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Customer Discussions > fiction discussion forum

What's the point of Meet Our Authors?

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Showing 1-25 of 31 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 6 May 2013 10:32:05 BDT
B. Porter says:
I was hoping that thread might initiate some real literary discussion. But it seems more like an administrative sop to those authors who were bereft of an adequate promo spot. I'd like to see somewhere that stimulates intelligent exchange between writer and readers. The digital age and the amazon kindle initiative are good, solid groundings --- but now we need a place for dialogue, not monologues of ego. And, yes, I admit, I was starting to play that game myself. Shame on me.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 10:39:51 BDT
You're not the only one to feel that way, B. However, I don't think you're likely to get much response on this forum.

There are a number of threads in MOA that are trying to get away from continuous "monologues of ego", including some which try to encourage readers who are not writers to join in. It's hard, but if you go to MOA and have a good look through the threads, you will find them.

Unfortunately, the idea of "exchange between writers and readers" isn't going to happen here, because of the sheer number of autholes who turn up and crash the party with spam. That's why MOA was created - yes, it's a sop to authors who were "bereft of an adequate promo spot", but that was all their own doing.

Posted on 6 May 2013 10:45:21 BDT
I Readalot says:
There are discussion threads in the Meet Our Authors forum, mostly authors but quite a few readers get involved.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 10:48:48 BDT
Anita says:
She wasn't trying to "initiate some real literary discussion", Marcus. She was pushing her book, and that's all.

For a literary discussion anyone can choose some of already existing threads, or start a new one - to discuss *literature*

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 11:28:27 BDT
Hi Anita.

Yes, I know that she has been pushing her book all over the place; but I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt on this thread. :-)

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 11:39:33 BDT
I Readalot says:
I think a lot of newbies would benefit from browsing through the Gumbee thread in MOA (not all of it of course), gives a good example of how to behave with respect for other authors and readers as well as a way of promoting without promoting which can be far more successful than promoting, if you see what I mean (where are the jelly babies?).

Posted on 6 May 2013 11:40:15 BDT
It gives a place to dump all the self-promoters' posts, so the other members of the site can merrily ignore them.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 12:04:26 BDT
Good idea! (Except any newbies should not expect a free handout of jelly babies ... at least not at first.)

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 12:04:36 BDT

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 12:18:06 BDT
B. Porter says:
Thanks Marcus, I appreciate your kind reply.

BTW although I'm a noob on the amazon thing, I've been a professional writer for a very long time. I'm also a genuine person, known among my friends for my honesty. I appreciate your "giving me the benefit of the doubt." So sad some of your colleagues seem to have left their humanity elsewhere - and assess themselves as mind-readers! - none of whom has ever shown to be accurate. ;)

I would genuinely like to discuss my work with readers - we professional writers so rarely get a chance to do so. And, yes, it's inevitable, given the gazillions who read and/or post to these discussions. Ah, well, I'll just have to be content with my pre-publication rave reviews from industry professionals, and my just-posted 5* reviews from strangers. ;)

Once again, I'm very happy to respond to any apposite questions about my work.


Posted on 6 May 2013 12:19:38 BDT
Ethereal says:
Promotion and agendas apart, I also think authors often wrongly assume all readers are interested in writing or the authors themselves.
The process of writing is fascinating to writers but must take away the mystery for readers, same with getting to know the authors.
To answer the OP, the point of MOA is a reader-unfriendly shop window down to Amazon and unlikely to change, I'd suggest looking for other means of contacting readers but what I have no idea.

Posted on 6 May 2013 21:49:49 BDT
Isn't the (intelligent) exchange between writers and readers called a book?

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 22:04:43 BDT
gille liath says:
"I would genuinely like to discuss my work with readers"

For their benefit or yours? I mean, you want feedback, or just to explain how modestly brilliant you are?

If the latter then, as Stella says, it really ought to be evident from your book without further exposition. And I don't know why you think there is a demand for it, or why anyone wants to ask you questions.

Sorry if I'm being cynical, but if it looks and smells like spam it usually is.

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 22:41:19 BDT
Anita says:
Hey, cynic, you are bloody right.

Considering the strange fact that writers are (should be) also readers, I see nothing wrong with MOA. The thread MTM started there more than a year ago is still going and folks seem to enjoy their chat. So for some people it works.

For some others who consider themselves to be the only writers and all the rest just swooning readers, it doesn't

In reply to an earlier post on 6 May 2013 22:45:54 BDT
gille liath says:
Yeah, it sounds like what she wants - in as far as this isn't simply a publicity stunt - is to hold court with adoring fans.

I've never heard of this lady, but I doubt whether I would consider talking about her works 'real literary discussion'.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 00:35:01 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 00:36:47 BDT
Marion Stein says:
Here's the thing, a few readers might be interested in what their favorites authors have to say, but their favorite authors aren't the ones showing up in Meet our Authors or any other Amazon forum for that matter. The people who are showing up like you, me and most others are nobodies. Even if we've sold a few thousand books (which most of us haven't) that's still not very many in the real world. Anyone can call him or herself an author and pontificate. Why would readers want to bother with it?

What irks is that it's rare to find any thread here in which people (whether they are also self-uploaders or not) can hang out and chat about books (that they haven't written and that weren't written by friends).

