When I published my ebook to Amazon, I sent copies of it to friends and family who promised to read it and leave a review. I thought that was a thing I could do. Time went by and none showed up.
Both my brother and wife tried multiple times to leave a review. Turns out, this violates Amazon policy. They have algorithms and data-mining in place to verify that no bias has sullied the review process.
Friends and family can’t leave reviews on your book. Sometimes people in your zip code can’t leave reviews. If you’re buddies on Twitter or Fecesbook or commented on a post on Reddit, you can’t leave reviews. If you review another writer’s book, that writer can’t review your book.
I understand the policy. It prevents inflated Hubbardian ratings or East Coast/West Coast rivalries between GRRM and Steven Erikson or something. But if you’re an indie writer who’s a complete noob at marketing, it sucks.
Amazon won’t release their method or process. Which means they’re combing through your internet history and cookies to an unknown extent and that’s disturbing. I feel like there should be some sort of tiered system, but I’m also concerned that wouldn’t be as free market or democratic.
I don’t know.
As an indie writer, you have to hack your way through the underbrush to find complete strangers who are willing to leave reviews. I’m not here to rant or suggest solutions, but to say it’s difficult. We should all be supporting indie writers. Especially writers with no stars on thars.
So, yeah, Amazon is a giant scumbag. Such is the nature of business. But if you’re not leaving reviews on unloved indie books, you’re pretty much a scumbag too.
Here’s some additional reading: