The Old Neverending PublishAmerica Thread (Publish America)

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

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CaoPaux

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Wow, great links, Book Maven. Thanks for chiming in! :Sun:
 

Sparhawk

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PA Author Checking In

Good Afternoon : )

My name is Greg and I have a book published through Publish America entitled HYBRID. The book took me over two years to write/rewrite and then edit/ fix and rewrite some more. I am not a professional writer I am a NOVICE. Please check out the book and the name either in AMAZON or the PA website

I freely admit to being excited when my manuscript was accepted and actually published. I also confess to beleiving that PA would help me market my book once it wa fianlly out there to be purchased. I also admit that I was floored when I saw the price of my book and confess that I wouldn't have paid the $24.95 they were asking for it. HEk, I could but two David Eddings paperbacks for that Price.

I asked PA why the price was so high and never got a statisfactory answer. I also admit to sending in a list of family and friends who might be interested in purchasing the book. The book came out on June 8, 2004.

I've had two book signing at Barnes and Noble in Bellingham and have had to provide the books myself each time. I have met other writers (notice I say writers and not Author) at these events and have learned much over the past seven plus months. I have sold maybe 50 books, 25 I have bought myself and sold at book signings or to people that I work with who heard from word of mouth that I have a book out.

I freely admit that I expected alot more from PA than I received in way of marketing support and have been disappointed in that particuilar venue. I had to work like a dog to get teh Manager at Barnes and Noble to allow me to participate at their book events. I gave eth PR flack a free copy of my book to read and review I gave her copies of the reviews submitted by people who read the book (NONE OF THEM ARE PA AUTHORS) Have some of my friends written reviews for me, Hell yes and I am thankful for that, but so have total strangers. ONe of my friends even states that he knows me personally (the only reason why he consented to read a Sci FI book).

I never expected to become Stephen King with on POD publication. THis was only the first step on a very large ladder. IT gave me some exposure and some local press (3 newspaper articles and an interview).

I have finished my second novel 407 pages, and I will confess that I am hesitant to send it back to PA. I would like to see my book in bookstores without me having to promote myself. I work 65 hours a week and have an autistic 3 year old plus two teenagers, my freetime is spent writing. IT is my sanity and my escape.

I freely confess that for a few short weeks I felt some pride when my two books came in and I saw my name on the cover and my picture on the back cover. Yes I was proud of myself for steeing out to do something and accomplishing it. Are their editing mistakes in my book YES, four punctuation erros and two typo's. But for 319 pages of text I can live with it.

The book price and the realization that I would get no real help marketing this book quickly deflated my enthusiasm. But I did some marketing and have had a few successes and more than a few failures, but I try to keep a positive attitude through it all and keep making appointments for signings and local events when I can. YES, I am NOT making money by doing this. After I buy my books form PA with my 20% discount, the bookstore (B&N) takes 20% of what ever is sold and I get stuck with the unsold copies (Which I sell one or two a month myself or bring to the next signing if I have enough left... which I usually do : ) : ).

I have discovered the hard way like so many here, that PA is not the golden goose they appeared to be originally, yet neither are they the dark literary dragon waiting to consume the ignorant writer. They make money by pedaling a dream to amatuer writers like myself and provide the first step on a multi rung ladder. Could they be a little more forthcoming in their contracts and promotions, YES. BUt they gave me a chance so I cannot fault them too harshly.

I do admit to wanting to have a big publisher behind me, that is my goal, I have no qualms about admitting that. PA will not get me where I want to be unless I quit my job be less of a Father to my kids and spend more time promoting myself and my book.

I feel that HYBRID is a good read (Unless everybody is lying to me) and I stand behind my work enough to put it up to criticism. I'd gladly e-mail a softcopy to anybody for thier review and/or criticism because I beleive that anything bad anybody could say about the book would pale in comparison to what I've felt and thought and said while writing it. (Maybe even a hardcopy since I have some in stock LOL)

Anyhow since this is my first post here I also wanted to say Hello to everyone and add that I look forward to learning something new and meeting some new people.

Greg B
 

tab

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Julian Black said:
I do look at Amazon reviews, but I only take them seriously if they say something of substance about the book (or CD). It has to be obvious that the reviewer actually read the book in question, and has intelligent things to say about it.

