I rescheduled my post for the day after getting sidetracked by Chuck Wendig’s post on his blog, terribleminds.com. Seems Amazon.com is considering implementing a policy where authors are not allowed to comment on other author’s books. Say what???
Typing this on a phone, so forgive my brevity.
It appears as if Amazon thinks — likely as a result of the sockpuppet scandal and the “buying reviews” thing — that authors should not be allowed to review other authors.
The troubling assertion here is a patently false and dangerous one: that writers compete with writers. We do not. We compete with other forms of media, perhaps. We compete with ourselves. But one book is not an enemy of another book. One author does not enter Thunderdome with another. We are part of a community. Sometimes on purpose. Sometime by dint of having our books enjoyed by the readers of another’s books.
This policy has the subtlety of a drone strike — taking out an office building of innocents to kill one dude. Got a rat problem? BURN THE HOUSE DOWN.
A better policy would be to HAVE a policy that can be regulated and enforced. Like, say: no sock puppet reviews. No abuse. Allow reviews to be flagged, investigated, and handled one to one.
I like Amazon as my new publisher. And yes, abuse exists and must be curtailed. But this is a rough policy. May I suggest we all write to them and suggest sanity and scalpels instead of a giant orbital laser? This has all the delicateness of the US “drug war.”
Chuck Wendig is equal parts novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. He is the author of the novels DOUBLE DEAD, BLACKBIRDS, and MOCKINGBIRD. In addition, he’s got a metric boatload of writing-related e-books available, including the popular 500 WAYS TO BE A BETTER WRITER. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with wife, dog, and newborn progeny.