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message 1: by David (new)

David Santos (authordas) This is why I dont send out any...well many copies. I did send one to some female her name escapes me, but she did say it may take awhile so. I can't harass her about it.

Now your situation ticks me of, because an agreement is kinda like a verbal contract meaning if she doesn't do her end of the deal she could get sued or her blog. I don't know the technical terms for it, but it's possible.

Im very careful with who i give my copies too and I always send the PDF file, if their going to...lack for a better term screw me over, at least it didnt cost me any money.

message 2: by Rejean (new)

Rejean Giguere | 1 comments I would say that about half the book reviewers I sent copies of DreamWeaver to actually did a review. Therefore, I struck the non-reviewers off the list for Merlin.

But it's tough finding reviewers. Especially for Merlin which is really a "Guy's" book, and so many reviewers are women.

message 3: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I agree. It is hard to find reviewers. Asking for a review is not the same as asking for a line-for-line edit, though. There are a few out there who don't seem to know the difference. Now we all have had our work edited, but despite the rewrites (in my case, my first book took 13!) we all miss a thing or two. Even the editors who work for the major commercial publishers are not immune to mistakes. I can't think of the last time I read a book from a well-known author that didn't have a typo or two!

Indie Authors need to be especially aware of editor trolls, who offer book reviews as a means of securing editing work. Not every review is honest or well-written, either. My best advice: do your research. Know who is reviewing your work, and be sure to see what they have done in your genre, with other titles. Forewarned is forearmed... or something like that.

message 4: by David (new)

David Santos (authordas) Yea just read a goosebumps book where a puncuation mark was missing, I was so happy to find it hahba

message 5: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I read a scholarly historic fiction book a few months back where gold was mentioned as a light metal -- not a light colored metal -- a light metal.

How that passed the editors I can't imagine, but it's that kind of thing that somehow doesn't slow down a read at all, when the book comes from a mainstream publisher. On the other hand, if it is found in an Indie book, it becomes an "AHA!" moment: "See what junk self-pubbed books are!" The table is seriously tilted. It's not a level competition at all. It's not book v.s. book on their own merit, and Indie Authors need to realize that when planning to market.

My main review gripe is that the book media has been so spoonfed by the publishing industry for so many years, they can't really find their way out of the paper bag they're hiding in to see the meal spread out before them with a wealth of variety and rich, satisfying writing.

Happy Thanksgiving!

message 6: by Jim (last edited Dec 09, 2011 07:13AM) (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments I guess I'll join in the horror stories and warnings.

1) "Victorine Lieske" - Been trying to warn everyone away from her. She's an author who runs a website on the side to "help" other authors. She approached me about reviewing my book, with the additional offer of advice on cover text/art updates to improve sales. Sounds good in theory. Instead, she posted a scathing "THIS SUCKS" article on her website, which was then yes-manned by her audience. The complaints had nothing to do with the book, its cover, etc, though they claimed it did. Half the things they said I thought were another book. When I approached her about the deception, she told me that she was helping and my sales would skyrocket. Needless to say, she killed my sales for a week. When I politely pointed that out to her, she blocked me. She hides the name of the blog behind a address so authors who (like me) don't research her fully don't know what they're getting into. Actual website is:

2) "Rachel" here on Goodreads. Not sure how to link to her, but she's the scathing review one line review of my book. I put up a Goodreads giveaway, making darn sure it was VERY clear in the description that it was for epic fantasy. The winner received the book (200k word book btw) and within 2hrs posted a 1-star "I hate this" review. We're all entitled to our opinions...but... She has since posted dozens of 5-stars for romance and zombie novels and a bunch of other 1-stars for everything else. Guess she missed the fantasy part. The reason she made it onto my watch list was that when asked by other readers what she actually didn't like about the book, she refused to answer, instead preferring to just keep repeating that she hated it (but not WHY). That actually got me a bunch of sales, but it's still annoying to have that troll 1-star.

