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Posts tagged reviews

Self-Published Measles Book Target of an Amazon Backlash
February 13, 2015 | 12:25 pm

amazon backlashI have been following the measles outbreak with interest because, as a teacher, I work with kids on a daily basis. I am also pro-vaccination because I live with someone who is immune-compromised due to a lifelong health condition and so depends on herd immunity. We've been told that if the measles comes to our school, any unvaccinated children (including our entire Pre-K class, who are all under 4 years old and so have not received the full course) will be sent home for a month! This is a big deal for schools. We are being pushed, hard, to make...

Cash for reviews: a slippery slope
November 14, 2014 | 4:25 pm

cash for reviewsI recently purchased some teaching products via The order arrived last week and everything was fine, so I didn't pay too much attention to it, and did not realize it had come from a third-party seller until I got a curious email from them this week. The email said that their records indicated my order should have arrived by now, they hoped I found everything satisfactory, and they suggested that if I indeed did find it so, perhaps I could leave them a review for it. Fair enough so far, I guess. But then I got to this little clincher: "If...

Book review: The Children of Old Leech, edited by Ross E. Lockhart and Justin Steele, Word Horde
July 30, 2014 | 12:25 pm

This is both a superb collection of dark tales and a testament to the highly developed, involved, and even self-referential status of the new new wave of American horror and weird fiction. For it is a tribute anthology from some of the best writers in the field in honor of one of their most esteemed peers, Laird Barron, who is still very much alive and barely into his fourth volume. The Children of Old Leech: A Tribute to the Carnivorous Cosmos of Laird Barron might stand in grave danger of being an incestuous lovefest. Is it? Anything but. Who is the man...

Free e-books for reviews: bad idea?
June 10, 2014 | 3:15 pm

Well, this is fairly tone-deaf and yet remarkably predictable. Kim Ukura on BookRiot reports on publisher Crown Publishing Group’s book review program, “Blogging for Books.” This program sends books to bloggers to review…and then they have to review it, publicly, or get dropped from the program. Under Blogging for Books, the vision of an ideal reader is one who reads everything, writes about it, then shares those thoughts across the web to create “buzz” about titles. It’s not enough to read a book and tell a friend – your feelings have to be made public (preferably...

Router maker threatens lawsuit over Amazon review (Updated)
May 9, 2014 | 10:12 am

Origin 582014 63201 AM.bmpRemember a couple of weeks ago when I wrote about a self-publishing author who considered suing one of his readers for posting a bad Amazon review? Ars Technica reports that one company with products listed on Amazon has threatened just that. Update: And, as a result, said company has reportedly lost its Amazon selling license. In brief, the review as originally posted to Amazon (and quoted in the lawyers’ letter) accused router manufacturer Mediabridge Products of falsifying positive Amazon reviews and rebadging a $15 Chinese OEM router to sell for a $100 suggested (and $50 usual) retail price. As...

Authors and readers look at reviews differently
April 28, 2014 | 10:25 am

reviewChris had an excellent post recently about an author wanting to sue over a one-star review. A few days ago I discovered I had some ratings on my books on Goodreads. Both these events got me to thinking. The ratings on my books are okay. I have a 4-star, a few 3-stars and a 2-star. My initial impulse was to be disappointed, but then I reconsidered. I pulled up the books I've reviewed on Goodreads and found what I had expected. I give very few 5-star reviews. The books I give them to have either touched me deeply in some way,...

Suing e-book reviewers and being a public jerk: Two bad ideas in one
April 19, 2014 | 3:10 pm

withoutruleoflawA friend pointed out to me a slightly older blog post that is rather interesting. In fact, it’s interesting not just for the article, but for the comments. It’s kind of a gift that keeps on giving. The blog post, by writer Greg Strandberg, quotes (and screencaps) a post by self-publishing writer Joe Nobody on KBoards, a semi-private forum for people who self-publish through Amazon. Nobody is a highly-successful pseudonymous self-publishing author, who Strandberg estimates has made over a million dollars from his e-book sales. Nobody writes in the post-apocalyptic SF genre, in the footsteps of mens-adventure writers like...

Horror writers join anti Amazon bullying push
March 31, 2014 | 10:25 am

Horror writers are made of stern stuff, you'd think. But apparently they find online bullying as creepy as anyone. The Horror Writers Association (HWA) ( has just added its voice to the series of calls on Amazon to end aggressively negative - and anonymous - reviewing online. Under the HWA's own very atmospheric online banner, it looks like "Quoth the raven, 'Nevermore ... anonymity'." In the form of a "Public Letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO,," the call, attributed to Rocky Wood, President, states that: "We are writing to bring to your attention the fact that Amazon’s customer review policy does...

Book review: Flowers of the Sea, by Reggie Oliver
March 27, 2014 | 12:29 pm

Reggie Oliver is proving to be one of the most prolific, as well as most consistent, of modern British dark fiction and horror writers. His latest collection from Tartarus Press, Flowers of the Sea, includes thirteen stories and two novellas, many "originally written for inclusion in specific anthologies and ... therefore, to a certain extent, composed to a brief," but this needs little apology. As the author says, "none of them, however, was 'manufactured' ... cobbled together out of sheer ingenuity and the desire to please an editor." If anything, they show more sustained quality and variety than much of his...

One survey on marketing for self-publishing
March 4, 2014 | 6:25 pm

With the glut of surveys, polls, and studies of all kinds on the mechanics and economics of self-publishing, it's no surprise to see another one released, especially when that one is backed by an entity with a strong interest in the business area surveyed. As recounted by a press release with the modest title "New Survey Reveals Best Practices in eBook Self-Publishing," this report, "based on a survey of over 300 independent authors ... identifies trends and best practices around planning, executing and measuring a successful promotion of an eBook." The survey was conducted by Sellbox, which "specializes in helping...

Weekend Roundup: Even award winners suck for someone, Understanding lack of eBook ownership
January 26, 2014 | 12:11 pm

lack of ebook ownershipEvery Award-Winning Book Sucks (for Someone) (John Scalzi) As part of my occasional and hopefully instructive series of entries in which I try to make the point to writers that negative reviews are part of the territory and ultimately not something to get too worked up about or to let scar one’s psyche, I would like to present you excerpts of one star Amazon reviews of every single Hugo-winning novel of the last ten years. *** Understanding the Lack of Ownership with Digital Comics and eBooks (GoodeReader) When it comes to eBooks and digital comics the entire situation is more convoluted, 99% of the...

UK snark awards celebrate Hatchet Job of the Year for harshest reviews
January 15, 2014 | 10:30 am

In a welcome sign that snark survives this side of the Herring Pond, UK book-lovers' site The Omnivore has announced its latest Hatchet Job of the Year Award shortlist "for the writer of the angriest, funniest, most trenchant book review of the past twelve months." And there are some wonderfully brutal, unsympathetic, attacks in line for the final award, which will be presented in early February, with the grand prize of "a year’s supply of potted shrimp." The Omnivore's own manifesto for the Awards makes for some very interesting reading - not least for what it defends. "Newspaper book pages are...