Amazon Eats Reviews

Many self-published authors are complaining about the same thing: Amazon deletes reviews.

The issue is, Amazon keeps eating the reviews from the people I know, I had about 8 reviews on my book Simplesmente Gerva and they deleted them all.

I don’t agree with their system. I know people that are related to me or are my friends are biased, but where do you start?

To attract unbiased reviews, you need reviews! With reviews from people you know, you will attract people to buy the book. Some will like and some won’t, but it doesn’t matter as long as you start the ball rolling.

With Amazon policy of deleting reviews I’m left with no starting point.

I’m retorting to begging, and selling my soul, https://taniacreations.com/2016/05/27/lucifer-the-amazon/, the next step might be a bit more drastic…

There I am at a corner, mini-skirt, trashy top, more make-up than I ever used, twirling my purse. A car comes along, a man opens the window and leans to speak to me.

‘How much?’

‘1 review for one hour, 2 reviews for four hours or 3 reviews for the night’

‘Hum, okay, I’ll take the four hours option.’

Cool! The make up certainly paid off! I give him a card with some web addresses.

‘Payment first! Go home, read the books, make the reviews, come back tomorrow, I’ll be waiting’.

Save me from myself, review my books!

Sideways Reality:

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01DRNHT4G

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B01DRNHT4G

www.amazon.com/dp/B01DRNHT4G

Simplesmente Gerva:

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B00M5NICLY

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B00M5NICLY

www.amazon.com/dp/B00M5NICLY

Fio da Meada:

www.amazon.com.br/dp/B007XAJOFM

www.amazon.com.au/dp/B007XAJOFM

www.amazon.com/dp/B007XAJOFM

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Socialise Quietly and Write

Most Tuesdays, after work, I go to a Meetup in Sydney CBD for writers. It goes for two hours and we get together, sit down, and write.

A few people talk and exchange experiences once the clock reaches eight pm, on the dot. Others write until they have to go home. I write until I’m about to drop.

I cannot stop writing, it is usually one of my most productive writing moments of the week. I often get “in the zone” and produce high quality work, writing hard up to nine or ten.

Pumped by a guilty late-night-coffee — which will most certainly keep me awake or make me have an agitated, unrestful night — I think the sacrifice is worth it. Every time I debate, to coffee or not to coffee…

Tonight I have churned some great paragraphs and ticked many items of my to-do list for a specific project.

Trying to write, publish and promote your own books while working full time is a little bit like trying to give birth while driving a horse-cart with a spooked stallion must be. Creating life, giving birth to characters, while your attention is constantly demanded elsewhere…

The road doesn’t end though, so I keep bouncing, reins in hand, YEEHAW!

What are Kindle Singles? Is my book one?

I have recently self-published a Kindle book composed of four short stories. My initial idea was to publish it as Kindle Singles.

I am not sure that Amazon is very good at communicating stuff, of I’m not very good at understanding them.

I had a completely wrong perception of what Kindle Singles are. I thought they were shorter books and that you should add them to this category if your book was shorter than the usual novel length. In my imagination, it was your duty to classify a book as a Kindle Single, if they were smaller, so the client could know what they are buying.

I didn’t realise Kindle Singles are something else altogether. Yes, they are shorter books, novella size, but they are hand picked by Amazon to be classified as so. If your book is chosen, you benefit from Kindle Singles promotions, which gives your book a bit more visibility. Therefore, being a Kindle Single is something special.

This means that you have to apply, to send your work to the Amazon editors and wait six weeks for them to evaluate it. Then you might become a Kindle Single. 

Just when I was about to submit it I read “no collections accepted”. I sent it anyway, probably part of my Brazilian DNA that would not allow me to give up without a try, an attempt of bending the rules.

It didn’t work, so “Sideways Reality”. [at Amazon AU, US, BR] is not a Kindle Single, but I’m still proud to call it my own!

Did Amazon make a mistake?

‘I don’t have a Kindle, can I read your book somewhere else?’

When I published my books in Portuguese I received a lot of questions about how to read them. I thought that was a specific problem related to the market. In Brazil, Amazon is fighting heavily with the big publishers, which hold the market with iron fists. Because of the low level of education of the majority of the population there isn’t much pressure the consumers can apply to these publishers.

The answer is: YES, you can. Kindle is an App for iOS and Android, phones, tablets and computers can have it. Some of them aren’t very pretty or good, but reading a book in one means you can continue where you stopped in any other platform. Amazon also has a cloud reader, where you can read books online and doesn’t have to install or download anything.

When I started receiving the same question from friends here in Australia it surprised me. It made me consider if Amazon had adopted a wrong strategy when they released Kindle. I wonder if calling the publishing platform and their electronic e-reader — the actual equipment — by the same name was a mistake.