3) Had a few websites request a copy for review...receive it...then email me and say they're not going to review it. Of course, now they have free copies of the book and I don't have a review. :p Still arguing with a few so not quite ready to give out names.

message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I just posted a blog entry about reviews and reviewers on my site,

There are lots of readers out there in the cyber-soup with nothing but time on their hands and the shaky belief that their opinion is of some extremely high value. Unfortunately, they often make their homes beneath bridges we must cross over...

message 8: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments I've said for a while that I wish GR would give us a "This is a troll" button. If enough people press it, the user's picture turns to the standard internet meme pic of the troll for a few days.

message 9: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments What a concept! Serves the forums really well -- of course, one man's troll maybe another man's superhero. What we need are Troll Squad police appointments....

On second thought, maybe not.

message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 25 comments Not sure if this is the most appropriate place for this bit of info, but I thought it might be useful to others. I know that several others have had people who didn't read their books give them bad ratings, but I just had another author give one of my books 2 stars and state in the review that she didn't read the book. She posted this review on Amazon, Goodreads, Librarything and several other places. When I looked up her other reviews she has a pattern of doing this to other authors.

She won the copy of my book through a Librarything giveaway, so I don't think that I could do anything about it but wanted others to be aware. Maybe we could brainstorm ways to combat the issue on this forum. I don't mind the occasional negative review because I know that my books aren't for everyone. However, I don't like other authors behaving like trolls because it gives all of us a bad image.

If anyone has ideas on how to work on this issue of trolls in general, I'd love to discuss and work on a solution.

message 11: by D.L. (new)

D.L. Morrese (dl_morrese) | 8 comments We need reviewers and we need honest reviews. I had a weird one recently though. I just started getting reviews on my first book (2 5's and a 4 on Amazon) and I saw one on Goodreads that was a 1. I really wanted to know why but there was no review and the person (no profile and no picture) had only one book on her read list, mine. It was as if she set up the account specifically to dislike my book.

message 12: by Amy (new)

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 25 comments D. L., That's definitely odd.

I think it would be difficult to get rid of the trolls, but maybe we can help each other out by exchanging books and doing honest reviews for one another so that the reviews by trolls get buried.

message 13: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I was in a huge hurry to obtain reviews, when my first novel was released in 2009. I approached the industry review stalwarts and was mostly turned away, citing the lack of a recognized publisher, but Midwest Book Review gave it a good review, to my surprise. After that, it took a while to learn the difference between a scholastic book report and a proper review. I also had top learn to be careful with reciprocal reviews. The writer I had agreed with finished his review first, before I had even a chance to read his book. I meant to read it, of course, not just skim through and re-compile his blurb. It really needed both a proofreader and a decent editorial once-over, and when I told him I didn't want to put anything up with less than three stars, but I would be happy to send him critique notes, he refused and got angry. It was a hard lesson. I felt guilty for months afterwards.

Since then, I've been more careful and sought reviews only when I'm sure the reviewer is a reviewer and not a troll (I STILL GET IT WRONG. occasionally!), and at least enjoys my niche genre.

My first book now has thirteen reviews on Amazon and a few on B&N, Smashwords and Kobo. My second has not had the success (as far as reviews go) of the first, but I'm hopeful. What has been encouraging is that several of the reviews for both books have been spontaneous, not requested, so I endeavor to persevere... or something.

I agree with Amy, though; getting even never works, especially in a public forum. Discussion and honesty are the only tools we have.

message 14: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 47 comments Jim wrote: "I guess I'll join in the horror stories and warnings.

1) "Victorine Lieske" - Been trying to warn everyone away from her. She's an author who runs a website on the side to "help" other authors. Sh..."

Purely out of curiosity, is this what you described as scathing/THIS SUCKS?

Or did she replace an original review?

message 15: by Doc (new)

Doc (doc_coleman) | 55 comments I looked at the reviews on As reviews, they aren't very good. She has a bunch of boilerplate info, but when it come down to forming an opinion she almost inevitably says "The cover sucks. Re-do the cover." No in depth commentary and no apparent effort to read more than the first 300 words of the book that needed to be pasted into the review.

