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Weekly Write-Up: 24th October

by Tom Ashford
Welcome to the SPF Weekly Write-Up, where each Wednesday we collect together the self-publishing news of the week so you don’t have to.

This week: Facebook fosters fake review factories, Amazon adds five new Indian languages to KDP, and 47North snaps up the rights to an Arthur C Clarke Award-winning author’s next book.

Fake Review Factories

In a revelation that will surprise absolutely no-one, the consumer group Which? has discovered that there are ‘fake review factories’ that manufacture five-star reviews for products on the Amazon platform.

Two big Facebook groups are largely to blame, apparently: Amazon Deals Group, and Amazon UK Reviewers. Here’s how it works. The reviewer purchases the product in order to get the ‘Validated’ review, leaves said review (it must be five-stars, of course), and then provides proof of the review in order to receive a refund (and sometimes a little extra for their troubles, too).

Immensely troubling, obviously. And entirely against Amazon’s terms and conditions. Hopefully this practice doesn’t extend to books too much – us legitimate authors have enough trouble with those cheating the system as it is.

Amazon Adds 5 New Languages to KDP

Amazon has announced that five Indian languages have been added to Kindle Direct Publishing and Kindle Unlimited. That’s Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati and Malayalam.

Though Indian language eBooks were made possible back in 2016, the addition of new languages will certainly allow for a greater selection of Indian books on the platform. With an added incentive to buy a Kindle and with such a substantial population, India may well be a market to keep an eye on.

47North signs Anne Charnock’s Next Novel

For those who might not be aware, 47North is Amazon Publishing’s fantasy and science fiction imprint (the same way Thomas & Mercer works for thrillers). They’ve just signed the winner of the 2018 Arthur C Clarke award, Anne Charnock, for another novel in the same world as her debut, A Calculated Life, which she originally self-published in 2013 before 47North snapped it up.

Bridge 108 is, apparently, a “disturbing, near-future novel” about a climate refugee who is sold into slavery in northern England. Very topical and, given her first book was also nominated for the Philip K Dick Award, no doubt very good.

Publication of Bridge 108 in hardback and eBook is slated for early 2020.

Who says you need to release half a dozen books a year to be successful, eh?

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford

Tom Ashford is a professional copywriter, author of numerous dark fantasy and sci-fi novels, and the Head of Content at the Self Publishing Formula Blog. His books include the Blackwater trilogy and the Checking Out series.

He lives in London with his wife, in an apartment that doesn’t allow pets. Find out more about Tom here.