If I were a reader looking for information about the writing process or whatever kind of "exchange" you are imagining I wouldn't seek it here. I have three books out and nobody has ever started a thread here on them (other than me). Believe me, if someone did I'd be only too happy to answer their questions.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 14:48:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 14:59:02 BDT
"That's why MOA was created - yes, it's a sop to authors who were 'bereft of an adequate promo spot', but that was all their own doing."

No, it wasn't, Marcus. These forums were set up by Amazon for customer discussions. Customers themselves decided that they didn't like the way the discussions were set up. They complained, attacked other customers (authors) and forced change. The change hasn't worked in favour of the complainants. On the US website, the forums only appear on books with customer discussions attached to them. All the links to customer discussions not associated with the book on display no longer appear. The same will happen here eventually.

Instead of setting up the MOA forum, and moving customers with no complaints, Amazon should have set up a private forum for customers, where no promotional material was allowed. There, customers could voice their complaints as vociferously as they wished without search engine bots picking up the posts.

Clearly, posting links to products is not against Amazon's guidelines. If it were, authors would not be able to post links to their books anywhere on the Amazon website, including MOA.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 14:58:25 BDT
I recognised the name B. Porter. If I'm correct, the author is a man published by a small press based in Wigan, Lancs, which would mean that the assumptions being made are inaccurate. Of, course, I could be wrong; it wouldn't be the first time.

Posted on 7 May 2013 15:01:53 BDT
Anita says:
"...Amazon should have set up a private forum for customers..."

No, Amazon should have set up a private forum for wannabe writers, exactly as they did. And good luck there

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 15:06:53 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 15:08:24 BDT
Amazon is a business. They organize their website to maximise profits. If search engines pick up posts that are full of complaints, it's bad for their image. Customers are allowed to post here as long as it benefits Amazon. When it no longer serves that purpose, Amazon will remove the discussions altogether. The process is happening already on the US website.

"No, Amazon should have set up a private forum for wannabe writers, exactly as they did."

The MOA forum is not private; it's open to the public.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 15:15:11 BDT
Last edited by the author on 7 May 2013 15:17:51 BDT
Anita says:
So what do you mean by "private"? Closed to the public? So maybe Amazon did set it up, it's just so private that no one knows of it

[Edit: it = "private forum for customers"]

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 16:23:44 BDT
Marand says:
That would be fair enough had the forums been full of authors actually engaged in discussion. Unfortunately they weren't - it was wall to wall promo.

I am sure you are right too about Amazon wanting to maximise profits. One of the ways to do that is to keep people coming back to your site. The number of readers (more interested in buying than selling), as opposed to authors posting fly-by promos was reducing all the time. I doubt Amazon made money from many SP authors so hacking off those who might buy wouldn't have made much financial sense. I can't imagine a concern about complaints appearing on web searches would have directed Amazon's decision - I think few people would need to search for Amazon and it is easier to find what you want using the Amazon search than using a general search engine.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 18:08:45 BDT
Marion Stein says:
I know some writers are still bitter about being placed in the MOA-cage. Certainly, for many of us sales dropped immediately. But I'm not sure about cause and effect. Maybe sales dropped in my case because the books had been around a while. Maybe there was a burnout factor in general with self-published books in part because of all the hard sell on the forums, and the sales drop and timing of MOA were coincidental. Through Facebook and Twitter, I "know" other writers who have done well since MOA. Mostly they had achieved success before the ban leading to MOA, they already had established and "well-branded" blogs, they had or now have THOUSANDS of twitter followers, they post/write in various places around the net. Some have also successfully used paid advertising or publicists, but that's dicey.

I'm not good at any of that stuff and kind of resistant to it, but I'd rather spend time at least making some attempt in those areas than by whining about some golden era of the forums that Amazon will never bring back.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 18:31:56 BDT
Did you not notice a little bit of tongue sticking in my cheek, Shelagh? :-)

But it was the authors' own doing. Had they been a little more circumspect in their promotion, and not flooded the threads on all the forums, whether appropriately or not, the customers wouldn't have complained. And the behaviour of many caused a lot of antagonism. This didn't happen to the same extent at all on the UK forums, but once MOA had been set up in the US, it was only a matter of time before they extended it to other countries.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 May 2013 19:26:29 BDT
Hi Marcus,

The main purpose of the customer discussions is to increase sales on Amazon's website (insert a product is there for the very purpose of promoting items on sale -- and it isn't just for books, any product can be inserted into any post).

I run a forum for published authors ( As administrator, I can view the stats for the forum and see the number of visitors, daily, weekly and monthly. Amazon have access to similar stats. They can see who visits the forum, how many are returning visitors and the number of new visitors. The stats on the Amazon US site suggested a trend that prompted Amazon to remove all the links to the discussions from most book product pages. No matter how aggrieved customers using the discussions may have been, they didn't succeed in stopping promotion of Amazon's products. Amazon put the promotions into one forum and virtually closed down the rest by not adding links to them.
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Discussion in:  fiction discussion forum
Participants:  13
Total posts:  31
Initial post:  6 May 2013
Latest post:  1 Jun 2014

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