Maybe some folks find that useful, but to me it looks like someone trying to establish themselves as an expert without actually having to know anything, or do any work.


message 16: by Jim (last edited Dec 13, 2011 05:30AM) (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments She's cleaned up the wording as it was harsher originally, but Doc has it about right. "Cover/back text sucks, fix it." Doesn't go into the details and rarely seems to have actually done more than glance at the book. Then you get a few pages of her followers b*tching about the book, with no decent feedback. Totally not what she tells people when she emails them asking to "review."

Though there were a LOT more nasty comments originally. There was an entire series of them commenting how my pirates on the boat weren't pirates, no boat.

message 17: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 47 comments There are a number of sites out there that work on being helpful by pointing out what doesn't work. Using them successfully does take being open to unvarnished criticism, but can grant some publicity in exchange. It's a pity it sounds like you got caught up in some sort of comment-posting error that diminished the usefulness of the site for you, but I felt what's posted now is not particularly harsh and seems meant to be encouraging, at least.

I will say that it seems extremely unlikely that particular post somehow hurt your sales. It really is true that even a negative review can sell books, if it reaches enough people (which I'm not sure that site does), and a truly scathing one, with many details, can sell LOTS of books, ESPECIALLY if you react gracefully. (Type 'Pregnesia' into a search engine sometime. Then try 'The Greek Seamen'.) Negative reviews, being so much harder to find, seem to trigger curiosity.

Doc-- it looks to me like somebody offering a chance for increased exposure and multiple sets of eyes to a book that simply isn't selling, in an attempt to diagnose why it isn't selling. I should probably use it for my Nightlights: Disintegration novella, which has had 2 sales since launch :-)

I understand what she's doing, though-- the focus on the cover and the first 300 words is emulating what a reader does when they're scanning a bookshelf looking for something to read. Front cover, back cover, first page. If Jim wasn't having a problem selling his book, the site probably had nothing to offer him.

For reference, one reason I investigated this (besides a general tendency to dig deeper) is because while I've never spoken to or read Victorine Leiske, I did recognize her name: she's one of THE bestselling indie authors. Not at Amanda Hocking's level but the next tier down.

(This may not matter to you. That's fine. I'm just explaining why I knew the name enough to wonder about her alleged behavior.)

message 18: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments No worries. She may sell well, but her handling of the situation is why she's on my warning list. She was misleading in what she was offering, then downright accusatory when I asked why I was misled.

Good writer, but not a fun person to communicate with and not someone I'd work with again.

I am glad to see she got rid of the trolling comments on it. Would have been nice if she'd told me that instead of cutting off communication when I asked whether this was the norm for her postings.

message 19: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments You got me wondering, so I took a look at the blogspot site. I probably would have done the cover differently, even if the illustration was left the same. The typography did nothing to help sell the content, IMHO, and a tighter crop might convey some of the threat/conflict, better. Beyond the cover art, I also counted the word "war" five times in the description. Now a descriptive blurb has gotta carry the desperation of the MC's situation in it, by virtue of how it moves along. The overuse of this word, plays down its significance. I would also recommend a tie-in the the name of the book, to reinforce the figurative "question" the title poses, and some kind of answer which a reader must buy the book to figure out. "War" alone is not enough personal conflict to motivate this buyer, but that's just my own take on it.

message 20: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments Old cover layout, old cover text. Already been dealt with. :)

message 21: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments Sorry I was late to the party, but glad it's been sorted out. Still, I agree, there are better ways to make suggestions. Too many times reviewers forget that is all they are offering, a suggestion from their own opinion.

message 22: by R.P. (new)

