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I got an email from someone who told me how much he liked The Day Before Yesterday's Thief, saying that he just left a review on Amazon.com and Amazon.au.

I go read the (five-star) review, and saw that he revealed the plot twist in the first scene, then the plot twist at the 20% point, then the one at 50%. He detailed the rest of the book, along with the ending.

I've heard of spoilers, but this one took the cake. I guess some people confuse "review" with "book report."

I reported it to Amazon. Do you think they will understand why I reported it? Will they remove it?
 

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Since you have his email, I think it would be more effective to just ask him to take out the spoilers! It's possible he's well-intentioned and just doesn't understand the concept.
 

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Are spoilers in reviews banned by Amazon?

I've glanced over their Customer Reviews Guidelines and don't see a mention of spoilers, but I didn't read it word for word.

Maybe emailing the reader would be the best idea.

 

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TromboneAl said:
I got an email from someone who told me how much he liked The Day Before Yesterday's Thief, saying that he just left a review on Amazon.com and Amazon.au.

I go read the (five-star) review, and saw that he revealed the plot twist in the first scene, then the plot twist at the 20% point, then the one at 50%. He detailed the rest of the book, along with the ending.

I've heard of spoilers, but this one took the cake. I guess some people confuse "review" with "book report."

I reported it to Amazon. Do you think they will understand why I reported it? Will they remove it?
He was doing you a favor, probably because you begged him for a review at the end of your book, and your response is...to report him. Awesome.

Indie writers beg and cajole and even pay for readers to leave reviews, but when they do, and it's not EXACTLY what they want, they try to get them remove. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
 

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I agree with the consensus that in this case contacting the reviewer is best. I know we shouldn't usually interact too much with reviewers, but you aren't trying to influence the opinion of the reviewer or anything else, except to get the spoilers removed.  I don't see a practical or an ethical problem with at least trying that approach.
 

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Unfortunately Amazon will not remove a review simply because it has spoilers. Do as C Gold said and ask the reviewer to edit it to add a spoiler tag. And thank him again for leaving the review.
 

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I’m amazed you would report the reviewer. I’m not sure I understand that approach. Because you don’t want to contact him? I have to agree with everyone else. Thank him for his review and kindly ask him to remove the spoilers. You get more bees with honey.
 

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I reported a five-star review to Hidden Gems - only because the reviewer had written virtually identical reviews to the other books on her Amazon profile, and had 'complimented' my sweet/clean romance for its spicy love scenes.

I don't mind the five stars, but don't want to misrepresent the book to potential readers.
 

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I totally had this happen to me when I used to do reviews. I'd done a review of the third book in a series and said something about the main relationship. It was a love triangle that I hated with a passion, and if I'd known it was going to end that way, I never would of read the book. That's something I would of liked to know before I'd bought the book. So, being the good reviewer I put it in so others of like mind could pass on the book or buy it if they weren't like me.

The author commented on the review and demanded I change it or tag it with a spoilers title. After he commented it set off a storm of hate on the same review. It was crazy. After a day of thinking it over I tagged it with the spoiler title like he wanted and told him I'd never read another of his books. After years of reviews it was the single worst experience I've ever had with an author. And to this day I tell people not to read his books.

If you don't like the spoilers, than absolutely reach out and ask him nicely if he'd consider putting spoiler in the title of the review. But this goes to a deeper issue. Reviews are not for authors. They aren't their to help you sell books. They aren't their to make you feel better. They are for other readers to decide if they want to read your books. While authors have a vested interest in what kind of reviews they get, the simple fact that reviews are for readers always needs to be forefront in an authors mind. A review is what that reviewer thinks other readers need to know before buying. Nothing less and nothing more.
 

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TromboneAl said:
I reported it to Amazon. Do you think they will understand why I reported it? Will they remove it?
I have written hundreds of reviews at Amazon and other places and have deleted many of them because they were not "helpful" to those who read them.

If an author contacted me and asked me to change a review, I would likewise delete it.
 

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OnlyTheGrotesqueKnow said:
Reviews are not for authors. They aren't their to help you sell books. They aren't their to make you feel better. They are for other readers to decide if they want to read your books. While authors have a vested interest in what kind of reviews they get, the simple fact that reviews are for readers always needs to be forefront in an authors mind. A review is what that reviewer thinks other readers need to know before buying. Nothing less and nothing more.
I agree with the general principle, but in this case (a spoiler-loaded review), I'm not seeing how that benefits readers. The person obviously liked the book, so the spoilers aren't even to warn potential readers off, as in your example. However, someone stumbling upon it by accident might be discouraged from reading because he or she doesn't like to know that much about what's happening beforehand.
 

