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thetimucuan

Posts: 5,125
Registered: 09/14/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 4:06 PM   in response to: marns26 in response to: marns26
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Privately sent emails get deleted, disregarded,
accidentally (or not) dropped in the spam file, etc.,
and more importantly, I am not the author's mother.
I am not a free editing service for everything
s/he's ever done now or in future. And I don't want
to develop friendships with the authors of every bad
book I've ever read. When I leave reviews, 3 stars
and above has enough positive things in it that I
doubt potential buyers will be turned off from
making a purchase. In my opinion, that doesn't hurt
the author.

On the other hand, if the book warrants 1-2 stars,
then it's because there are major problems with the
book (above and beyond 'I just didn't like it') and
I'm not only giving constructive criticism, I'm
warning the next reader. When a person publishes
their manuscript on Amazon (or anywhere else for that
matter) with the intent of earning an income, they
are representing that that manuscript is a finished
polished book. Readers should know when they are
being defrauded by a poor product. New authors
should know that what they've put out does not pass
the grade and in what ways they need to work to make
it better. That's what reviews were meant to do, and
I don't feel any need to apologize for that.

Are there actually indie haters, yes. Sadly, I've
seen some of those reviews. My exception with this
thread and others like it, is the apparent assumption
by some people that every bad review is an indie
hater out to get them.


What assumption? I know the name of two writers who have given me one star reviews, one sent a screaming PM minutes before he posted the screaming review. He writes plays that he cannot give away. (He had a giveaway promotion a few weeks ago -- no takers.) I have sold more than 20,000 copies of my books, mostly in the last seven months, and my books average four stars or more, one 4.7 stars. All of my books have been edited at my cost, several have been edited by two different editors. The great majority of my readers like my books. It is difficult to believe so many thousands have liked my books well enough that they have bought all of my novels, yet a few have hated them so much that they attack not only the novels, but me also. The strange thing is, these one star reviewers usually have never reviewed any other books, while the four and five star reviewers have reviewed a lot of other novels. Even stranger is the fact they often hate the first one so much they decide to check out the others --- and post one star reviews on them! You would think the first book would have cured them of wanting to read my work, so why did they read the others just so they could post one star reviews on them? There is no “conspiracy” here, as one poster on this thread put it, just a few authors who can’t give their work away, so they want to strike out at the world in frustration.
sharidale

Posts: 489
Registered: 07/24/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 4:50 PM   in response to: marns26 in response to: marns26
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Are there actually indie haters, yes. Sadly, I've
seen some of those reviews. My exception with this
thread and others like it, is the apparent assumption
by some people that every bad review is an indie
hater out to get them.

I've spent more than 10 years developing shareware, which like a book gets rated and reviewed. One thing I discovered is that my customers rarely leave public reviews, good or bad. They will contact me if they have a problem and ask me to fix it or refund them. They contact me when they love it, sharing their enthusiasm which is one of the most awesome highs for me. I've had far more happy people than unhappy people and if I were to judge by my private email, I'd probably rank about 4 stars.

Publicly, about the only reviews I get come from the competition. The minute I come out with a new version I get hit with 1 star and a mention of this other program which is ten times better that everybody should check out. Ten years and that has been the pattern consistently. The rave reviews are almost all private, and the few who did post publicly were immediately accused of being connected to me in some way. They were not.

My primary seller is popular enough that someone offered to buy the rights to it recently, and offered me quite a bit of money for it. I almost accepted. It was tempting.

I'm studying the whole review issue on Amazon, and I'm seeing a similar pattern. It's not as simple as releasing a book and watching your reviews for feedback. Some of them are legit, good and bad, but there are enough illegitimate reviews to skew the entire system and make it impossible for an Indie to know the truth.

We end up looking elsewhere for the truth. It may be that the book is selling like hotcakes with few returns, so the Indie knows they've got something that people enjoy. The book may get ratings or reviews in other venues that are more reliable than Amazon.

I honestly wish it were as simple as someone posting an honest opinion, and the Indie believing it. Unfortunately, those who abuse the system destroy the trust on both sides of the fence.