R.P. Dahlke (rpdahlke) | 43 comments OMG! I love this... someone else who calls these so-called reviewers "trolls", and not the cute kind Amanda Hocking writes about either. As a mystery writer, reader and reviewer, I simply don't get what's with these people. I think of them as trolls because nothing tickles a troll better than malicious mischief. I just wish we could find a way to tweak their ugly noses. My way of retaliation is to read as many e-books by Indie mystery authors who've been scat-smacked by these creatures.Because these are wonderful books, I was happy to be able to post very favorable reviews: Dead Wood by Dani Amore, Night Game by Carol Davis Luce. I'm working my way a TBR list that includes, Ties that Bind by Carolyn Arnold and the Desert Waits by J. Carson Black. BTW: I've posted some info on the KDP select program here under Polls. Good info on the subject that is giving some of us authors fits as we try to understand the program.

message 23: by R.P. (new)

R.P. Dahlke (rpdahlke) | 43 comments Hot-damn! Another uppity woman! My motto is, and has been for some time, "Well behaved women rarely make history."

I'm always surprised that when I call someone on their bad behavior, they say, "Who me?"

message 24: by R.P. (new)

R.P. Dahlke (rpdahlke) | 43 comments D.L. wrote: "We need reviewers and we need honest reviews. I had a weird one recently though. I just started getting reviews on my first book (2 5's and a 4 on Amazon) and I saw one on Goodreads that was a 1. I..."

Oh, yeah. These are rampant all over Amazon. Amazon allows people to put up a pen-name for their reviews and keep it anymous and keep you from finding out who they are. I've responded with a "thanks for taking the time to read my book. If you have found errors that should be addressed, I'd love to hear about it." I gv them my e-mail address and never hear from them again. This is a power trip for some people. Ugly but true.

message 25: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 47 comments People who take 5s for granted but are always shocked and hurt by a 1 kind of amaze me. It's the same mindset producing lots of 5s that produces 1s: people who operate on a binary scale of 'loved it' or 'hated it'. People aren't concerned about what it will do to the author or the author's sales in either case, and they're right not to be. Most readers want to feel free to express their opinions (possibly through a simple star rating) without coming into contact with the author, and they're very much entitled to that. It isn't nice, but 'nice' is what charities rely on, not businesses.

message 26: by Amy (new)

Amy Neftzger (neftzger) | 25 comments All reviews should be honest, even if the reviewer operates on a binary system. However, the reviews should be made on books that the person has actually read. Reviewing a book you haven't read or when you've only read a few pages is dishonest whether the review was favorable of unfavorable.

Neflix once had a system where each reviewer was rated in terms of similarity to the user. This feature was particularly useful in helping me to find movies I liked because I could weight reviews accordingly and figure out which reviews I was most likely to agree with and which ones I wouldn't. A system like this for books would be very helpful, but is probably cumbersome to administer.

message 27: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments Actually, Google now parses your recurring search subjects and will soon have a book suggestion function in place as a stand alone, but that seems to actually reduce the complexity of the world of available titles, doesn't it? As far as review techniques, I will post a review of a book if I have enjoyed it, often despite some minor issues. If I'm asked for a review and can't offer a decent one, I'll offer the writer my notes on it.

As a writer, while I believe in honing and polishing a product for the market, I also believe very strongly, that I will write MY book, not a reviewer's book, not an editor's book. If they want to write their books, they should get busy on the keyboard. Of course, I hope the books I write will find eager readers, but I'm not Amanda Hocking, and I don't expect those kinds of numbers.

message 28: by Joseph (new)

Joseph Badal (badalbooksgmailcom) | 15 comments Well said.

message 29: by Meg (new)

Meg X. (sirens) Amy wrote: "Not sure if this is the most appropriate place for this bit of info, but I thought it might be useful to others. I know that several others have had people who didn't read their books give them ba..."

Some people live their lives to be negative and tear the new authors down. I ran into one of them too. Negative review is one thing, but posting the bad review everywhere in order to sabotage the author’s reputation is purely malicious. Karma will catch up with them.

message 30: by Chrysoula (last edited Jan 05, 2012 11:54PM) (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 47 comments So, I am starting to feel that these 'Buyer Beware' remarks need to come with some evidence or documentation other than a rant about mistreatment.

