Posts Tagged ‘goodreads’

23 June, 2016

Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western AmazonMother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon by Paul Rosolie

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I was very eager to read this book as I had spent three months up the Amazon living in a settlement of Caboclo Indians. These are mixed race from the rubber boom of the 19th century. They hadn’t gone to the cities to live but remained in the jungle intermarrying with those they called ‘the painted men’. They had no contact with tourists of any kind and I was the first non-Indian to have visited them.

How I got there was I was sailing around the world with three friends and when we got to Brazil, they all went to Rio de Janeiro and I thought it was my one and only chance to go up the Amazon. Over the next month I went first to Belem, then Santarem ending up in Manaus. I spent a few weeks working out how to avoid the tourist routes and arranged tours. I was in a travel agency when the guide, an Indian, said he was going back home for three months and did I want to come? We negotiated a price and then after a fantastic two day journey sailing on river boats, canoes, a bus (it got stuck at a pot hole big enough to sink it in which Victoria Regina lillies 6′ across were growing) and finally walking we got to Lake Amañas in Amazonas.

40 or so people lived around this lake which was so big it took a river motor boat 2.5 hours to sail around. A few people lived in houses on stilts, one with the most beautiful parquet floor a la William Morris I have ever seen, but most on floating houses. I lived in the latter. The dish-washing and toileting arrangements involved holes in the sweet-smelling wood floor with pirañas waiting to clean the plates or receive… offerings.

My days were filled with fishing with seine nets and leaky pirogues, hunting with spears and dogs, music on tiny little guitars and panpipes and visiting the people who lived around the lake. I was most impressed by the medicine man who was as graceful and beautiful as a ballet dancer and who applied sound hygenic and herbal principles to his work, he wasn’t a shaman. I learned how to catch crocodiles in my bare hands although I only did it once (it was enough!)

So when the author writes about his trips into the jungle, I’m not exactly ignorant and he is writing to impress with things he says are unique but in fact are quite everyday.

The Amazon rises and falls 40′ a year from the melt-water of the snow in the Andes. This means that the forest can be flooded for part of the year, then it is known as igapo, and trees quite tall can look like little bushes when you manoeuvre your leaky canoe around them. I arrived when the waters had gone down considerably and on dry land there was a small tree with a dead and stinky anaconda draped from not far above the ground, over the top and down to the ground again. It was bigger than anything in the Guinness book of world records and eclipsed the author’s biggest ever 25′ one. The author said he fantasised that if he had taken a picture it would have been on the front cover of Time. Judging by the size of the tree the dead one I saw was between 35-45 ft. long. The Indians I was with said that it was a big snake, unusual but not unique and that they left it there as a warning to other snakes not to come near.

Another thing was when the author described the ‘rarely-seen landscape of floating islands’ by moonlight. These floating islands were common on the lake where the river flowed very slowly through. They vary greatly in size from a small rug upwards. They are made up of matted grass roots, the beautiful water hyacinth and small bushes. I was told you can’t walk on them, although the big ones will support your weight because they are full of biting ants. Also, in the daytime, crocodiles hide under them for the shade.

Once, when I was visiting the medicine man I tied up my canoe to the bank but when I came back an hour or two later I found myself land-locked by a huge island, the size of a football pitch. All you can do is push it with the paddles, it’s a heavy job, until it starts to part and move off slowly. They are never stationary for long.

The last example I want to write about is his encounter with ‘rare, fast-moving’ morpho butterflies. So rare apparently that his Indian friend takes a leaf to wrap up a dead one the author found in a parcel. I was out hunting one day with the medicine man’s son. We had two dogs with us and spears and found ourselves in a beautiful little glade with a small pool in the middle and sunlight shafting down from high up above the canopy. There were morphos everywhere! Although the author says they were very fast fliers, these ones were taking it easy. Their huge, hand-size wings, glimmering and shining all the blues a sky can be, as they glided around the glade sometimes settling on us. One brushed my cheek with a wing and left a drift of angel dust. It was like an enchantment.

The author left the Amazon and went to India. He became just the sort of bleeding heart white liberal that infest the Caribbean sitting on committees to preserve the natural environment or even taking it back and not giving a damn about how the locals are supposed to make a living. They’ve made their pile, they’ve got a house and family ‘back home’ now they want to see a paradise preserved for their winter homes.

Conservation is important. Good conservation is taking necessary progress into account and negotiating a way through that. When that isn’t done, people will remain not just poor when they can see they needn’t be, but bitter and seek to take what they can. Poaching, burning, corrupt politicians (and huge foreign conglomerates) are their weapons.

So what finally got me to put the book down was this sentence that shows the attitude of the author that he finds elevated and admirable and I find beyond irrelevant:

“What is it about our species that allows us to watch sitcoms and argue over sports while cultures and creatures and those things meek and green and good are chopped, shot and burned from the world for a buck? “

All creatures are not meek and good, but his point is, as is with a lot of propaganda, if you can’t work it through the facts, then go for the emotions, guilt-trip ’em. It is implied that we should get off our lazy arses and fill our days and evenings with meaningful work towards conserving the wildlife of this planet just like he does, no time for levity, frippery or going to the pub.

This is a bit like blaming people for the problems of pollution and Garbage on the planet when really it is industry, from cafes on up, that are responsible for over 95% of it. As long as it’s the individual doing their best to be green, we will get swallowed by a massive wave of communal self-congratulation and governments, industry, banks and businessmen will continue on in their own sweet way, destroying the planet for money. This should not be an emotional issue as it is sold, it certainly isn’t to industry or the banks. So that sentence of his and its import made me dnf this book.

Now it could be that if I didn’t know the Amazon so well, didn’t live on a beautiful island where conservation and progress are in opposition but forever butting up in the middle, that I would have enjoyed this book. Instead I found it to be ego-driven with the author’s great delight in being such an interesting person. He wasn’t. His adventures weren’t spectacular to me and the unique events were commonplace.

Two stars. One extra because it was quite well-written.


This was how I got up the Amazon with the The Forsyte Saga.
This is how to catch crocodiles in your bare hands and where floating islands play a part.

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The BFG

24 April, 2016
The BFGby Roald Dahl

April 2016

Do you know what the BFG stood for before his publisher told him he had to think of other words for the acronym? Dahl wasn’t joking either, not at all. This story is of a man’s interest in a prepubescent girl. The first thing he does is enter her bedroom in the middle of the night and kidnap her. Taking her away from the orphanage she lives in to the land of the extremely unfriendly giants who, in the original draft forced the little girl to look at their giant ‘clubs’. But the BFG’s different, he’s friendly….(grooming!)  It all ends with the little girl giving the BFG kisses and living next door to him and everyone is very happy. Dahl sees himself as the BFG giving Sophie, children, a new way to think, different from human adults, who don’t even believe in giants let alone let themselves be loved by them.

It is an inventive story without doubt, and all fairy stories require you to absolutely suspend disbelief. Lots of them include sexual and violent elements which children either don’t notice (sexual) or thoroughly enjoy (violent). When Disney gets hold of them, they lose both and become the anodyne Barbie-doll princesses (cue violins-in-the-background) we are used to. In that tradition, the BFG succeeds.

In the mid-to-late 20thC there was less emphasis on paedophilia than there is now, and I wonder if it this book could have been written at all in the 21stC. Ironically, this book is banned in some educational districts in the US for ‘teaching poor moral values’ and cannibalism. Ridiculous. Children laugh at those sort of things. I don’t believe in banning books, but Dahl was an unpleasant character and it is wilful blindness to ignore the feet of clay our heroes sometimes have as we place laurel wreaths on their brows.

Misogyny: Dahl’s misogyny, especially in his adult stories, is quite extreme, and, in shades of Harper Lee and Go Set a Watchman being turned into To Kill a Mockingbird at the publisher’s insistence, the first draft of Matilda:

“Painted the protagonist as a devilish little hussy who only later becomes “clever”, perhaps because she found herself without very much to do after torturing her parents.”Dahl’s editor Stephen Roxburgh completely revised Dahl’s last novel and, in doing so, turned it into his most popular book.”

Anti semitism,: ” In a 1983 interview with the New Statesman, he said, “There is a trait in the Jewish character that does provoke animosity, maybe it’s a kind of lack of generosity towards non-Jews. I mean, there’s always a reason why anti-anything crops up anywhere; even a stinker like Hitler didn’t just pick on them for no reason. I mean, if you and I were in a line moving towards what we knew were gas chambers, I’d rather have a go at taking one of the guards with me; but they [the Jews] were always submissive.” Buzzfeed

Racism and rudeness. Remember the Oompah-Loompahs? The NAACP objected that in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” the manual labor, performed by characters called Oompa-Loompas, are described by Dahl as African Pygmies, essentially brought-over slaves running the chocolate factory. Look at the original illustrations for the first edition of the book on Bidnessetc In the BFG, one of the giants, the Fleshlumpeater is supposed a black character, certainly another of them likes eating Turkish people.

