Open up Twitter to get some more bad news for self-publishing authors. According to this article, Amazon no longer allows you to review books unless you can prove you’ve purchased them through Amazon. This, in a nutshell, is why I won’t be self-publishing ‘Mesh’:
To write a Customer Review, you must have used your account to purchase any item or service on Amazon (free digital content doesn’t qualify toward this requirement.)
Something tells me that this rule isn’t necessarily hard-and-fast. I doubt all the reviews for ‘Star Wars’ came *after* the users bought them on Amazon. Ditto for ‘Moby Dick,’ ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ or ‘The Fault in Our Stars.’
This is just one more straw on the self-published author’s back. It’s getting harder and harder for them to score in this book market. It forces them to spend more and more energy on the process of getting a book onto the shelves, leaving them less energy toward the actual creative process.
Imagine how difficult it would be for Starbucks to become a world-dominating coffee shop if the original owners were forced to grow, harvest, ship, roast, grind and brew every cup they served. If you can understand that conundrum, you can understand how hard it is for the average ‘I want to invent my own universe’-style indie author. It’s hard. Real hard. Amazon just made it harder.
And look, I can see Amazon’s side too. A million ‘buy reviews on Amazon’ sites across the Internet, you think they were going to take that lying down? There are no easy answers in this game. Despite this update, I will still continue to self-publish some of my titles and yes, they will be offered on Amazon.
One of these days someone will come up with an easy answer for all of this. Until then, we’re all still beans in the bean pile. We just hope we end up in the right cup of coffee.
It is, after all, what we’re meant to do.