Sunday, 18 November 2012

A meltdown on public display

This post is one of the reasons why I've written the 'educational rant'. It's yesterday's Facebook conversation between an author and I. I admit I couldn't hold myself back and, admittedly, wasn't super friendly. I'm so fed up seeing posts like this, and, to be honest, I don't think a calm approach would have changed his mind anyway.

" xxxx got a 3 Star rating, which is okay, except for the fact that the "review" was this low because the book is so SHORT! The "reviewer" admits not trying the recipes, but was unhappy with the size of the book even though its length is clearly posted as "Paperback: 60 pages". I asked Amazon to take down this "review" because I thought it was unfair. They REFUSED to do so and by REFUSING to take this "review" down, they have totally killed the sales of one of their better selling books. 
If you think this is unfair to me (and ALL authors since everyone could be in my place) please go say the "review" BY LAURIE H was unhelpful. Just click the NO button after the question: Was this review helpful to you?"
That was his post. Now the conversation:
Me: If I could I would downvote this post. Asking people to mark reviews as unhelpful on Amazon is Kindergarten. I wish authors would stop that silly behaviour. Absolutely ridiculous. There!
He: If you were an author, you might think differently. 
Me: No, I won't. Such behaviour is unprofessional and childish. Potential buyers aren't stupid. They can see that the review was not about content, but about the length. Authors who go and call all their friends or whoever for help are a disgrace for all self-published authors who have some integrity. I'm sick to the back teeth of seeing such posts. Leave the reviews alone.
He: So your not an author, I figured as much. You write like a total illiterate.
Me: You know there's a book coming out next week; it's called Rage against the Indie. You may want to take a peek at it. 
He: As long as you didn't write it, I will check it out. The FUNNY part of all of this is that AMAZON is screwing itself over by leaving the phony "review" up causing sales to be off by 90% (so much for smart buyers) AND losing the book entirely since I am moving it to Smashwords.
Me: xxxx, let's get serious. The current sales rank of the Kindle book is #215,679, and the paperback is not ranked at all. I'm not dissing the few sales, but your throwing a hissy fit over a review that most readers would ignore. Amazon probably won't care to lose the three or four sales.
It's not me being mean, it's me looking at the obvious. And you're not doing yourself a favour by acting like a child whose lunch box was stolen. Take it on the chin, shrug it off. So you got a 3 star review from an unsatisfied customer, and? Next one will be great again. See what I mean?
He: My CURRENT RANK, you idiot, is BECAUSE Amazon doesn't care (DUH!!!). BEFORE THE PHONY "REVIEW" it was ALWAYS in the top 15,000 in KINDLE sales. That is the MOST galling part of this, the "review" is for the CreateSpace edition but it is SCREWING all my editions. So Amazon can go fuck itself.
Me: You're doing a great job degrading yourself, xxxx.
He: Only to a LOSER like you.
Me: Keep going.
He: ...and you are irrelevant...
Me: And you're proving my point. Anyway, good luck with your sales, but lay off the reviewer attacking. It just doesn't look good on self-published authors.
He: Fortunately, no one cares what you think. Since you are a cipher.
Me: I leave you to it, then. I think with that attitude you're probably attacking reviewers who dare to dislike your book, too.
He: You must enjoy showing your ignorance, but then that is the purpose of FB.
That's when I left wondering how many more of those posts appeared elsewhere. This is what causes damage to self-publishing, and I'm not sitting back saying nothing.           


  1. Go, Stella! Appalling how he just goes into abusive mode so quickly. What's the point of trying to make a reasoned argument? Such people are NOT cut out for the ups and downs of the publishing world, I think.

    1. Hi, Nick.

      He has deleted our conversation on Facebook the next day. I don't understand why authors act like this. The reader had every right to express her being disappointed. That's what reviews are for: to encourage other buyers to buy, or warn them off.
      So she warned them off, and sales dropped. Potential buyers can look inside and check if they're happy with the presentation.
      I wonder what would happen if someone comes and says the recipes are all rubbish?

  2. Any author who disses reviews publicly deserves the slow sales they get. Just saying...

    1. It's not even the dissing, but the reasons for dissing. The reader complained about the book being too short and its presentation. She bought the paperback. She probably expected a book with pictures in it, just like the ones you can buy in shops. I understand her disappointment.

    2. Yes, although I don't think there should be dissing either way. The reviewer gave her .02c. Be a man and take it. And if you have a messed up reason for criticizing the review, make sure your mouth is sealed shut and keep fingers away from keyboard. Sheesh.

    3. He's just angry that sales have dropped. I understand that, too, but getting everyone to vote her review as unhelpful won't help him either.
      Ah, well. Maybe he's learned his lesson.

  3. Thanks for the reminder of the dangers of losing it on a public forum. It's so tempting to bite back when you get a review that you feel is unfair, but in the long term the most satisfying course of action is to maintain your dignity and not respond in any way. Venting to friends and even writing a response but not posting it can help take the sting out I've found.