There is also a discussion on Bignessetc on his general misogyny and unpleasant character leading his publishing company, Knopf, who made a lot of money from him to write,

“You have behaved to us in a way I can honestly say is unmatched in my experience for overbearingness and utter lack of civility.”

Dahl used to belong to the only country club in South Wales that allowed Jewish members. My father and grandfather were members in their time. He once objected very loudly to the number of Jews dining there and how it fouled the atmosphere. The management threw him out and banned him. He is supposed to have done something similar at a gambling club in London with the same result!

I think he worked on the principle that everyone male, white and Christian shared his views on women, non-whites and Jews. I get it here, those sort of whites say racist things to me thinking because I am white I will go along with it. My clerks, always black, say they get complaints about whites from other blacks thinking they are bound to sympathise, but they don’t. But most of us aren’t racist or hate any group of people. Trouble is most people aren’t vocal about that in a conversation and are likely to nod and just file it away. We need always to speak out.

Perhaps the best link of all to Roald Dahl is This Recording. He was without doubt a horrible person, but equally without doubt, a tremendously talented writer with an extraordinary imagination. I’ve enjoyed on some level all of his books and the films made of them.

Untouchable

24 April, 2016

Untouchableby Mulk Raj Anand

April 24, 2016

This is only a short book and the first two-thirds are quite interesting – a day in the life of a downtrodden Untouchable latrine cleaner and his rat-eating family. The preaching of the last third rather spoiled it though. It is true that flush lavatories would solve the problem for the toilet-cleaning caste, but it is hardly a solution for the Untouchables, no matter what name Gandhi gave them.

Part of the problem of the Untouchable caste is that it isn’t actually a problem at all for anyone who isn’t Untouchable, in fact it’s desirable to have them. Since they, the pariahs of society, do all the work that no one else wants to do, and at minimum wage, and all this exploitation can be justified as being in the name of religion, in the name of not interfering with the Infinite plan there is no impetus from society to improve these people’s lives.

It’s not so far from the way the US treats illegal Mexican immigrants. It allows them to stay to do the work that no one else wants to do for those wages in those conditions. They live in fear of everything and everyone. If they are beaten, robbed or raped they have no redress. They daren’t complain. So just as with the Untouchables not being a problem if you aren’t one, neither are the illegal immigrants.

There are two ways, from a religious point of view, of looking at them. Either they must have done something pretty dreadful in their previous lives to get born an Untouchable and this is Divine punishment, or alternatively, these people must have been really good dogs, cockroaches or whathaveyou to have become human in this life and who are mere humans to interfere with this great Cycle? When looked at in this way, it’s a pretty clever organising of society, of religion, to get the work done. Another way of putting it, one more familiar to us, is the richer get richer and the poor live in ghettos and clean the houses, shops, subways and streets for them.

One of the solutions proposed is Christianity, which has the great advantage of not having a rebirth system so a lowly caste becomes a class problem for which education can provide a ladder up and out. Another solution, one partly in effect now, was Gandhi’s renaming the caste Harijan, or Children of God, and his movement to include rather exclude them from society.

The third solution isn’t sadly as widespread as it ought to be, the flush toilet. The poor who live and sleep on the pavements still shit in the gutter, those living in slums and tenements crap into plastic bags which they launch far into the air earning them the nickname of parachutes and those slightly less poor than that have flush toilets but no running water. So whether its cleaning latrines or cleaning (un)flushed toilets, or sweeping the streets clean of ‘parachute’ bags, this caste of Untouchables, these Children of God, are still plying their traditional trade.

Sometimes I wonder if everything evil under the sun couldn’t find its justification in one religion or another?

I don’t like being lectured to, and I don’t care what literary device is used to pretend that it’s just the story not a didactic excursion by the author, I just don’t like it. I would probably never have finished the book but my computer broke down and it took an hour to fix with all the endless waits while it checked files and rebooted. Lucky aren’t I, to have a bookshop and only a slightly iffy computer to annoy me rather than having to live with broken flush toilets and crap to clean from the streets?

Heavily revised 24th April, 2016. Originally reviewed Dec. 1, 2011

The Picture of Dorian Gray

14 March, 2016

The Picture of Dorian Grayby Oscar Wilde

2016

Possessing eternal youth and beauty produces exactly the same effect as sentencing a man to life without the possibility of parole. Both have nothing to lose and morals disappear before the desire for immediate self-gratification in all things. And so it is with Dorian Gray. It’s a moral story so eventually his evil catches up with him and he dies, as does the criminal.

Is Oscar Wilde saying that it is man’s essential nature, to be so internally psychopathic and selfish that so long as he can keep his reputation he will wreak havoc on people’s lives and not care in the process of enriching his own?

Oscar Wilde was a man who held some very nasty views and only cared when extremely similar ones were turned upon himself. (He was imprisoned for homosexuality, but felt it was ok for Dreyfus to be imprisoned on a trumped-up crime but really because he was Jewish. He chose the wrong side on that one and lost even his best friend). I don’t like the author, but I do love his prose.

I read this book years ago. But the psychological story of a man’s realisation that there are no consequences to his actions, nothing is forbidden, everything is permitted, you never forget.

Prosopagnosia, Face Blindness Explained

13 March, 2016

Prosopagnosia, Face Blindness Explained. Prosopagnosia Types, Tests, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Research and Face Recognition all coveredby Lyndsay Leatherdale

2016

Here is a check list of the symptoms of prosopagnosia for self-diagnosis. If you have any difficulty recognising people reliably, you might find it interesting. I’ve put in my own experiences as I think it helps put the questions into context. Or not. Maybe I just like writing anecdotes 🙂


1. Failing to recognise close friends or family members in unexpected situations.

I once left my ex at the airport late at night. I thought it was him but I wasn’t sure. He’d been in college in Canada and his normal brown skin (what we call ‘red’) without the sun had paled to what we call ‘clear’ and he was wearing a hat. Last May I arranged to meet my son in a cafe after he’d come back from Law School and I saw him and called out Daniel. It wasn’t him. The embarrassment… you have no idea.


2. Trouble in following films or television shows that have more than a few distinctive characters.

I don’t have this.


3. Failing to recognize yourself in the mirror and/or have difficulty identifying yourself in photographs or sometimes in reflections.

I don’t have this either.


4. When someone gets a haircut, you may not recognize them when you see them again

I don’t think I have this.


5. Having difficulty recognizing neighbours, friends, co-workers, clients, schoolmates etc, out of context.

I have this big time. But I also fail to recognise them in context as well. There is no guarantee I will recognise even a good customer every time. It’s pretty likely I won’t outside the shop. Ex-employees I often fail to recognise especially if I had no real affection for them.


6. Another common symptom those with prosopagnosia experience is that they are more likely to not be aware that their close friends or family are in the same area if they are in a context that is not of their usual nature. For school friends, this would be at school, for brothers and sisters, this would be at home, or a work co-worker, this would be in the work environment.

Yes. At a party I didn’t recognise one of my sons because I didn’t expect to see him there. At a political cocktail party I failed to recognise a shop assistant I saw almost daily.


7. Lack of navigation skills. For this reason, these individuals are prone to getting lost.

I am famous for this. A few years ago I was staying in Miami and rented a car to drive to the Sawgrass Mills mall. The reception staff at the hotel printed me out a map and gave me very explicit instructions. I drove through the toll booth in the same direction three times in a row. I was with my son who doesn’t have prosopagnosia but also has no sense of direction. The pair of us navigated back to the hotel, but found ourselves first at Opa Locka airport and finally at Fort Lauderdale airport. There we were pulled up where we shouldn’t have been when a police car stopped and started to tell us off and then realised we were genuinely hopelessly lost, so the very nice policewoman said to follow her and took us all the way back to the Blue Lagoon Hampton. That is the worst I’ve ever been lost.


8. Inability to recognise left from right.

I have this to some degree but I’ve grown out of it. I couldn’t set a table properly until my 20s. However my parents said that as a young child I showed no preference for my right or left hand so they decided I should be right-handed. There are some things I can only do with my left hand. So maybe this isn’t related to prosopagnosia.


9. Inability to recognise emotions – Those with associative prosopagnosia may have the inability to recognise faces. It is often also the case that they are unable to identify the emotion of the individual as well.

So what may have been put down to AS for me is in fact another symptom of prosopagnosia. This would fit as I’m not really typically AS in any other way.


10. Inability to identify race or colour.

I like to think I’m colourblind but not in that way!


11, Difficulty in reading literature – It may be difficult for an individual to follow a story in a book. This is due to the fact that an individual has difficulty in imagining the faces of the characters described in the book.

