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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‘Mean’ Book of the month on E-thriller, FREE Sep. 07 and Sep. 08

For two days (starting today), Mean: a psychological thriller novelette, is FREE!!

This is your last chance to grab your free copy of my novelette. If you don’t believe me when I say you should do that, please, read what a reader said on goodreads (Thank you very much for your kind words, Martha Bryce!!):

I have already read Mean and believe me, this is a book that you don’t want to miss from an author you will want to follow as she climbs to the top name in the psychological thriller genre.

So, what are you waiting for? Go pick your FREE copy  and see for yourself if Mean is truly a Chilling and Captivating Novelette. (And please, leave your own review on Amazon and/or goodreads– I’ll truly appreciate it!)

Amazon US

Amazon UK

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Ok, you still have doubts… Fair enough. Well, maybe other reviews will help you decide (thank you very much, reviewers!):

4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me turning pages…, September 2, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

finished this well written short read in one sitting. Ms. Barcelos gives the reader insight into a multi-layered character who has ample reason to be mean. Looking forward to the intriguingly titled, “My Sore Hush-a-bye”.

5.0 out of 5 stars Mean Thrills!, August 5, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

Mean is a great little novelette. A young woman starts to see a psychologist because she is worried that her meanness is going to drive her to commit murder, a murder that she hopes the psychologist can guide her to avoid committing. The murder that the young woman feels compelled to commit, however is not random but specific to a person who she feels is responsible for having ruined her life. As the story unfolds, more details of the young woman’s horrific past are revealed, building to a carefully constructed crescendo of calculated madness. This is a compelling, well written read and a true psychological thriller!

4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Psychological Thriller, July 27, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

MEAN by Renata F. Barcelos is an enjoyable dark psychological thriller novelette told from the point of view of an angry female patient who is seeing a psychiatrist and planning to kill somebody. The reader is left guessing as to who the intended victim is until the last few pages. I must admit it surprised me. Very good and quick read at only 50 pages, but there are a few editing issues with the work that need correcting. I have since been advised that a revised version is posted and the errors have been fixed. Still I enjoyed it overall.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark but interesting, July 21, 2012
By
C Liset (Miami, FL USA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

This novelette kept my mind constantly shifting trying to figure out who she wanted to kill. Without spoiling it, I’ll tell you that is something new for me. The way that she addresses you as if she were talking to you… I enjoyed it.

e-thriller review (also on goodreads):

A Chilling and Captivating Novelette – Review by Charlotte Waller
Despite being a novelette, Mean by Renata F. Barcelos is captivating from the very first sentence. It starts off with the reader being let into the chilling mind of Cassandra Connelly, hinting at the deep but downright scary thoughts to come.
The unique style of writing makes this thriller even more exciting, as Cassandra could well be talking to the reader themselves. We soon find out that the whole story is her side of the conversation with her therapist and because the reader is seeing the whole thing through Cassandra’s eyes, it makes it even more chilling, especially as she has the urge to kill someone.
This mystery person who has angered Cassandra is only revealed at the end, keeping the reader literally on the edge of their seat. There are hints here and there as to who this person is, and you might not be as surprised at the end when all is revealed.

Lizzy Lessard (check her blog, great reviews there!) review:

I actually read two different versions of this ebook and I can definitely see the improvements in the latest update.  This is an odd book in that it’s written in first person and directed to the reader – only the reader is playing the part of Cassandra’s shrink.  Cassandra rants about her life and the person she wants to kill to her shrink.  It’s amazing how rich her background and personality is without boring the reader.  And the ending is nice…very dark.

Edit – Brand new review on goodreads:

That was so unexpected.I never expected it would turn out the way it did.This book just goes to show you how upbringing and environment can affect how children turn up.I could so relate to what Cassandra was going through,even if I haven’t gone through what she did.But we all have some feelings within us that makes us so dark sometimes.All part of life.I loved this short novel,Amazing.

‘Mean’ featured as Book of the month on E-thriller!

 

I’m thrilled to announce (okay, pun intended!) that Mean, a psychological thriller novelette, was chosen as Book of the Month on E-thriller. Thank you Charlotte Waller, the reviewer, and all E-thriller crowd!

I’m in great company there, as you may check: www.e-thriller.com. If you’re looking for a good thriller to read, that’s the place to go.

Read the great review my novelette received:

 A Chilling and Captivating Novelette – Review by Charlotte Waller
Despite being a novelette, Mean by Renata F. Barcelos is captivating from the very first sentence. It starts off with the reader being let into the chilling mind of Cassandra Connelly, hinting at the deep but downright scary thoughts to come.
The unique style of writing makes this thriller even more exciting, as Cassandra could well be talking to the reader themselves. We soon find out that the whole story is her side of the conversation with her therapist and because the reader is seeing the whole thing through Cassandra’s eyes, it makes it even more chilling, especially as she has the urge to kill someone.
This mystery person who has angered Cassandra is only revealed at the end, keeping the reader literally on the edge of their seat. There are hints here and there as to who this person is, and you might not be as surprised at the end when all is revealed.

So, what are you waiting for? Go pick your copy and see for yourself if Mean is truly a Chilling and Captivating Novelette. (And please, leave your own review on Amazon and/or goodreads– I’ll truly appreciate it!)

 

Amazon reviews (thank you very much, reviewers!):
4.0 out of 5 stars Kept me turning pages…, September 2, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

finished this well written short read in one sitting. Ms. Barcelos gives the reader insight into a multi-layered character who has ample reason to be mean. Looking forward to the intriguingly titled, “My Sore Hush-a-bye”.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mean Thrills!, August 5, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

Mean is a great little novelette. A young woman starts to see a psychologist because she is worried that her meanness is going to drive her to commit murder, a murder that she hopes the psychologist can guide her to avoid committing. The murder that the young woman feels compelled to commit, however is not random but specific to a person who she feels is responsible for having ruined her life. As the story unfolds, more details of the young woman’s horrific past are revealed, building to a carefully constructed crescendo of calculated madness. This is a compelling, well written read and a true psychological thriller!

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Psychological Thriller, July 27, 2012
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

MEAN by Renata F. Barcelos is an enjoyable dark psychological thriller novelette told from the point of view of an angry female patient who is seeing a psychiatrist and planning to kill somebody. The reader is left guessing as to who the intended victim is until the last few pages. I must admit it surprised me. Very good and quick read at only 50 pages, but there are a few editing issues with the work that need correcting. I have since been advised that a revised version is posted and the errors have been fixed. Still I enjoyed it overall.

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Dark but interesting, July 21, 2012
By
C Liset (Miami, FL USA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: MEAN: A psychological thriller novelette (Kindle Edition)

This novelette kept my mind constantly shifting trying to figure out who she wanted to kill. Without spoiling it, I’ll tell you that is something new for me. The way that she addresses you as if she were talking to you… I enjoyed it.