If Amazon had called Kindle just the publishing platform, the software, and called the equipment “KindleReader” or “Kindler” or even “Kindleroo” (like a kangaroo carrying its books, get it?); maybe they would have been even more successful.

It would be clearer to the consumer that Kindle is the platform, and therefore something you can get for any device and the equipment can be bought to read Kindle books. With that clarity a lot more people would have joined Kindle and then would benefit from the great variety, cheaper books, free offers and portability.

Emotions when Publishing a New Book – Sideways Reality

Releasing my first book in English, at Amazon, with my own name, brings to the surface many emotions and their counterparts.

The book is a little collection with four short stories in fantasy and fiction. I loved writing this one I’ve called “Sideways Reality”. [at Amazon AU, US, BR]

The moment I received the message saying it was out-there, four thoughts came to mind…

First an excitement, a sense of accomplishment, of doing something I said I would do, ticking a box. But also an amazement, I confess that I love the stories I’ve created, the ideas in them. The funny thing, is that when I read it I keep thinking “where did that come from?” Inspiration feels more like something that comes from outside and takes possession of your body and your hands and your mind.

The writing happens more through me than by me.

I often put ideas down for future writing. Months or years later, when I’m looking for something to write about, I don’t remember writing some of these notes.

Second is that I cannot tell attest for the quality of my writing in any degree. After reading something a couple of times, I completely lose perspective. I’m not sure people will understand what I’m saying. It is completely illogical, a sense that the reader could not discern one word from the next. I feel hopeful that they will though, I have chosen a very good free lance editor and she helped me with the right questions and by doing a thorough job.

This is harder for self-publishers, like I am at this point. My editor is a free lancer, and only one. I read the work several times the normal way and out loud at least once, make many corrections. But in the end I hope and trust that it is finished, no matter the result, at this point I don’t care as much either way.

Then, when the book is out, that is when the Big Fears kick in. Fear of sending it to my friends and specially work colleagues and what they might think. Also the fear that there is a typo or a grammar mistake or just simply something wrong with it. The ego shudders…

I feel as if my subconscious think that if someone doesn’t like the book, my arm will fall out, or a leg, or my head will roll.

I have gone through several stages of learning to accept and understand that feedback is great, and needed and improvements and lessons come from all points of view. But the subconscious was asleep in all these lessons. The Ego was listening but decided that it didn’t care.

On the other hand, I feel brave for having gone through with the process, fears and all. Also, it seems that by previously self publishing two books in Portuguese I have gone over the fear of the publishing itself. 

The Snowball Experience in Writing

I was talking to my best friend the other day and we were wondering if the concept of snowball was for real. We remembered the snowballs you see in cartoons, rolling down getting bigger and bigger getting memento and engulfing bears, beavers and other characters.

When I decided to go skiing we decided I had to make an experiment and we laughed with the imagination of me releasing a small little ball at the top of the mountain and it growing taking many skiers before it got to the base of the mountain.

snowball trail

When I went to the top of the world I make good on our promised and released the ball. I made sure there was a structure on the way to stop the disaster from happening. I released a small one, the size of a tennis ball and it rolled surprisingly quickly, getting slightly bigger and rounder. But it got stopped by any imperfection on the snow surface. A ski trail, a slight depression was enough.

I think that if the balls were bigger, at least big enough to not be stopped by shallow creases on the snow, it would become a cartoon-like snowball. It was at least as large as a soccer ball…

That got me thinking about writing and the way you need to get to a certain body of work before your ball rolls without being stopped by any intersession. If you take the time to create your soccer ball, eventually, things will become easier, growing and rolling unimpeded.

You will still need to keep creating and offering the ball enough snow-words to amass and keep going.

One little ball won’t go very far, but a good sized amount of writing will get you somewhere with many surprises and new characters being picked up on the way.

Up the Lift

I’m going up the lift, the skis weighting heavily on my feet, feeling happy. I’m looking at the slope below me and writing what I see in my head

Group of students

Fallen skier

Fallen snowboarder, bum down

Mom with the pink hair and the little girl who gains mastery each time

Snow fight

Fallen snowboarder, bum up

Skier almost in a split

Father trying to untangle the baby’s skis both feet are looking backwards with skis firmly locked

A boy skiing with a pair of extra skis on his hands

Fallen snowboarder, making snow angels, completely given up

Little boy running down with no skis screaming ‘Jaaaaack! Hey Jaaaaack!’

‘Mommy, mommy, can you wait for me?’ I hear. I look downhill and mommy is sprawled on the floor, she couldn’t move if her life depended on it. Guess she will wait.

A little red bullet with orange helmet flies straight down bawling ‘INCOMING! INCOMING! INCOMING!”