I have to admit, I look at amazon reviews too. I do this because I don't like to read a book unless seems intriguing. When I was in high school, I trolled the local library reading the back of every book whose cover seemed interesting. When I was in college, I read books suggested by friends. Now, since those two avenues are not longer available to me do to time constraints, I troll amazon reviews. I'm not so much looking for a book with 5 star reviews as I am looking for an intriguing, controversial, and entertaining work. This means that many reviewers will hate the book. BTW - I'm looking to read a good book over spring break!
 

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Welcome, Sparhawk!

Please don't let your PA experience get you down. As others have mentioned, you may be contracted to send your second book to PA, but you do NOT have to accept their offer. Best of luck.
 

Richard

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"Could they be a little more forthcoming in their contracts and promotions, YES. BUt they gave me a chance so I cannot fault them too harshly."

They gave you no chance at all. They're a printer with airs, nothing more.

"PA will not get me where I want to be unless I quit my job be less of a Father to my kids and spend more time promoting myself and my book."

They won't get you there at all. The figures speak for themselves. Real publishers carry the sting of possible rejection, but you certainly wouldn't have to quit your job to make a success of things if you did sign up with one. Unlike PA, where you have to work your fingers to the bone doing marketing, you get people who can do that for you, and spend more time on the writing parts than trying to sell overpriced books to a largely apathetic/hostile audience (delete as appropriate). This has nothing to do with however good or bad your book may be, and it's certainly not intended as a personal attack on your work. Read through the thread - PA does a lot more than simply disappointing authors.
 

Julian Black

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pasoroblan2003 said:
And if we find nice things to say and leave out the negative, so what? At least we were all being kind. I'm not leading anyone astray by writing a review based on what I liked about a book.

The whole point of leaving a review at Amazon is to tell other readers about a book--not to give the author an ego boost.

If a book has great characters and snappy dialogue, I like to know that. But if it has plot holes big enough to drive a Caterpillar D9 through, I want to know that, too. I also want to know if it is rife with proofreading errors, or the author is madly in love with adverbs, or the POV keeps shifting inexplicably.

If you see those problems in a book, and don't mention them in your review alongside the strengths, you are indeed leading people astray, no matter how you try to justify it.

"Being kind" to the author in this way misrepresents the book to those who are most important in this equation--the readers. If I bought a book based on one of your lying-by-omission reviews, you can bet I would not only come back with a far more truthful review, but I would never read anything by that author again.

Ultimately, neither the readers nor the author are helped by stroking the author's ego like that. It cheats the former, and wrecks the latter's credibility. It's dishonest. Cut it out.
 

lindylou45

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WhisperingBard said:
Congrats, JD! Many blessings to you both!


I'm thinking about asking for a chauffeured limousine, myself. ;)

I'm going for armed bodyguards, I know they can provide those. :guns:
 

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Hi Greg:welcome:
Sparhawk said:
I never expected to become Stephen King with on POD publication. THis was only the first step on a very large ladder. IT gave me some exposure and some local press (3 newspaper articles and an interview).

I don't think writers going with any publishing house expect this:), and I have yet to see a PA author who had anything but modest hopes for their work. With a commercial publishing house, which PA tries very hard to pretend to be, those modest hopes are likely to have been fulfilled. They would have had a marketing department working hard, getting their books stocked in bookshops nationwide, a real writing credit, and hopefully a career ahead of them. They would have been one of the very many new writers commercial publishing houses take on each year.


I freely confess that for a few short weeks I felt some pride when my two books came in and I saw my name on the cover and my picture on the back cover. Yes I was proud of myself for steeing out to do something and accomplishing it.

You should be proud. Congratulations on writing two books:Clap:. Congratulations on the successes you have had.:banana:


I have discovered the hard way like so many here, that PA is not the golden goose they appeared to be originally, yet neither are they the dark literary dragon waiting to consume the ignorant writer. They make money by pedaling a dream to amatuer writers like myself and provide the first step on a multi rung ladder.

I'm afraid I would have to disagree with you here. A PA book is not a publishing credit, it won't help you in your career. And they have your books for 7 years.

I do admit to wanting to have a big publisher behind me, that is my goal, I have no qualms about admitting that. PA will not get me where I want to be unless I quit my job be less of a Father to my kids and spend more time promoting myself and my book.