Hardly!

So there you have it. I have associative, genetic prosopagnosia. If anyone else has suspected they have more than average inability to recognise faces (it is specific to faces and not anything else at all) and scores high on this test, I’d like to know. How do you cope with other people’s rejection and coldness when they think you have been rude to them and ignored them? How do you cope with the embarrassment? Do you have coping strategies?

Below this is my review of the book which contains one interesting bit – on some very famous people who have it as well, the rest is just personal opinion.

[I have this, but not badly, which might be worse. Oliver Sacks had it very badly, Jane Goodall about the same as me I think,Duncan Bannatyne the millionaire entrepreneur of Dragon’s Den fame has it worse than me, Chuck Close the famous portraitist ironically suffers badly from the condition and Brad Pitt has people thinking he is incredibly rude and snobbish, like all the rest of us, because he too cannot reliably recognise faces. I am not alone!

All of us are thought to cut style on people, deliberately offend them because we couldn’t care about them, and exhibit manners of the very worst kind. None of us have the faintest idea when we are doing this since if we can’t tell you from a stranger, why would we go up to you and be all effusive? When you say hello to us we try and simulate absolute friendship even though we still don’t recognise you, but there is always something missing and people know.

Why I said it is worse for people like me, Duncan, Jane and Brad is that we do recognise most people most of the time, but not always, so it’s like we say hello to you one day and cut you next. People like the late Oliver Sacks and Chuck Close do not recognise hardly anyone any of the time so they can explain themselves. I’m not saying they have an easier time of it, I’m saying people are probably more understanding.)

If you know people who have difficulty in recalling your name or it seems that they don’t recognise you, be kind. tell them who you are and where you last met. Please don’t cut them because you think they have ignored you, they may not know it’s ‘you’ at all.

You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know

13 March, 2016

You Don't Look Like Anyone I KnowYou Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know by Heather Sellers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first two thirds of this book were the author using the reader as a therapist and just letting out one long blast of hatred towards her family for being so appalling. Or at least that’s the way she tells it. There was absolutely nothing to do with prosopagnosia even vaguely hinted at.

The last third of the book was about prosopagnosia. Sellers sets herself up as an expert and authority on this neurological disorder that she and I share. Having read Prosopagnosia, Face Blindness Explained. Prosopagnosia Types, Tests, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Research and Face Recognition all covered, I don’t share her confidence. The author says she can’t recognise people often, but then reading carefully it seems she can recognise people very often but not reliably, which is what I have.

I’ve had lunch with someone I see at least three times a week and thought I recognised them later in the supermarket but wasn’t sure. However I recognised their handbag (I gave it to her) so that was ok. Facial recognition is by a part of the brain that is discrete, that is all other kinds of recognition are not handled by that area.

For the few people I have met who know they are face blind to some degree, there are various other problems, some of which are to do with interpreting facial expressions which look as though the person has Aspergers, but in fact they don’t. Not all of the things we share are negative, all of us are somewhat intellectual and most of us are artistic as well. This leads me to believe that mild prosopagnosia may just be yet another neurotype, a different kind of wiring, personality really, that is less common that the average one, but not rare, one that people are generally unaware of and just say, “I’m never any good at remembering faces”.

One thing that changed for me was that I decided to be open, to ‘come out’ as it were and tell everyone, so that people would stop thinking I was sometimeish or cutting style on them by not speaking to them. However, half the people laugh and say they don’t believe it and the other half look at me like I’m mad and they don’t believe it either. The only people who do believe it are people who know me well and are forever prodding me when they see someone I know and if I don’t recognise them will tell me their name first. So all I’m doing by telling people I’m face blind is making myself look even more eccentric. What to do?

The book wasn’t a hard read and it was well-written but really reading about other people’s dysfunctional families can be extremely boring. Tolstoy’s opening lines of Anna Karenina, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” might well be true, but it doesn’t make them interesting. The book started off as a 2, degenerated rapidly to a 1 and redeemed itself ending up on a good, golden, solid five!

 

 

Hurricanes & Hangovers: And Other Tall Tales and Loose Lies from the Coconut Telegraph

18 February, 2016

by “Dear Miss Mermaid”

Why have I one-starred a book that really isn’t too bad? Because I know the author and she once tried to get my son to take a wrapped parcel into the US with him. A gun? Drugs? Either were likely. For sure it wasn’t books otherwise she would not have had a problem with the parcel being open. That was only some of the trouble she caused us. Not only us. A lot of people. But it was never her fault. She lived by nickels and dimes and if you had a dollar, she wanted it.

This is a book full of stories, essays and ramblings from a lady who had in her day many adventures in the Caribbean and the States mostly accompanied by wine. I later heard that one of the bars she used to hang out in to get free drinks from tourists was one of her major sources of stories, stories that happened to other people.

Nonetheless, it’s not a bad book. Some of the stories show the funny side of island life, although it is also about the author’s life in the US. You can read it without feeling that you have to ‘Begin at the beginning and then go on ’til the end. I knew that the author was given to not just exaggeration but outright invention too, so take it all with a pinch of (sea) salt.

I used to sell her book, in quantity, but then she accused me of not paying her and all kind of things. For years we shared a post box then she left the island and bills behind her and several years the post mistress told me that she had put a divert on to her address in the US. I could have lost thousands of dollars worth of books that way if the post mistress hadn’t told me and continued to give me my boxes while I changed my address.

So it’s the author gets a one star and she doesn’t even deserve that.  She always uses a pseudonym for everything, I suppose anonymity is key if you have upset a lot of people and/or owe a lot of money.  Her real name is Cynthia Rose Keeton.

Is Fahrenheit 451 the temperature at which Kindles melt?

27 October, 2013

17470674This book is about censorship by book burning. Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns. This review is about reading Fahrenheit 451 or any other book considered controversial by any group at all and the future of censorship in the marketplace.

Amazon, GrAmazon, is redefinining our experience of literature! Amazon has evaded having to pay tax and comply with labour laws in many countries, in many US states. Now it is getting around the various laws that protect free speech in order to define what people may or may not read purely for the sake of making Even More Money. America is a capitalist country, Amazon is only ‘living the dream’ and taking it to the extreme of that cliche, power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely. The power of the monopoly.

For Goodreads, comments and shelves are to be self-censored under pain of summary deletion of anything that offends GR, because it is off-topic or criticises the author. Especially, or perhaps only, if the author is one of the Stgrb whose genius seems to be in their ability to generate negative publicity. Which is of course at the root of it. Since my reviews are generally snippets of my life, they are mostly off-topic, however they do not offend GR and so they still stand. So from this I gather that to offend GrAmazon in any way puts your work at risk of deletion. ‘Offence’ is always going to be “off-topic”. What stunningly clever lawyer thought that one up, it covers everything!

The world of books already for many people defined by Amazon will also in the future be limited by them into the boundaries Amazon sets. At the moment they are deleting books with overtly sexual titles and others with sexual content they don’t approve of. And should Amazon decide to make what they think is appropriate retroactive, well no-one actually owns a Kindle book, it is only rented, and I am sure in the terms of the rental there is a little tiny bit which says they can alter the words “if necessary” or perhaps replace the entire book by another (sanitized) edition.

Most people now, when they think of Eeyore, think of Disney’s loveable soft-toy donkey and have no idea of the original irascible, cynical, loner of a character that A.A. Milne wrote. Sickly-sweet Disney is all about profits. It is so much better to have a happy ending, all-American accents and nothing to offend the parents so everything is rewritten to fit those parameters and so these stories pass into folk history with their literary origins forgotten. Imagine if the Little Mermaid had ended as in the original – the Mermaid has the choice between murdering the prince’s new wife or committing suicide! So it was rewritten and it is the rewritten version that has become the standard.

How soon before books featuring paedophilia, rape and violence in a positive light are banned or reworked? Nabokov’s Lolita won’t be first on the firing line, Neither would the Q’uran with Muhammed marrying a 9 year old, and the Bible so full of threats, violence and murder. These books are too well-known to mess with, but self-published authors – they are on the frontline. Nenia is one of the first casualties

A couple of things to read, Nenia’s blog and her 100-book giveaway. And a review that is not at all on-topic but about the repression of books even today, Animal Farm

And then with Amazon’s domination of the SPA market, the eBook market and the world’s biggest bookclub, Goodreads you can forget any laws enshrining freedom of expression in books, because if it doesn’t pass Amazon’s ideas of what is right and fit to promote profits, it won’t be published by them. Publish it any other way, and who will hear of it? Did the books still burn if the people there who saw them on fire had no means to tell anyone else? Did Goodreads censorship really happen if only 1,000 people knew and 19,999,000 don’t? 

