I know I am not alone in exploring opportunities for improvement (that’s HR speak for screw-ups) with Amazon, and in some ways they are very responsive to feedback, in others they seem to miss the boat by more than a country mile.
I’m not one of those authors that complain about legitimate poor reviews or the review standards. I’ve only brought forward an issue on two occasions. The first time I was inspired by a fellow author who encouraged us to let Amazon know about our concerns regarding the haphazard manner in which they remove reviews. They’d removed two of my reviews and I still have no idea why. They weren’t reviews from family or friends, but rather Facebook friends a hunky male and a princess with tentacles as my two main characters.
As I dug further into the less than positive review and subsequent reviews which were at best lackluster, I learned that my profile and another author’s profile were inadvertently linked. Suddenly there was a book listed with a half-naked male on the cover with the same title. This new book linked to my Amazon author’s page was definitely not the type of book that I would write because well…gasp…I’m a lesbian. I suppose they thought we were the same person…she has brown hair too!
Now I know that some heterosexual women write gay male fiction and some heterosexual men write lesbian fiction, but I’d decided a long time ago that making money was not important to me. I like to read lesbian romance, so that’s what I was going to write.
The response to my correspondence that there was an error was also quick and polite. There was nothing in that poor review that violated their guidelines and they would not be reviewing the issue further. I think that was a form letter too.
The outpouring from the readers and their repeated attempts to correct the error did not seem to budge the giant who did not seem to grasp the issue, although I can’t really understand why. I swear I’m not making this up. Here is the back of the book summary of my version:
Here is the first negative review:
Do these belong together? I think not. I suddenly thought of grade schools tests where the various pictures are put together and you have to choose the one that doesn’t fit and any six year old could figure them out. I’m pretty sure the Amazon executives are over six years of age.
I started seeing my average score for reviews plummet and decided to call customer service. They instructed me to call back the next day, which I did. Finally, I talked to a real live person and directed her to the Amazon page and voila’, she got it. She was very polite and assured me that it would be corrected and asked that I give Amazon three days to work things out. As you can see from the picture below I was very motivated to separate her reviews from mine.
I’m OCD or as a true OCD person might say, CDO…so I checked every day. On the first day Amazon managed to separate the other author and myself when a person searched for the Annette Mori version of Out of This World. Like magic…I was now the only author listed. The second day, Amazon managed to remove the other incorrect versions of my book under my Amazon Author’s Page, so you could no longer access the half-naked man when clicking on the other kindle or paperback listings. The third day they managed to correct the number of reviews and my overall score, but the reviews for the other book remained, including the editorial reviews and people could still read the not so positive comments about the heroine with tentacles.
I really wish that if Amazon is going to make this same mistake again, they link my book with a book that gets all five star reviews and maybe I’ll finally reach the magical number of 50 which I’m told is what it takes for them to recommend my book.
I continued to hold my breath, even though I told all the readers not to hold their breath that Amazon would correct everything by Friday. It’s now Friday and guess what…although it show only 21 reviews, those additional lackluster reviews for Patricia’s book and her editorial reviews are still showing on the link to my book. Damn…gonna have to fight with them again on Monday or get Affinity to fight with them. As you can see the right side still shows Patricia’s reviews…sigh.
Here are the top five lessons learned:
1) Even if you do a search for your title that doesn’t guarantee this won’t happen to you, her book came out in July of this year while mine came out in October of last year. (although Out of This World was very popular with over 200 books with the same title – only three were lesbian books)
2) We have a wonderful community because several people took the torch and fought with Amazon on my behalf.
3) OCD or CDO really does pay off because if I didn’t read reviews, I never would have found this error.
4) Maintaining a sense of humor is a good thing and really this won’t matter in ten years…hell it won’t matter in ten days.
5) Don’t write Amazon, call them if you want to have a snowball’s chance in hell of correcting the problem and even then it’s iffy.
If you want to check out either the real reviews or Patricia’s reviews…you know the drill hit the links below. Of course I wouldn’t mind if you decide to add to those reviews! Just keep in mind if a review talks about tentacles, that’s not mine. It’s way too close to the word testicles…