Nov 22 2007
Happy Thanksgiving Dear Author Readers. I came across a special tribute by one Patricia Cornwell to all her fans and had to share it.
I saw on David J. Montgomery’s website a message from Patricia Cornwell making a call to her fans to contact everyone they know and strong arm them into leaving her positive feedback on etailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble because apparently she cannot believe that the people who have left negative reviews actually dislike her work.
Montgomery is a crime fiction reviewer/critiquer/commentator who has written for Chicago Sun-Times, Washington Post, Philadelphia Inquirer and Boston Globe. He says that Cornwell’s latest effort, Book of the Dead, is “just dull, silly and pointless, with unappealing characters and run-of-the-mill lousy prose. Giving it a one-star review is generous.”
Apparently he is one of the cabal that is coordinated by “someone or a group of someones” to attack her through reviews.
We have reason to suspect that someone (or a group of someones) might be mobilizing people to attack me through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, etc., to hurt my sales and reputation.
Patricia Cornwell graciously provides instructions to the reading world at large on how to best counteract a nefarious conspiracy to discredit an author’s writing ability.
Step 1. Make a call to all your fans and ask them to contact all their friends to gird up their fingers with the swords of truth.
So here is what I’m asking. Would you please encourage your friends and those you have contact with that if they like Book of the Dead, to please spread the word, and if so inclined, to please post their reviews on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Step 2. Provide detailed instruction on a) how to post a positive review and b) how to rate the negative reviews as unhelpful. Emphasize how easy it is to do this despite in some cases the requirement that the reader or friend will HAVE TO BUY A BOOK to post a positive review. It is still really easy. And for a totally worthy cause. And it only costs $9.99. And this Thanksgiving, Ronco will send you two Ginzu knifes for the price of one good review.
It’s easy to do. For Amazon.com, if you already have an account, you can post a review. Otherwise, open an account by buying a book. You can also check the boxes of other reviews to say you disagree or did not find their review helpful, if this is so. Barnes and Noble does not appear to require any account for posting reviews.
Step 3. Suggest that a high ranking government official cares enough about your career to organize a concerted etailer effort so that all the anti-Bushies and conspiracy theorists rush to your aid. Make sure you include more than one spelling error to show how grateful you are for having editors and to invoke a famous Democrat saying: “it takes a village.”
Over the past week there were about fifty bad reviews posted for a book that has gotten the highest reviews for any book I have ever written. If you see what I am saying. Interstingly [sic], this all started right after a Pentagon high official tried to get me to make a pro Bush, pro war appearance on an aircraft carrier and I refused, politely, a photo opportunity to contradict what is in my novel! Not to mention my battle over Ruth Graham’s burial. Suddenly, I am getting a barage [sic] of reviews discouraging people from buying my book, though there are some good ones as of today because my supporters are chiming in.
Step 4. Describe any detractors as hateful (as if suggesting that the detractors are puppets of the Pentagon is not enough) thereby suggesting that those who don’t love the author and don’t do as the author asks are the reindeer who wouldn’t let poor Rudolph play in any reindeer games. And who wants to be a Rudolph hater?
Right now I need my supporters. I am not asking you to write anything you do not mean. But why should hateful people be the only ones heard?
Step 5. Remind people to read the book, encourage others to read it, and to post their honest feelings about it. As long as those honest feelings meet the above state criteria.
You and your friends can help by reading the book, encouraging others to read it, and posting their feelings about it – honest feelings.
Step 6. Post it at your website so that all the internet can read along and be encouraged not to be part of the hateful cabal under the control of the Pentagon.
I realize I have not been a good fan. I’ve not been trolling my favorite author’s amazon listings. I have not posted reviews on Amazon to counteract negative ones. I have not been rating negative reviews as unhelpful.
I think it is time for fans to make a gut check. Already buying hardcover copies on the release date and not before so that your favorite author can make the bestseller list? Turning your favorite author’s books face out instead of spine out? Going forth to blogs and message boards in groups to defend your favorite author’s honor? That is no longer enough.
If you are a real fan, you should post a positive review on Amazon and vote all negative reviews (anything with 3 stars or less) as unhelpful. If you don’t have an Amazon account, just buy a book. Because if you are a true fan, no money issue should prevent you from stepping up in support of your favorite author. Prove that you are a fan. Put your money where your mouth is. Or be a hateful minion of the Bush administration.
I know what I would rather be in this equation. After I am done eating turkey, watching football, taking my drug induced nap, playing with my daughter, socializing with my relatives, and reading a book by the fire, I promise to post at least one positive review. Or vote one review as not helpful. Or . . . Oh, hell, I’ll just be a hateful minion. Seems easier that way.