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Friday, March 28, 2014

The Talented Book Killer

A new example of the skilled BK showed up just in time for my third blog series on Book Killers. A couple of posts ago, I illustrated in words and an example what a Book Killer is. The Book Killer wrote a hit piece on my novel Cold Blooded, but listed reasons for his Book Killing that simply did not exist in the novel. He claimed my main character murdered people in front of their children, and that he died at the end. Neither happened in the novel, so his BK status was easily established.

Today, I’ll cover the stealthy BK. He comes up with just enough vitriol for Amazon to allow his Book Killer review to be published, but reveals nothing other than a sweeping ‘utter trash’ depiction of the novel. This is a BK with talent, who never read the book, but doesn’t reveal his status by making mistakes about what happens inside a novel he hasn’t read. Another clue is the fourth book in the Hard Case series is the only item on Amazon he’s reviewed. I’m very honored.  :)

1.0 out of 5 stars Trash, March 27, 2014
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: HARD CASE (The John Harding Series #4) - A Violent Life (Kindle Edition)
Utter trash, don't even think about buying it. If I could think of worse things to say about this book I would.

This type of BK can’t be battled with, other than a polite reminder about the ‘Look Inside’ feature Amazon offers with three full chapters free. This is about all we as authors can do with a talented BK:
‘I'm sorry you didn't like Hard Case Book IV: A Violent Life. Because Amazon gives the reader 'Three' sample chapters free in the very generous 'Look Inside' feature, you could have saved yourself some money and time by taking advantage of the excellent reader's tool Amazon provides. All of the items you disliked about the book were clearly on display in the preview. I hope in the future, you will avail yourself of the 'Look Inside' feature and avoid novels clearly not to your taste.’

Of course this reminder is an author’s only choice in dealing with a BK troll, because waging a troll war will not undo his review, nor will it prove anything. Taking a troll attack personally is a waste of time. A BK doesn’t review your book to give you insights into your writing. They hit your book to kill it. Good reviews following up on a BK’s hit piece buries it a bit, but we have to believe in our readers’ intelligence.

Hard Case BookIV: A Violent Life garnered twenty-six 5 star reviews, and five 4 star reviews before the BK struck. It had achieved a ranking in the top fifty paid books on Amazon in the very competitive categories of Thriller, Mystery, and Assassinations. Since being released on March 1st, it has done very well, because the Hard Case series has developed a real fan base. Logically, a BK looks rather foolish doing a hit piece on the fourth book in a series. Actual readers of the first three, may well be disappointed by how the fourth book in a series they like develops, and will state their reasoning. A BK does what Mr. McEvoy did.

I know I’m taking a chance doing this BK series on the blog, but I have a lot of writing friends who stop by here, or read my posts on Google + and Twitter. Plus, I’m not much of a ‘hide in the corner’ type. I’ve seen authors go to pieces because of these goofy BK’s. An author writes a novel. It begins to take off in sales and ratings, and suddenly a BK troll swoops in for the kill. Being able to recognize the difference between an honest ‘bad’ review and a BK troll review is important. A legitimate ‘bad’ review usually contains hints about our writing that we can improve upon. That’s it for today on the Amazon troll magnet marketplace.  :)

Monday, March 24, 2014

A New Column On Book Killers

In a followup to yesterday's illustration of a Book Killer, I'm updating and expanding on a column written by Hayley Campbell for The Statesman, that my partner RJ Parker found. It is an excellent article about book killers, professional 'One Star Hit Piece Reviewers' and even famous authors getting fed up with the Amazon Marketplace 'look the other way' dealings with the BK's.

The truth about Amazon's Marketplace is definitely illustrated in this column. I don't agree with Ms. Campbell's view of the fight nor Anne Rice's. Cambell is wrong in that she thinks ignoring BK's is the way to go. It's not. A simple polite response to the obvious ones, coupled with burying them with a few held in reserve honest good reviews is a concrete strategy. Heated arguments with reviewers in public is not the way to go, but we have to do what we can in a professional manner, or simply allow the BK's to kill our sales without a fight. If we don't confront the Book Killers when possible to make legitimate points, we many times allow their hit piece to stand as the totem pole a reader sees when taking a look at our novels.

Anne is wrong because people are already sick of hearing about 'bullying' in any venue, but especially from authors. It makes us look pathetic if we do that. The first thought running through a reader's mind when they see something like the 'bullying' tag is 'ahhhhh... poor baby'. We should, and I know I can, argue a point with the worst troll on the internet, like that 'One Star Hit God' Chris Roberts, Campbell writes about. We can never lose our cool. Every comment we write should be a well thought out and written point in a factual manner. Anne Rice is now embroiled in a troll war she can't win. Once the name calling begins, the point becomes lost. It's a shame too, because she could have led a real movement to counteract the BK's. I share her frustration with Amazon, but troll wars in book comments or on Twitter feed the trolls, not the facts. We can't hide behind victim status under overworked tags like 'bullying', but I do like the fact famous authors like Anne Rice are getting fed up with the Book Killers.

Hayley Campbell's column in The Statesman

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Book Killer Illustration

I thought this Book Killer review would be a funny one to add into the mix here, and illustrate a point to my fellow authors. My partner RJ Parker and I, along with many other authors must deal with Book Killers on the Amazon Marketplace. It used to be the Golden Rule was no comment by an author, because bad reviews happen. Not everyone will like our novels, and some will hate them. If they've bought and read the novel, they have a right to comment in any manner they wish. Reviewers point out weak spots, glitches, and parts they dislike that authors can absorb and improve on, because if an author is thin skinned, this business will surely lead to insanity.  :) 

The BK's can use their Premium account to get a novel for free, be listed as a purchaser, and then trash the book without reading it. Some, like Mr. Barrios here, neglect to at least scan the book so as not to reveal their actual intent when reviewing - to kill the book.  :)

2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre Book, March 21, 2014
Joseph J. Barrios

This review is from: COLD BLOODED (The Nick McCarty Series # 1) (Kindle Edition)
I found the killer a heartless B------ who insists he will not kill innocents, but he kills fathers and others in front of their child. The book also ended in a very predictable order with his death at the end.

I wrote a polite comment, and actually was able to promote my Cold Blooded sequel.

Cold Blooded must not have been as predictable as you thought, since Nick McCarty doesn't kill anyone in front of their children, nor does he die at the end. In fact I am writing the sequel to it right now, titled Cold Blooded Book II: Killer Moves - and yes, the character you claimed died in the first is very much alive in the second. Perhaps you read a different novel.  :)

He did guess one thing correctly - Nick McCarty is a killer. Getting angry or enraged at bad reviews or obvious Book Killers like Mr. Barrios is useless, but we can have a little fun with them politely. BK's don't attack books with bad rankings, so in a way, they're kind of a weird indication of success, but they must be answered on the wild west Amazon Marketplace, or they can and will do real damage.


Here is a link to a great article on the 'One Star Hit Piece' and book killers by Hayley Campbell writing for - The Statesman