So censorship is not just deleting, it is making sure that no one knows there is any form of censorship in operation – firstly by threatening people so they self-censor and secondly by limiting drastically the number of people who know about it. Oh the irony if this review is deleted.

What we need is another book company to break Amazon’s monopoly, but it won’t happen, Amazon will just buy it. I have no solution to this problem. I forsee a sort of electronic version of Russian samizdat for those ‘in the know’, for the other 19,999,000 well they say you can’t miss what you’ve never had. 

All hail capitalism without controls.

The original review on BookLikes.

 

The Painted Veil

23 September, 2013
99664

UPDATE:  I’ve just had an email from GR informing me that this review was flagged and deleted. I am sorry to lose the comment thread. However, what was interesting was that GR did read the review as they said that they do regularly check Fiverr for this paid review thing and were even now investigating two people. I reposted the review minus the controversial content. I don’t know if it is visible to everyone or only friends, but then again, I don’t really care.

 ***

This is a fake review. It does not reference the author at all except to say he could write rather brilliantly and I did enjoy the book. But let’s get on with the fake review.
For those who do not belong to Feedback group, there is a massive thread devoted to GR’s new policy (rolled out Friday, of course) of deleting all reviews that reference the author negatively. They are being deleted without informing people until afterwards apparently. But is it just some reviewers who behave badly (in the eyes of Goodreads, not mine) or are some authors doing even worse?

So I posted this in Feedback and I’m posting it here as a fake review because I want people to be aware of this rather pernicious and low way that a tiny minority of authors are availing themselves of.

This site Fiverr is offering for sale reviews, likes, etc to be posted on Goodreads. Obviously no-one but authors are going to pay for these services which go from $5. Some of the people offering the services say they are Goodreads Librarians.

These are the two most interesting imo, mark-as-read-rate-and-review-your-book-in-goodreads-and-become-fan 37 people have availed themselves of this service to date.

and

Add your book and write your own review for me to submit for only $5. This one has had 80 takers so far.

Searching for “Goodreads Amazon Book Reviews” brings up 11,297 people offering services related to those key words. Some people are offering to vote up (on Amazon) a book review from 50+ accounts.

This is a typical service:

Do you want to increase the sales of your book?
Leverage your product’s sales with GoodReads’ Social Networking and watch the growth.

I will mark your book as read.
I will rate it 5 stars (or any rating you want).
I will post a review for a boost on SEO
I will become fan of the author
Add it to a list of your choice

All for $5 !!!

I will re create the process with a different account +$5
I will add or vote your book on 10 extra lists +$5
I will add or vote your book on 20 extra lists,10 with one account, 10 with a different one +$10

I hope Goodreads will take this as seriously as it is negative reviews about authors. Because otherwise it is going to seem very much as if no criticism of authors will be allowed, but having them pay for reviews, listopia votes, likes, fans etc to be posted is acceptable. That is worse in my view because these things are meant to mislead people into thinking people genuinely liked the book and wrote a good review. The reviews that go off about the author are all reactive. The reviewers have written negative but genuine reviews and the authors (or sometimes their agents) have reacted badly to them on GR or elsewhere and then the reviews are rewritten to include the authors behaviour and possibly includes their other books. But which is worse, paying for fake reviews, likes and listopia or reacting by posting a negative review to an author’s bad behaviour?

The first is designed to make as much money as possible for the author, the second is a storm in a teacup review that has to compete against all the other reviews, positive and negative for attention. And how do we know that these authors had genuinely good reviews, maybe their bad behaviour extended to purchasing them?

Please note, I think only a teeny tiny percentage of authors would go in for such a cynical manipulation of GR like this. I don’t think the majority would stoop this low by any means.

So there you have it, fake review! (Which I will delete at some time in the future and write a proper one of this very fevered, almost malarial-swampy book that was an excellent read).

This is the real book review

This book is about the time when society women didn’t work, especially not in the hot and fetid colonies, and this was set in Hong Kong. They sat at home and painted their nails and dreamed of love in the afternoon and sometimes they did it too. Kitty did, she had an affair and her husband found out. He was a good man, as she was to find out, but once crossed, his soul was dark with thoughts of the ultimate revenge – death, either socially or in reality.

He gave his wife a choice, divorce, which would mean the end of her career as a socialite with pretty party dresses, passionate lovers and invitations to all the best balls in town. Or, if she could persuade her married lover to divorce his wife, he would allow that. But the married lover, typical of the species ditched the paramour and kept the wife. So it was either the social ignominy of divorce or she could go with him, a doctor, to sort out a cholera epidemic on mainland China where she might catch and die of the disease herself. She went.

And eventually, her character grew and her soul was transformed as she found a higher calling in nursing children and admiration for her well-respected if unlovable husband. Pregnant, she told him she didn’t know if it was his or her lover’s but it mattered not, because the husband got written out at this point in a touching deathbed scene.
She returns to Hong Kong, now lodging with her previous paramour and his wife, a heroine and tragic widow, but blots her copy book briefly by one more go-round with the ex-lover. Disgusted with herself she returns to the UK and finding her mother has died, sets herself up to support her father and accompanies him to the Caribbean island where he is to become the resident Chief Justice.

There she will dedicate herself to her father and to bringing up the as-yet unborn child. And that’s where the book ends.

What the book do

esn’t say is that the ex-pat society in the Caribbean is every bit as entertaining as Hong Kong and there is a great deal less poverty and sickness. Less white women gives rarity value even unto the sullied, and in any case, less attention to social mores is paid in tropical climes. I’m sure she got back up on that social roundabout again, but that’s for our imagination.

A good book, an odd book for its time giving a lot of power and play to women’s sexuality, but dividing both the men and women into good/celibate (more or less) and sexually active (bad, bad bad). I haven’t seen the film of it, but it’s ideal for a modern remake with a hot young star and plenty of sex scenes

Almaty-Transit, Banned review. Goodreads.

20 September, 2013

Petra X’s Reviews > Almaty-Transit

Image

 

Almaty-Transit 
by Dana Mazur (Goodreads Author) 

 

Petra X’s review 

Feb 23, 13  ·  edit

 

1 of 5 stars

bookshelves: books-i-really-loathed, badly-behaving-authors-and-spammers 

Read in October, 2012

 

Banned Review
Do authors like spam? Do they love it, embrace it, wish for it, hope it arrives in their mail box every day? Do they think when they get spam oh that is wonderful to be introduced to this product, this book, this insurance service, this Nigerian scam, I must absolutely buy the product, read the book, send my bank details off to Africa right now?

They don’t?

So why spam me with a “recommendation” for your book when I don’t know you, don’t read this genre, don’t own a kindle and you are just spamming around blindly in the hope I go oh how wonderful I love spam, I must absolutely read this book, heeeeeeere’s my money!

NOT.

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message 1: by Jan-Maat

Oct 27, 2012 06:37am

 

I also was spammed with a recommendation for this book.

Seeing as I also don’t have a kindle or read ghost stories I suppose this is another example of how not to do marketing eh? 

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message 2: by Paula – added it

Oct 27, 2012 07:35am

 

Yep! me too 

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message 3: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 27, 2012 09:55am

 

Jan-Maat wrote: “I also was spammed with a recommendation for this book.

Seeing as I also don’t have a kindle or read ghost stories I suppose this is another example of how not to do marketing eh?”

I wonder how many more of us were spammed by her. 

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message 4: by Ema

Oct 27, 2012 01:11pm

 

But is it fair to give the book one star just because you are offended by the author’s self-promoting? I suppose that you haven’t even read the book! I don’t know the author, I’m just speaking from the point of view of a human being. 

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message 5: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 27, 2012 05:51pm

 

Ema wrote: “But is it fair to give the book one star just because you are offended by the author’s self-promoting? I suppose that you haven’t even read the book! I don’t know the author, I’m just speaking from the point of view of a human being. “

You say tomayto and I say tomahto, you say self-promoting and I say spamming.

Everyone is free to use Goodreads star rating scale as they please, this has been stated time and again so I’m using it like this. It may not be fair, but do you consider it fair for an author to promote their book by spamming random people or ‘human beings’ if you like!

btw I love, absolutely love your profile pic. 

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message 6: by Steve aka Sckenda (last edited Oct 27, 2012 08:54pm)

Oct 27, 2012 08:54pm

 

yes, this is absolutely fair to give this book one star. Devious people/authors deserve this treatment. I will do the same if I get bombarded with shit from self-promoting authors. It is an excellent teaching moment. 

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message 7: by Katy – added it

Oct 27, 2012 09:11pm

 

Well, to be fair to the author, do you blame him/her for trying to get the word out about his/her book? If you had published a book and were on a social networking site with the focus on books and helping others to find new books, wouldn’t you want to let folks know it was available in the most expedient and far-ranging way possible? Sending out a group recommendation is one of the easiest ways to do this.

