I haven’t looked at any of my books on Amazon for quite some time, so it was a shocker to find that many of my very few reviews were gone, all of them four and five stars. So the average for Crossing Boundaries is now two stars, with only two reviews. For Hidden Boundaries, the average is now three stars with four reviews. The others aren’t quite as bad, but what really got me was that I had received one star reviews for four of them, all by the same person, three of them on the same day.
I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before, and so have other writers. Someone takes a dislike to you for some unfathomable reason and proceeds to downrate your work. It happened to me on Goodreads, but I knew the reason, and the person had just set up a brand-new account with their only reviews and ratings being of my books. They had also persuaded some friends to set up accounts in order to do more damage. Luckily, the effort to destroy my ratings was so blatant that Goodreads removed the new “reviews” and ratings and deleted all the accounts.
Does anyone seriously believe that this Amazon “reviewer” bought and read three of my books in one day, as the reviews seem to indicate? And the fourth one was only four days later. This is very recent, and I actually had no sales during the month those reviews were posted (July), so that makes it even more plausible that this is some kind of grudge trashing. Judging by his other reviews, my books aren’t even in genres that he generally reads. So why?
Not a single review had anything concrete to say, and one even pulled up the very tired accusation that all my good reviews were obviously written by my friends. I wish.
Of course, there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I don’t know why some reviews were removed, unless this asshole went even further and let Amazon know he thought my four and five-star weren’t legitimate. I’ve read enough complaints about this kind of thing on Kboards that I know better than to waste my time trying to get Amazon to do anything about it. Amazon usually responds to such complaints without bothering to find out if there’s any basis for them.
This kind of thing is only one of the problems that Amazon refuses to address, and it makes new writers very uneasy about publishing at all. For someone like me who appeals to a small niche and is happy to find a new reader now and then, it’s extremely discouraging. We increasingly live in a world where driveby trashing of people’s lives and work is an almost everyday occurrence. And any one can be a potential victim.