My goal too! Good luck:hooray:
 

JennaGlatzer

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Welcome, Book Maven, and thanks for the links! Going to check them out in a minute.

Welcome, Greg, and thanks for sharing your thoughts with us! I hope this doesn't come off sounding snooty, but may I suggest that you pick up a copy of a grammar book like The Elements of Style by Strunk & White? I know several writers who can tell an excellent story, but get stuck in the grammar/spelling end of things, and it deeply handicaps them when they seek publication. (Or maybe you already have someone who copyedits your work.) Just an observation... I know that writing on a message board isn't anywhere near as "formal" as writing a manuscript, but to be honest, it was hard for me to get through your message.

What you said about feeling proud when you saw your books, though-- no confessing needed. You *should* feel proud of yourself. Setting out to write a book (let alone two) is a big goal, and it's terrific that you accomplished it.

One quick note-- you said that you'd have to basically quit fathering and become a full-time promoter to make your book successful. I know this sounds crazy, but even that wouldn't work. We have at least 2 or 3 people here who put in a *tremendous* amount of time, effort, and money promoting their PA books, and still saw only modest sales. No matter how much work you put in, you're still going to come up against the brick walls that PA has erected-- no returns policy, poor discounts to bookstores, lack of editorial gatekeeping, etc. Thus far, even having an excellent book and major publicity hasn't helped any PA author acheive significant success or national bookstore distribution. Most of the "bestselling" (read: sold more than 500 books) PA authors I know are the ones who are now the most disenchanted with the company and have moved on to other publishers.
 

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Greg—
Please take this as a sort-of-humorous take on a serious issue, and not as a personal attack or laughter at you.
My name is Greg and I have a book published through Publish America entitled HYBRID.
My ordinary response to that might be:
My name is Bruce. I am a shark. I have not eaten any fish in three days.​
Greg has at least recognized his illness/addiction and started on the twelve-step path toward success as an author (the first eleven of which are "write a better book," but nobody ever said overcoming an addiction to the concept of overnight literary success without really trying was easy).

I'm not suggesting that we need to have weekly meetings here—I think most regulars at AW are well on the road to recovery—but I am suggesting that the delusions common (not universal) to PA authors bear a disturbing resemblance to those of alcoholics, as several have suggested in the last week or so. Seeing the language from Greg, even if unintentional, reminded me of that.
 

Galoot

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Howdy Greg. I hope you stick around. It's a great place.
Sparhawk said:
BUt they gave me a chance so I cannot fault them too harshly.
Please don't take this the wrong way, but they would have given you the same chance if you'd submitted a collection of bathroom stall poetry. PA prints books. So does Kinkos. Kinkos will give you the exact same chance as PA. Better, in fact, because you can set a lower price and won't have your book locked up in an ugly contract for seven years.

I have finished my second novel 407 pages, and I will confess that I am hesitant to send it back to PA.
Good stuff, and congrats on book two. If your contract obligates you to offer them your second book, there are two ways out.

One: Show it to them, then demand a better contract. "I want a $5000 advance and, umm... a baby elephant."
Two: Submit 1,000,000 digits of pi converted to alphabetic characters. Who the hell cares if they accept that?

I feel that HYBRID is a good read (Unless everybody is lying to me) and I stand behind my work enough to put it up to criticism.
Excellent. I'll make you a promise in public. If you can get out of your PA contract and get a real publisher to stock it on the shelves of my local book store, I'll buy it. In hardcover, if possible. A Science Fiction book by someone named Greg B? That's worth a chance. :D

Welcome to AW!
 

Julian Black

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Sparhawk said:
I freely admit to being excited when my manuscript was accepted and actually published. I also confess to beleiving that PA would help me market my book once it wa fianlly out there to be purchased. I also admit that I was floored when I saw the price of my book and confess that I wouldn't have paid the $24.95 they were asking for it...I asked PA why the price was so high and never got a statisfactory answer.

This, if nothing else, is a sure sign you are dealing with a scam operation. A reputable publisher would have priced your book competitively, and given you a reason why if they couldn't.