Also, did the author send you more than one recommendation? The reason I ask is that is sounds to me, from what you are saying, that you received a single recommendation for this book. “tomayto/tomahto” you say, but to me, one recommendation is not spam -it is a recommendation, which you can choose to ignore if you wish. 

However: Did you write back and say “hey, dude, not interested, don’t bother me?” If so, did he/she continue to send you recommendations? If so, then THAT is spam, but nothing I’ve read here indicates that step was taken. 

Also, if you had on your profile “Don’t send me recommendations” (which you don’t) then that could be considered spam, but again, can’t you forgive the author for not actually reading and remembering every profile of every member in his/her listing?

I feel like you might have been a bit hard on this author based upon the information I currently have, which is that he/she sent out a single recommendation to a lot of people. For example: how was he/she supposed to know you, personally, don’t have a Kindle? Even if you have stated baldly on your profile “I don’t have a Kindle”,(which, to be fair, you haven’t) you could still read the books if you really wanted to using a desktop app. 

You also have thousands of books of your shelves, so honestly, he/she could also be forgiven for not knowing that this particular genre is not among your favorites – of course he/she didn’t have the time to comb your shelves to confirm that.

Of course, when it comes right down to it, as you say, it’s all your point of view and your choice; you can shelve, rate and review books on any basis you choose within this site’s ToS – maybe there is more to this than I know – but I just feel like you’re being a bit too harsh toward this author. 

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message 8: by Steve aka Sckenda (last edited Oct 27, 2012 09:34pm)

Oct 27, 2012 09:30pm

 

Sorry, I had no idea that Petra’s comment was even controversial. I don’t like this tactic, I have better ways of finding fiction and I don’t want spam from unknowns. I just don’t like it. Authors should beware that readers won’t be bullied. Imagine how miserable life would be on GR if every author did this? 

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message 9: by Katy – added it

Oct 27, 2012 09:39pm

 

Steve wrote: “Sorry, I had no idea that Petra’s comment was even controversial. I don’t like this tactic, I have better ways of finding fiction and I don’t want spam from unknowns. I just don’t like it. Authors …”

I understand how you feel, and it might be to your benefit to make a note on your profile that you do not want unsolicited recommendations, but the fact remains that this is a method new authors can use to get the word out about their new book – if they don’t take chances, how are they going to get new readers? As long as they’re only sending a single recommendation and not otherwise bothering you, I don’t, personally, consider it to be spam. 

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message 10: by Steve aka Sckenda

Oct 27, 2012 09:56pm

 

Katy wrote: “Steve wrote: “Sorry, I had no idea that Petra’s comment was even controversial. I don’t like this tactic, I have better ways of finding fiction and I don’t want spam from unknowns. I just don’t lik…”

Sorry Katy. I didn’t mean anything personal. I like you, and you can send me all the recs you want because you are my friend, and you care enough to comment on my reviews, and I always read yours. I meant no offense to you or any of your projects. Really sorry if I stepped into a minefield on a subject that is important to you. But I do fear what might happen if too many authors bombard reviewers. It could swamp the real purpose that most of us are here for. Peace? 

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message 11: by Katy – added it

Oct 27, 2012 10:00pm

 

Steve wrote: “Sorry Katy. I didn’t mean anything personal. I like you, and you can send me all the recs you want because you are my friend, and you care enough to comment on my reviews, and I always read yours. I meant no offense to you or any of your projects. Really sorry if I stepped into a minefield on a subject that is important to you. But I do fear what might happen if too many authors bombard reviewers. It could swamp the real purpose that most of us are here for. Peace?”

Oh, I’m not angry; just felt this was a little harsh over a single recommendation; I mean, if he/she is sending them over and over, yeah, that would be annoying as heck. Me, I’m here to learn about and find new books, so I don’t at all mind getting recommendations (a single one per book, thanks) from new authors – that was all I meant. It would be better if authors would do a little research and make sure the person is open to receiving recommendations before sending them, but … *shrug* obviously we see that differently, and that’s fine 🙂 I understand your POV and hopefully I’ve explained mine well enough so you know what I mean. My apologies if I made you feel I was attacking you – that was not at all my intention; just trying to interject another point of view.

Peace, out… 

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message 12: by Rebecca – rated it 5 stars

Oct 27, 2012 11:04pm

 

 

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message 13: by Jan-Maat

Oct 28, 2012 12:11am

 

Katy wrote: “Well, to be fair to the author, do you blame him/her for trying to get the word out about his/her book?…”
I wouldn’t blame anybody for trying to get the word out about their book but this was operating at the random level of effectiveness.

Surely if you wanted to get the word out about your book you would want it to be effective and would put some effort into targeting likely readers. Here maybe people with shelf names like ‘ghosts’ or ‘supernatural’ or something else with a thematic link to the content of the book.

It’s not getting a recommendation that is the problem but getting a recommendation completely unrelated to my reading, with no effort made to explain why I might be interested. Feels like spam or junk mail.

Then of course it’s irritating to use a potentially successful marketing tool so poorly! 😉 

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message 14: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 12:15am

 

That’s a great point, Jan-Maat, but not everyone is that specialized in their shelving. My shelving is based upon mostly details about how I got the book, and unrelated to the topic of the book itself, for an example (with the exception of my “crazy conspiracy theory” shelf, I guess).

I have been talking to some other people about this and it seems my opinion is in the minority on this issue, so I’ll gracefully bow out 🙂 I certainly do not want to cause anyone offense or upset, nor do I mean to attack anyone’s choices – I was only wanting to point out a different perspective.

Thanks! 

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message 15: by Rebecca – rated it 5 stars

Oct 28, 2012 01:25am

 

 

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message 16: by Paul

Oct 28, 2012 03:08am

 

I think Petra is entitled to score any book exactly how she wishes if that book comes across her path; however it comes across her path. I expect authors to promote their books, but if it is indiscriminate then the message is going to go to people who are not interested. This is the same principle as junk mail; you send it out to enough people the you are going to catch a few people who are interested, but you are going to annoy other people who don’t want to receive it. 
The point is, when I receive the junk mail, whatever way it was sent; it is entirely up to me what I do with it. Petra has exercised her right to express a valid opinion on what she has received and the way she received it. 
I’m with you Petra! 

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message 17: by Steve aka Sckenda (last edited Oct 28, 2012 06:58am)

Oct 28, 2012 06:47am

 

Rebecca wrote: “OK, I was back and forth with Dana the author (she is a friend of a friend and I’m helping her to get her book out) she said she can’t see this thread because Petra X blocked her from this conversa…”

Steve also says in his profile that he fights bullies. She is a bully and will be fought. Don’t spoil GR with promotions. Steve does not review or read books of the type that your friend of a friend writes. Let her go figure that. Reflect on her own conduct. 

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message 18: by Steve aka Sckenda

Oct 28, 2012 06:49am

 

And I’m out of this conversation too. I find my own books my own way. Spam is discourteous and I need no lectures about courtesy. There is no discourtesy on my part. 

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message 19: by Kwoomac

Oct 28, 2012 07:39am

 

I recently received an email from “an old lady on her deathbed” who didn’t want her evil family to get her money so she chose me, a complete stranger, to inherit her very large estate! Pretty cool, huh! 

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message 20: by Petra X (last edited Oct 28, 2012 09:17am) – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 08:36am

 

Katy wrote: “Also, did the author send you more than one recommendation?. 

So by that line of thought, every single GR author is allowed to promote their book just once to every single GR member. Oh Lord, that would be how many messages in the inbox every day? 10? 50? 100? 500?

However: Did you write back and say “hey, dude, not interested, don’t bother me?” 

No, I don’t write back to spammers. The first time I got a letter from Nigeria I did not write back and say no thank you, I’m not interested in giving you my bank details. I have to say with the Nigerian scammers, just like this book spam I have never had more than one spam letter per scam, they are all different and all the same, just as if all GR authors were spamming me with their book promotions.

Also, if you had on your profile “Don’t send me recommendations” (which you don’t)…profile of every member in his/her listing? 

Thank you for this, I didn’t know I could do this and I will. Edit Having checked the Settings on my profile thoroughly, I don’t see any such settings as no reviews from anyone ever. If you mean I should put it in my profile, why should I? I have recommendations from author-friends that I welcome. And anyway, as you said, the author didn’t (have time to) read my profile before spamming me anyway!

But what do you mean I should forgive the author 

for not actually reading and remembering every profile every member in his/her listing? 

Why should I be on this author’s listing? Listing of what? I am not in any group with her, nor friends with her? So what is this list? A list made up of people she was going to spam with her new book and certainly had no intention of checking whether or not they might be interested.

