Where does the publishing fraternity get their editors?

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… from a plethora of totally disenchanted, bitter and twisted former writers with no staying power!!!

Sooner or later once published, every writer will automatically become the target of hate and envy. Both traits manifest themselves in one, two and some three star reviews. Usually they are written by Trolls lurking among the general public, some are written by deeply envious writers. Both types usually hide behind pseudonyms.

What the latter of the two groups conveniently forget is that the writing community is a small place. Sooner or later one or other of us will recognise a particular miscreant by his, or her, unique scathing attacks. This is the moment when it is incumbent upon us to expose them to the rest of our community!

I won’t mention any names here – many of you will already know who I’m talking about,  but a few months ago I managed to dissuade a fellow writer living in South Eastern Europe, who I considered to be a friend at the time from posting his review for my extremely short historical novella Autumn 1066 earlier this year. Given that he rubbished one of my other books, based on one particular descriptive scene in it, I should have refrained from asking him to read and review another one of mine! But, I only ever see the good in others. A weakness on my part…

Why he said what he did I can only put down to envy or a brain storm. As I still follow him on Facebook, even if we don’t talk anymore, I noted recently that he had been offered the senior editor’s position for a publisher in his own country. In my experience it’s always better to keep an eye on this kind of individual, or to put it another way – forewarned is forearmed! Here’s hoping that from now on he will put his mind to doing good. If he trashes every manuscript crossing his desk, I can’t see him holding onto the position for very long.

It’s not exactly rocket science folks – If you have nothing good to say about any given work of literature – say nothing! Better that than announcing to the world that you are a fool!!!

It’s December 24th. A time of peace and goodwill, even towards individuals like him.

Καλά Χριστούγεννα 

😉

Is this a clear case of literary crucifixion?

Unless they are masochistic, no one likes to be attacked. The following is a classic example of a troll attack by someone who cultivates a friendly countenance to the world. I’ve known this person for a few years now. Hell, I like him. Until the other side of his Jekyle and Hyde persona appears when he is asked to provide a review that is.

Luckily I managed to persuade the individual concerned not to post what he considers is an honest review. For those of you who have already read and reviewed Autumn 1066, decide for yourselves if you agree with his brutal crucifixion of the historical account. Who knows what motivated him to go on the offensive? Only he can answer that…

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“Autumn 1066 reminded me of one of those dramatized historical TV documentaries. You get the narrator telling you what’s going on and you occasionally meet a few characters in a dramatized fashion, to explore their thoughts and feelings. Eason follows a similar format, which makes it hard for me to classify this. It’s not a novel (or novelette, given its brevity), nor is it a history book.

If you are hoping for a historical novel in the style of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, you will be disappointed. Eason doesn’t delve in historical details or characters, offering instead mere glimpses of people’s thoughts and motivations. If, however, you are looking for a brief introduction to some of the key players in the making of England, then this may be the perfect book for you.”

To be honest, I would give it 3 stars. It was good, but I personally dislike 3rd-person narratives and got lost among all the similar-sounding names (Harold, Harald, Hardrada, Aldred, etc) and wished I could empathize more with any of them. The most sympathetic character was Cynric, and I wished the story was told from his point of view. Although it’s probably just as well, as we don’t even find out what happens to him (I assume he dies in battle, of course). Also, the price felt rather steep: each of my own Pearseus books sells for $2.99 and is almost 100,000 words long. Expect a lot of trolling if you keep it at that price.

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So there you have it. Under no circumstances will I name the individual. I don’t have to as he did that himself indirectly when he mentioned a series of books he penned. I will say that the person concerned is well-known and liked in the blogosphere and Social Media circles.

This was my reply to him:

God almighty man you do like to put the knife in don’t you? You got one thing right in what can only be described as your rant. As the story is historically correct I wrote it as a docudrama. Meaning I put in one or two fictional characters.
Harold Godwinson, Harald Sigurdsson (Hardrada) – your right they are similar sounding. Not surprising really as the Anglo-Saxons (Germanic), Norwegian Vikings, together with William and his troops (also of Viking descent) all have similar names.
You say you’re not sure what happened to Cynric. If you read the last couple of pages again you will see that his uncle Aldred dragged him away from the battlefield to safety.

May I suggest you rewrite your review. Anyone reading it will see it for what it is – a sniffy personal attack. If you do post it as it is, you’re doing yourself no favours my friend. None at all…

He replied by saying that: I’m sorry you took it as a personal affront; it wasn’t meant that way. It was just my honest opinion. Since you don’t like it, I won’t publish it.

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A worse case of literary crucifixion I have yet to see! No one likes being attacked by armchair critics, especially those who call you friend to your face while being prepared to stab you in the back…

PS – there is an old adage that goes something like this:- Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. This is clearly a case in point.