Books prices are based on a variety of factors, but there is no mystery to it. PA prices their books higher than legitimate publishers do because they know their books won't end up on store shelves, competing against cheaper books. Instead, PA makes their money selling overpriced books to their own authors. They can then offer discounts if you buy them in quantity, and still make a nice profit.

I freely admit that I expected alot more from PA than I received in way of marketing support and have been disappointed in that particuilar venue.

I don't know how much of this thread you have managed to read, but you aren't the first PA author to be disappointed like that; not by any means.

I had to work like a dog to get teh Manager at Barnes and Noble to allow me to participate at their book events.

I don't doubt it, and I know that must have been incredibly frustrating.

Keep in mind, however, the manager's position in all this. Her (assuming it's still a "her" there in B'ham) job is to see to it that the store makes money. Hosting local author events is great, but if a publisher makes it too difficult to either stock an author's books through regular channels, or provides no publicity for the book, then a bookstore is going to be less than enthusiastic about having the author in for a signing. It's too much of a headache, with no guaranteed payoff.

This has nothing to do with the quality of your book, by the way. PA publishes good books as well as bad ones, and the authors still face terrible obstacles in trying to get their books onto bookstore shelves. Unfortunately, PA insists that this is the fault of bookstores, or authors who don't spend enough time promoting their books, which is a lie. PA's way of doing business simply makes it impossible for bookstores to stock their titles and do so profitably.

I gave eth PR flack a free copy of my book to read and review I gave her copies of the reviews submitted by people who read the book (NONE OF THEM ARE PA AUTHORS)

The problem is that reviews only count if they are in newspapers or magazines, or are written by a big-name author whose opinions carry a lot of weight. Multiple reviews, not only from the Bellingham Herald or the Seattle P-I, but from magazines as well, would have helped.

If David Eddings had written a review, that would have been one thing. But reviews written by unknown people who have read the book and happened to like it don't. PR folks look at those and automatically assume you got your friends to write good reviews. Even though that isn't true, it still ends up looking that way.

I never expected to become Stephen King with on POD publication. THis was only the first step on a very large ladder.

The trouble is, it's not. Getting accepted by PA doen't count as a publication credit in your favor. Instead, PA is viewed as a glorified vanity press.

I have finished my second novel 407 pages, and I will confess that I am hesitant to send it back to PA. I would like to see my book in bookstores without me having to promote myself.

Don't send it to PA. You will never see your books promoted and on store shelves if you rely on them to do it--and they won't. You'll end up with another $24.95 paperback with no promotion or distribution that you have to struggle to sell.

Start shopping your second book around to reputable agents. But whatever you do, don't let PA get its slimy hands on it. It will take a lot longer to get your book into print that way, and you will have to deal with rejection, but that's a normal part of the process.

While you're doing that, write another book. And another, if you have to. And another. Your second novel may not be the one that gets you published, but maybe your third one will. Just keep going.

You've said at the outset that you are a novice writer--that's good that you can think of yourself in that way. Keep learning about writing. Read books you like and pick them apart and see how the authors put them together. Keep writing, and striving to be a better writer. Don't give up.

I work 65 hours a week and have an autistic 3 year old plus two teenagers, my freetime is spent writing. IT is my sanity and my escape.

The last thing you need to be doing then, is spending your free time trying to sell your book because your publisher can't be bothered to do it. Spend that time relaxing with your family and working on another book.

Could they be a little more forthcoming in their contracts and promotions, YES. BUt they gave me a chance so I cannot fault them too harshly.

A reputable business will always let you know exactly what you are getting yourself into, and exactly what they are willing to provide in return. PA hasn't done that. And sadly, they haven't given you--or your book--a chance. They were willing to print it, and sell it back to you. But that's it. They've pretty much left you and your book to fend for yourselves.

If you want to see a bound copy of your book, with your name on it (which I can completely understand), there are other ways to do that. But if you want to get your books out there in the world where other people can find and read them, PA isn't going to do it.

I do admit to wanting to have a big publisher behind me, that is my goal, I have no qualms about admitting that.

Then go for it. It won't be easy, but keep going.

And welcome--I'm a former Bellinghamster, myself, so it's good to see you here...
 
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pasoroblan2003

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Reviews

Posting reviews means different things to different people and I'm not going to argue my opinion. Being kind is not the same as boosting someone's ego. I prefer to be kind (or at least try my best) in most things I do. I don't believe that is dishonest at all.
 

