Eleanor Xander and the Awakening of the Power - Adam Thomson

ABatch

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#41
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Not only that but some sell books with other dirty scams and get rich. I take the list below (link provided) with a grain of salt because maybe the person has a sour grapes syndrome personal vendetta but I choose to believe it for the most part.

I refuse to support any of the people on this list. Except Brandon Sanderson. WTF is he doing on this list of INDIE cheat?

Well @ABatch . If you want to get rich you can sell your soul to the devil...I know as bad as you want to get your name out there you would never stoop to this level or associate yourself with these people by asking their marketing strategies. Listening to the people here your stuff is much better than most of these alleged cheats. Every name on this list (if legit) are stealing from you and other forum authors. Just because they are on the list does not mean their stuff is crap, although in most cases it may be the case. If guilty, I hate to see them supported in any way (best lists, etc.) But I am not giving them a red cent. No @Darwin, good sir, you may NOT have the other $1.99 OR the red cent I saved!! :p So that is MY 2 cents.

I wil take @Silvion Night 's route and not highlight a name or two in order to avoid conflict. :rolleyes:


https://zonalert.wordpress.com/
I feel like the world just opened up beneath me, and I'm teetering on the brink of a vast, dark horror I had no idea even existed until ten seconds ago. Surely this isn't real, is it?

I HAVE been aware that, if one has money, it's possible to buy thousands of copies of one's own book in order to put it on the NY Times bestsellers' list -- Bill O'Reilly is said to have done this more than once. As I said, though, that requires money.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#42
I feel like the world just opened up beneath me, and I'm teetering on the brink of a vast, dark horror I had no idea even existed until ten seconds ago. Surely this isn't real, is it?

I HAVE been aware that, if one has money, it's possible to buy thousands of copies of one's own book in order to put it on the NY Times bestsellers' list -- Bill O'Reilly is said to have done this more than once. As I said, though, that requires money.
Sorry AB. I personally believe it, my friend.You can't make that stuff up. I'm shocked you didn't know. But I guess someone with integrity wouldn't even IMAGINE that dirty stuff. It updates every now and then. Adding more and more names of alleged scammers. Sorry to see people like you guys here indirectly suffer because of it. Like I said, I will not support them in any manner. Sanderson is either greedy or egotistical IF it is true. But I don't see other famous authors on the list. I know it is hypocritical that I will still buy his books but I already started the Stormlight series and he is just so damned good.
 

ABatch

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#43
But it doesn't make sense. Sanderson is currently the "it" author. Why would he need to do such a thing when he's got such great word-of-mouth and a publisher behind him? I'm not sure I DO believe it where he is concerned (not that I'm a fawning fan, I just think he's already too successful to do such things).
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#44
What is he supposed to have done to earn his place on this website?

Also - there is a reason it's a Wordpress subdomain, instead of a custom domain. Moving to a custom domain would require someone to use his debit/credit card and link himself with the website, so that the authors who are accused of things without evidence would be able to defend their rights in court if they wanted to.

Everybody could make a Wordpress website and type bullshit anonymously when the only consequences are for the people he/she is badmouthing.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#45

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#46
From this list I've heard the names of 6 people in total: Brandon Sanderson, David Dalglish, H M Ward, Ilona Andrews, M R Mathias and Michael G Manning. To the best of my knowledge( I haven't researched the matter specifically) - none of them has done anything wrong to deserve a place into a "Authors Commiting Frauds - Do Not Read List". Based on this , I'd made a wild guess an call this website a bullshit.

The only fantasy author who've gamed the Amazon's system with any considerable success that I know of is Robert Stanek with his books about The Keeper Martin back in the days. Like a decade or more ago.

Authors cannot really game the system anymore. Reviews from their family members, friends, and in many occasions friends of friends are being removed relentlessly. A group of authors exchanging reviews between them is also out of the question nowadays - they'll have the reviews removed if they are lucky, and their KDP accounts would be closed if they aren't. Paying for reviews is pretty useless too, because Amazon would do a swipe of the accounts with too many suspicious reviews from time to time - you are either losing the paid reviews or your KDP account.

The only way for authors to influence the reviews system is by ARCs to their avid readers. And by asking for reviews in their own newsletter lists and receiving such from their biggest fans when said fans are finished with the newly released book. It's still a deliberate strategy for obtaining more reviews than you naturally would, but considering that the natural reviews rate is 1 from every 500- 1 000 copies sold, it's no wonder the less known authors would need to be more active in the quest to populate their review counts faster, using the readers base they already have as a foundation.

