Leaving Amazon reviews of books received for free
Seems that Amazon are taking steps to enforce their rules about book reviews and readers who receive them for free. I've lost reviews and I know many other authors who've lost reviews from a practice that has been in the publishing industry since the beginning - providing a product for honest review.
Authors rely heavily on reviews from readers, and the standard has always been to provide free copies to people who are avid readers, professional reviewers, dedicated fans etc. I can see why Amazon might take umbrage with this practice. It could be seen as paying for a review because an author gave away a book with the expectation of receiving a review.
I for one am a huge advocate of removing any practice that can lead to extortion. For example, I contacted readers who read similar books to mine to ask if they might like a free copy of my book. I received one response that it would cost me $65. I wasn't paying for the review, this person stated, just paying for my book to be bumped up his incredibly long list of books to read and review.
So while I wholeheartedly agree that anything corruptible becomes corrupted, I also rely on the kindness of strangers to read my books and leave reviews when they have no understanding of how valuable they are. And this is just a tall ask. Most people don't leave reviews. They read a book and move on.
What this means:
A while ago reviewers were advised that because they didn't buy the book at Amazon that they had to leave a disclaimer. This simply isn't true. For books. It's true for other products. I've often left a review of a print book I've bought in a store.
So if you ever recieved a book of mine for free and you left a review, could you please remove the disclaimer. Apologies, this is Amazon making it difficult for indie authors to get out of our quicksand boxes.
D L Richardson