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text 2017-11-18 15:44
Semi-hilarious update to "oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck"

 

Link to original

 

First of all, I did learn that it was apparently the community media operation that created the messed-up advertisement, although they may have had direction -- including text -- from a member of our group.  That remains to be seen.

 

Second, there's some background to this that I chose not to include, but that has now become mildly amusing.

 

Before each of our events, I compose and send out an email invitation to our "supporters."  These are people who sign up at an event, leaving their name and email address, saying that they wish to be notified of future events.  I've done this for four or five years now, and the list has grown to the point that I have to send the notice out over the course of a day if I don't want Yahoo to shut my account down for spamming!

 

At our last membership meeting earlier this month, I was asked by the president of the group if I would send a copy of the invitation to the membership as well.  I think part of her reason for this was because she didn't trust that I was actually sending it out, or maybe I'm just paranoid.  Anyway, I dutifully sent it out to the membership last week -- a week earlier than it goes to the list.  I received a couple of nice responses, thanking me for doing this volunteer task and complimenting me on how well the text was written.  (No typos, for one thing.)

 

One member, however, chose to criticize me on two points.  One issue was a judgment call; I explained to her why I chose the option I did.  Hardly arguable, since the underlying facts were correct, as she had acknowledged.  The other issue was not arguable at all, since the underlying facts were what she herself had provided.  So I just laughed it off.

 

But when the "oh fuck" item showed up, with all its errors, and the question became does anyone even recognize them -- or care -- I just rolled my eyes and engaged in a lot of swearing.  Then came the chuckle.

 

Last night I received another little "thank you" note from another member of the group.  She addressed me as "Laura."

 

Conclusion -- They don't even know enough to care if they wanted to.

 

Dunning-Kruger rides again!!

 

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text 2016-08-21 19:19
I'm not sure this is quite right

EDITS BELOW FIRST PIC.

 

 

 

Found on aNobii, among a whole lot of others.  Please note the word "free."

 

 

 

EDITED TO ADD:

 

How I found these at aNobii.

 

Logged in.

Click on Groups.

It shows "hottest groups" and "largest groups."

Click on "see more" of "largest groups."

On right are "popular group tags" and click on "romance."

 

All of this is what comes up:

 

 

 

 

 

 

And many, many, many pages more.

 

I don't know what to do about it.  The discussion group for aNobii problems is in Italian, and while I can read Italian pretty well because of my background in Spanish, I don't speak or write it. 

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text 2016-08-02 22:36
Oh no, not this author? Say it isn't so? Surely not Kim Harrison?

Before it happened, I would never have believed favorite author Kim Harrison would campaign to hide an unwanted negative review on Amazon. So saddened.

 

Don't believe this usually great with readers, highly successful, big five published author is now doing so? Check her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/KimHarrisonsHollows/posts/10154480162099940 .

 

Tez Miller Oz has more on his booklikes posts (which brought this to my attention).

 

Seriously, everyone, if you don't think negative reviews and lower star ratings should be allowed -- why aren't you campaigning to just do away with the five star rating systems on Amazon and other sites?  Every review written just automatically gets a 5-star or one big smiley emoticon, a trophy, a blue ribbon or something?  So that site policies and review guidelines cannot permit any review that isn't clearly promotional?  

 

(That's snarky; I know why not campaigning to do away with current rating system and policies -- it's because so many actual customers/readers would stop paying attention to or writing the things.  But, get real, if the one star reviews can be buried, hidden or removed -- is it really a 5-star scale running 1-5 or would it then be only a four star scale?)

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text 2016-07-31 00:20
Another butt hurt best-selling author wanks online

@AuthorAvaMiles has posted her "Love Letter to Mean Readers" on Facebook, whining that

 

When I put a book in the world, it’s like sending my child off to kindergarten.

 

 

And

 

But I’m deeply concerned how you as a collective contribute to other people not writing or doing something great because they see how people like you treat people like me.

 

 

And

 

Your words hurt. They’re another kind of bullying.

 

 

 

No, they are not bullying.  They may hurt, but they are not bullying.  Getting stood up for the prom hurts, too.  Are you going to write a "Love Letter to Mean Teen-aged Boys" over it?

 

Your books are not your children.  They just aren't.

 

Author Ava Miles is a best seller.  She has numerous books in print, with literally thousands of glowing reviews on Amazon.  (I didn't look anywhere else.)  She's good enough that Saint Nora Roberts allowed Miles to use her name in the title of Miles's best-selling Nora Roberts Land,  of which the Kindle edition is currently free and currently has 3,450 reviews, 84% of which are 4-5 stars, for an average of 4.3.

