Saturday, March 10, 2018

An Attack on Friendship by Rolynn Anderson

What a mess Amazon’s algorithms have wrought. By removing book reviews, the behemoth company is quashing a writer’s chance to grow a readership and make money, while inadvertently forcing readers to stop making friends!  

Amazon is out to silence click farms and punish authors who buy reviews, and good for them! But in their zeal to stop misuse, their message to us is: don’t cultivate friendships, much less name any of your online acquaintances buddies. Those of us who have been busy building relationships with street teams, FB groups, and blog tribes, are now faced with turning our backs on our friends, our fans.  The closer we get to individuals in any of those groupings, the more likely their reviews of our product will disappear.

The lesson is clear: stop making friends/fans of authors and readers.

This is so frustrating to those of us hoping to warm up an often impersonal social media.  Also giving me apoplexy is the idea an author can’t be a reader!  I read a book a week…why can’t I write reviews that ‘stick’ for every story I read?

I don't mind if you commiserate, but perhaps it's best to move on to things friends CAN do for each other without retribution.   My cover artist is busy designing FIRE IS NICE.  What are your impressions of her draft, so far? Candid critique welcome!



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18 comments:

Diane Burton said...

Love the cover. Perfect colors. One of the things we can do to prevent Amazon from discovering our friends is not to add your FB link to our Author links. I keep adding reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. As a "verified" purchaser, my reviews seem to stay. (Hope I don't jinx that.) I'd hope Amazon would realize that as writers, we're also readers. Looking forward to reading Fire is Nice.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for the comment on my cover, Diane. As for Zon, I've been careful not to link, but I wish that were the winning strategy. It isn't. Amazon is, for instance, preventing Jannine from reviewing my books, and neither of us is linked. I wonder if RWA lawyers would take this problem on?

Jannine Gallant said...

Sometimes the reviews stick. Sometimes they don't, despite being verified purchases. It's incredibly frustrating, and I don't have a clue what we can do to combat it! I love the image on the cover. But I'm not so sure you need the M & S in SNP line. The blurb should make that clear, and it looks a little busy. Maybe if you put it at the very bottom in the same colors as your name, it would feel more balanced. My two cents but I'm not a graphic artist. LOL

Leah St. James said...

Between Facebook and now Amazon,I'm fed up with all the changing algorithms and policies. I agree completely that authors shouldn't be excluded from leaving reviews. Like you said, I'm a reader too!

The cover is really eye-catching (stunning colors), but I do agree with Jannine that the "Murder and Suspense..." tag at the bottom is not needed.

Alison Henderson said...

Rolynn, the last time I checked, my review of Cezanne's Ghost was still up. The only review Amazon has ever taken down for one of my books was from Jannine. Perhaps she's the common element here. LOL In all seriousness, I'm not sure what the answer is, but this is not an issue for lawyers. They would get nowhere. As for your cover, the image and font look great! My only suggestion would be to take another look at the tagline. I don't think you need both "Mystery" and "Suspense." I know this contains those all-important keywords, but you could still put them in as a sub-title or book descripotion on Amazon. For the cover, it might be more effective to come up with a phrase that raises a question or suggests a mystery on it's own.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Jannine, thanks for your comment on the Mystery/Suspense line. I was worried the book looked like non-fiction. I'll rethink the tagline. If I put one in, I like the idea of coloring it like my name!

You know, regarding Amazon, they like keeping their reasoning muddled...gives them more power.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Leah, I noticed that the writer, Karin Slaughter, has all these bestseller writer comments under her Amazon book cover for THE GOOD DAUGHTER. Do we have to be bestsellers to praise other writers? But what I saw made me think we could make better use of that 'praise' space...although they have 'rules' for that kind of reviewing, as well.

Thanks for your comment on the tagline...I'll rethink it! Glad you like the color.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Thanks for checking on your review for me, Alison. I've been afraid to go look! If we could only learn what makes Jannine different from the rest of us. She doesn't want to be a typhoid Mary :-)

Glad you like the colors and font of my cover. I'll definitely rethink the tagline. I've never used one before...our discussion about genre confusion drove me to it :-)

Vonnie Davis said...

I review on Amazon as Grandma Vonnie. So far, I think mine have stuck. Amazon is a maze of mysteries. I doubt the internet terrorists could break their code. I like the colors in your cover. Dust away a few elements and it'll be great.

Brenda Whiteside said...

I think we all know how I feel about Amazon and FB restrictions. Grrrr In fact, I'm going to post your post as a text instead of a link just because I like how you put it. I will tweet it as a link though. So...the cover. I like Jannine's suggestion to make the color change. What you have isn't a true tag line. I can see why you did it though. Could you devise a tag line using the old standard formula? When OPENING CONFLICT happens to CHARACTER she/he has to OVERCOME CONFLICT to COMPLETE QUEST...or something along that line. My publisher always shortens it even farther but it's still mostly based on that.

Brenda Whiteside said...

And oh jeez. That should've been further not farther.

Margo Hoornstra said...

The cynic in me swears Zon is strangling ‘outside’ authors to promote their own. Overall there’s too darned much censorship and control going on for my tastes. Jannine and I hadn’t been able to review for each other in ages, then all of a sudden one of mine for her stuck. The the one I did for Rolynn never showed up. Hurts my head to try to figure out why. Re the cover. Lovely colors, but a little busy worldwide. I’d take off the tag line too.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Vonnie, anyone named 'Grandma' has to be a Zon keeper...how mean can they get? (That was a rhetorical) I'll keep the colors and dust off the cover a bit more. Thanks!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Brenda, thanks for the tips regarding my cover. I'll do a little research on when/if/how to do a tagline on a cover. Yes, you alerted to problems with both Zon and FB early on. I so wish you hadn't been right!

Rolynn Anderson said...

Gosh, why would Amazon single out writers struggling to sell books? And when Book Bub demands a certain amount of Zon reviews, it makes me think they are colluding. Paranoia has a way of setting in, doesn't it?

Christine DePetrillo said...

I've decided to stop trying to figure out Amazon. It makes my head hurt. I'm just going to continue hanging out with my characters, my fellow authors, and my readers. If I get reviews, great. If I don't, at least I've met (or virutally met) a ton of awesome people.

About the cover... I love the image and the coloring, but I'm wondering if it's the font on the title that makes it look like nonfiction. Maybe play with something a little more artsy for the title font? You might be able to get something that conveys the "mystery and suspense" in a different font too. Just a thought.

Rolynn Anderson said...

Christine, you are so smart. I spend too much time wondering what the rules are so I can meet the standards. Dang!

Good point on the font. That might be why I thought a tagline was in order. Good feedback!

Krista Lynn said...

Wow, these are great comments. I'm up for any changes as you know. :-)