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Badly Behaving Authors

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In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 7:49:57 AM PDT
E. Nelson says:
As a self-publisher, I'm supposed to be a tireless cheerleader for the end of traditional publishing. To a certain degree I am--but the hard truth is that while I may despise the gatekeeping of traditional publishing, it did provide a useful mechanism that self-publishing has not replicated: the reality check. Most self-published authors have little to no experience in the publishing/writing/editing field. Even though I am a self-publisher who actually *does* have experience in that field, I still made a slew of cringe-worthy mistakes in my book that I missed.

It's a risk self-publishers take. And like all risk, you take the responsibility along with the reward. Too many authors only want the reward.

Posted on May 12, 2012 8:24:00 AM PDT
LittleDoc says:
Winter, Curmudgeon, R. Mahala et al: Thanks, this makes some sense now. I just wasn't getting it why there should be such an uproar. I didn't say the author was the anti-Christ; I said she needed an editor. Could NOT get why that was cause for such a furor. I said in so many words that when writing for publication *I* use an editor. I could NOT see why it would be considered high-handed, mean, elitist, obsessive-compulsive, etc, to say the author would benefit from a service I use myself - and gladly.

Okay, I will admit that I also said the story didn't grab me, and the characters seemed two-dimensional. But strangely, that's not what most of my detractors railed against. They railed against the demonstrable facts of the matter. To me that seems to be the weakest stance to take: to attempt to refute something that can be PROVEN, rather than to refute that which is by far more subjective. It's as if I'd said: "Copernicus was a religious heretic and a weirdo, but at least he got it right about heliocentrism", and everyone piled on with "NO! Heliocentrism is crap! The sun revolves around the earth, you mean-spirited obsessive-compulsive elitist hypocrite!" - rather than going after me for my opinion that he was a weirdo and a heretic.

Like I said: A head-scratcher.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 8:28:53 AM PDT
Curmudgeon says:
there is no logic to obsession

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 8:29:22 AM PDT
LittleDoc says:
Fair point! :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 9:27:50 AM PDT
"But this would also count as wholesale use of another's materials."

Of course. This is how plagiarizing reviewers like Amos Lassen run afoul of the law.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 9:29:05 AM PDT

There was a Vine review some months ago that was decidedly less funny. Most people were pissed that the guy wasted a Vine pick--someone else who actually wanted it might have been happy to try it--and then proceeded to unfairly one-star the product.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 9:43:48 AM PDT
I am familiar with copyright laws but I probably wasn't clear enough. I wasn't talking about quoting random customer reviews from this or other sites. I was referring to those blurbs that many authors use in the Editorial Review section that say things like "Best book ever......--Rand M. Author" or "I want to marry this book! -- Book Blogger Betty", sometimes longer reviews or what reads like a complete review are quoted.

I was assuming that the author gave them the books for review and explicitly had their permission to quote the review. But since I'm not in the biz, I really don't know what the standard procedures are, if any.

Those endorsements don't have much effect on me. Often I've never heard of the people being quoted and sometimes I wonder if they took a quote like, "This is one of the best examples of trashy, unedited waste-of-time indie books ever!" and shortened it to "This is one of the best .... books ever!" ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 9:45:16 AM PDT
Karen Magill says:
@Cathyr. I am sorry I offended you so badly. One review on each of my books was one I posted from someone else. I didn't plagarize anyone, I didn't break any rules. Amazon knew about it. I have removed them because it is time for both pages to get a makeover anyway. And if readers such as yourself question the validity of it then it shouldn't be there.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 9:53:37 AM PDT
This is a case where you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Give examples of bad grammar, spelling, etc. and you'll be called a nitpicker, an impossible perfectionist, a meany who's trying to embarrass the author. Don't give examples and they will say that they didn't notice ANY problems.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 10:05:19 AM PDT
Grandma says:
@Karen Magill - posting someone elses review AS A REVIEW with a star rating is not merely "offensive" and it certainly does indeed break Amazon's rules as well as copyright laws. You aren't merely offensive. You are dishonest.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 10:19:33 AM PDT
Karen Magill says:
@Grandma. I am sorry you feel that way. Those two reviews have been removed anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 10:27:24 AM PDT
I am sorry YOU feel that way....As a writer, is that what you really want to say?

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 10:33:05 AM PDT
Karen Magill says:
I am sorry that Grandma feels I am dishonest. I never intended to be and I don't feel I am. What would you want me to say? I did remove the reviews when my error was pointed out to me and I can't change the past. It was not meant to be misleading but apparently there are those who feel it is.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 10:48:51 AM PDT
Think about it. What, exactly, is the problem in that sentence? I even capitalized it for you.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:01:31 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2012 11:01:56 AM PDT
Karen Magill says:
ginmar, you are obviously correcting a grammar mistake I have made. Thank you, I thought you were attacking. I write the way I talk then have editors go through it. LOL

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:08:30 AM PDT
Grandma says:
I'll be sure to remember your thoughts on issues of copyright violation the next time I run across something of yours.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:12:32 AM PDT
It's not only Grandma who thinks that way. You say that you didn't intend for it to be misleading, but the 5-star was counted in your star average, right? I'm glad that you removed it.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:20:23 AM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Or include it in your product description under the review sectioin, not on customer reviews. (With their permission of course.)

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:37:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 12, 2012 12:08:22 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
This always strikes me as very strange. I don't know if you've uploaded anything on Kindle. But when you do, you are asked what markets you wish to market to. The same file can be reserved for only US markets or all English speaking or any and all of their markets. You just check off what you want. There is no reason to upload more than one file. So the final product should be identical wherever you download it from through Amazon. I don't know if maybe the system used to be different or if maybe people are uploading multiple editions for some reason. Curious and curiouser.