Bah humbug

😦

Pseudo-experts and other lunatics

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As a published writer, sooner or later you will encounter one or more of the following!

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Once you have published a book or books, it is inevitable that you will attract the attention of individuals with a doctorate in incomprehensibly stupid! When Amazon opened the can of worms by giving everyone and their dog the privilege of being able to offer their opinion on your work on their sites worldwide, was the day the age of the internet troll and other non-entities was born.

Today, not only Indie writers, but also traditionally published ones find themselves on the receiving end of what can only be described as pseudo-expertise. For the latter its bad enough that their editors are imposing their often misguided personal opinions on how a book should be written, often to the detriment of the story, instead of sticking to correcting grammar and punctuation. But now all writers are endlessly being bombarded by totally baffling comments by some other published writers, who quite frankly should know better than to openly criticise someone elses work in public. What you and they have to realise is that they are expert in only one thing – destroying their own reputation just for the sake of pouring scorn on a colleagues work. Not everyone can write a story worthy of being read, let alone be published. Which is why so many who entertained the idea of fame and fortune by writing the definitive novel of the age fail and soon resurface as literary experts and critics. Or worse, offer their services as editors, always for a fee of course!!!

What none are willing to accept is that first of all your story is yours not theirs. Secondly, who better than you knows its ins and outs, plot and counter plot?

If you are lucky, people find it among the millions of books on offer and read it. Some will like it. Others not, so they do their damnedest to convince the public to stay away, which begs the question why? In the case of failed writers, it has to be that they’re green with envy. Or more than likely, they’re angry that they didn’t come up with it first. What other reason(s) could there possibly be?

What about the literary snobs, pedants, anal retentives, pretentious poseurs, grammar nazis and other self-important armchair critics who inhabit the internet these days? If you will take some advice from an old campaigner – LIKE THE TROLLS, IGNORE THEM ALL LIKE THE PLAGUE!!!

Having read this, you will now know that I have zero tolerance for any of the above. Guess what, neither have any of my published writing colleagues either…

Happy New Year.

😉

It’s inevitable whenever you publish…

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Hi kiddies, I’m back on the offensive once again.

The following is a classic example of what happens when a Troll goes on the attack by looking for the next title on their hate list:

The text does not flow. I was frequently jolted by missing punctuation and poor sentence structure.
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In this particular instance, the targeted book is my scifi love story:

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Céleste: Love, Hate, Revenge and Danger among the Stars.

And yet, despite the above pathetic attempt to rubbish the book by a specific troll living in Vermont, one Sligo McKluge, when he delivered his blatantly obvious attack, the book continues to receive nothing but praise by those who have actually bought and read it from the beginning to the end. Which begs the simple question – why the hell does Amazon still allow bitter and twisted morons like McKluge to comment in the first place?

Before the peace and brotherly love set jump in to defend him by preaching about the fundamental rights of the individual, insisting McKluge was merely exercising his/its/her/their right to express their personal opinion according to the section on the democratic right to freedom of speech in the first amendment of United States’ Constitution, I would remind you that like every other successfully published author of my acquaintance who are constantly targeted by total fwits like McKluge, I can tell you that that particular argument does not wash! It is nothing more or less than a load of old horse manure, especially when authors do not have the right to veto all one and two star reviews. Or better still, like Facebook, be allowed to block certain people from commenting, or in this instance reviewing!!!

PS – according to KDP, its being read in the US at the moment McKluge, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!!!

Bah Bloody humbug

😦

Is it just me…

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Is it just me or have the rest of you noticed the disturbing increase in the number of thoroughly nasty individuals appearing on all social media sites lately?

If like myself you have the effrontary to raise your head above the parapet, by that I mean, advertise the fact that you are an active writer, by advertising your work or even supplying the link to blog posts like this one on any social media site, inevitably you will be attacked by someone who simply loves to hate. Sounds completely crazy I know, but we’re not talking about normal people here, instead I refer to the totally unhinged, common or garden, lesser spotted internet troll.

These days as a writer you fully expect it to happen sooner or later whenever a book you have written is published, especially by those who make it their personal business to pounce and attack from the shadows on major book sites such as Amazon or Goodreads.

Bizarrely, if you are not being publically derided by people like them, it usually means that your book isn’t being bought. Once the trolls find you, never ever enter into dialogue with any of them, no matter how sorely tempted you are. Just ignore the crettins! The thing to remember with trolls is that were you to physically confront them in the street, they would soon slink away, because without exception they are all cowards.

