Saturday, February 2, 2013
Writing has been going very well. I learned about a practice this week from an article my friend Jordan Summers tweeted about. It’s called ‘Killing a Book’. According to the article, a new practice in operation on Amazon involves authors who use their sock puppet and trolls to fill a competing author’s reviews with one star hit pieces. Another more subtle one is using trolls or sock puppets to put a favorable review on an author’s book, and then using the same entity to trash everything else the author has done, using the line ‘I really liked such and such book, but this one is horrible’.
I thought it was strange when the long knives came out in droves to eviscerate E.L. James for her ‘Fifty Shades’ lightning strike. Then there was Stephen King announcing that Stephenie Meyer ‘Can’t write worth a darn’. King’s statement was incomprehensible in that he insulted a fellow author who not only was writing, but everything she wrote sold in the millions of copies. Even if he were asked to critique Meyer’s writing, he could have stated ‘I don’t care for her writing style, but obviously I’m the only one’.
It makes me wonder – can’t anyone simply be happy for another author's success? In the examples of hit pieces done anonymously, did the perpetrator actually believe the readers would immediately buy their offerings instead? In King’s case, did he think readers hearing or reading his Meyer remark would then become his fan? In the ‘Fifty Shades’ evisceration, you could at least tell that most of the remarks were from people who had actually read the book, mostly because many of them were very funny. I confess when I need a laugh, I go over to read comments on ‘Fifty Shades’. I don’t agree with doing them, but there are some real comedians out there doing the comments on ‘Fifty’. Besides, if I were E.L. James, I’d be on the boards enjoying the hell out of it.
The ‘Book Killing’ phenomena is much more dangerous. I have writing friends who have had this done to them. They’re trying to make a living off their writing, and a ‘Killing’ will many times drop sales down from the thousands to single digits. To me there’s no excuse for one or two star bombers on Amazon concerning books. A reader is allowed a very extensive preview of a book. If it’s poorly edited, written, or the plot’s not what they thought, there is certainly ample warning to avoid purchasing it. I’ll use my book MONSTER as an example. It’s over 640 pages long by even Amazon’s calculation. They give the reader six full chapters to decide. Believe me, if you read the first six chapters of MONSTER, you can make a decision. :)
It's rough out there in the marketplace. :)