Archive | November 2012

Author Reviews: Totally Taboo

If you are an author and you are in the habit of reviewing other authors on Amazon, beware. It is against official policy and it can cause you all kinds of grief.

I was not aware of this rule until I inadvertently broke it and was reported. I am not an author, I am an editor, but I am considered to be benefiting from book sales, although my own paycheque/paycheck does not increase one iota. I told the truth, I reviewed the work honestly, and I refused to review dozens more books than I penned a review for, none of which matters to Amazon. I always used my own name and never attempted to deceive. Doesn’t matter.

Even big names selling of millions of books, John Locke being one of them, has been caught using   pseudonyms  [  A pseudonym is a name that a person or group assumes for a particular purpose, which differs from his or her original or true name (orthonym)] to write themselves glowing reviews while trashing the competition. (There is some doubt that this works, and may work in the favour/favor of the maligned author.  See quote below.)

We are not talking about fraud and deceit here, we are discussing people writing honest reviews of other books.

Even if you are not an author or editor if you are asked to write a review be careful not to allow yourself to be influenced to increase the star rating at the request of the author. That clearly is fraud.

We are at the point where all reviews are suspect in many ways, which is a sad state of affairs and only increases the degree of the angle on the slope Indie authors are struggling to ascend.

Interesting and revealing on this subject:,0,7028228.story

I would be for winnowing out the five-star reviews by sock puppets and writer friends (though arguably the latter is basically what most book blurbs are these days) IF Amazon was also removing one-star reviews from jealous and spiteful competitors. That would even things out. As it is, things are in favor of underhanded competitors now who don’t understand that sales of competitive books often boosts the sales of similar books as readers get hooked on a subject and look for other titles on the same subject or in the same genre. Sadly many in publishing operate on the notion that there is a limited readership, when in fact Amazon is giving us a worldwide reach into markets most of us never even dreamed of reaching before. . ~ Author Duncan Long


That Awkward Age (It’s not what you think)

Having survived my own forties, and endured my husband’s, I now   have friends picking my brain in the quest for understanding of the baffling and conflicting restlessness tormenting their psyches.

People who are single or divorced often marry or remarry during this decade, and those who blushed their way to the alter fifteen or twenty years ago are mired in mortgage debt, car payments, orthodontist bills for their kids, who are all in expensive sports or activities. They are coping with aging parents, cantankerous teens, and are mourning the loss of excitement and romance. Trapped.  Unhappy. Wearing masks and expending enormous amounts of energy in role playing, in attempting to appear well-adjusted and content with their lot in life. Charades.  Facades.  Desperate and discontent.

Daydreaming at length about escape to a better and more exciting life, there is a great deal of risk in cultivating opposite sex friendships on the job or in clubs or organizations, even at church.  Delusion only works on your own mind, you can convince yourself, but no one else, that getting closer to this person is harmless and won’t go anywhere.

You have a lot to ponder. You may not do it objectively. The fantasy will never live up to the reality of the consequences of jumping ship at this point. Happily ever after truly is a fairy tale. You have more to lose than you think.

In your dreams, when you contemplate life on the other side of responsibility, do you have custody of the kids? If not, who does? Do they factor into your daydreams at all? When you’re thinking “The face that over cocktails looked so sweet just isn’t the same over shredded wheat”, are you aware that breakfast with the fantasy partner won’t all be black lace teddies and champagne? Unless you land a millionaire your standard of living is going down, not up.

The forties are when you find out if you ever grew up. It’s tougher and more of a reality jolt than adolescence. You have a lot to weigh.  If the relationship was always bad, leaving may be the right thing to do. Perhaps now is the time if you have only been there for years for the children. (I am NOT dispensing advice, legal or otherwise.) But if it was good once, talk to some couples who stayed together and are still kicking well past their forties. All decisions have consequences.