Is Amazon Really Stupid?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Oct• 17•16
eNovel Authors at Work...a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

eNovel Authors at Work…a group of indie authors sharing our experiences and ehow.

What do you think?

Folks, I am in no way a spokesperson for Amazon. I doubt Amazon even knows I exist outside of books I upload. Amazon previews cover art and text for publication, says yea or nae and Amazon is done with me.

In the past ten days since Amazon posted new review policies authors are in an uproar.  Across the spectrum reader and blogger reviews are being pulled or not allowed. Here’s the skinny: Amazon has a TOS for authors, publishers and reviewers. Yes it does. But few read those things. Amazon explains what no compensation means. Amazon explains what a friend is or is not.

These comments are rife in forums: Amazon is out to ruin me. Amazon doesn’t like me. Amazon is stupid.

Really? A  billion dollar company that is a global entity has you or me in its sights and wants us to fail?  I don’t think so.  The fail is authors  and bloggers do not follow Amazon’s guidelines either innocently or by snubbing their noses at the rules. A blogger/reviewer in the UK complains that she is not allowed to post reviews on She can post on That works for me.

Brilliant dialogue, realistic and likable characters. ~ Bad Doggy Reviews AVP

Brilliant dialogue, realistic and likable characters. ~ Bad Doggy Reviews AVP

Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

“Fantastic…Just a job well done.” ~ Amazon Verified Purchase

Here is where the real problem lies: A contracted author is given a PR package that says : Go forth and build a platform. Yep, because after the first splash on publication, the ebooks founder and sink to China in sales. Authors start beggin’ for Friend me or Like me on Facebook in hopes of building a fan base and sales. Authors then engage in Facebook parties, Rafflecopters and giveaways. Compensation. If a fan has won a gift card or swag. That is compensation. If that winner is connected to the author in any way…the review does not meet Amazon guidelines.

The people selling those PR Platforms to indie authors don’t give a fig about Amazon’s guidelines. They don’t know them. It is doubtful any editor knows them. They want in your wallet. Paid reviews may be posted in Editorial. 

Get this: I have looked at the books of every single contracted and indie author who is posting with righteous indignation how stupid Amazon to disallow one of their reviews.  Their books ain’t selling. Nope. The contracted author has no control. If the publisher doesn’t hype the book, it is dead in the water. The indie author sneering at Amazon isn’t promoting his/her books. Most are desperate for reviews and sales. In my experience reviews don’t sell books. I have units with 300 to 600 reviews. Unless promoted somehow, someway, they limp along out of the $$ in stats. I know for a fact there are more than 12 million books on Amazon: Here’s a stat: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,877,728. That stat means there are 12,877,727 books selling more than that book.

It is utter arrogance to think Amazon is singling out an author. You or I may be the most important person in our tiny universe, but we ain’t when it comes to Amazon. As far as I can tell, Amazon bots treat us all alike. If you drive on an Interstate highway, the traffic rules/laws are the same for every driver. Doesn’t matter if you drive a Porsche or a twenty-year old, beat up Ford pickup. If you have a fender bender, do you blame the law? With Amazon the rules are the same for every publisher and author. Those Amazon bots and algorithms are Amazon’s highway patrol. The quality control enforcers of the law and guidelines.

Amazon is not the only indie book shelf that has guidelines. An indie author who publishes wide had a suggestion to post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. iTunes pulled those books. It told the author no mention of a competitor is allowed in back of book matter. She had to revise and republish her list. The author did not spew righteous indignation. She said: “Ugh,” fixed the problem and went on about her book life.

Amazon gives contracted and indie authors opportunities to promote books. Every published author can scroll to the bottom of a book page to see if a book is eligible to engage in a Giveaway. Easy as pie to set one of those up. I love ’em. Those authors in Amazon Select may engage in sponsored ad or product ad campaigns. The sponsored ads are shown on Kindles. The product ads show on Amazon on the left side bar. I keep several of the sponsored ads going with no termination dates. They cost pennies a day.

This just showed up today on the link to my author bio on Amazon. Amazon added the note about Best Selling Books. I sure didn’t. But at one time or another, those titles snagged one of  those Amazon Best Seller tags, or snagged the #1 slot in Hot New Releases.  I suggest bots are doing the work. Beta testing. Amazon sure isn’t sprinkling me with fairy dust.

snipit-amazon-addThose are not the books I would have chosen. Two have the least amount of reviews. Who knew? But this does not smack of Amazon out to ruin any author. The long and short of it: We are responsible for our books and behavior once we tick publish. Mimicking what the next author does may not be the right thing to do. Remember what your mommy said when you were a teenager and you were yelling: “Everybody does it!” Mommy’s house. Mommy’s rules. Abide by curfew or whatever the rule or find yourself in a world of hurt. Pouting and indignation did not change the rule. Same with Amazon.

As for reviews, organic reviews are best. Here’s how to get them. Put this perfect simple and elegant gem right after THE END in your books. Next, promote the things to the best of your budget.