Also, if you are working from the original file of your work, stripped of extraneous code, then uploaded on proper outlout formatted as requested (as Kindle is different from Kobi and both are different than what the print publisher or POD publisher want) again, the final product should be close to identical. Why are people creating mulitiple editions? When I make a correction based on found errors or customer comments, I make it to the original and send that back out, rather than changing the derived formats. So every market should have the same version. (Only exception is one that got SNAFUed during the recent Smashwords issues, yikes.)

I think as long as you identify which version you are reviewing, it should matter not where it is posted. I wrote one for a fiction book my son gave me. I included the note that I read the hardback version so that those who read it on Amazon know the kindle version may have format issues I did not find in the print edition. But the story, characters, etc. are exactly the same, so the review should still have merit.

I believe, but I'm no expert, customer reviews may be reproduced in whole anywhere without violating plagiarism rules, so long as they are credited. When you write to Hoover and say the make they suckiest vaccuums ever, (which for them may well be an endorsement) they can put your review on their webpage, or office wall, or brochures. They cannot, however, put them all together in sales package and resell them without your permission. Again, *not* any kind of expert, just my opinion.

But as you say, it is not in line with Amazon's intent or guidelines for those to be put by the author into the customer review section.

Edited because I read LG et al's posts and realized I missed some of the finer points. No, copying and pasting someone's review without their permission isn't ok. Hoover and other companies usually have a little disclaimer somewhere on their comments page that says something like, "We reserve the right to...." This means when you click to add your review, you are giving them permission to repost your review. Otherwise, you should ask them first.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:47:39 AM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Yes, yes, yes. I've only started trying to put something out on this electronic minefield. I've offered several little shorties on another site for free. It tickles me pink every time I click on that site and see the number of people who have downloaded it going up! No one is ever going to review those free short stories. It's just cool someone is reading them. If someone takes the time to let you know they read and enjoyed your story or not, hooray! But they are under no obligation to do so.

The only time a person is obligated to provide a review is when they have knowingly entered into such an arrangement with you. Then they are under no obligation to give you a nice or positive or even helpful review.

I understand when you offer a whole book for free and people accept but then never review or rate. It feels like you're handing out donuts and no one is even saying "thank you." But if you are handing out donuts for free on a subway, you probably should expect this. Maybe they will eventually thank you by buying your next work, *if* you don't alienate them by loudly calling them out for their ungratefulness in accepting your sugar dusted fat pills now. Just my 2 pennies.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 11:52:22 AM PDT
Grandma says:
@P.S. Wright - If you write to Hoover, then yes Hoover may use what you wrote. However, reviewers at Amazon do not write for the author of the book. Authors have no claim to any sort of copyright or control of the reviews. Amazon does have some control over where they are used - saw a rather lengthy thing from them fairly recently, just don't remember where.

It strikes me as strange too, but I have seen stranger. I've run across authors who have two copies of the identical book uploaded at the same time under different ASINs - one on the "free" list and one paid. Are they hoping that people will become confused and not notice there are two of them? (That would be my guess if I had to ascribe a motive.) If they don't like their reviews they will pull the book, wait a few weeks, upload the thing under a different ASIN number and start "fresh." Who knows what they are thinking - or if they are thinking. Truthfully, I ascribe nearly all of this behavior to a willful intent to defraud the customer.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 12:09:04 PM PDT
P. S. Wright says:
Sorry, Grandma, you're right. I edited my post above. Not my finest post eh?

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 12:15:56 PM PDT
Grandma says:
@P.S. Wright - I look at posts as a conversation rather than an essay. :)

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 3:56:11 PM PDT
cathyr says:
@Karen Magill: I don't think I ever said I was offended by the reposting of the reviews, only that I questioned the practice. I was interested in your reasoning behind it, as an author, and wanted to express my opinions on it as a reader and rewiewer. As I said, it appeared you did all the right things in reposting a review - making it clear it wasn't yours, posting it verbatim from the previous site, getting the reviewers permission to do so*. I simply put to comment my views on this.

I'm sorry if you felt my comment was an attack in some form. It was not meant that way - more as an invitation for dialogue. I do understand the problems authors have with obtaining reviews - if they didn't there would be no need for a BBA forum! And I can see why an author would choose to cross post. In fact, Amazon will cross post US reviews back to UK but don't seem to go the other way which is quite unfair. BUT I didn't like it and would not like it if it was done to one of my reviews without my permission, and it seemed the door was opening to that.

Good luck with your books. I hope the US market takes to them as you want.

* I am extremely politely suggesting you have the reviewers' permission to repost. I actually have no idea if you do. If you don't then it really is plagiarism and all my niceness drops off and I get *cranky*. An author who understands and protects the value of the written word has no right to take another's work and reprint it wholesale without permission - even if attribution is given. Every one of my teachers and Uni lecturers drummed *that* into me.

In reply to an earlier post on May 12, 2012 4:13:01 PM PDT
Karen Magill says:
I did have the permission of the reviewers. Those reviews appear on my Lulu site as well. I do respect copyright which is why I gave them credit. You had a valid point though so I removed them. As for reposting my Canadian Amazon just says to go to US - I am trying to get Amazon to work it so that the reviews will appear on all sites not just US but it hasn't happened yet.

Thank you for clearing the misunderstanding. It is much too easy on the Internet for things to be taken the wrong way. I read the readers' discussion groups because I want to learn what readers are looking for. I am going to be doing another free promo for one of my books in June and I wanted to learn what really attracts readers.

Thanks for the well wishes.
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Discussion in:  Romance forum
Participants:  338
Total posts:  10000
Initial post:  Feb 17, 2012
Latest post:  Jun 23, 2012

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