Occasionally one seemingly normal individual will appear, wanting to befriend you by employing the ruse that you share internet friends in common on a major social media site like Facebook. Normally those I keep in constant contact with on a daily basis, apart from my close personal friends and my distant cousins, are fellow writers. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been forced to ‘unfriend’ a non writer, the minute they show their true colours by making the mistake of either attacking me, or far worse in my eyes, attacking one of my writing colleagues. I had to unfriend someone recently, when the person concerned turned on me totally out of the blue while we were ‘chatting’. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have absolutely no time whatsoever for nasty individuals like that.

Recently a few cretins, (sadly one of their number is known to me) have begun attacking a lovely lady and fellow writer I’m proud to call my friend on Facebook. As a successful writer, I feel it is incumbent upon me to stand up for her and all of my fellow writers when they are being publically attacked on social media, even though many of my colleagues won’t, for fear of being targeted themselves.

So my message to all of you is to be extremely wary when someone wants to befriend you from now on. This is the latest tactic being employed by the Internet Troll – first befriend, then destroy!!! If you are the least bit unsure about it, either decline the request, or failing that, ask the friends you supposedly share in common about them first. If they are the least bit concerned, don’t befriend the individual. Better safe than sorry. It’s that simple. In the past I’ve always tended to give the benefit of the doubt to anyone who wants to add me to their number of internet friends. No more!

Meantime, I invite you all to voice your views on the subject by leaving a comment below this post.

😉

Of Words And Other Things

woodchuck

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

If you are of a certain age, chances are that you learnt that tongue twister in primary school, just as I did back in the nineteen-fifties. It is a perfect example of the overuse of specific words, even though in this case it’s just a fun thing for kids to learn and to attempt to recite.

Many emerging writers tend to rely on a limited vocabulary, even though most words have perfectly acceptable alternatives. How many times have you seen specific words endlessly repeated in the first book written by a new writer? Either that, or their incorrect versions.

Chances are you will come across examples of words when writing, which while sounding similar when used in actual conversation between two people, are completely wrong in a given instance within any piece of writing.

Note to self – hmm, a lot of words beginning with ‘w’ in that last sentence. Must watch that. Damn, there’s another one!

If you want an example of similar sounding words think about there, they’re and their. They all sound exactly alike. But in each instance they have a totally different meaning. Even simple words we all use such as and, can and do become seriously overused by most writers. I’m no different in that regard. I’ve even been known to start a sentence with it on occasion, for example the one word question – “And?” But only during a conversation between some of my characters.

What I’m about to say, I’ve said in previous posts here on my blog. But just for you, here it is again – once you have written that first draft, go back over it many times during its edit phase. Make sure that one of your editing sessions is solely dedicated to deliberately finding alternatives of those words you are so fond of using.

How? Use the synonym function incorporated into your writing software in conjunction with a dictionary and thesaurus. Even better, why not rewrite certain sentences using completely different words, that convey the same meaning as the original one?

Before some of you feel an attack of righteous indignation coming on, and are thinking of going on the offensive, I am fully aware that I have used several words in this post more than once. In this instance I am completely justified as I’m merely pointing out that every one of us needs to pay heed to the way we write.

In short folks, do your darndest to avoid using certain words too often. Damn, there are two more – your and you’re, to and too. Allowed is yet another example of a word that sounds the same when spoken even when spelt differently. Its cousin aloud has a completely different meaning. The list is endless. Is it any wonder that so many people find the English language hard to come to grips with?

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Next, I would just like to point out something to all of the various types of literary cowards who insist upon hiding behind pseudonyms, such as a number of the armchair critics, pedants, grammar nazis, literary snobs etc, who inhabit the darker recesses of the Internet, each of them purporting to know far more about the written word than most writers. None of us likes a smart arse who deliberately sets him or herself up as a critic.

To all of the above – I can only surmise that what you appear to be suffering from is the literary equivalent of penis envy. Remember this, apart from being counterproductive, jealousy tends to feed on itself. Never forget that. It’s the only reason I can think of for why you deem it absolutely necessary to be so vicious towards not only the newcomers, but also seasoned writers, whether Indie or traditionally published?

First of all, may I suggest that you get over yourselves. Secondly, instead of endlessly criticising new and seasoned writers, by issuing those interminably boring, often repetitious one and two star reviews you are so fond of placing in the public arena, in your pathetic attempts to destroy a writer’s reputation, as some of you still tend to do on Goodreads and Amazon (you know who you are), why not actually try to write a book yourself. Maybe you already have, which probably accounts for the way you behave. But go on, give it another try. Far better to occupy your time by writing a book. Once you do, prepare yourselves for when it is torn to shreds by your fellow trolls. In other words, I’d think long and hard if I were you before you feel the overwhelming desire coming on, to rubbish someone else’s work.