I don't count on Amazon reviews to pick my books, so such things doesn't really bother me, but I can relate to the annoyance someone might feel toward fake/influenced reviews. But I can relate to the authors too, so I'd prefer to stay neutral on this point.

And in my opinion the fake/untrustworthy reviews problem would become less and less important as the time passes, because when every author start to utilize the same tactics for obtaining reviews( asking for them in their newsletters) no one is really getting unfairly ahead in the game, because the person who has 200 fans would get two times more reviews by the person who has 100 fans. Volume of reviews would shift more toward representing the author's fan-base size and usually there's a compelling reason why author A has two times more fans than author B.

There's also the possibility that Amazon would stop being the big fish in the small pond. If Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iBooks catch up with them, a review in Amazon would be only 1/5 as valuable as it is now, so people would be less inclined to stack reviews there in every way possible.
Without research all any of us can do is speculate. I've done a bit but not enough to claim I KNOW. Read Hugh Howeys reviews. So many look phony to my eye at least. Stuff like "This book is great but how can he ever attain the same excellence as he did in his WOOL series". Too many of those. However, if you think M.R.Mathias the ex convict, liar, and looney toon is an above board guy there is a thread here that PROVES otherwise ..just google his name and add something nefarious. BUT I wasn't going to bring him up. However, where evidence is concerned, in law (at least in the US)...once a defendants attorney " opens the door", the prosecutor is entitled to use evidence he wouldn't otherwise be entitled to use. Believe me, I've done it in a court of law many times. It's like an unexpected Christmas present.

I don't know why Sanderson would do it. I cannot inagine the person who put out these allegations would use him of all people if they didn't BELIEVE they had a strong case. Shy do rich people cheat on their income taxes? MONEY.

Look, I said in the beginning that this person may have vendettas against some people I do not know. But I think a lot of what they are saying is valid and that a whole lot of those mentioned are guilty. But I only can put in my two cents like everyone else. We have a couple of detectives here and if they had the time and inclination (which they don't) could thrn up a great deal of evidence. Look, lawyers, doctors, dentists, politicians, etc. are dirty so IMO it eould be naive to believe writers would game the internet. You guys are honest authors. It is unpleasant on so many levels to digest it. I thought AB described his reaction beautifully.
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#47
I haven't read anything of the other 5 authors, but everybody perceives Brandon as a very nice and down to Earth guy.

He teaches classes in BYU every year for free and he donates 100% of his salary there for charity, while the only condition he has about the gig is for it to be recorded and streamed for free in the internet.

He was in my country about a month or so ago where he met with many bloggers and vloggers for an interview, and all of them describe him as a nice guy. They've all described him as a very down to earth person, despite him being millionaire and all that. Those things do not prove that he is not doing something wicked, but his relationships with the fans are a total A+, his relationships with his fellow authors are A+, his relationships with the hatchling authors are A+. As far as behavior - he is the standard to which all others could be inspired to reach.

Also - traditionally published authors have publishing houses, publicists and PR people that take care of the marketing stuff for them, so if there is any wrong doing, it's probably from the traditional publishers who would benefit far more from such reviews.

But then again - we have no means to prove him innocent or guilty. So I guess this will go on to be one of those things where everybody has to make up his own mind about where the truth is.

However, his name included in that list, without anything solid as information, makes me feel kind of skeptic toward the validity of the information in this site at all.
 
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Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#48
Sanderson is indeed a head scratcher. But without going into the culpability of individual writers can we agree that there are scoundrels in every profession, writers are not an exception to the rule, the internet is a breeding ground for deception and that this kind of stuff is not only feasible but a reality?

As far as the anonymity of the person who wrote this stuff...there would be lawsuits and right doesn't always win. But the people wirh the best lawyers usually come out on top. Would this person stand a chance. But again, I made it clear from the start I took a lot of this with a grain of salt. Speaking of which the accuser did sound very salty. But I cannot believe they made this stuff up in the playgrounds of their minds.
M R Mathias sounded familiar. A search brought up this thread: http://bestfantasybooks.com/forums/threads/top-25-best-indie-fantasy-new-list.2720/page-2#post-57214
Start @Darth Tater s awesome post on page 2 and keep going through page 4 for some delightful links and commentary on M R Mathias.
tl;dr kenubrion likes his books, tater hates them, and M R Mathias has said some stupid crazy shit. The rest of us were thoroughly amused.

