Monday, June 27, 2011

Frustration with Amazon

A little over two weeks ago for some reason decided to sever the connection or link between the print version of Flank Hawk and the Kindle version. I have no idea why. It made little sense. I contacted my publisher and asked if they'd contact Amazon to correct it/restore the link. After a contact or two, the versions were once again linked (such that if you were viewing the print version, you could click on the hyperlink and view the Kindle version and visa versa).

Then, all of the reviews disappeared, first from the print version, and then a few hours later, from the Kindle version. I scratched my head and then waited. Sporadically a few returned and then disappeared from each version. Finally, twelve of the original fifteen showed up with the print, and three with the Kindle. Previously with Flank Hawk, and with every title I looked at, the Kindle and the print reviews show up under in both versions. It no longer does with Flank Hawk, and has been that way for a week.

An email to my publisher requesting they look into it, got a return back from Amazon that eventually all of the reviews would migrate back.

Good reviews help with attracting readers. Flank Hawk was in the top 20 in the 'Historic Fantasy' category and the top 60 in 'Epic Fantasy.' With the reviews 'gone' that is no longer the case. Since the issues, sales (especially on Kindle) have dropped to almost nothing.

I'm sure it makes little difference to Amazon. I'm not exactly a high volume selling author, and Gryphonwood Press isn't a major publisher. If readers seeking to try a new author or title doesn't see Flank Hawk, they will never know the difference and obviously won't give my work a try--but probably will pick something else in its absence. Thus, no sale lost for Amazon...

Life is like that, and Amazon doesn't have it out for me. Just frustrating on this end and figured I'd vent here a bit. Who knows, by the time you read this all may be well...maybe...

Note: two hours after posting the above, the print version now is asking for readers to be the first to review Flank Hawk--showing none...


  1. This illustrates an important lesson about publishing. The real value of big publishing houses is marketing. Self-published authors can not begin to match the sales exposure offered by big houses. Small indie publishers, like Gryphonwood or World Castle, generally do a better job, but even they are limited by lack of name recognition, marketing "reach" and influence with outlets like Barnes and Noble and Amazon. I wish it was different.

    I enjoyed self-publishing The Last Human War, but I saw the gap in promotional possibilities when I marketed the books. I sold 488 copies total. Twenty went through Barnes and Noble. The rest were sold through book signings at indie book stores, college campuses and some creative outlets like a book rack in the "store" at a local up-scale car wash. I am being patient now (not one of my best strengths!) while I plod through the morass of steps to get to one of the big houses. But you can bet, if I ever get much name recognition, I will go back to self-publishing, just like JK Rowling did last week with her announcement that all her e-books will be self-published.

    Good luck getting Amazon fixed.

  2. I hear you, Dean. Even the big houses struggle off and on with Amazon. When something gets so big, smaller concerns sometimes get lost.

  3. It is bad enough when Amazon becomes a bully, and purposely deletes links, buy buttons, and other things they are famous for. At least they can easily restore it, but when they don't know what the problem is it takes a while longer. The ones in the middle--the author--are the ones who get hurt. Before this post There were 15 reviews on Flank Hawk.