For example, the Christina mentioned above has an average rating of 3.94 here on Goodreads. She's got 31 reviews on Amazon and the scores range from a few 1s to many 3-5s. Rating-wise, she doesn't come across as a troll.

She gave Meg's book a 2, and her review ( shows some markers of trying to at least be kind; she calls out good bits and tries to be encouraging even when she doesn't enjoy the book herself.

If you don't think she's trying to be kind, let me direct you to the reviews of Goodreads users 'Kat Kennedy' and 'Kira', among others. (Those are links to their worst-of shelves; like most reviewers they also have books they love.)

So please, if you're going to post a Beware here, it would be useful if you would link to the review (or website if a review was promised but not posted) that prompted the post. Everybody is going to have their own tolerance for negativity from a reviewer and if you actually want to educate fellow authors on reviewer tendencies (rather than, say, get the reviewer blacklisted as punishment for a less-than-positive review), it is most helpful if other authors don't have to go digging to understand what you're talking about.

message 31: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I agree with Chrys. Snarky reviews are a given online, from time to time. If you ask for a review, and get one, it means someone took the time to read your work. If you are careful to research the pool of available reviewers, making sure that they read and enjoy the genre your book is targeted to, and reading some of their other reviews to get an idea of how they actually review, you'll feel a lot better at the end of the day.

I should also mention that it is important that you have had your work proofread before you submit it for review, as it doesn't help sales to have your propensity for poor comma choices put into a public review. I know from experience. Once a review is published, there's no going back, so be careful.

The Beware forum needs to be reserved for predators and sociopathic idiots if at all possible.

message 32: by Richard (new)

Richard Sutton (richardsutton) | 110 comments I once promised to write a review of a fellow author's book, but despite good characters and a reasonably tight plot, I couldn't get past the POV shifts, the syntax errors and general poor research in the writing.

I offered notes to the writer and didn't leave a review, so he could re-write it into a better book before it was reviewed. I would only wish that any reviewer would give me that courtesy!

message 33: by Chrysoula (new)

Chrysoula Tzavelas | 47 comments Thank you for the evidence. :-)

I will say my ultimate takeaway here is 'Don't rely on 17 year olds.' Just one of those general rules of thumb.

message 34: by Rachel (last edited Feb 26, 2012 02:00PM) (new)

Rachel Eliason (RachelEliason) Jim wrote: "Rachel" here on Goodreads. This Rachel:
By the way. Not me. :)!

If someone agrees to review a book, they should do so. If they don't like, they should explain why. Her review is incredibly vague. However not everyone is going to like your book. Some are going to give terribly reviews. we need to learn to take it on the chin, as it were. I try to give honest reviews and sometimes I honestly don't like a book. I've had an author try to argue with me on another site because they didn't like my review. Since then I don't reveal what I am reading most of the time and don't promise reviews until after I've read a book. As my mother always said if you don't have anything nice to say, keep your mouth shut.

message 35: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments Definitely a different Rachel. :)

message 36: by Jim (new)

Jim Galford (jgalford) | 16 comments Sadly, I must add one more to the list. This is a rough one. He's listed as a top/best reviewer, but while I'm not saying "OMG stay away from this one" I would warn people to be ready for some annoyance if you do deal with him.

"Ritesh Kala" - Asked me for a review copy via Creative Reviews. I told him I had already given away my allotment of freebies for a bit, but if he could do the review before the end of 2011, I would send him a copy. This was back in November.

Ritesh assured me that he could do the review by Jan 1st and pointed to his huge number of posted reviews as proof. I sent him the book.

December ends, no review. His page still shows 5% done on my book. I wait until near the end of January and contact him to see if maybe he just wasn't that into the book (it happens, no big deal).

He replies that he is still doing the review, forgot about the deadline, and is actually enjoying the book. Yay! He assures me it will be done in 1 week. 2 weeks later, I ask him what the situation is. He then tells me that an author sent him an ARC and so he's putting my book aside for 2 more weeks. Review promised for end of Feb.