Unbeknownst to most members we both were spanked when it got personal and out of hand. In fact, Sylvian told me to STFU OR ELSE...so politely and tactfully that if I didn't know better I would have thought the PM was to talk about the weather. :hilarious: Lots of deleted posts most people never saw. Stuff happens. I was over it immediately and smile about it now.Life is too short to hold on to silly stuff that you would when you were an immature child. ;)

I still maintain that Matthias is the scum of the earth, and while I personally think his writing style is sophomoric I conceded the point immediately that Ben thought highly of him, he knows a thousand times more than I do about fantasy and writing an so who am I to argue? But personally, I had to force myself to finish it. I felt from the opening chapter I was reading a Hardy Boys novel.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#49
I'm baffled by Brandon Sanderson's inclusion on that list. According to an old blog post, one of the following criteria has to be met to make it to the list:

1. Sockpuppets – including fake users and identities created by the author, friends of author, or associates of the author for the purpose of promoting the author through reviews, discussions, and other commentary.

2. Paid reviews – including reviews purchased from paid review companies, such as Fiverr.com, GettingBookReviews, Craigslist, and others.

3. Paid endorsements – including endorsements and celebrity endorsements bought from Buysellads.com and others.

4. Traded reviews – including reviews traded between authors whether as favors, kickbacks, referrals, or otherwise.

5. Swapped endorsements – including endorsements swapped between authors whether as favors, kickbacks, referrals, or otherwise.

6. Compensated reviews – including reviews bought with promises of remuneration or gifts, such as gift cards given to readers for reviews or merchandise give to readers for reviews, including free kindles.

7. Fake fans or street teams – including paid promoters, friends, family and acquaintances who act as fans and are used to create fake buzz for the author.

8. Misrepresented associations – including authors who repeatedly and habitually misrepresent their associations with author friends they praise publicly.
The site seems to be stuck in limbo though (hardly any posts after 2014). The original host passed away because of cancer, and according to a more recent post (2016) the new owners don't have access to the resources that the original owner had. With no additional information I think it is hard to verify the claim that Sanderson is a fraudster. I'm of the opinion that someone is innocent until proven guilty, so I will not think bad of Sanderson after reading these unsubstantiated allegations.

The same doesn't apply to some other authors on the list though (those for which proof is presented of their unethical behaviour). For example Hugh Howey. I recently read his Wool trilogy and quite liked it. Now that I've read the information on the page (which prompted me to do some digging myself) it seems that the author is a cheat. It doesn't detract from the original enjoyment I had whilst reading his series, but it does somehow make me apprehensive in picking up any future works by this writer.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#50
I'm baffled by Brandon Sanderson's inclusion on that list. According to an old blog post, one of the following criteria has to be met to make it to the list:



The site seems to be stuck in limbo though (hardly any posts after 2014). The original host passed away because of cancer, and according to a more recent post (2016) the new owners don't have access to the resources that the original owner had. With no additional information I think it is hard to verify the claim that Sanderson is a fraudster. I'm of the opinion that someone is innocent until proven guilty, so I will not think bad of Sanderson after reading these unsubstantiated allegations.

The same doesn't apply to some other authors on the list though (those for which proof is presented of their unethical behaviour). For example Hugh Howey. I recently read his Wool trilogy and quite liked it. Now that I've read the information on the page (which prompted me to do some digging myself) it seems that the author is a cheat. It doesn't detract from the original enjoyment I had whilst reading his series, but it does somehow make me apprehensive in picking up any future works by this writer.
I was just trying to stir the pot for fun by playing the devils advocate role with Sanderson.:p It is very very difficult for me to imagine any realistic scenario where he would contribute to that crap. He certainly doesn't need the money, seems like a good egg, and he is already the modern day big kahuna of fantasy (or at least one of the select few). I think whoever wrote that stuff was disgruntled and had their own agenda. HOWEVER, while I think the person went overboard I DO believe they were spot on as far as the methods cheats use to cheat the system big time and that many of those named are indeed offenders. I also feel it is very unfair and hurtful to writers who play by the rules. Just my opinion.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
#51
I was just trying to stir the pot for fun by playing the devils advocate role with Sanderson.:p It is very very difficult for me to imagine any realistic scenario where he would contribute to that crap. He certainly doesn't need the money, seems like a good egg, and he is already the modern day big kahuna of fantasy (or at least one of the select few). I think whoever wrote that stuff was disgruntled and had their own agenda. HOWEVER, while I think the person went overboard I DO believe they were spot on as far as the methods cheats use to cheat the system big time and that many of those named are indeed offenders. I also feel it is very unfair and hurtful to writers who play by the rules. Just my opinion.
I agree with you. I think the idea on which this site is built is great; it uncovers malpractice by cheating authors. I think anyone here would agree that there definitely are serious problems on sites like Amazon and GoodReads that relate to the 8 points mentioned on the site, and these occurrences poison the well. Other authors (those who don't cheat) suffer for the misconduct of the ones that do cheat.