I feel like you might have been a bit hard on this author based upon the information I currently have, which is that he/she sent out a single recommendation to a lot of people. 

You mean she spammed a lot of people. LOL

Of course, when it comes right down to it, as you say, it’s all your point of view and your choice; you can shelve, rate and review books on any basis you choose within this site’s ToS – maybe there is more to this than I know – but I just feel like you’re being a bit too harsh toward this author …” 

And that’s the point. According to the rules for authors, her spamming random members with her book is not allowed and maybe she couldn’t be bothered to check whether anyone she spammed might be interested, couldn’t be bothered to look at their book lists, their profiles or anything else, but she should have been bothered to look at the rules. Or did she think because she spammed people from her member’s profile, rather than author’s one, she would be exempt from that rule? That’s just getting round things in a very unaccepatable way.

However, from the beginning I did think I had been hard. I don’t agree with personally slagging off authors because I don’t like their books unless the book is essentially about them (Bunny Tales for instance). There has been a lot of drama on and off GR recently about “bullying reviewers” and some self-entitled authors. I rather reluctantly came down on the reviewers side in that the authors behaviour was so unprofessional (euphemism) that they should have expected some people were going to react badly and not kept it out of their reviews (and then they compounded it by replying and getting their friends to join in and slag off said “bullying reviewers” even further). So I did think I wouldn’t actually leave this ‘review’ up for very long, although the 1-star would remain. However, now you have brought out so many points in your comment I am in two minds about removing it now.

I thank you for your comment (not being at all sarcastic, just in case this reads badly, I absolutely mean this). It elucidated a lot of points on what spamming is v genuine recommendations and left me thinking, especially when you brought up the TOS, I’m within my rights to rate and review a book exactly as I choose, and she is not within her rights to promote a book on GR by any means she chooses, in this case spamming.

Edited because I couldn’t find any such settings as no reviews from anyone ever or similar. 

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message 21: by Petra X (last edited Oct 28, 2012 10:12am) – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 08:58am

 

Rebecca wrote: “OK, I was back and forth with Dana the author (she is a friend of a friend and I’m helping her to get her book out) she said she can’t see this thread because Petra X blocked her from this conversa…”

Rebecca just joined Oct 2012, welcome new member and has reviewed only one book, guess which? She also wrote this,

“No problem Dana too bad you don’t see all comments. You’ve been promoted into a bully. Come back in a couple days you will be a full grown nazi.
Ah… the life of a writer.
Hope you feel like Salman Rushdie(less)”

That’s a very unpleasant comment indeed. I never said a spammer was a bully. As a Jewish person whose great grandparents generation in my own family was greatly decimated by the Nazis, dumbing down Nazi in this fashion is horribly distasteful. But the exaggeration is not done yet, we are now onto death sentences.

Rebecca, your friend should have paid for adverts, or joined groups of people who like her genre, or become friends with the people she thought might buy her book (I mean this is all about money, let’s be honest, it’s not ‘read’ my book, it’s the $$ that count). I have authors on my friends’ list, they are primarily GR members in the ordinary way but when they have an event or a new book out, I am delighted to know about it, but a stranger randomly hitting people up with promotional emails is a spammer. 

But not a BULLY, not a NAZI and not anyone who can be compared to an author who had a DEATH SENTENCE put on him. And I block spammers not so they can’t read my comments but so they can’t send me any more! 

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message 22: by Ixan – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 09:26am

 

Katy wrote: “Well, to be fair to the author, do you blame him/her for trying to get the word out about his/her book? If you had published a book and were on a social networking site with the focus on books and …”

I’ve never read so many justifications for spam. 

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message 23: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 09:57am

 

Ixan wrote: “I’ve never read so many justifications for spam.”

I was working from the assumption that the person who sent out the book requests was at the very least “following” the people to whom the requests were sent – I was not aware that people could send recommendations en masse to people other than their own friends or in response to a specific request; if this is something that is disallowed, how on Earth did this author do it? It seems to me that if Goodreads doesn’t want people sending out recommendations to others than among their circles, they should make it so this cannot be done and therefore avoid the problem altogether, amIright? 

Petra X, since you have clarified that the person who sent the recommendation to you was not, in fact, among your circles, that explains why you were upset. 

I still maintain that a single recommendation from the author, no matter to how many people it was sent, is not spam – certainly not on the lines of the Nigerian scams (comparing an author asking you to take a look at a book with someone trying to scam you out of thousands of dollars is not exactly a pertinent comparison, IMO) or someone trying to sell organ enlargement pills – but that is *my* opinion and I much better understand Petra X’s opinion now. There was no need to be rude, Ixan – most of us were maintaining a respectful tone here.

Thank you for your response, Petra. I apologize if I was unclear – I did simply mean putting a note in your profile requesting that people who don’t know you shouldn’t send you recommendations. I am not aware of a setting that disallows such, but that might be something to bring up on the Feedback group? Maybe I’m just not important enough (haha!), but this is not a problem for me – the recommends I get are usually from friends, and I don’t get that many from random people. If you’re getting a lot of them, it might be something you could address. 

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message 24: by Christina

Oct 28, 2012 10:13am

 

Paul wrote: “I think Petra is entitled to score any book exactly how she wishes if that book comes across her path; however it comes across her path…(etc.)”

I think Paul hit it on the head. Sure, authors want to get their book out there (I’ll be doing publicity for my book when it comes out), but to me, unsolicited recommendations are, well…spam.

Is that harsh? Maybe, but anyone who is marketing anything needs to put himself or herself in the position of the person receiving the advertisement. We all have to deal with it in this culture in some form, but it is so rarely something we seek. We fast forward through commercials, click on “Skip Ad” on YouTube, etc. We don’t want someone randomnly approaching us to buy/consume anything.

That being said, if the GR user asked for a recommendation, such as “I’d like to read something like Harry Potter, but with adults and set in the future”, then an author whose book legitimately fits that description could offer their book as a possible candidate.

Also, authors might be able to approach GR users for an honest review, but would need to build up a rapport with that user and recognize that asking someone to review your book is a HUGE favor. We all have lives, after all, and other books we’d might rather read instead.

As they say, that’s my take on it, so if anyone would like to discuss it further, I think it would be great, as this is a good topic. 🙂 

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message 25: by Rebecca – rated it 5 stars

Oct 28, 2012 10:56am

 

 

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message 26: by Petra X (last edited Oct 28, 2012 11:30am) – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 11:28am

 

Rebecca wrote: “OK, I was back and forth with Dana the author (she is a friend of a friend and I’m helping her to get her book out) she said she can’t see this thread because Petra X blocked her fr…”

U actually created more “pollution” than a single rec sent your way.

And what is that supposed to mean? That seems to be another rude and personally directed comment from you? 

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message 27: by Richard

Oct 28, 2012 11:29am

 

…and the forecast for Teapot today: More tempests, with occasional hissies.

Reviews and ratings are opinions, and no one owes a particular kind of opinion to anyone else. Nor does commenting on how one thinks the opinion of another is incorrect ever lead to anything positive.

So Katy my friend, and I mean that sincerely as you are my friend, if you don’t like or approve of Petra dissing someone in her review, IGNORE IT. If it keeps happening in her reviews, IGNORE *HER*. Life is too short. This is silly. 

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message 28: by Richard

Oct 28, 2012 11:29am

 

BTW Petra, I “liked” the review. I agree. 

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message 29: by Rebecca – rated it 5 stars

Oct 28, 2012 11:36am

 

 

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message 30: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 11:43am

 

Christina wrote: “Paul wrote: “I think Petra is entitled to score any book exactly how she wishes if that book comes across her path; however it comes across her path…(etc.)”

I think Paul hit it on the head. Sure…”

Thanks for your comment. It’s nice to get a non-personally directed one that addresses the problem – book promotion by GR authors. 

I have several authors on my friends list. I read their reviews, I chat to them, in an online way we know each other and are friends and I am delighted to hear when they have a new book out. I don’t actually ever review them anymore than I review any of the (real life) authors I look after – I have a bookshop on a small island. I wouldn’t give a less than good review to a friend and it would be noticeable if I only reviewed some books and not others, so I just don’t. However and probably more to the point, I’ve never been asked by an online friend to review their book!

As far as promoting a book on GR is concerned, well isn’t that what the low-cost text ads GR rolls out are for? Also the giveaways? Also if authors belong to groups and chat regularly (time investment as opposed to money) then I would think people would be pleased to hear of a new book. I also think that asking some reviewers to review a book is fine especially when the reviewer notes it in their comments. I read enough reviews where the reviewer has noted that the book was free or a review was requested and it is easy to tell the pieces of puffery from a well-thought out review, which in my experience are in the majority anyway.

