Sock Puppets, Scandals and Stars, Oh My!

My first one-star review appeared on Amazon today. The author, called “tealover,” took exception to many things. You can read the review easily on Amazon, so I won’t repost it here.

The point to me is, I’m now OFFICIALLY AN AUTHOR because somebody hates me, hates my work, can’t understand why I ever got published in the first place, and has taken the time to try and find really insightful ways of saying so.

Which means I have Made It. In with the bricks, me. I am someone other people actually care to spend their time trying to grab by the ankles and pull down.

WHOOHOO!

Seriously, of course it’s annoying when people don’t get you, and it sucks when people really write bad reviews to try and take the wind out of a new author’s sales (check out tealover’s other reviews and you might see a pattern emerging) but c’est la modern vie. We can say what we think–or what we want other people to think–and take no responsibility for it. And bless his/her heart, maybe it’s making tealover feel better about life. I hope so.

Besides, in these modern times a bad review means you can prove you aren’t paying anyone to write good reviews for you, or writing them yourself as a “sock puppet.” If you don’t know about the recently-exposed scandal then Google sock puppet reviews, but in a nutshell authors sometimes create fake accounts and diss rivals’ books or five-star their own works. Yeah, it’s as ugly as it sounds, and unfortunately rather rampant. Sock puppets are part of the side effect of a review’s power on Amazon. One of the nicest things that can happen to a new author is to get a lot of reviews right after a book’s published. It means people are noticing you–for good or ill.

Remember that old chestnut that there is no such thing as bad publicity? Yeah, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but it’s true.

So, like the first grey hair; the first flight of a child from the nest; the first realization that, dammit, yes you do need bifocals, the one-star review notifies neophyte authors that we have Arrived. Or, more accurately perhaps, Launched.

Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride.  :]

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13 Comments

Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, folklore and ethnography, humor, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized

13 responses to “Sock Puppets, Scandals and Stars, Oh My!

  1. Laura

    There are always good examples of bad examples. And that poor unfortunate reviewer just happened to be skipped when they were passing out taste.
    We love Wendy.

  2. Glen Moody

    Well, wha’ ya expect; the critic is from New York and just read the first chapter. Who knew they could read up in them parts – they’s all nuts. In this day and age when the reviewer only read 11 pages and said review doesn’t reflect an “Amazon verified purchase,” chances are real good that ‘she’ just read the free excerpt from “click to look inside.” Just reading 11 pages does not one a reviewer make. She could just as well have made her evaluation on whether she liked the cover or not; my money is on not.

  3. Bonnie F.

    I’m reading your book now and think it’s lovely. Every book lover must want to open a book shop and if they’re lucky (as I was) they find out before they start that it’s not all reading in a recliner with a cup of tea and a scone. I think you and your husband were tremendously resourceful to make a go of it, especially after you realized you were looking at an annual income of $1,000! I love your blog too; I’m following you now! Bonnie (from Strasburg, VA, near Winchester.)

  4. Karla Kuriger

    Wendy, well ptthhp (or however you make a raspberry sound) to tea lover. I left her/him a reply, and am now crafting my own review for Amazon. Grrrrrrr, I say, to the nay sayers, especially the ones who skimmed the book. I am nearly done with your book, and am resisting finishing it, like a delicious, chocolate dessert I want to savor forever! I requested your book purchase for my local library, and there are holds on it, so I suppose I must return it. Sigh. So – time to buy my OWN copy! Stay tuned for my review!

    • Thanks Karla!

      It appears that some people enjoy reading the free previews of books and writing 1-stars for them; it’s a free sort of hobby. This is a pattern that emerges on Amazon for a dismaying handful of reviewers. How bored would you have to be to spend your days doing that? Poor “tealover,” honestly. Her life’s gotta suck if this is fun.

      • Karla Kuriger

        Wendy – of course Tea Lover replied, and part of me wanted to reply to the reply, and then the other, more rational part of me thought, oh bother! That person will go on being their critical self, no matter what any of us say or think. So, I will do my part by writing my positive review, and sharing your book with my friends and family. Surely that will be a better use of my time. (although, I must admit, I had some very snarky replies in mind!)

  5. Ditto what Karla said. Left a comment of my own in reply. And, yes, it does rather look like Tea Lover read only the preview — at which point, she has absolutely no right to write a review at all.

  6. moomstex

    Well, I’m loving the LBOBSG! Since I was a librarian, I’ll finish it, THEN post an Amazon records.Have been laughing out loud and reading to my husband.

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