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Try asking Amazon to put 'spoiler alert' at the top of the review.  They probably won't take it down, but they may agree to do that.
 

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I definitely wouldn't ask the reviewer to remove anything they wrote.

Since the reviewer has already reached out to you to start a conversation, a very gentle suggestion that a spoilers tag might be appropriate ... perhaps. I think I'd let the tone of the person's email guide me on that one. I wouldn't do it if I got any inkling the reviewer might take offense. If I chose to suggest adding a spoilers tag, I might pitch it as arising from worry that other readers could react unpleasantly if they encounter untagged spoilers. That is, pitch your concern as being about the reviewer's experience, not about your sales.

I also think it's okay to just not worry about it. Spoiler reviews are annoying but also sort of inevitable. It'll fall from the front page eventually.

ETA: It might be nice if Amazon allowed shoppers to tag reviews they think contain spoilers. Reviews that accumulate enough tags could have a "spoilers" warning added to their title.
 

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Two thoughts: 1) I have seen other Amazon reviewers go after a reviewer who wrote spoilers and didn't tag it first. Some people simply don't want to be spoiled and they get furious at the reviewer who spoiled them. 2) I'm one of those people who doesn't mind being spoiled, and in fact, look for spoilers if I'm having a tough time deciding to purchase the book or not. Reading/hearing about plot twists in advance doesn't take my enjoyment away from a book or movie and you're going to find that other potential readers of yours are the same way. If you choose to contact the reviewer to ask him to take out the spoilers, I'd ask him to at least add spoiler tags at the top of the review for the people who don't like being spoiled if he doesn't want to completely change his review.
 

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Bill Hiatt said:
I agree with the general principle, but in this case (a spoiler-loaded review), I'm not seeing how that benefits readers. The person obviously liked the book, so the spoilers aren't even to warn potential readers off, as in your example. However, someone stumbling upon it by accident might be discouraged from reading because he or she doesn't like to know that much about what's happening beforehand.
One of the highest rated reviewers on Amazon did nothing but a synopsis of the books. Went through the hooks and development, the whole shebang. He got hundreds of likes from people looking for books. Including me. Some people want to know. Others don't. But for that's not for authors to decide.
 

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skylarker1 said:
I reported a five-star review to Hidden Gems - only because the reviewer had written virtually identical reviews to the other books on her Amazon profile, and had 'complimented' my sweet/clean romance for its spicy love scenes.

I don't mind the five stars, but don't want to misrepresent the book to potential readers.
I had the same exact same reviewer! lol
 

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At least you can click "Not Helpful." That downgrades the review a bit, and maybe more people will do that.

I once got a very long 1-star review full of spoilers, so that compounded the misery... My book clearly made someone very, very angry.
 

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Al Stevens said:
I'd guess that if enough customers other than the author submit abuse reports on the review, Amazon might take notice and maybe even action. Unfortunately, the abuse report does not provide for an explanation or for the reporter to say the spoiler cost Amazon a sale. For that a comment would be needed.
Do spoilers cost sales? I've personally never not read a book because of a spoiler - and once I read a second and third book in a trilogy because I read a spoiler. Sometimes spoilers catch people's interest or give a sense of anticipation.

I have a review that gives away my first book's ending. At first, I was uncomfortable about it, but I also think it's an interesting 'hook' for the book that might bring in people who wouldn't otherwise have read it.

I think readers are aware that reviews might contain spoilers, and they're reading them at their own risk.
 

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skylarker1 said:
I reported a five-star review to Hidden Gems - only because the reviewer had written virtually identical reviews to the other books on her Amazon profile, and had 'complimented' my sweet/clean romance for its spicy love scenes.

I don't mind the five stars, but don't want to misrepresent the book to potential readers.
I've also reported a couple of 5 star reviews that seemed fishy. My book was permafree so probably seen as an easy way to cover up some pay for review practices by adding reviews of a few other books in the mix. Like yours, it was oddly worded and the references didn't make sense for the book. When I looked, the person had copy/pasted about 50 reviews on that day alone. :(

ETA: And they did remove the reviews in those cases. Not sure if it was because I reported it or just that Amazon also caught it for being fishy.
 
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