A NEW [and better] official response from Amazon regarding its Review Policy for Authors!

It seems to be every author’s biggest concern lately that Amazon has been removing reviews according to their new guideline. Said guidelines, according to some emails received and shared by authors, indicate that Amazon considers authors to be direct competitors of other authors, and therefore, not allowed to review their books.

It was really heartbreaking to imagine that my opinion wasn’t wished by the big retailer now that I’m an author. I mean…I’ve been writing reviews on Amazon for a while, and have lots of helpful votes. Does Amazon really wanted me to give up reading since I started writing? It really didn’t seem right…

Well, instead of keep thinking and moaning about it, I decided to ask them directly. I emailed them today, and received a different answer, that I’ll share with you. This answer seems logical and straightforward enough to calm me down. I’ll even post a review on Amazon later today of a book I finished yesterday.

If some of you continue to receive the other formal response (the one that states they are not even going to explain their policies and that you should not go further into the matter or your account will be removed!!), as Robert Chazz Chute [hilariously] wrote on his great blog post, we’ll have to assume that Todd is still on the loose! 😀

But seriously, since what I was told today makes sense, I prefer to think that Amazon has rethought and that this is the [New] official response about our right to review other authors! Let’s see…

So, here are the emails:

Me:

—————
11/13/12 09:47:06
Your Name: Renata F . Barcelos
Comments:I’ve been reading authors talking about Amazon new Review Policy, and that some of their reviews are being removed… I don’t want to believe that Amazon would take arbitrary actions like forbidden authors of writing reviews just for being authors themselves.

However, I’m afraid of posting reviews on Amazon now, and unwillingly cross some sort of new line here… So, I want to know for sure if I can review books on Amazon, whatever category they are in or if I should refrain from posting reviews on Amazon altogether and posting just on Goodreads and my blog.
—————

Amazon:

From: Amazon.com Customer Service
Subject: Your Amazon.com Inquiry

Hello Renata,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding what is acceptable for reviews.

We try to encourage our customers to give their honest opinions on our products while staying within our guidelines. As a retailer we are interested in cultivating a diversity of opinion on our products. Part of that is allowing our customers to air their honest thoughts on items they have received. Here’s a link to our guidelines for reference:

http://www.amazon.com/review-guidelines/

I hope this helps. We hope to see you again soon.

Thank you for your inquiry.
Best Regards,

Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.

Since this was such a generic answer, I wasn’t at all satisfied… so I asked again:

—————
Hi,

Thanks for answering so quickly, but I’m afraid my doubt persists…

As an author published through KDP, I’m still not sure if I fit in this part:

“Sentiments by or on behalf of a person or company with a financial interest in the product or a directly competing product (including reviews by publishers, manufacturers, or third-party merchants selling the product”

So, just to clarify it completely: even being an author and having books published on Amazon, can I still review other books, no matter in which category they are?

Sincerely,
Renata
—————

Their final [and most important] answer:

Hello Renata,

You can review other books as long as you do not review your own book, or promote your book within your review.

I hope this helps clarify and relieve your doubts. Have a great day.

Thank you for your inquiry.
Best Regards,

Amazon.com
Your feedback is helping us build Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company.

Now I guess I can click the ‘Yes’ answer to their question: ‘Did I solve your problem?’

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November 2nd: On the Day of the Dead, my new book will be Live!!

This Friday is November 2nd. The day I chose to release my new novel – My Sore Hush-a-Bye.

But it’s also the Day of the Dead (el Día de los Muertos in Spanish, Dia de Finados in Portuguese).

It’s a day to remember friends and family members who have died. In some countries it’s also a day to celebrate their lives, like in Mexico. Here in Brazil it’s mostly a day to visit cemeteries and pray for the souls of the ones that are no longer with us.

I chose this date because it’s a holiday here, and I’ll have the whole day to promote my release. Nevertheless, I also think it’s inspiring—to bring new ‘life’ to this day, even if it’s a fictional one! 🙂

So, on the Day of the Dead, my book will be live! And it will be waiting for your visit on Amazon US, Amazon UK or Smashwords. You can also choose the Paperback edition (Amazon UK or Amazon US)

By the way, let me tell you—the Paperback edition is absolutely stunning! I know I’m biased to say so, but it is. I received mine this week and simply cannot stop looking at it! 🙂 I’m a digital girl and had never read another traditional book since I bought my first Kindle, but there is something truly extraordinary about holding your printed book!

Oh, last thing. There will be a Giveaway of three e-book copies of My Sore Hush-a-Bye and one of Mean: A Psychological Thriller Novelette on The Masquerade Crew, starting on November 2nd. Don’t miss it!!

My last KDP Select Promo – Time to move on

From September 07 to September 08, my book “Mean: a psychological thriller novelette” was free to download on Amazon. I’m still a little tired after the marathon.

It was my last KDP Select Promo, since I won’t renew  with the program.

When you enroll your book on the program, you cannot sell o send for free your e-book anywhere else than on Amazon. Paperbacks are okay, but digital editions are exclusive. The two advantages you have in return are Amazon Prime lending programme and the 5 days free promo.

I haven’t got many borrows during my 90 days in the program. Well, I believe not many Amazon Prime members would use their only monthly borrow with a 50-page novelette, so that was expected… Maybe it works better for full length novels.

The free days gave me exposure. At least three reviews came from people who download it on free days. However, it’s preventing me from submitting my book to reviewers, (and I sure want to do that), to promote giveaways and simply to sell it wherever I want. So it’s done for me. Time to move on.

My 90 day period ends on September 18th, and I can’t wait. I have dozens of prospect reviewers to send my book to, and plan to publish through Smashwords.

I’d like to thank everyone who helped me during my promo days, spreading the word in any way. Also, a special thank you to all people who downloaded ‘Mean’. I truly hope you enjoyed it.

If at least some of you take the time to leave a review, I’d be more than thankful. Never forget how much you can make an author’s day with a simple review.