First, the disclaimer: This is purely an opinion piece; I have no scientific statistics to back up my opinions — I only have personal observations.
The question of authors doing reviews on Amazon of the books of other authors came up in the LinkedIn Book Marketing group that I manage. Why put out a request for other authors to write reviews on Amazon if Amazon will not accept those reviews?
Here is what I have observed:
Yes, Amazon has a stated policy of not permitting reviews by people with a financial interest in a book, such as the publisher of the book. But it is unclear about who else is not allowed to write a review.
Now remember that Amazon can delete any review that it wants because Amazon interprets its own rules. And you may have read online various comments about famous authors having their reviews removed from the books of other authors on Amazon.
Let’s clarify what we’re talking about here:
I am NOT talking about reviews written by authors using fake names so that they can bash the work of other authors. I am also NOT talking about negative reviews by other authors.
I am talking about Amazon removing POSITIVE reviews by other authors &mdash and this includes authors who do NOT write in the same genre as the book being reviewed.
My personal observation leads me to believe this is not a black-and-white situation. For example, Amazon removed a positive review on a book of mine written by an author who writes in the same genre of a different book of mine (but not in the genre being reviewed). Yet Amazon has allowed other authors to write reviews of my books.
Presumably there are secret Amazon algorithms that “decide” who can write a review on a book on Amazon and who cannot. And as these algorithms are secret, there is no way of telling whether you as an author can write a review for another author.
My advice is to write the review but keep a copy just in case. Then if the review “disappears,” you can take the copy of your review and share it on another site.
Now for a little rant of my own about book reviews:
We do not all like the same books. If we start to read a book and it is not the kind of book we expected to read, then we can stop reading it.
Yet there seems no reason to write a mean-spirited review that you started a book and stopped after a few pages because it was not what you expected. (Is it the author’s fault if you expected something else?)
My 2008 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award semifinalist MRS. LIEUTENANT got just such a mean-spirited review. While I have learned that people’s reactions to the novel are sometimes based on their feelings about the Vietnam War, this particular mean-spirited review did annoy me.
If you have a moment, check out this brief review at http://www.amazon.com/review/RQTE2CCARDVIB/ — and if you agree with me that it is unhelpful, please click on “no” to the question about whether it was helpful.
After all, authors usually put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into their books. If you start reading a book and it is not for you, put it aside but do not publicly complain it was not what you expected.
(And if you only give a book a few pages, it is probably difficult to judge whether it was what you expected. And having the opportunity to read the first pages of a book is precisely why Amazon offers the LOOK INSIDE feature.)
© 2013 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the author of fiction and nonfiction books/ebooks, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK and the cozy mystery CAST THE FIRST STONE.
She also has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School and is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com