Category Archives: Discussions

Is the Amazon Review system fair?

Many authors are questioning that validity of Amazon reviews at present. I can sympathise.

Some people who have read Heronfield, but not purchased it from Amazon, have tried to review the book but the reviews do not get posted. You can imagine my surprise then, on 2nd November 2013, to find a book to be published on 7th November 2013 already reviewed and ranked!

So what star rating does this unpublished book have?
10 reviews with an average of 4.1* On the kindle page Amazon states ‘This item has not been released yet and is not eligible to be reviewed. Reviews shown are from other formats of this item’. In fact it has not yet been released in any format and the reviews are from Amazon Vine. What is that you ask? Amazon says Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions’. 

Bearing in mind that the book has not yet been published Amazon shows a ranking (based presumably on pre-publication orders) of:
#558 Paid in Kindle Store
#4 in Kindle Store > Books > Fiction > Fiction Classics
#10 in Books > Fiction > Classics
#12 in Books > Fiction > Romance > Historical

As an author, I know that I would like to get my books reviewed by as many people as possible, so I can hardly criticise someone else for feeling the same.  However, Amazon Vine does not appear to be available to self-published authors (please do feel free to contact me and  correct me if I’m wrong).  All I would argue for is a level playing-field for all authors.

What is your opinion?

Do you think this system is fair?

Can an unpublished book actually be regarded as a ‘classic’?

I would be interested to hear your views.

Finally though, as a new author, I recognise that no matter what system Amazon uses reviews are incredibly important for building the reputation of an author, and for sales. I would therefore like to thank the people who have been able to post reviews for Heronfield. I value your feedback to help me to become a better writer, and to produce other books that you might like to read as well.  All of your kind words and encouragement are much appreciated!

Amazon book review policy

I hope you saw the recent 5* review for Heronfield given to me by AS, for which I am very grateful. But did you also notice his/her comment about their review not appearing on my book page on Amazon?

Do you think that Amazon are right to only publish reviews from people who bought the book on their store?

Is that fair to the author and/or the reviewer?

Is this the best way to ensure that only genuine reviews appear?

Whether you are a writer or reader, publisher or editor or just someone who likes to express their views in open forum please do let me know what you think.

If you disagree with Amazon’s apparant policy then perhaps you should let them know what you think too!


Does an author need an agent?

It has always been difficult for a new author to break into the market.  The first, and most difficult, step of finding an agent has daunted even those who now feature on best-seller lists on a regular basis yet initially had their work rejected time and again.  Perseverance – and a thick skin – have always been key to getting work published.  Until now.

With the advent of the ebook authors with just basic computing skills are able to format their work for multiple ebook publishers and publish themselves.  Some people think that this will mean that the market is flooded with poor quality work, though others say that the consumers will soon weed this out simply by not buying.

So, does an author need an agent? 

I would be interested to hear your views.  Especially if you are an agent or an author!

ebook versus the printed page

I have loved books all my life, from my first board books as a baby until today. The satisfying feel of the weight of a book in my hand, the smell of the paper, the sound of the turning page, the varied print and illustrations to feast my eyes upon.

Now comes the ebook. The physical senses are not stirred in the same way, but the imagination can still take flight and soar.

Does the arrival of the ebook herald the death of the printed word? Or will the two media complement each other?

What do you think?