 

She has over 9,000 "likes" on her Facebook page.

 

But it's not enough.  It's just not enough, because someone out there, some handful of people, dared to criticize her books. They found grammatical errors, even though she's sure she didn't make as many as other people.  They didn't like the sex in her books or the curse words or whatever.

 

Oh.  My.  Fucking.  Goddess.  The inhumanity of it all.

I wish I had 3,450 reviews.  I wish I had 3,450 copies sold.  I wish, I wish, I wish.

 

I wish every author who self-published took the time to proofread.  I wish every author who self-published took the time to research.  I wish every author who self-published took the time to put out good product.

 

The reality is that they don't.  And some of them are going to get bad reviews.

 

Why am I writing this yet again?  Why am I not able to shut up and be nice/kind/gentle/silent?  I know perfectly well that my outspokenness has had a price.  I know that there are people who probably hate my guts, would never even look at one of my books, and would gladly block me on Facebook with the same glee that Goodreads banned me, and I don't care.

 

I don't care, because I value my integrity more than I value book sales.  (Thank you, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.)

 

I can't afford a professional editor; I have to rely on myself.  I can't afford a professional proofreader; I don't trust them anyway.  My cover art is digital, legally licensed from a fellow seller on Etsy; I added the text myself via Photoshop.  All that said, I wrote for my own sheer joy in writing and if someone wants to find fault, well, they have that right.  I hope they'll buy it and enjoy it and like it, but if not, well, them's the breaks.

 

"You takes our money, you gets our comments," as Ridley so famously said.  (Or maybe it was opinions, or reviews, but whatever; I'm close.)

 

When a best selling author whines about negative comments, however, I see red.  I think of the late Liberace's famous line about crying all the way to the bank.  If you don't like negative comments, don't put yourself out there in public.  Shut down your social media presence and shut your mouth.  People do indeed, as you yourself said, Ava Miles, have a right to their opinions.  And when you have a public Facebook page, when you let your private email address be known, you had better be prepared for the bad as well as the good, because you've had a very healthy dose of the good.  As in good money.

 

And remember when you post your whiny little wankfests that there are other writers who would give their first-born novel to have what you have.

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text 2015-04-10 15:29
It boggles the mind: An update on arrogance, hypocrisy, and deceit

http://lindahilton.booklikes.com/post/977093/when-arrogance-hypocrisy-and-deceit-all-come-together-in-one-place

 

Self-publishing author Sandy Nathan, who calls reviewers stupid and tells them how to review, who buys reviews and perhaps Amazon up-votes on fiverr, is a Vine Voice preferred reviewer on Amazon.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Reflections-Prayers-Heart-Year-Old/product-reviews/1499632401/ref=cm_cr_pr_btm_link_2?ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=1&sortBy=recent&reviewerType=all_reviews&formatType=all_formats&filterByStar=all_stars&pageNumber=

2

 

 

"Vine Voice" reviewers are selected by Amazon and invited into the program.  The invitation is based at least in part on the reviewer's ranking, especially on how "helpful" their reviews are.  At least that's what Amazon says; the actual process of selection remains . . . mysterious.

 

Amazon Vine invites the most trusted reviewers on Amazon to post opinions about new and pre-release items to help their fellow customers make informed purchase decisions. Amazon invites customers to become Vine Voices based on their reviewer rank, which is a reflection of the quality and helpfulness of their reviews as judged by other Amazon customers.  (http://www.amazon.com/gp/vine/help)

 

Since it's very possible Sandy Nathan was buying "helpful" votes from fiverr sellers, was she essentially buying her way into the Vine program?  (Nathan has, apparently, been a Vine Voice reviewer since 2012, so it's not likely she used fiverr votes to get into the program, but it's possible.)

 

That "Vine Voice" label, along with other marks of Amazon reviewer status such as numerical ranking, implies a certain stamp of approval by Amazon that the review and the reviewer are somehow a little more credible than the average "Kindle Customer" or other screen name chosen by the reviewer.  After all, "Vine Voice" reviewers are chosen by Amazon,  One can't apply to be a Vine Voice reviewer; there are no auditions.

 

Even if the review written isn't of a Vine product, the review still shows the reviewer's tag of "Vine Voice."