To complicate it even further, what of the books that the professionals claim are awful, and yet have struck a chord among the masses who look beyond the technicalities and fully embrace the book? I think I've heard the Twilight series described that way. By the same token, posting more than an honest but brief and simple review can only harm an author who might have been embraced.
19k54

Posts: 1,027
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Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 5:02 PM   in response to: sharidale in response to: sharidale
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Amen sister! Just last week someone in my genre received a one star review on her newly released book accusing her of copying word for word another author in our genre. I have read the new book as well as everything by the other author and there was no copying, but the review is out there, and it is hurting this new author. It has been extremely cut throat in my genre lately, enough so that I am beginning to wonder if I even need to be there, so I know this is a very real thing. What's driving it is the competition for sales among an ever growing swell of Indie authors--especially in my genre.
aussiewriter23

Posts: 522
Registered: 12/17/11
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 5:05 PM   in response to: reuben88 in response to: reuben88
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My trilogy last month had a three star review which was the best review it had ever gained. It was the best review because it was balanced - the reader said he enjoyed it and also said other nice things about it, however he did say there was an overabundance of exclamation marks which annoyed him. I don't normally respond to reviews, however I politely thanked him, told him what he had written was useful, and that the books would be edited to attend to the issue that he had highlighted. He responded to my note in a very positive way. Once the new files are up, I'll be leaving a further note on the review to explain that the problem has been fixed. Hopefully he will adjust his original review - if not, then customers will see that as an author I am proactive to improving the quality of the books.

My trilogy is not perfect, its been a home-made/hand-made project as I simply could not afford an editor for a 300,000 word trilogy. However each edition of it becomes a smoother reading experience.

The reviews I simply cannot take seriously are the one/two stars that say nothing good about the books. In my opinion, those sort of reviews say more about the state of mind of the reviewer, and less about the book. Especially when I have less than 1% returns, and an excellent retention of readers from book one to books two and three.
shelsant

Posts: 506
Registered: 09/21/11
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 5:09 PM   in response to: sharidale in response to: sharidale
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My problem is people leaving reviews that seem off beat. I can take a two star review even though I might not like it. However when someone gives me a one star review for something ...I need to have real reasons to back it up. I have a one star review for The Alien Recruitment. This is the review that I'm talking about.

"This is a very short ebook, that has more "actors" in it than pages. This writer has imagination and should try to decide what she wants to write; be it science fiction or fantasy. Buy, read, rate and write you review. If you disagree with me so be it, but remember your opinion is important."

I don't understand this review. My book is 23000 words maybe a little more. I write young adult books. In my mind a 1 star review means the book was horrible. It means the book shows no promise what so ever. Fantasy isn't in The Alien Recruitment. I think he looked up my books and saw that I write both Fantasy and Science Fiction. Reviews like these are hard to stomach.
sharidale

Posts: 489
Registered: 07/24/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 5:54 PM   in response to: marns26 in response to: marns26
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Shelsant, I like a LOT of what you usually post, but
this just strikes me as being so wrong! Yes, writers
are sensitive about their work. Yes, they get their
feelings hurt. But how are they supposed to know
what they need to pay closer attention to if everyone
lies to say their stuff is great and no one steps up
to tell them what they're doing wrong?

I'm not Shelsant, but here is what I did when reviewing a book that needed quite a bit of elbow grease...

Publicly my review focused primarily on the positive, and I wrote what in essence was a blurb that you might read on the back of the book. I spent two paragraphs telling what I loved about the book. There was not one negative word in the first two paragraphs.

The third and final paragraph said I'd give it 5 stars for the storyline, 5 for the vivid descriptions, 5 for concept and 5 for the ending. Then I added that the primary flaw was in the editing, formatting, punctuation, tenses, POV, etc. I was NOT specific. I did NOT create a laundry list. I simply mentioned those items as being an issue, and ended by saying that if you could ignore the technicalities, you would love the story itself, which was the truth.

I gave the author a good star rating based on the positives. Privately, I sent the author a laundry list which included specific typos, misspellings, general issues of POV, etc. It was by no means complete, and I made several suggestions on how the author could avoid those types of issues in the future such as the Review feature in Word.

I do not know if the author revised and replaced that book, but I've since read other books by the author, who took everything I said to heart and has been growing and improving. There are still a few rough edges but the change is amazing and I know that I've done a really good turn. I did it in a way that was not hurtful either publicly or privately, I chose my words very carefully, and I created a change for the better. At the same time, I could feel good inside about helping another writer.

