The Review Kerfluffle and Other Stories

Well, it’s been a long month since my last blog post and a lot continues to happen in the world of e-publishing.

Most recently is this article, which I must tell you up front is a slanderous bunch of garbage in the cases I know about personally. I can’t be certain none of the authors on the list are guilty but of those I know, I don’t believe they would do such a thing. Further undermining any credibility of the article’s writer is 1) his or her anonymity and 2) the fact that some of the accused do not even have 500 reviews, yet he/she accuses them of buying reviews by the 500-lot. http://zonalert.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/the-fiverr-report-on-melissa-foster-fake-reviews-fake-awards-fake-everything/comment-page-1/#comment-65

Here is some extended commentary from some of the authors, other authors, and users of KBoards. http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,162910.0.html

So hopefully that will all blow over soon and no one will believe it. Even better is if the blogger would be outed. In any case, it seems as if he/she has some kind of axe to grind.

The there’s the new Kindle Matchbook option that those who publish through CreateSpace now have. In short, it allows you to bundle an ebook into your print book offering, as long as you set the ebook price to half or less of its normal cost. Some shortsighted authors (but no readers) seem to think this is a bad idea and more race for the pricing bottom, but Amazon does not do things unless it’s good for the bottom line – and since their sales are our sales, if this helps sales, I’m for it. It seems to me that if readers want it, and it entices readers to two sales instead of one, at a discount, it will both put money in our pockets and make readers happier.

For those of us who patronize Goodreads, good news. This blogger doesn’t think it’s good news, but I believe he misses the point. The new policy allows GR to delete “reviews” that address author behavior rather than the book. Now, I am not defending badly behaving authors, but unless that behavior directly applies to their book (e.g., and autobiography) it really should be almost irrelevant. The book is the book. the work should stand on its own. Shall we punish Hunter Thompson because he was a drunken drug-crazed psycho, or Hemingway for misogynistic tendencies, or Mark Twain because he undoubtedly uttered and used the N-word in historical context?  http://www.the-digital-reader.com/2013/09/20/goodreads-announces-new-content-policy-now-deletes-reviews-mention-author-behavior/

The blogger thinks they have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, but from what I have seen, what they have really done is thrown a whole bunch of mob-attack babies out with some mildly dirty bathwater, a housecleaning that needed doing. Sure, a there will be some broken eggs in this omelet. Unless Amazon, GR’s new owner, were to hire hundreds of moderators to go through millions of past posts in detail and make value judgments, they have to take a pretty blunt knife to cut away the rot. Some legit stuff is going to get cut along with the corruption. At the end of the day, though, GR should be more about the books and the reading experience than about the personalities of the authors or the readers themselves. Suppressing some of the worst of the personal attacks by removing these “reviews” that have little to do with the book itself has to be done, to restore GR’s credibility.

Next topic. there have been a number of anti-ebooks or anti-digital rants and events lately, from Robert Patterson’s well-known stunts including donating $1m to promote independent bookstores (despite the fact that indie bookstores are doing just fine, thank you – it’s the big box stores like Borders (RIP) and B&N that are hurting) to Franzen’s complaints against Amazon http://www.teleread.com/authors/franzen-preaches-the-amazon-apocalypse/  to ones like this: http://www.idealog.com/blog/dont-blame-amazon-facebook-twitter-fact-technology-changes-behavior/ Although I don’t agree with the writer’s idea that opting out of technologies is inherently antisocial, I do agree that these technologies should not terrify us. The ones most afraid of disruptive technologies are those who are heavily invested, that is, money-wise, in old ones. But this is the way the world works, folks, and there is nothing inherently evil or good in a new technology. It’s just tools, folks, and new tools also provide new opportunities. I know ebooks and self-publishing sure provided me some opportunities.

Here’s another one, where a well-known writer seems to have been stealing from fanfiction for YEARS. Despite the blogger’s support for this “author,” the evidence seems damning. Whole teams of people have apparently now dug up reams of near-exact plagiarism. You be the judge.

And now an update on what some of you have been waiting for, the latest, last and final Plague Wars book, Comes the Destroyer. I can tell you that it has finally been drafted. I only have a few tweaks and finishing touches to put on it, and it came in at about 120K words. For those of you for which that is meaningless, think 500 pages. Fairly hefty. That’s why it took a month longer than I had expected, but I believe it will be worth it for all you readers. I am hoping to get it published in two to three weeks, depending on how long beta-readers and proofreaders take, so figure somewhere around the 10th of October.

After that I will be working on Tactics of Conquest, which is the next in the Stellar Conquest series. That book might be the end of that series, making it a trilogy. Or, because the two series can be viewed as one long series sharing characters, TOC might be viewed as Book 10 of the whole thing. It’s up to you. You keep reading, and I’ll keep writing.

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One comment on “The Review Kerfluffle and Other Stories

  1. Thanks for so many good news, David!
    I like the matchbook idea, and I am so happy for the changed policy at GR. I truly disliked that place, didn’t add my last two books there, and wished I could delete the first two. Such a hostile community. Let’s hope it’ll be over soon.
    And congrats on the new book. Wish you good luck, as always.

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