Christine N.

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Resonating...

KellyS. said:
But did it resonate with you?

Ya know what's sad? Reading the reviews on the back of Trickster's Choice by Tamora Pierce (a really great book, by the way, if you want to know how to write for YA), the review from the Voice of Youth Advocates actually says that the book will "resonate with teens".

I didn't notice it until after I bought it. Not that that made a difference, I bought it on the cover blurb. But now that word makes me shudder. I even caught it in my WIP on a rewrite and just had to take it out.

I have resonation aversion!
 

James D. Macdonald

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I guess this isn't the time for me to ask y'all to go over to Amazon and write five-star reviews on all my books ....


===============

Hi, Julian. I feel like I ought to know you from somewhere.

-------------------

Sparhawk, welcome. You're among friends here. I want to see you move ahead on your road.

-------------------

Hi, Book Maven. Good resources.


==============

Something fun: A magic trick.

-----------------

I commented on the Amazing Amazon Review problem a while back, in the post "On Line Marketing Tricks That Don't Work." Look in the Index to find it.
 
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pasoroblan2003

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Last night I wrote a review for a member of this board. I liked her book very much, and everything I said in the review was true. And no, it was not a PA book. I don't encourage people to buy substandard products. Some of the PA books I have read were quite good...we all know that just because many of us got sucked into PA doesn't mean all PA books are bad...they may need more editing than they got, but that doesn't change content. So I guess I just don't understand where this dishonesty issue comes from. When I don't like a book, I don't review it.
 

Julian Black

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James D. Macdonald said:
Hi, Julian. I feel like I ought to know you from somewhere.

I've been lurking here for months--long enough to have read the entire contents of both this thread and "Learn Writing with Uncle Jim." However, I only signed up and started posting after the board moved here.

So I feel I know you [laughs], but since I don't post very much in other online forums, I honestly can't think of where you might know me from.

Hmm. Maybe, given enough time, all of us pedantic, opinionated, beat-them-to-death-with-logic types end up sounding alike...
 

Sheryl Nantus

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Just recently the Writer's Nook (http://www.tavonreiman.net/) had a major problem with a PA book.

In a nutshell (since it's been covered in this thread previously) a childrens' book had two stories - one suitable for the age group recommended and a second one that was... well, let's just say that it was too "adult" for that book. The reviewer at WN was aghast at PA allowing these two stories to be put together for obvious reasons.

When I reviewed that book's reviews at Amazon as well as at PublishAmerica I found not ONE review that mentioned this discrepancy or anyone who claimed it was less than a stellar read. If I had bought that book for my children I would have been angry (to say the least) at the glowing reviews. Are you telling me that EVERY one of the author's friends who reviewed it had no problem with these stories being put together? Obviously no one did, since NO ONE bothered to post even a slight warning as to the content. And if they had "negative feelings" about the book they kept it to themselves, not wanting to incur the wrath of the writer. Bully for them, but not so good for the unsuspecting buyer who might pick up that book for their kids.

I have no idea where this idea of getting friends to review your book came from. Of COURSE your friend is going to give you a good review; be it your pal from PublishAmerica or your neighbour. The ONLY good reviews come from professionals who are removed from the situation and who can view the book in a neutral light. I WANT that sort of review for my book, not another "oh, it's a wonderful trip to a magical land!" platitude because I gave THEM a good review.

This masturbatory attitude at PublishAmerica, among others, annoys me to no end. I want an HONEST review of my work and I won't get that from my friends, unless my friends are professional writers and reviewers. And while there may be some at PA who meet that standard I daresay the majority of reviews and reviewers (from their postings on the boards) do not.

'nuff said.
 

WhisperingBard

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Pasoroblan,

You said:

So I guess I just don't understand where this dishonesty issue comes from. When I don't like a book, I don't review it.

But earlier, you said:

It seemed only polite to write reviews for one another. And if we find nice things to say and leave out the negative, so what?

*That's* where the dishonesty comes from, and that's what I was commenting on.
 

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I can say that I have had other PA authors buy my book and review it. And I can say that we have traded a few reviews to. Not to lie to each other about reviews or lie and promise 5 star or only positive reviews - because most people I know are not like that. While I can say I'm sure it happens at times, that does not mean that everyone's reviews are a lie, just because a fellow writer wrote a review.