However, I think a site like this can only work if the research is very sound and the persons doing it know what they're about. There's nothing worse for an author than to see his/her name slandered on the basis of rumors. It could be really hurtful to their career.

So, I think it is a bit of a pickle; the idea of the site is good, but the owners should be very careful in putting any author on the 'cheat-list'. They should have actual proof that the author is involved in these kind of activities and only then put that person on the list.
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
#52
Now that I've read the information on the page (which prompted me to do some digging myself) it seems that the author is a cheat.
Please provide this page's link, Silvion. I read the entire thread again and can't find what you all are looking at.
 

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
#54
Without providing the evidence necessary for us to check their work, that list is basically useless. I don't believe Sanderson has ever done anything worthy of being on a "do not buy" list, other than maybe mistborn's sequels :p. Googling "Brandon Sanderson fraud" didn't provide anything either, other than people skeptically commenting on that list.

I have a foolproof plan to avoid buying shitty, fraudulently marketed books. It's called using this site to choose what to read.
 

btkong

Journeyed there and back again
Staff member
#55
When someone's livelihood is on the line, you'd be surprised what people would do.

Pay a few thousand dollars for hundreds of fake reviews to get a full-time income.

Or work a 9 to 5 job you hate?

For many, it may be an obvious choice. I'm a bit surprised Brandon Sanderson is on the list. I remember way way way back in the early 2000's, he was complaining (well joking) about a forum that I misspelled his Elantris (which was his first book) in one of the first versions of the best list.,

The guy has been super successful back before indie was ever a real thing. If anything perhaps it was his publisher (but risky) or maybe a marketing team he hired to promote his books. Who knows.

I'm not surprised about Hugh though and many of the others. BV Larson, I do like his rather rough indie science fiction, but I'd bet he's buying fakes by the boatload.
 

ABatch

Ran bridges next to Kaladin
#56
I can't defend such practices, but I DO know that thousands of folks have bought my books (can't say if they've read 'em), but I've only got the 58 reviews over four years. I am beyond frustrated.
 

Matticus Primal

Journeyed there and back again
#57
I can't defend such practices, but I DO know that thousands of folks have bought my books (can't say if they've read 'em), but I've only got the 58 reviews over four years. I am beyond frustrated.
I should have my promised review up by the end of the day if I actually stick to my to-do list today. And I hear you on the lack of reviews, which does have some collateral damage no on really thinks about. I wanted to do a Book Barbarian ad to celebrate the year anniversary giveaway of my first book. But you need ten reviews to qualify, so I was rejected.

So yeah, we all agree you can't really trust amazon/ gr reviews. Yet they still are the currency of the land.
 

ExTended

Hired Nicomo Cosca, famed soldier of fortune
#58
Whatever the intent behind the website, there is a reason why people get sued for badmouthing someone who is making his living partially based on his reputation. Or for badmouthing anyone at all.

There is a person behind this WordPress website who is happy to hide behind his anonymity and write lists of "immortal" authors without providing a specific reason or proof that they deserve their place in such a list. There is a reason it's a sub-domain - the person behind it cannot proof his claims, otherwise he would've registered a private domain, or at least - given more solid evidence against authors. I am not talking about the 5-10% of the cases where at least some explanation is given, but 9 out of 10 names in the lists are included out of thin air How is that OK?

In my opinion if someone is afraid of being fined/sued for wrong-doing, he is doing something wrong. Hence, while the people behind this website might have solid moral reasons to do what they do, it's still illegal and harmful to real human beings and their extended families.

I am not saying that there aren't authors who are using fake reviews or shady tactics for obtaining them. But it's common knowledge that people who relish on lynching seldom have the stomach for justice, and this website is yet another example of this sentiment.