I'm a BIG believer in do unto others. I'm a BIG believer that you can create positive change more effectively with praise and encouragement, than with criticism.

Have you ever worked for a boss who uses positive motivation to encourage you to do your best and improve? Have you ever worked for a scowling, growling, nitpicker? I've worked for both and I can tell you who gets the most from their employees. If you truly want to generate a positive change among the Indies, Be the Motivating Reviewer.
vasantdave

Posts: 75
Registered: 08/06/11
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 8, 2012 6:30 PM   in response to: reuben88 in response to: reuben88
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I haven't read all the seven pages of this post, so I might be repeating something that's expressed here before. While there might be a grain of truth in someone rubbing your line in order to show that his own is longer, I think it's better to constantly go on lengthening your line. How much will he rub? Genuine readers aren't a bunch of fools, and ultimately your adversary would stand exposed.

I suggest that my fellow authors also take all the opportunities like participating in contests like Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest. Second round onwards, ABNA gives you reviews upon which you are eliminated from the contest, and those are quite enlightening. It also makes one realize where one stands in comparison to other writers in the same genre.

  • Vasant Davé
sharidale

Posts: 489
Registered: 07/24/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 5:54 AM   in response to: reuben88 in response to: reuben88
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If you love your book, and stand by it, tell us the
name of these ROGUE GROUPS OF JEALOUS AUTHORS so we
can strike back. I don't know about you, but I got
bills to pay, and I will be damned if some jealous
imbecile is gonna keep me from making money,

By shitty reviews, I mean those that post 1 Star
reviews without reading the whole book, are obviously
trolling, have no other reviews, or review only
certain authors and so on....do I really need to
explain this?


Back to the original post, ethically I couldn't do it. The person who whacked me, and who I later discovered belonged to one of the vigilante groups, came out with a book not long after whacking me. Her book was not in the same genre, or even close.

Several people who saw how she devastated me and ripped the heart right out of me wanted to strike back at her book on my behalf, and I told them not to. Even though I believed that what she had done to me was wrong on several levels, I did not stoop to her level.

What really disgusted me was that she and her cronies spent hours trashing Indies who received good ratings, labeling all such ratings as bogus, given by friends, family, etc. They ATTACKED authors whose ratings they questioned.

Her book launch was immediately followed by reviews which looked just as suspicious as the reviews that she and her friends attack. Talk about a lack of ethics! I was stunned.

I do hope like hell that karma pays her a visit. But I am not karma. Nor will I encourage others to be karma. Creating a gang to attack her would sink me straight down to her level, and label me a vigilante.

I would rather focus on what another author suggested. Rather than attempting to erase the mark she made, I'm working my patootie off to make the mark longer. She cut me off right at the knees and my journey is more of a hobble, but I'm fighting like the dickens to put my book in front of the readers who it was meant for.
19k54

Posts: 1,027
Registered: 08/13/09
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 6:58 AM   in response to: sharidale in response to: sharidale
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I feel your pain and sympathize. I had this very thing done to me by a vine voice reviewer who feels it is her God given duty to stop the sales of books she does not deem worthy to be on Amazon. The person's name was Judy. She said it was her place to warn readers off of books she thought were a waste of money, and she is excellent in writing reviews to do just that. It stopped that book from ever reaching its full potential. Thing is, people who did read it liked it. I got several emails wanting more from me. I've since written two more without taking any of Judy's "excellent" advice and they have done very well. She has a collection of groupies that followed her around and post comments under all her reviews complimenting her on her wise and exemplary advice she gives authors about their writing and how we would all be much better writers if we would just listen to her sage counsel. I felt demoralized.

So I do understand that these groups exist and I know their potential to harm. Fortunately for me, I do have a small following and they have encouraged me, though they know nothing about Judy. As for the book she trashed, it did recover, but like I said, it never became what it could have been, and the series died with just two books. I'm on to something that actually sells better now, though I will never forget Judy.
petaward

Posts: 2,458
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Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 8:17 AM   in response to: reuben88 in response to: reuben88
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Trouble is, most spiteful reviewers post under made up and silly names.
sharidale

Posts: 489
Registered: 07/24/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 8:57 AM   in response to: 19k54 in response to: 19k54
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I had this very
thing done to me by a vine voice reviewer who feels
it is her God given duty to stop the sales of books
she does not deem worthy to be on Amazon. The
person's name was Judy. She said it was her place to
warn readers off of books she thought were a waste of
money, and she is excellent in writing reviews to do
just that. It stopped that book from ever reaching
its full potential. Thing is, people who did read it
liked it. I got several emails wanting more from me.

