The Eternal Critique.

When I started writing, I wrote for myself, and I didn't plan what I was going to write in any way. I just started to write, and out it came from some previously-unknown part of my brain. I was constantly as surprised as any of my readers by the story I produced, but back then I had absolutely no thought of ever showing it to anyone else, let alone publishing it.

Then I f
ound the amateur fiction websites, and read a lot of what was available there, and I posted a few stories that were very well received.

As I've mentioned before; a few years later, when self-publishing on the internet became practical, I posted my two best books to one of the biggest amateur fiction sites, and asked the readers if my novels were as good as those in the bookstores. 30,000 readers gave my two books average scores of 9.36 and 9.37 out of 10, and I received hundreds of glowing fan letters encouraging me to publish. Not one of those letter writers said that they hated either of my novels.

However, as I began self-publishing to the online book buying public, I found that they behaved very differently from the readers of the amateur fiction sites. They were far more critical, and far more conservative.

I also found that if someone in the online buying public likes your book, they are likely to send you a glowing fan letter, and I received hundreds of those from new fans. Which is wonderful, but no one knows about it except the two of us; the letter writer and me.  If someone in the online buying public hates your book, they are likely to post a bad review about it, which is then available right on your book's listing with one click, and is seen by thousands.

It soon became apparent that People Of The Tiger contained far too much sexuality for most science fiction fans, and I was faced with a choice; I could make it an 'Erotica Science Fiction Novel', add more sexuality, and market it to adults only. Or, I could remove most of the sexuality and market it as general science fiction to adults and late teens, and that was the choice I made.

Part of what convinced me were two reviews on Amazon that were really vicious; these people not only despised absolutely everything about my book, they were deeply offended by it. They considered me to be despicably perverted. And I guess it's their right to think that way, and to post it in a review.

However, there are two problems. First; is that I have now completely re-written the book, largely in response to those two reviews, but I can't get Amazon to remove the reviews, even though the reviews are no longer pertinent or relevant or current, since I have removed all the parts of the book that offended those two reviewers. Second; is that the reviews that gave me five stars and said that my book was a wonderful work of genius were at the bottom of the list of reviews, and so were rated by the readers to have been helpful to less people, meanwhile the very long and completely out of date review that said 'don't read this filth' stayed at the top of the list, and was found to have been helpful to more readers. I'm sure that most readers didn't bother reading any farther after reading the first one, it was so scathing, even though it was no longer accurate in any way.

After repeated attempts at getting help from Amazon about this, and being politely but flatly refused, I was forced to remove both versions of People Of The Tiger from sale on the Amazon Kindle store. They simply refuse to remove any review unless it violates their code of conduct, and they make absolutely no allowance for the fact that they treat completely re-written new editions of a book as the same book. A review in a newspaper or a magazine or a blog will fade from public view after a while, but book reviews on Amazon are eternal, even if everything they say no longer applies to the book they're talking about.

And, since it would look incompetent to offer the second book in a series at a retailer without offering the first, I've also removed both versions of Hunters In The Sky from the Amazon Kindle store.

If you agree with me and think that Amazon's policy in this regard is irrational, I would certainly not be upset if you wrote them to tell them so.

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