March begins and his page still shows 5% done. Ugh. Pop him another message just asking how it's going and making sure he hadn't forgotten me (again). No reply, but he removes my book from his "currently reading" list.

Rude. Very very rude.

All he had to do was say, "Gosh, I'm (too busy/don't like it/etc) and I can't get the review done." Instead, I get the silent treatment and no review. Blargh.

message 37: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Coelho (sl_coelho) | 6 comments Carroll wrote: "The Bad.

As you may know, I have had a conflict with a couple of reviewers/bloggers ... I have actually today resolved one of those conflicts. The other? Well, no resolution has been found and i..."

Thanks for the friendly warning. We face an uphill battle to promote our books and build a platform without having those who would take advantage of our hard work. Thanks for posting this.

message 38: by Lanie (new)

Lanie Malone | 41 comments I put my book up for review through a goodreads group about a month ago and had several people sign up to review it. They got a free copy of course.

My question/ problem with all of it is that I have since looked at some of the profiles of the people who marked it as "to be read" and I have to wonder, just how long will it be before they get to it?

One guy has over 3,000 books in his TBR pile. Is it just me or does it seem like he got my book for free and it is unlikely that I will ever see a review from him?

And let's be honest, I'm not really looking for a review delivered next year and I doubt any other authors are either.

Am I being unreasonable in expecting more?

message 39: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Coelho (sl_coelho) | 6 comments No you're not being unreasonable. People like him are referred to as hoarders and the internet is rife with them and the 'drive-by' reviewer, who will leave a negative review (most without ever reading your work). May I suggest "Book Rooster" - there is a fee but it is less expensive than handing out all those free books (they provide their reviewers with an electronic copy) and you will receive reviews where someone has actually read your book. You cannot control the review and it will post on Amazon but it is better than spending a small fortune on paperbacks, only to have no one even look at them.
You are NOT out of line with your expectations. You have worked hard on your book, you have asked nicely for a review in exchange for a free book (which in essence is a contract, you have given something of monetary value for a 'service') you should receive a review. Best of luck.

message 40: by Lanie (new)

Lanie Malone | 41 comments Thankfully, they are all ebooks. So I'm not really losing any money. It's more the principle of the matter.

message 41: by S.L. (new)

S.L. Coelho (sl_coelho) | 6 comments Lanie wrote: "Thankfully, they are all ebooks. So I'm not really losing any money. It's more the principle of the matter."

You're right - If they make an agreement, it should be held up - you acted in good faith, so should they. I wonder if there is a formal complaint process authors can go through, so we don't fall victim to this sort of treatment on a regular basis?

message 42: by Lanie (new)

Lanie Malone | 41 comments I haven't heard of one if there is.

I'm just calling it a lesson learned and moving on. As I said before, I didn't actually lose any money, so it's really just more of an irritation.

message 43: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Llorca | 49 comments @David. There may be more to the story. I paid for a book that a guy asked me to review. I said 'don't send me a freebie. we need to support each other.' It took a good three months before I got to it but I wrote it (the book was good) and he thanked me. I have not gotten any reciprocals from him. Even a star. Another person made 3 or 4 attempts to send his MS to my Kindle and my mailboxes and I never got it. I don't know what a judge would be basing the damages on if someone were to sue.

Who said, "We are a litigious society"? Brings to mind the stuff about using photos found on pinterest or facebook.

Anyway, an electronic file is a limitless resource. Issue needs LOTS of exploring.

Outside Plumbing by Virginia Llorca

message 44: by Blair (new)

Blair Yeatts | 1 comments by Blair
book: This Madness of the Heart

Has anyone else had trouble with Goodreads giveaway scams? I gave away 10 free paperbacks of TMOTH when it came out last spring, and within a couple of days 8 of the 10 copies appeared on Amazon used bookdealers as brand new/like new. One person actually read it, liked it and left a review. I can't help wondering if the people signing up for free copies of giveaway books aren't necessarily readers . . . .

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