That's what makes it so suspicious. When you start reading their reviews you see a pattern. They use similar phrasing which obviously has the intent to stop an author in their tracks. It's almost as if they were operating out of a playbook.

They see themselves as saviors. I see vigilantes who appoint themselves as accuser, judge, jury, and executioner. Nobody except for their cronies is allowed an opinion. If a reader actually LIKES your book, the reader is completely dismissed and overruled.

When I see best sellers being discussed among the vigilantes, who consider them sub-par in spite of their popularity, that tells me that the vigilantes should NOT be in charge of who gets a chance and who doesn't.

I've seen art, as in paintings, that I thought was utterly horrible. In my opinion a five year old child could have done better. Yet some of this art sells for tens of thousands of dollars and I'm baffled. Why would anyone deem such a painting, which is nothing more than a few blobs of color requiring no artistic talent whatsoever, to be worth so much money?

I am allowed my opinion. The artist should be allowed to continue with their art, regardless of how I perceive their talent.

With books, the Look Inside and Sample Download allow readers to see what you're made of. That should be more than enough to tell a reader if your ability lives up to their standard.
petaward

Posts: 2,458
Registered: 01/25/11
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 10:31 AM   in response to: sharidale in response to: sharidale
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Yes, you only have to go to the Kindle readers forums to see the vitrol from these people.

If a book has good reviews - well, hey - the author has either written them or they are from the authors family and friends.
monicaschmonica

Posts: 6
Registered: 03/14/12
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 10:49 AM   in response to: petaward in response to: petaward
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Is a single one-star review really enough to sink a book? Would its intent not be obvious? The thing that really worries me is all the five-star reviews. I mean, they're great if genuine, but if most reviews are four or five-star, doesn't it kind of diminish their value?

For my part I almost never review a book if I can't give it a three-star or more review, and I'd only rarely give three stars, if I thought for example that the work could be improved with some attention. I did just recently give a bad review for another reason, but that's a different story (no pun intended).

To be honest, at this stage I'd almost welcome a bad review, as I haven't had a single one yet, and have sold just one copy of my book. At least a review means someone came across it. But I've bought several Kindle books myself recently on marketing, and have really been trying to get the word out, so hopefully in the next few days things should improve.
thetimucuan

Posts: 5,125
Registered: 09/14/10
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 11:19 AM   in response to: monicaschmonica in response to: monicaschmonica
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With me, the one star reviews came after the books had sold many thousands of copies, about ten thousand. The funny thing is they are on my two bestsellers and not on my two worst sellers. In fact, they have only a few three star reviews and lots of four and five star, nothing lower. Those who disliked those two books the most still gave three stars, but no jealous writer has bothered to attack them. Why? Because the competitors are out to hurt my wallet.

I agree that five stars should be given only to the best stories, but many readers like a book so much they cannot refrain from giving five stars, knowing that the novel is not comparable to a classic (many classics have a low star average anyway).
achcrivens

Posts: 151
Registered: 03/12/12
Re: Jealous or hateful authors giving you bad reviews? POST THEIR NAMES HERE
Posted: May 9, 2012 1:15 PM   in response to: aussiewriter23 in response to: aussiewriter23
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I had a one star review like that. The reader was complaining about the editing, punctuation, and grammar. I wrote back and apologized, and told him I had tried to edit my own work, which I now know never works, and told him I was looking for an editor to fix the problems. He wrote back and apologized for being so heated in his review, and then we reached a deal for him to edit my book. He did an outstanding job, and charged me next to nothing.

On the other hand, I've had reviews that were obviously aimed at knocking my book down in the ratings, one on Smashwords, and one here on Amazon. Smashwords deleted the review, but Amazon has yet to do so,even though I reported the reviewer for suggesting that my book doesn't deserve the same rating of not one, but two other books in the same genre. In other words, the reviewer's intent was to give my book a bad review so it would fall in the ratings, which it did, and promote other books at the same time.
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