 

I found Sandy Nathan's above review quite by accident last night.  After the news of Amazon's lawsuit against a supplier of fake product reviews was announced a few days ago, I went to check on some of the fiverr reviewers I'd tagged months ago.  Many had been removed from Goodreads, but none, not a single one, had ever been removed from Amazon.  I wasn't the only person reporting them, but still, nothing happened.

 

So last night I just went to the Amazon.com page and keyed in the name of an author I knew had been buying fiverr reviews and who was himself a fiverr reviewer, Michael Beas.  You can see my Booklikes report on Mr. Beas's relationship with fiverr here.

 

The first of Mr. Beas's books to come up on Amazon was Reflections: Prayers from the heart of a 14 year old boy.  As I skimmed down through the reviews written for this book last summer and fall, I recognized a lot of the old familiar fiverr account names:  Chloe H, R. Coker, Stan Law (who bought lots and lots and lots of fiverr reviews).  I wasn't shocked to see Sandy Nathan's name, because I already knew she was affiliated with fiverr as a buyer of reviews and other stuff, and because I knew she wrote in a shall we say spiritual vein. 

 

What did surprise me, however, was that "Vine Voice" seal of Amazon approval attached to her name.

 

In the wake of the recent lawsuit filed by Amazon against a company that sold "fake" product reviews, there's been additional attention given to Amazon's own policies on reviewing.

 

Two specific policies appear to apply to the Sandy Nathan "Vine Voice" situation.  I'll address the second one first, since it's more relative to what I've already posted.

 

Paid Reviews – We do not permit reviews or votes on the helpfulness of reviews that are posted in exchange for compensation of any kind, including payment (whether in the form of money or gift certificates), bonus content, entry to a contest or sweepstakes, discounts on future purchases, extra product, or other gifts.

The sole exception to this rule is when a free or discounted copy of a physical product is provided to a customer up front. In this case, if you offer a free or discounted product in exchange for a review, you must clearly state that you welcome both positive and negative feedback. If you receive a free or discounted product in exchange for your review, you must clearly and conspicuously disclose that fact. Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are already labeled, so additional disclosure is not necessary.

 

Reviews from the Amazon Vine program are designated by a green line (which I can't personally verify because I didn't take the time to go looking for a verified Vine Voice green lined review), but all reviews by a Vine Voicer receive that tag.  How many Amazon review readers are aware of the distinction?

 

Furthermore, however, if Amazon does not permit helpful votes to be purchased, what is their mechanism for verifying that?  How is anyone supposed to know that any given reviewer -- Vine Voice or not -- has achieved their ranking via legitimate votes or via purchased votes?

 

It should be noted, also, that fiverr.com has apparently cracked down somewhat on Gigs(r) openly offering such votes for sale, whether they are "like" votes on Facebook or Twitter or other sites, as they violate the Terms of Service on those sites.  No one has any way of knowing, of course, how many such votes anyone has already purchased.  Again, it is possible that Sandy Nathan purchased the votes that put her into the Vine Program and gave her reviews the added weight of credibility.

 

But there is another part of the Amazon review guidelines that applies to this situation.

  • Promotional Reviews – In order to preserve the integrity of Customer Reviews, we do not permit artists, authors, developers, manufacturers, publishers, sellers or vendors to write Customer Reviews for their own products or services, to post negative reviews on competing products or services, or to vote on the helpfulness of reviews. For the same reason, family members or close friends of the person, group, or company selling on Amazon may not write Customer Reviews for those particular items.

As an author, Sandy Nathan is not permitted by Amazon to post a negative review of a competing product.  Although Amazon used to specify that authors could not post negative reviews of other books in their own genre, the parameters were never spelled out.  Could an author of historical romances write negative reviews of contemporary romances?  Could an author of academic non-fiction write negative reviews of popular fiction? 

 

As a Vine Voice reviewer, however, Nathan is supposed to be scrupulously honest.  Well, we should all be at least reasonably honest, but for those bearing the Vine Voice tag, you would think a higher level of honesty on reviews was in order.  Of course it is quite possible that Sandy Nathan reviewed Michael Beas's because it's in the same sortof spiritual category that she writes in, but she's required by the Amazon guideline posted above to give a positive review . . . or none at all.  She can't, if she wants to abide by the review guidelines, be honest.  And yet honesty is required of Vine Voicers.

 

Amazon has filed suit against a supplier of paid, fake reviews.  It looks like maybe Amazon should either stop throwing stones from their own glass house, or sue themselves.

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