You know when this #amazonfail phenomenon started on Sunday, I had no idea it would unfurl the way it did. Other than my conversations with Storm Grant in the very early part of Sunday morning, I made no comments on it through the afternoon, only starting to comment in the evening. I kept waiting for Amazon to announce … something. Anything. But mainly I ground my teeth at all the mis-information being tossed around, the number of people trolling and retweeting information that had long since been proven false.
It annoyed me that after 200,000 tweets, the countless articles and blogs have been posted, I realized how other than the affected authors and industry people, few of the public realized that behind the book that had been deranked there was a person. A person who sat down and slaved over each word. A person who was losing money, losing their livelihood because of this *cough*bullshit*cough glitch/code f*ckup? Quite a few of my friends and fellow authors had their books delisted, both in the GBLT realm and the erotic romance realm. But as I wrote this at midnight, I had to decide who to focus on. After re-reading that LA times post, it became clear. The lady who created the original #amazonfail hashtag. She wasn’t the only one twittering about the derankings that day, but she was the first to use the tag that was universally adopted.
So … meet Storm Grant. Author. I’ve totally filched this from her bio on her website:
Storm is a Board member of the Toronto chapter of the RWA and a member of the From the Heart online chapter as well. She holds a degree in business and has spent three decades working in marketing and administration. Her writing experience includes commercial copywriting, as well as fiction. She lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and a miscellany of rescued pets and a rather messy house.
(Oooh, messy house! I can so relate!)
Photo by Paul Schiratti
Although I’ve only met met Storm a few times at my Toronto Romance Writers meeting and honestly we’re little more than passing acquaintances, Storm is one of the most unassuming, soft-spoken people I’ve met. However, even from the few times I’ve met her, I sense that she has a backbone of steel. That when she sets her mind to something, she persists. And she certainly has needed to persist this week.
When she posted that first twitter message with its #amazonfail hashtag, Storm wasn’t looking for a boycott of Amazon. She hadn’t thought a petition would be needed. She wasn’t looking for anything more than for her book’s rankings to be restored. The same thing every other author who was affected wanted.
Unfortunately at the time of me writing this post, Storm’s book, Gym Dandy, still hadn’t been returned to its rightful place. I searched from Amazon.com’s main page yet still drew a blank with both her name and the book title. And when I did find Gym Dandy by searching the Book section, the rankings were still not listed.
**EDITED: Gym Dandy has now been restored to the rankings. But how much has Storm, and the other authors who have been delisted lost, both in time and money. Will they ever know? If your book isn’t delisted yet, add it to the list being compiled here or if you’re a Twitter member, tweet the information and add the #stilldelisted tag to your book information. Don’t forget to check the various country sites of Amazon too. Some books are being re-ranked in the US but not in the UK. And yes, the .ca site was also affected by this “glitch“.**
After this, I think authors and publishers will have to adopt Professor Moody’s mantra: “Constant vigilance.” I’m pretty sure Storm will be staying vigilant too. That backbone of hers is going to come in very handy.
So before all those twitters rant on about how the #amazonfail watchers need to “get a life”, remember that this is that person’s life. This is that person’s livelihood. And Storm’s one of the people being impacted by this … code malfunction.
I had written paragraphs about my take on Amazon, and what had happened, but you know, it’s been blogged about by people with a helluva lot more credentials than me. So I’m just going to post a few links of the ones I thought gave the best summations:
The best article looking at things from a PR point of view is by Kelley Eskridge over at “Humans at Work” called “The Lessons of Amazonfail“. Kelley’s post brings up all the relevant points of what did, and didn’t happen, as well as suggesting what Amazon could have/should have done to mitigate the PR disaster #amazonfail turned into. I found myself nodding my head and thinking “Exactly!”
Booklorn, Literary Escapism, the ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books and Dear Author all have excellent posts if you’ve been living in a cave this past week and haven’t been following what has been going on.
Now to lighten things up, I’ll show you how I distracted myself yesterday from some of the trolls and misinformation that had me grinding my teeth. Thanks to Victoria Dahl to this link of a video of various people (Seth Rogan, Paul Rudd, George Will, Cheryl Hines) reading from 60 years worth of Harlequins. I couldn’t help laughing out loud.
And this video Jane from Dear Author tweeted about last night …