WARNING!! THIS POST CONTAINS MULTIPLE GRATUITOUS LINKS.
Last week was a bit of a wild week. Wolfskin was on blog tour, I started a new WIP (Blackfoot), and Spindle started a month-long stint in Netgalley (not, it has to be said, with particularly glowing reviews). Then, toward the end of the week, Angst! and Drama! But more about that later.
Wolfskin got some really lovely reviews from C.J. Anaya, Jax of Bea’s Book Nook, Sage of Coffee & All Things Random, Maghon of Happy Tails & Tales, Mariela of Just Us Books, and Ashley of Book Nerd’s Paradise. I was given more than a few delightful comments upon the beautiful cover (thanks Joleene!) and overall Wolfskin‘s reception was very positive.
Meanwhile, over on Goodreads and Netgalley, I was discovering just how tough of a crowd Netgalley reviewers are. From them, I learned that a reviewer can love a book and its characters, and want to read the others in the series, and still rate the book at three stars. Whew! That’s when I knew I was in for it 😀 From them I also received my first one-star review! I’m not quite sure whether to be happy I’ve got it now and don’t need to be always dreading it, or whether to be shattered that it’s on my newest book, Spindle. Regardless, the not-so-wonderful reviews have somehow managed to rid me of (most of) my fear of the review process. Some people are just not going to like my book. Some people will rate low. It’s something I don’t need to be afraid of. And the reviews have my no means been all bad: the three-star reviews have been thoughtful and well-written, and there were four stars in there as well.
Back at Wolfskin‘s blog tour, I was being interviewed on not one, not two, but four blogs! Basically, if there is anything you want to know about me and my books (from favourite books to thoughts on fairytales to preference for chocolate or icecream) you can find it out on any of these lovely websites: A.F.E. Smith’s Reflections of Reality, Sandra Fairbrother’s Blog, Kimber Leigh Writes, and Jess Watkins’ A Book Addict’s Bookshelves.
Over on Netgalley, Spindle was still jostling for position with Terry Pratchett’s World of Poo on page 11 of Most Requested in Science Fiction/Fantasy.
And then #Plot Twist I got An Email.
It said something like: “Hi. I thought you might like to know that someone is suggesting that you buy reviews” and included a link to an author’s Goodreads blog.
Well. Naturally, I followed the link. And found that the author of the blog had posted a letter they received after doing what I had done earlier- approaching some of Amazon’s Top 100 Reviewers for reviews. This letter purported to be from one of the same reviewers I had approached, and in the plainest of terms, it told the author that he would be glad to review his/her work- for a price. Namely 1 review for $XX, 2 for $XXX, etc. All apparently for his charity of choice.
Cue me feeling physically sick to my stomach. You see, the email I received from the same reviewer had said that he would be glad to review me. It was only after that, that he said he had a charity he would love donations for, and would I mind checking it out. He stated in no uncertain terms that it would not affect his review. I checked out the charity, found it to be for a good cause (library for kids) and trusting that Amazon wouldn’t allow dodgy business under their aegis, I donated (as I do to many other causes).
It was VERY different from the email this other author had received. And that’s when things became rather nasty. This other author then listed ALL THE AUTHORS who had been reviewed by the Top 100 reviewer (myself included) with the very broad suggestion that we had all paid for our reviews, and that the Top 100 reviewer had a reason to make sure we all succeeded.
Cue me throwing up in the bathroom.
One author, playing judge, jury, and executioner with my writing career. Thanks for that, mate. I appreciate it.
I don’t know whether this reviewer is taking money for reviews. I know I didn’t pay for any of my reviews. I left a message on the blog post, but by morning the whole thing had vanished from Goodreads. I still don’t know whether this reviewer was running a scam (it looks AWFULLY like it) but I do know that I was left feeling as though I’d been made a fool of. More, that I’d been tarred with a brush that I didn’t deserve, and that could kill my career before it even started.
I can’t even get the reviews removed, which means I’ll always be connected to it. Please, please guys- be careful what you say about your fellow authors. You don’t know that it’s true, and you don’t know the damage you can do.
It makes me appreciate all the wonderful authors out there that support and help one another (and me!) Toward the end of the week I had the lovely surprise of finding that the talented and much-celebrated A.F.E. Smith had been so kind as to mention my murder-mystery fairytale Masque in her list of Top 5 books containing Fantasy & Murder. A.F.E. has been on her own blog tour with her newly-released Fantasy Novel Darkhaven, and has been busily promoting other SFF authors in her blog tour like the delightful lady she is. Cheers, A.F.E!
A big thanks to all the others out there who have encouraged and shared and cheered, too. Thanks especially to: Kate Stradling, Ingrid Seymour, CJ Anaya, J. Ellen Ross, J.J. Sherwood, and Karataratacus. You guys have been fun and encouraging and so generous with your shares! I appreciate you all!
And thanks to everyone who shared this week of ups and downs with me (especially Sis and the Hubby, who put up with all the whining and pouting and upchuck). It’s been a somehow wonderful week. Also thanks for putting up with a 1000 word blog post 😀