I hadn’t been aware of this until recently, but, apparently, there is a problem with ‘review bullying’ on places like Amazon and Goodreads whereby authors and fellow reviewers suffer at the hands of angry people and trolls who use the review section as their bully pulpits. The most recent and egregious example would be a young romance author that received multiple one star reviews before her book was even out with people heaping on the abuse, including rape and death threats. And, when this story went public, a lot of people rallied around her, but there were still a bunch of people who continued to heap on the abuse in reaction to her supporters. As of now, this author has declined to publish her book…ever.
Now, there are two groups rallying around authors to try and stop this kind of behavior: Horror Writers Association and a Change.org petition signed by many high-profile authors. The two groups, however, are taking radically different approaches to the solution of this problem.
HWA has proposed, in an open letter to Bezos at Amazon, that they update their policies in regards to flagging and removing reviews that
- indicates the customer has not read the book, but only a small portion of it, such as a free electronic sample;
- includes spoilers which, once revealed, could significantly reduce interest in the work;
- includes negative personal remarks about the author; and/or
- is focused on the work’s price rather than its content.
The petition, on the other hand, is calling for an end to anonymity in Amazon reviews, allowing only people who had verified their identity to be allowed to post reviews. They feel this will remove the mask of anonymity that most trolls thrive behind and lead to more honest reviews.
After reading the evidence and the various commentaries, I have to say that I think HWA is headed in the right direction, and the petition is entirely wrong. The anonymity of the internet not only allows more freedom of expression (sometimes for the worse) it also protects users. I choose, on forums like Reddit, to use my real name as I also promote my writing on that site and it would be easy enough to figure out who I was anyway. But there are people who have difficult personal histories who may not want someone to stumble across their review of a book or product and then be able to find them. The petition is reactionary and not entirely thought out. By trying to stem the trolls in this manner, they are also punishing people who do not feel safe in having their identities hanging out there for all to see.
Thankfully, at this point, I have not suffered any of the kinds of abuses other authors have, but I know in due time I will receive those scathing and vitriolic comments and reviews. I hope when this happens, Amazon and Goodreads will have updated their policies to better enforce a community which protects the content creators from the angry people who are only there to make trouble and try and tear other people down.
Hey guys, I’ve got two weeks before Undeliverable launches, which means I’m working my fingers to the bone networking and creating marketing campaigns, so I haven’t had time to read lately, which means I have no books to review at the moment. I’ll make sure you always have writing prompts on Friday though! I’ll be back to the regularly scheduled reviews after things calm down a bit.
Most if not all of my supporters should have received their copies of Undeliverable by now, as evidenced by this wonderful picture one of said supporters posted of them reading my book.
If you haven’t gotten your book yet or are having trouble downloading your digital copy, please let me know! I will be getting the digital copy of Thea of Oz ready for distribution early next month, so watch out for that as well.
Speaking of Thea, I have a lot of copies left if anyone wants to snag one! $10 will get you a signed copy shipped right to your front door.
Undeliverable will be going on sale the first week of March, so if you like it, spread the word! I’ll let you guys know when its profile is active on Amazon and Goodreads so you guys can all go post reviews! You’re the best.
Today is my birthday, and my wishlist includes one thing:
People pre-ordering my novel! Or, at the very least, sharing my campaign with the world through facebook, twitter, pinterest, and every other last networking community on the planet. Here, I’ll even make it easy on you. Copy and paste:
My friend wrote an awesome novel and now you can preorder it! It’s only $1 for an ebook! http://igg.me/at/undeliverable/x/1061765
And, if we make it to 2k, everyone gets ebooks of Thea of Oz as well! Let’s see if we can do it!
Thank you to all the wonderful people who have already donated, you’re the best!
Hey guys! I’m over on Reddit’s r/books all day today answering questions about Undeliverable, the pre-order campaign, my life as a writer/illustrator, or anything else you’d like to know! They don’t call it “Ask Me Anything” for nothing after all…
Divergent and Insurgent appear to take place in a post-apocalyptic world. Create a society of your own that attempts to ‘fix’ the problems of our present-day culture but ends up making the problems worse.
Hey all, I know I’ve been incommunicado for a while, but life has just gotten in the way, between relationship changes, NaNoWriMo, editing “Undeliverable” and everything else, I’ve neglected you, and I’m sorry. I plan on getting back into the swing of things soon, promise!
So this Kickstarter project looks like a lot of fun–Start Here: Read Your Way into 25 Amazing Authors. A lot of really amazing authors are taking classical cannonical authors and helping your figure out how to approach them without feeling lost or overwhelmed, which I think is a very admirable project.
And they are SO CLOSE to their goal! They have three days left to raise the last $5,000, so chip in if your can!
I know I said I’d be back in a week. Turns out I didn’t write anything for nearly four weeks. I’m sorry, I apologize, but life was just getting in the way. I’m back now!
I owe you guys a couple flash fictions from before I gave up and stopped writing until life calmed down, so we’ll get to those. I also have a bunch of book reviews for ya’ll and I will write just as fast as my fingers can go.
In the meantime, my brother started up a blog as well, The Life of the Story. He’s having fun and putting out some good posts while he’s home from college, you should take a look!
I’m sorry posts have been terribly sporadic, but I’m in the midst of the great roommate swap: two moving out, one moving room, then two moving in. And you wouldn’t believe the amount of cleaning and fussing that has to go along with that. Soooo…I’ll get you new posts sometime after the 11th. Maybe a couple before that too. But this weekend I’m going to Florida to take a small break from all the ruckus and maybe actually get to read something…