Also - let me repeat this once more. Buying reviews from places like Fiverr is not the thing anymore. Suspicious reviews get deleted, accounts get banned, authors are prevented from getting reviews from 1. their family 2. their friends 3. the friends of their friends 4. author communities stacking reviews for each-other's books. Amazon removes the reviews and penalizes the wrongdoers. You'd still find many people attempting such tactics, but it's mostly online marketers turning writers than writers turning online marketers. If you hang out in the self-publishing crowd for more than a month, you are bound to learn the do's and don'ts and fake reviews is heavily in the don'ts.

Go publish some 4k word short story and try to game the system. The reviews you acquire from such means would either never appear on the book page or would be removed within the month, quite possibly - with your KDP access on top of that.

Robert Stanek's books used to have hundreds/thousands of fake/paid reviews, now each of his books have 1 or 2, usually 1-stars. Amazon aren't stupid, you know.

You also cannot exchange books/goods for reviews. If you are being caught by Amazon - bye, bye KDP account.

You are allowed to ask, however. Your avid readers via e-mail newsletter and on the end of your books. No buying, no trading, asking and begging. It's still in this strangely gray area of morality, but that's the extent of the non-completely-genuine reviews of today.
 
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Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
#59
I can't defend such practices, but I DO know that thousands of folks have bought my books (can't say if they've read 'em), but I've only got the 58 reviews over four years. I am beyond frustrated.
I've been checking the Amazon Daily Deals for you the last few months. ALMOST everyone on there has at least 100 excellent reviews (some are obviously fakes, but whatever). You have , as you know, almost 60...all excellent but one..and even IF his points WERE valid he has a Jethro Bodeine education so it's worthless). A couple people each month have only 30 so they most likely have Amazon connections. So my point is, yeah, reviews are important. Around 40 more and you're probably gold. I'm not sure what percentage of readers leave reviews. I always did in the ast but got tired of getting bad marksfrom people who didn't like it when I had issues with a book...some idiots take it personally. You get that everywhere. I shouldn't have stopped though now that I look back. Wby should I care? It makes me laugh when I see it on forums (put on your big boy pants people) but I got sick of it on Amazon because I couldn't reply.Some people appreciated the constructive criticism and were thankful.If I like a book from an author bere I will leave a review. Now I just give books stars when I finishthem on my Kindle. I think Amazon fills in the fake comments? Not sure.
 

Davis Ashura

Told lies with Locke
#60
The notion that spamming a book across multiple websites will increase sales on said book is just daft. I don't know anyone who would think that is a good marketing strategy. In fact, everyone I know would strongly advise against such asshattery. No one likes it, and I doubt anyone does more than click the link, take a peek at the book and close out that screen.

That website is troubling. There's absolutely no visible standard by which the proprietor makes his claims against a large number of authors. Sure he has a list of supposed crimes, but how does he know any of this? How does he know about sock puppets, paid reviews, etc. Where does he get this private information? And yes, I fully recognize that such behavior does occur, and some of the authors named on the website might actually belong on such a list, but I'd rather see the basis by which this blogger makes these claims before trusting him.

Also, the list of banned practices is something a newbie to indie publishing might do, but those of us trying to make it in as an indie author understand that the marketplace has moved on from those kind of deceptive practices. Those types of marketing strategies (and that's what they are-sleazy marketing strategies) simply don't work. The moment Amazon figures out you're doing anything like sockpuppetry or paid reviews--and they aren't stupid. They pick this stuff up pretty fast nowadays-- there goes your KDP account i.e. your book is pulled and so is your account. You might never again publish from your home I.P. address. That's a pretty stupid risk to take, and I don't know of any recently successful fantasy authors (past three years) who took that route. It's simply not a viable strategy nowadays.

BTW the only strategy on that list of things not to do that I might disagree with is street teams. Inevitably, if you're a modestly successful indie author, you'll develop a fanbase and, if you're smart (I'm not), a list of emails of people who liked your books and want to be included in your newsletter. The newsletter gives those readers who wish to participate a chance to enter contests, become early readers, etc. This is something done since nearly the advent of websites, and the first author I know of who maintained such a list was Stephen King. At any rate, those readers who voluntarily joined the newsletter group might be asked to purchase your upcoming book on the same date. Why? Because Amazon's algorithm sees that sales spike and they will watch and see if it sustains, and if it does, Amazon's marketing gets behind you to push your sales. That initial boost, though, is critical. It can really only happen once, but if it's sticky enough, then you don't have to do much more than let Amazon do your work for you.