Thank you for taking time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review.  Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. 

JackieWeger-BioHeadShot (1)

Click my photo to read another post about Reviews

Comments welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate.  I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. We’re a group of indie authors supporting one another and trying to keep in the game and inside the rules. @October 2016.

Writers and readers are invited to eNovel’s Book Tavern and Fiction Bar to meet and chat with one another. NO overt promotion as in BUY MY BOOK allowed. No erotica. It is a family friendly page. Do not ask for reviews or to exchange reviews. Lurk a bit and scroll down the page. Sharing posts you like with your fans and friends makes for happy writers and guests.


You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


  1. C.B. Pratt says:

    12,000,000 plus titles! Pardon me while I swoon…

  2. Yes, Amazon is running a successful business. Their rules don’t always help us. But, I am happy I can self-publish my stories with relative ease thanks to programs like KDP.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Saying, Me, too. As for rules, without them there would be chaos. I’m good with rules. I’m even good with paying my taxes. Somebody’s got to. And I like safe roads, reliable mail service, city water, and garbage pick up, 9-1-1 when I need EMs or police or fire department. Pffft.

    • Linda Lee says:

      I agree. In my “With Gratitude” section at the end of each book, I always thank Amazon.

  3. Jackie Weger says:

    Wow. Since I posted this blog, I was directed to another, to a new author under contract with a small publisher. The author of a few months is offering all sorts of advice. Everyone has an opinion and an agenda. I get it. But! For gosh sakes! Know who you’re listening to. The author speaks to how she’s reached her sales goal. Now she’s gonna tell others ehow to do the same: Here are the best selling stats on her two units:

    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #512,101 Paid in Kindle Store
    Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,192,561 Paid in Kindle Store
    Print edition: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,235,318 in Books

    I am not saying the books are not fabulous. I’m not saying the books are not well-edited. I’m not saying the publisher isn’t fine. But I am saying: The books ain’t selling to the ordinary book buyer on Amazon and B&N. I checked. The author may one day be a household name. Who knows? But right now she isn’t. So. Author choice to follow in her footsteps. She’s not indie. She hasn’t been in the trenches. That’s fine, too. I wish her great success.

    And by golly, she’s building her “platform.” Huzzah.

    As for the Publisher who is also an author: Here are the stats on one of the publisher’s books: Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,154,404 in Books.

    I looked at 10 books on the publisher’s website and could not find a single book in the $$$. Not even units priced at 99c.

    Suggestion: Do your homework before signing a contract with any publisher.

    • Julie Frayn says:

      perhaps her sales goal was one… ;-p

      • Jackie Weger says:

        Hello, Julie Frayn, author of Mazie Baby, a book that is resonating with women across the globe. Nope, the new author mentioned her sales, perhaps sold from the publisher’s site or a publisher’s subscriber list. The author has high hopes. Maybe she can pull it off. But if the publisher/author can’t move her own books, the new author is gonna have to figure out some other avenue to success and get the attention of book buyers on Amazon and B&N.

  4. mikecsmith says:

    Good stuff Jackie, as you say, know the rules and you can’t go wrong. Thanks for the update on the number of books Amazon has listed, 12M now that is some competition!

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Well, Hello Mike of Thanks for weighing in. I know get carried away now and again, but golly. If we accept responsibility for our books, we can get it right more often than not. The advice I most often give to authors is: Think for yourself. How hard is that?
      Nice to see you again. Appreciate your comment.

  5. Linda Lee says:

    I think a lot of indies become frustrated after a certain number of years. But hey, no one said it would be easy, right? I’m a nobody as far as authors are concerned. I’m grateful Amazon lets me publish on its site!

  6. Once again, you tell it as it is. I’ve been reading the outcry for the past few weeks. We authors sure are an excitable bunch…

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hi, Nicholas. We are excitable. And we ALL love gossip. I thrive on the stuff. But after the mud slinging and fun is over, we need to sort fact from fiction.

      Congrats on your new release: You’re in for a Ride. 99c. Sci-fi at is best folks.

  7. Great post, Jackie. Thanks for giving clarification to the new rules. Like you, I’m just happy Amazon allows my books for sale on their site. =)

  8. Traci Hall says:

    Thanks for sharing, Jackie–rules, rules, rules!

  9. Terrific and sensible advice. Love the highway and teenager analogies. There will always be people who complain without actually doing the work. But, it’s always the ones who do their work meticulously (and without the histrionics) that stay the course.

  10. Mary Smith says:

    Great post, Jackie. I’ve been seeing a few articles floating about by authors/bloggers maintaining that Amazon is out to get them – usually they are just following on from what other bloggers have said – without actually consulting Amazon’s TOS. Love that, ‘Go forth and build a platform’!

  11. Great post, Jackie! Gave me a lot to think about. 🙂 Shared!

  12. Thanks for sharing. Valuable advice as always, Jackie. Hard sometimes to keep up with it all. Great idea about adding the llittle gem at the back. We always do now. Keep ’em posts coming.

Leave a Reply