But spamming? Just sending out ‘recommendations’ to lists of nameless people – well that is like saying, I’m not going to spend any time in groups or in building up a friends list, and I’m not going to spend any time reading people’s profiles or book lists to even see if my book is their kind of thing, and I’m not going to spend any money on text ads or giveaways, nope, I’m just going to send out as much spam as I can and with any luck some people will respond and spend their money on my book. 

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message 31: by Rebecca – rated it 5 stars

Oct 28, 2012 11:45am

 

 

This message has been hidden because you have blocked this member. To view this message,click here.

 

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message 32: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 12:18pm

 

Richard wrote: “…and the forecast for Teapot today: More tempests, with occasional hissies.

Reviews and ratings are opinions, and no one owes a particular kind of opinion to anyone else. Nor does commenting on …”

I can’t comment on Petra beyond her response, which seems to me to be in the same spirit in which my comment was meant, which was more a discussion than an argument. Some other people came in and were a bit “hissy” as you say 🙂 but I did not mean to be unkind or anything – I was just stating my opinion on the matter in response to Petra’s opinion on the matter, and I appreciated her response – I felt it was more a “fostering a discussion” sort of thing. We have different opinions as to what constitutes spam, and we seem to be of the “agree to disagree” belief between us (or at least that was how I took your response, Petra). No argument! I actually found her response to be most enlightening, and I appreciate her point-of-view. Doesn’t mean I agree, but that’s okay, too – if everyone agreed about everything that would just be dull. I appreciate people with whom I can disagree respectfully and have an interesting and enlightening discussion (as Christina said – this is a topic worth exploring).

No hard feelings on my part. 

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message 33: by Khaya

Oct 28, 2012 12:26pm

 

Thanks for this review, Petra! I hope lots of authors on goodreads read it. I am so tired of self-promotion spam in my inbox. 

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message 34: by Khaya

Oct 28, 2012 12:36pm

 

Now that I’ve read the comments, I see that this review has struck a chord with many so I guess I’ll put in my .02. While it’s true that authors are free to recommend their books to anyone out there and goodreaders are free to ignore the recommendations, it gets tiring when it happens repeatedly and my inbox is cluttered with random self-promoting e-mails from authors. I agree with Petra that my attitude would be different if the recommendation came from an author who recognized my taste and felt their book was a good fit for me specifically; unfortunately, this usually has not been the case for me. Most of my reviews state in no uncertain terms that I’m not a sci-fi person, for instance, but I keep getting these sci-fi recommendations from one particular author. I can understand why he might not have the time to learn my particular preferences, and hopefully he can understand why I might find it annoying after a while. 

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message 35: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 12:39pm

 

Khaya wrote: “Now that I’ve read the comments, I see that this review has struck a chord with many so I guess I’ll put in my .02. While it’s true that authors are free to recommend their books to anyone out the…”

If you’re receiving multiple recommendations for books of which you are not a fan, why not mention it to the person? Ask them to stop? Then if they continue to send them, flag them as spam. Just a suggestion – I know it is annoying to have to be the one to take the initiative, but perhaps the person in question is not aware that you don’t appreciate the recommendations? *shrug* I’ve always found it is better to communicate in these situations than to sit back and fume about them, that’s all. 🙂 Best wishes… 

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message 36: by Khaya

Oct 28, 2012 12:42pm

 

I’ll probably just unfriend the person. I didn’t ask for the recommendations, and I kind of resent being the person to have to get into a discussion about it. You’re correct in pointing out that the ball’s in my court and I will take the initiative; I just think the author’s behavior is intrusive. 

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message 37: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 12:46pm

 

Khaya wrote: “I’ll probably just unfriend the person. I didn’t ask for the recommendations, and I kind of resent being the person to have to get into a discussion about it. You’re correct in pointing out that …”

Apparently people can still send recommendations even if they aren’t your friend, which actually bothers me. Even though I don’t consider it spam for an author to recommend their book, it seems… uncouth to send the recommendations out to people with whom you aren’t at least casually acquainted. *shrug* If it is a serious problem, you’ll likely need to block them in order to rectify the situation. 

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message 38: by Christina

Oct 28, 2012 12:51pm

 

Katy wrote: “Apparently people can still send recommendations even if they aren’t your friend, which actually bothers me. Even though I don’t consider it spam for an author to recommend their book, it seems… uncouth to send the recommendations out to people with whom you aren’t at least casually acquainted.”

I didn’t know that either, and while it can be cool to go through recommendation requests and suggest a book to a non-friend, I’m not keen on the idea of an author doing it to those who aren’t their friends. 

While I’m not naive and know that marketing is a huge part of self-publishing, I’d think giveaways would be a far greater approach than saying “Well, my book is about etc. etc….”. Especially considering that word-of-mouth is a tried and true method of sales. 

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message 39: by Petra X (last edited Oct 28, 2012 01:03pm) – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 12:55pm

 

Rebecca wrote: “Mmm… that you are overreacting? 
Please don’t overreact again.
Or do, if you can’t help it.
(I have a lot of friends with control issues and totally understand. No biggie. Eastern philosophy an…”

You do find some ways of being rude don’t you? You don’t think your comments were tantamount to overreaction to my review – you were the one that used the words ‘bully’, ‘Nazi’ and referred to a fatwa, a death sentence. I think your sense of proportion is definitely skewed to the idea that you think you have one and anyone who disagrees is to be zapped, pow pow pow. You weren’t the only one here who disagreed with my review or me even posting it, but you were the only one who descended into personal insults.

As you have shown that you really do have control issues (not sure here whether this is pot calling the kettle black or takes one to know one and all that) as you jump in mad defence of your friend who was spamming me (and lots of others), then I would say take your own advice and try Eastern religions and meditation, but obviously they aren’t working for you so I don’t think I’ll bother.

However, I don’t feel like having you act like a troll towards me any more so I’m going to block you. You’re a new member, right? Just joined, right? Well, the traditional way if you don’t know it to get back at people who have blocked you is to a) get a ‘friend’ to attack for you, or b) make a sock puppet account, or another one? But you knew that didn’t you? 

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message 40: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 12:59pm

 

You have a point, Christina, but may I share an experience? You are aware, since you receive them, that I regularly “invite” my friends to giveaways and to inform them of freebies. It would never have occurred to me to consider that people might not be interested in hearing about how to get a free book. However, both Kelly-Jane and Richard Derus, instead of blocking or unfriending me when I sent them these invites, instead contacted me and asked me if wouldn’t mind not inviting them to anything ever because they just weren’t interested. I am very happy they choose this route – sure, it’s a bit harder to go through individual invites, but I’m happy to honor their requests. That was my background when I suggest that if you don’t care to receive these things, you let people know rather than jumping to conclusions about their purpose. *shrug* I would hate to have lost these two wonderful people from my feeds through a misunderstanding.

I find it is more productive to reach out to people, in a general sense. That really is my main point.

All the best! 

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message 41: by Stefani – added it

Oct 28, 2012 01:02pm

 

Wow, just wow. This is looking like another book that I won’t ever be reading. First, it says in the author guidelines…it’s probably not a good idea just to randomly rec people or PM them about their book (even if they have it listed as TBR)…that can be reported as spam. So saying that as long as it was only once its not a big deal is wrong since the author guidelines address it specifically as something you shouldn’t do because it can be reported as spam.

And then having the author speak through her BFF/rabid fangirl to tell everyone to “get a life” is unprofessional, rude and uncalled for. But what else should I have expected from an author who already proved they are willing to spam-rec people she has never interacted with before.

Major author fail. 

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message 42: by Christina

Oct 28, 2012 01:11pm

 

You’ve got a great point, Katy, but one of the benefits of someone expressing their dislike for such invitations, whether it’s anonymously in a general update or in a review of the actual book, is that other authors who might think of recommending books to strangers would see it and think twice. 

This is a really good discussion! Obviously it’s different for different people, but I tend to get easily annoyed (I’m seriously starting to wonder if I have a condition, as I fly off the handle at the slightest irritation), and any kind of advertisement drives me batty. It’s why I never got into copywriting or the traditional route of graphic design. 

Advertising works; that’s obvious. How many books have been sold due to hype and gorgeous covers? Still, it’s a dangerous game. You (general term, no one specific being mentioned) don’t want to be a carnival barker, so as a self-published author (or hell, a traditionally published author), you have to find ways of promotion that won’t get people steaming.

Katy, your point made me think of something. I remember an author saw that his book was marked as “will never read” or something, and he politely asked the GR user why that was. Turns out she was spammed a few times about his book. It could have been a fan, or the author himself (more on this in a bit). The author apologized, which is great, but then asked the GR user to change the shelving for his book (not great). 

