Trashed!

I haven’t looked at any of my books on Amazon for quite some time, so it was a shocker to find that many of my very few reviews were gone, all of them four and five stars. So the average for Crossing Boundaries is now two stars, with only two reviews. For Hidden Boundaries, the average is now three stars with four reviews. The others aren’t quite as bad, but what really got me was that I had received one star reviews for four of them, all by the same person, three of them on the same day.

I’ve seen this kind of thing happen before, and so have other writers. Someone takes a dislike to you for some unfathomable reason and proceeds to downrate your work. It happened to me on Goodreads, but I knew the reason, and the person had just set up a brand-new account with their only reviews and ratings being of my books. They had also persuaded some friends to set up accounts in order to do more damage. Luckily, the effort to destroy my ratings was so blatant that Goodreads removed the new “reviews” and ratings and deleted all the accounts.

Does anyone seriously believe that this Amazon “reviewer” bought and read three of my books in one day, as the reviews seem to indicate? And the fourth one was only four days later. This is very recent, and I actually had no sales during the month those reviews were posted (July), so that makes it even more plausible that this is some kind of grudge trashing. Judging by his other reviews, my books aren’t even in genres that he generally reads. So why?

Not a single review had anything concrete to say, and one even pulled up the very tired accusation that all my good reviews were obviously written by my friends. I wish.

Of course, there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it. I don’t know why some reviews were removed, unless this asshole went even further and let Amazon know he thought my four and five-star weren’t legitimate. I’ve read enough complaints about this kind of thing on Kboards that I know better than to waste my time trying to get Amazon to do anything about it. Amazon usually responds to such complaints without bothering to find out if there’s any basis for them.

This kind of thing is only one of the problems that Amazon refuses to address, and it makes new writers very uneasy about publishing at all. For someone like me who appeals to a small niche and is happy to find a new reader now and then, it’s extremely discouraging. We increasingly live in a world where driveby trashing of people’s lives and work is an almost everyday occurrence. And any one can be a potential victim.

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10 thoughts on “Trashed!

  1. That’s unbelievable – I’m so sorry some troll decided to destroy someone else’s reputation. I have no idea how to handle this kind of hate. You work so hard, you get and appreciate reviews – and now this.

    NO ONE deserves this. It is something you can’t fight against, fairly or otherwise. I feel your anger and frustration. And they probably didn’t even read, or certainly not with an open mind.

    Ignore them – they are beneath contempt.

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Alicia. Oddly, I feel worse about it today than when I found those “reviews” yesterday. I had actually decided to resuscitate a novel I’d never published, and add it to the Hand Slaves books. I was three chapters in to a final edit. Today I deleted every sign of it on my computer and backups. Granted, I’ve moved completely away from that particular genre (or subgenre), but it did bring in a few sales now and then. And I know that my writing was nothing to be ashamed of. But with the good reviews gone for the first two, who’s going to buy the third? I also had tentative plans to revise and expand Privileged Lives, and give it a new cover, but now I won’t bother. I’ll never understand the kind of person who gets pleasure from hurting others.

      1. I understand your reaction completely – I’m not sure I’d have the guts to do what you did, though I can see why you deleted everything. Leave the others there – people don’t buy books only based on reviews. Sometimes they actually read the description and try the sample and choose for themselves.

        I don’t understand those petty, paltry souls who hurt other people, either. Especially going after something which wasn’t hurting them in the least just to show they can. I hope you reported them, even if you don’t expect any satisfaction. If their ‘work’ is part of a pattern, maybe it would tip the bucket and get them banned.

        1. No, I didn’t report it. He only has 17 reviews, and mine are the only ones that show a pattern of abuse. I should report it, but I know it’s a waste of my time and energy. Better to put them into work.

  2. This is terrible news, Catana. The same thing happened to me on Goodreads, they eventually got the guy and he lost half of all the reviews he’d written under his own name and an alias. But what about the missing reviews? That’s alarming in itself. Have you any idea why they were removed? It seems not. it’s the last thing you’d want to happen to you when you’re three-quarters of the way through another in the same genre.

  3. I haven’t communicated with you for a long time, but I follow your posts, and I’m happy that my 5-star review on Hidden Boundaries is still there. I meant what I said when I wrote it.

    1. Didn’t pay attention, and realized I can reply to you from my dashboard, even though your comment isn’t showing on the post page. I don’t know why some of the reviews were deleted, but not others. I’m just grateful for the ones that weren’t, including yours. Thought I saw your email address, but nope. Hope you see this.

  4. TermiteWriter, your comment isn’t showing although it does come up on my dashboard. This happened once before and seems to be a WP glitch. Anyway, thank you so much. Believe it or not, I thought about you recently and wondered how your books are doing. I hope you’ve been successful and are still writing. Will email you just in case you don’t get notified of my comment.

    1. I’ll try again! You know I’m on Blogger and for some time I had trouble commenting on WP but I thought it was all ironed out. I do a lot on Facebook and Twitter, but you’re not on those. You can see what I’m doing on my blogs http://termitewriter.blogspot.com/ and http://termitespeaker.blogspot.com/ (view my book trailer on that one). Just published my 11th book. Unfortunately, I don’t sell well either. I’m not a good promoter, I fear. Also, I was treated for cancer in 2015, but it wasn’t advanced and seems to be taken care of.

      1. TermiteWriter, the same thing happened again. Your name and avatar are there, but with no text. I wonder if it does have something to do with Blogspot. I wish I could remember on which post it happened before so I could check whether the person was coming from Blogspot.

        Anyway, I’m sorry you had to go through cancer treatment, but very glad you’re well now. Let’s hope there’s no recurrence. I did dip into your blog. Eleven books! You’re much more productive than I am. I hope that at least they’re bringing in enough for a treat now and then.

        I’m going to go on the WP forum and see if I can get an answer about what’s going on with your comments.

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