my throat. Getting used to Jim’s pet peeve of not capitalizing words took me a hot moment, but I’m a critiquer/editor so that’s why. It did not take away from my experience.

Jim also took all the photos for the book, and he is a wonderful photographer.

What do you guys think?

Please post a comment for discussion.

Click on cover for more information:

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Author Showcase – Book Reviews And First Chapter

Set the date! I’m going to start doing book reviews every Wednesday of the month. 

I will read a book and give an honest review. An HONEST review without spoilers, surprise twists, or the ending. I hate when reviewers do that. Who wants to buy a book they already know everything that happens? Not me. Continue reading

Author Interview – Sonya M. Black

Do you like fairy tales? Sonya M. Black is your author. She adds just the right amount of angst to make your average fairy tale twisted. I met her on a writing site we are both members of, and she can weave a story like nobodies business. Her stories are full of twists and turns and surprises. I think you will enjoy her writing, her worlds, and her characters. Continue reading

The All Romance All Day Facebook Takeover Event Results

Over the weekend I hosted an author takeover event on Facebook. Ten authors of various sub-genres in the romance and erotica genre were there, marketing their books. We had contemporary, LGBT, historical, time travel, shapshifters, magic, urban fantasy, BDSM and more. Continue reading

The All Romance All Day Facebook Takeover Event

This weekend! Starting Friday, July 21 and runs through Sunday, July 23rd.

Please come and forget your troubles for a time. Take a chance to win free books, Amazon Gift Cards, Bath Bombs, being a character in a story, and much more! Find new romance and erotica books to read in sub-genres like urban fantasy, paranormal, time travel, shapshiters, LGBT, BDSM, contemporary billionaire…

Here is the link to the event: http://bit.ly/2sQlZ3I Continue reading

Author Interview – Elise Edmonds

I’m going to start this year’s mixed genre author interview series with Elise Edmonds. If you have young adults in your house, it can be hard to get them into reading for pleasure. Give them one of Elise’s books. She will take them on a ride that will turn them into book lovers for the rest of their lives. She writes in her spare time, giving others a peek through enchanting doorways. Continue reading

Publisher Interview – Mugwump Press

I am so happy this day is finally here. I’ve had this interview tucked under my hat for months. Do you want to know what traditional publishers are thinking, how they work, what they go through when picking stories to represent? I have all the answers right here.

This interview isn’t with an author. It’s with a paying, traditional publisher. Mugwump Press. Continue reading

The Summer Fun Mixed Genre Author Takeover Facebook Event

What a great time!

The Summer Fun Mixed Genre Author Takeover was a great success for the authors who promoted and marketed themselves and their books, and for the readers who joined in the fun. Continue reading

It’s That Time Of Year

Time to do a little Summer cleaning and make some changes.

Yes. I look this cute when I clean. Continue reading