At the same time I see what Dave and others are saying that professional reviews are the reviews that matter, I agree nowadays on that.

But that doesn't mean everyone has faked reviews or anything of that sort.

Just my two cents.

Renee
 

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Any of these are PA worthy...

[font=&quot] For you lovers of good writing, listed below are the 10 winners of this year's Bulwer-Lytton Contest, aka the "Dark and Stormy Night Contest" run by the English Department of San Jose State University, wherein one writes only the first line of a bad novel. PA would have scrambled to sign any of these writers.[/font] [font=&quot] [/font]

[font=&quot] 10. "As a scientist, Throckmorton knew that if he were ever to break wind in the echo chamber, he would never hear the end of it."[/font]

[font=&quot] 9. "Just beyond the Narrows, the river widens."[/font]

[font=&quot] [/font][font=&quot]8. "With a curvaceous figure that Venus would have envied, a tanned, unblemished oval face framed with lustrous thick brown hair, deep azure-blue eyes fringed with long black lashes, perfect teeth that vied for competition, and a small straight nose, Marilee had a beauty that defied description."[/font]

[font=&quot] 7. "Andre, a simple peasant, had only one thing on his mind as he crept along the East wall: 'Andre creep... Andre creep... Andre creep.'"[/font]

[font=&quot] 6. "Stanislaus Smedley, a man always on the cutting edge of narcissism, was about to give his body and soul to a back alley sex-change surgeon to become the woman he loved."[/font]

[font=&quot] 5. "Although Sarah had an abnormal fear of mice, it did not keep her from seeking out a living at a local pet store."[/font]

[font=&quot] 4. "Stanley looked quite bored and somewhat detached, but then penguins often do."[/font]

[font=&quot] 3. "Like an over-ripe beefsteak tomato rimmed with cottage cheese, the corpulent remains of Santa Claus lay dead on the hotel floor."[/font]

[font=&quot] 2. "Mike Hardware was the kind of private eye who didn't know the meaning of the word 'fear'; a man who could laugh in the face of danger and spit in the eye of death -- in short, a moron with suicidal tendencies."[/font]

[font=&quot] AND THE WINNER IS.....[/font]

[font=&quot] 1. "The sun oozed over the horizon, shoved aside darkness, crept along the greensward, and, with sickly fingers, pushed through the castle window, revealing the pillaged princess, hand at throat, crown asunder, gaping in frenzied horror at the sated, sodden amphibian lying beside her, disbelieving the magnitude of the frog's deception, screaming madly, 'You lied!"[/font]
 

book_maven

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Thank you, CaoPaux, Jenna and James, for your welcome.

Jenna, you were on our show not long ago and it was great.

James, I almost feel like standing up and saluting every time I see your name. I have endless respect for your integrity, calmness, advice and depth of caring.

CaoPaux, I enjoy your posts and feel as if I rather know you.
 

James D. Macdonald

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The Amazon review thing ...

These are authors who love their books, who are trying the best they can to get their books to readers. There are so few things they can do ... they'll do anything. And if that means putting together groups who read each others' books and write reviews, well, why not? It doesn't harm anyone. For these books, with their million-plus sales numbers, no one is going to see them. The authors are desperate. They're doing everything they can. No one is being harmed.

Is anyone really going to buy that kid's book with the Lusty Vampire tale in it? No, not really. Not unless they know the author from somewhere else. Random strangers aren't going to find that book, let alone buy it, even if it had a hundred five-star reviews.

That's another reason why the Amazon Slammer is slime. No one will see those bogus "reviews" except the author. And what's the point? To hurt the author's feelings? What a jerk.
 

Medievalist

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James D. Macdonald said:
That's another reason why the Amazon Slammer is slime. No one will see those bogus "reviews" except the author. And what's the point? To hurt the author's feelings? What a jerk.

Absolutely; the pure malice of that cretin is sickening. He / she obviously hasn't read the books, and is deliberately trying to hurt the author.

If you flag those reviews on Amazon and point out that they are not about the book but are in fact malicious attacks directed at the author, Amazon will remove them. You do need to be specific; don't just write "this is mean."
 
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Elizabeth George's book Write Away