Like most writers, I always refrain from reviewing some books, especially those written by new writers, if they did not succeed in gaining my full attention by drawing me into the story. Believe me when I say that it’s always better to do that, rather than to publically condemn, and by definition, earn yourself a reputation as yet another vicious troll. If I ever feel the need to offer criticism, its usually in the form of advice done privately, well away from the gaze of the general public, either by email or when chatting to writers on Facebook.

You should try doing the same…

Well that’s enough for today. It’s back to my current W.I.P.

😉

The Problem With Some Book Reviews

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When it comes to writing a book review, there is only one extremely simple thing for you to remember – if you have nothing positive or constructive to offer, say nothing.

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Since the general public found that they can now write a book review on sites like Amazon, it was inevitable that a few bitter and twisted individuals would rise to the surface. If what I am about to say sounds harsh to you, just think about the one, two and three star reviews written by people who have never read, let alone written, anything more complicated than a shopping list in their entire lives. Or for some totally unfathomable reason, believe that because they never actually bought a copy of the book they positively hate, that somehow or other it gives them the right to inflict their bile and hatred not only on the book, but also its author.

The greater majority of you are normal decent people, unlike the average internet troll(s). Even if they had bought a copy of the book, rather than venting their spleen it would be far better that they refrain if the book was not to their liking. But trolls are not normal, neither are they decent members of society.

From the point of view of the author of the book in question, there is one cardinal rule when you find your book and yourself have become the subject of troll attack – never rise to the bait. Even if you are seriously tempted, don’t say anything in reply to their review. Ignore them! While they may believe that what they say in their review will convince potential readers not to buy a copy, the reverse is often true. When people see highly negative reviews, at the very least it makes them curious enough to want to make up their own minds by buying and reading the book.

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Here are a few examples of the kinds of reviews I’m talking about, in this case one star reviews written about some classic works of literature, in this instance not necessarily by trolls, more than likely from paid literary critics :-

Plato’s – The Republic “it’s important that you all understand that Western society is based on the fallacy-ridden ramblings of an idiot.”

Dante – The Divine Comedy “The most worrisome part of this book is that Dante left out one circle of Hell… The one where you are forced to read this book.”

F.Scott Fitzgerald – The Beautiful and Damned “Does it get any worse than F. Scott Fuckgerald? The only thing good about this bastard is that he’s dead…”

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Now for two typical one star reviews from trolls on Amazon:-

William S Burroughs – Naked Lunch “This is probably the worst thing I have ever read. It is just a jumble of nonsence words from a junk basard. i love the Beat Generation, but come on Bill!!! … F@#$ You, Bill BURROUGHS!!! I’ve heard good things about Junky though. I might read that one.”

Amazon Reviewer – Charlie the Champion

Stephen Colbert’s – I Am America “I love the Colbert Report sometimes and hated this book all of the time.

Amazon Reviewer – Concerned Citizen

Notice the incorrect spelling and punctuation, and how neither of them actually used their name, preferring to hide behind a pseudonym. Most one star reviewers don’t even bother to edit their review before clicking on the ‘publish’ button as witnessed above.

So, the next time you think you have the right to slate a book and its author, especially if you didn’t even have the decency to purchase a copy – think again! Better still, stop making fools of yourselves and get a life…

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This article appeared in the New Statesman. I urge you all, both writers and book lovers, to read it – http://www.newstatesman.com/voices/2014/03/your-book-sucks-are-authors-being-bullied-one-star-amazon-reviews

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Lastly, why not support all writers by signing this petition. If you are on the side of common decency it is your duty to do so. This petition needs not just hundreds, but hundreds of thousands, even millions like you and I to sign it before book sites like Amazon will be forced to listen and stop siding with the trolls, by allowing them to get away with their often vicious attacks. If the attacks were physical, would the police do nothing? No. So why should Amazon condone what is happening on a daily basis?

https://www.change.org/petitions/amazon-com-protect-amazon-com-users-and-indie-publishing-authors-from-bullying-and-harassment-by-removing-anonymity-and-requiring-identity-verification-for-reviewing-and-forum-participation

Thank you for adding your name to the petition alongside mine.

PS – it might also pay you to read this:- http://www.derekhaines.ch/justpublishing/amazon-reviews-and-keyword-stacking/

😉

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads

It’s to be expected given that it is now wholly owned and controlled by Amazon, who allow cyber bullies to attack anyone and everyone who publishes books. A lot of rhetoric abounds from both sites about ridding themselves of the problem, and yet to date nothing positive has happened. While I’m all for freedom of speech, there are limits!

Cyber Bullying On GoodReads.

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists

If you’re a writer, you already know this if you’ve published a book and it appears on Amazon and Goodreads…

Internet Trolls Are Narcissists, Psychopaths, and Sadists.