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  • Writer's pictureOlympia Black

The Dangers of Being a Small Author with Big Tech

I am such a fool.

I am in Kindle Unlimited and have been loyal to Amazon. I’ve trusted them to manage my book and its reviews. Already twice, my book has been pirated and published (with the pirate using my own copyright) on their platform. Then to add insult to injury, I’ve had to prove copyright on my own book twice now.

Yesterday, Amazon, unbeknownst to me, removed thousands of my reviews on my book, “My Human Pet.” I know these reviews are legitimate and have been accumulating since the book was released in March 2020. On average, this book has an overall ranking of 6k in the Amazon US store and 2k in the Amazon UK store. This is steady. So, for a book that had a decent but not stellar reception in science fiction after three years, it would seem plausible that I would have a couple of thousand reviews.

However, when I reached out to Amazon about the missing reviews, I was told that I needed to contact Community Guidelines and that these reviews broke Community Guidlines, and that is why they were erased. I know this to be false. I have never met a single person who has read my book. And this is the first time I am ever soliciting reviews from anyone. If you know and follow me on social media, you will know I am not that kind of author. Also, I read most of my reviews. I know none of them broke any Amazon Guidelines, and if they did, why would they have not been deleted as they came in rather than waiting a year, two years, or even three years to deem them breaking guidelines?

Now, we all know reviews sell books. They help inform the potential reader of what the book is about. By erasing so many of my reviews and many of the four- and five-star reviews, readers have a worse understanding of my book and the kind of people who liked it. This is incredibly troublesome for me because, as many of you know, it's not an easy book. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

Also, as a reader myself, I would like to think that my reviews count for something. I would not like to think that my review could just be deleted because an algorithm decided it was fake. And that the indie author who valued that review but did not have the strength of a big powerhouse publisher behind them would be able to keep my review of their book. Or at least be part of the conversation about whether it was fake.

It’s no secret that Amazon takes not only some of my profits, but I must pay for advertising, or else my little book will be buried. For the pleasure of this platform as a small indie author, I am at the mercy of big tech, and most of the time, like today, this means that I am being punished and disadvantaged. There is no one for me to speak to about my reviews being erased. There is no face or voice to big tech. It's an unfeeling entity that treats me like a number. There is no recourse for me but social media to reach out to other little people in the world asking for help. Will you help me?

So, a little author like me writes a blog and is setting my ebook for “My Human Pet” to FREE tomorrow. May 6th, 2023. If you read it on KU and left a review, please, I would be grateful if you could download the ebook for FREE and leave another review because if you left one before, it’s probably been erased. And if you know someone who may be interested in the book, please suggest it to them tomorrow and encourage them to leave a review.

Authors are nothing without their reviews, and I would be nothing without my readers.

Thank you for reading.

Best wishes,

Olympia X




I have an update, not from Amazon KDP or Community Guidelines but from more well-connected authors than myself, who have been informed that reviews will not be counted internationally but only from the countries where they are posted. (But I don't know if this is true because I only lost reviews in the US and UK, none in Australia or Canada).

Ironically, KDP is still emailing me, telling me that over a thousand of my reviews violated Community Guidelines yesterday. I completely feel like I'm in a Kafka novel.

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