The GR user told him she’d rather not do that, so he put an unsolicted comment in her review that he didn’t send the spamming. Sure, he didn’t want the bad press, but he overreached there. Then, for the kicker, he complained to STGRB, which landed him in a heap of “will not read” shelves and a ton of more bad press.

In my opinion, the author was right in asking her discreetly and politely why his book was shelved that way, but then should have left it be. People can shelve books however they want, so maybe he could have done a blog post or something asking fans not to spam other users with his book. His behavior had everyone wondering if the spamming originated from a sock puppet account.

At the end of the day, I’d say to authors, “Don’t approach unless asked, but if you feel you must, be kind and polite, and try to let things go.” 

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message 43: by Amara

Oct 28, 2012 01:11pm

 

I got a spam!rec for this the other day, too. Personally, I just block the ones who do it with the recommendations system because I can kind of see where there might be a bit of confusion, but… I really think it should be obvious that sending recommendations for one’s own books to complete strangers is more than a tad spammy. 

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message 44: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 01:15pm

 

Stefani wrote: Wow, just wow. This is looking like another book that I won’t ever be reading.First, it says in the author guidelines…it’s probably not a good idea just to randomly rec people or PM them about their book (even if they have it listed as TBR)…that can be reported as spam. So saying that as long as it was only once its not a big deal is wrong since the author guidelines address it specifically as something you shouldn’t do because it can be reported as spam.

And then having the author speak through her BFF/rabid fangirl to tell everyone to “get a life” is unprofessional, rude and uncalled for. But what else should I have expected from an author who already proved they are willing to spam-rec people she has never interacted with before….”

(My emphasis). Thank you for that, you have what I don’t – the ability to focus, get to the nub of an issue and briefly say all there is to be said. To give Rebecca her point, I do lack control! 

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message 45: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 01:17pm

 

Christina, I agree that author started off on the right foot, but I don’t think it was necessarily a bad thing to note in a comment under the review that he was not the one responsible for sending out the recommendations, just to avoid confusion – I can see how he wouldn’t want to get the blame. You’re right it was best not to ask people to change their shelving, though, nor was it probably the best move to go to STGRB as that probably just blew the whole damn mess up… Personally I don’t like “negative” shelving – I can manage to remember what books I don’t want to read without it. So, what I do it: I don’t do it. *laugh* Not too hard.

But… BUT (and here’s where my curse of seeing every side comes in), if you have a book shelved, people can’t recommend it to you! So, I guess there is a purpose to it, if you want to be sure no one will send recommendations about a specific book, to put it on a “not for me” type shelf. *shrug* 

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message 46: by Christina

Oct 28, 2012 01:18pm

 

Stefani wrote: “And then having the author speak through her BFF/rabid fangirl to tell everyone to “get a life” is unprofessional, rude and uncalled for. But what else should I have expected from an author who already proved they are willing to spam-rec people she has never interacted with before.

Major author fail. “

How did I forget about this? Ugh.

I’m hoping it’s not accurate. If not, too bad that the author’s name is being smeared. If it is, yes, unprofessional, childish, and rude.

Anyway. Steve brings up a brilliant point. If all authors sent out anonymous recs all the time, GR would become inhabitable.

I think some authors forget this is a place for readers, and that author promotion is not the endgame for GoodReads. 

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message 47: by Chris

Oct 28, 2012 01:20pm

 

Liked the review Petra. I haven’t had authors recommend thier own book to me. I have had a few authors PM very polite “would you read my book and review it if I sent it to you” message. I didn’t consider these spam because they had checked my profile first. But to mass send -geez. 

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message 48: by Ederyn

Oct 28, 2012 01:23pm

 

I’m with you, Stefani. There are thousands of ‘awethors’ on GR, and if they all did this, picture how clogged our inboxes would be. And why should the burden be on the reader to post warnings in their profiles of things that are already discouraged in the TOS? It’s too bad GR doesn’t immediately ban an author who sends out unsolicited self-promotion, but until they do the next best thing is one-star reviews. Go, Petra! 

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message 49: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 01:48pm

 

Katy, I have noted your criticism and comments on this review and have no problem at all with them. You have been very polite, you make your points clearly and we all have been discussing things in a reasonable way. However, I have to think there is some self-interest in defending this author and in always advising ‘the gentler approach’ to spammers and not putting books of such spammers on to shelves with names that might put other people of reading the books or blaming them for only sending spam just the once (to each person).

Your blog profile says, 
“I will accept books in any form (paperback, hard back or e-book) from authors and/or publishers and write reviews that I post all over the place (Goodreads, Shelfari, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Facebook) – I am quite busy with that”

I checked the first 8 or 10 books or so on your blog. They are all books you have received for free and you rate all of them at 5 stars. You promote giveaways for authors, invite and host authors interviews and in other ways are involved in the promotion of authors and new books.

Now by this I am not saying that the reviews aren’t honest and well-written. I didn’t read them, but judging by your comments here, they are likely to be very good. What I am saying is that I think there are three points of view on this review and the subsequent comments, two are self-evident and one isn’t, your’s.

1) People who don’t like being randomly spammed by authors;
2) Authors or their bff or fangirls on the attack (or defence, depends on your perspective); and
3) Your singular one, that of someone who is not an author but heavily involved in reviewing books they receive for free and helping out authors.

I notice that not all your reviews had originally disclosed the free status of the books but that you were in the process of going back to older reviews and adding that disclosure. I just felt that other people reading your comments here could do with this disclosure of your interest too.

Might drive traffic to your blog too. It looks really good and I can understand why a lot of people would like to be featured on it. 

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message 50: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 02:03pm

 

While it is true I do accept and review books from authors, I don’t accept *every* book I’m offered – I chose ones I think I’ll like, which is why I have so many highly rated book reviews. Or I just haven’t managed to yet read those I’m iffy about … after all, I do chose what order in which I’ll read them … 😉

I like to think even without that incentive I would chose to take the gentler route, as you say 🙂 I’ve been on the receiving end of a lot of harshness and I always try to put myself into the other person’s shoes so as to avoid being the one giving out that harshness, you see? I think that because I work with authors a lot, I do probably tend to see things more from their point of view, so that is entirely accurate, but I like to think I would take a similar stance if I felt someone was being overly harsh toward a reviewer. 

Now, admittedly, I misunderstood the situation at first – I thought you were at least acquainted with the author, because I was not aware one could send mass recommends to people they were not “connected” to, and as a result I see why it was upsetting to you, and I definitely can see that it would be annoying. I am not aware of any of the authors with whom I work on a regular basis giving anyone a hard time and sending out mass recommends, so fortunately I’ve never been put into that position. So, for that, I apologize – you were justified in your feelings about this situation.

I did want to point out that my intention wasn’t to ask you to change your opinion – I felt you were being a bit harsh, but I did admit that perhaps there was more to it than I was aware (which turned out to be true). I mostly wanted to foster a discussion about this and provide a counter-point of view; does that make sense? And I really appreciate that you understood where I was coming from with my remarks. thanks! 

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message 51:
 by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 02:32pm

 

Well this is interesting. I had a message saying that this author had been spamming her book in this same way for at least a year and provided one link
http://www.goodreads.com/recommendati… – no review for the book there though.

Serial spammer 

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message 52: by Peribo

Oct 28, 2012 02:35pm

 

Wow, is this what they call trending?? 

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message 53: by Zahara

Oct 28, 2012 02:50pm

 

Rebecca wrote: >>Mmm… that you are overreacting?
Please don’t overreact again.
Or do, if you can’t help it.
(I have a lot of friends with control issues and totally understand. No biggie. Eastern philosophy and meditation really help. Chill, sistah!:))))
Life is beautiful. Look we have the luxury to argue about things beyond food and shelter. If you can, please error on the side of kindness.<<

Wow, could you be anymore patronizing?

And controlling?

Looks like your Eastern philosophy and meditation isn’t really working for you. 

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message 54: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 05:16pm

 

Petra X wrote: “Stefani wrote: Wow, just wow. This is looking like another book that I won’t ever be reading. First, it says in the author guidelines…it’s probably not a good idea just to randomly rec people or PM them about their book (even if they have it listed as TBR)…that can be reported as spam. So saying that as long as it was only once its not a big deal is wrong since the author guidelines address it specifically as something you shouldn’t do because it can be reported as spam.”

This is something I’ve been thinking on – this does not *forbid* that authors do this; it simply discourages it. So to say that an author sending out mass recommends is against the ToS is actually inaccurate. As i said before – uncouth. But not forbidden. Maybe since this is an issue that I seem to be in a distinct minority on, you all might consider approaching the feedback group and discussing this, to see if they would want to use more … emphatic language, since it appears to be such a problem? Just an idea. 

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message 55: by Petra X (last edited Oct 28, 2012 07:11pm) – rated it 1 star

Oct 28, 2012 07:03pm

 

GR is primarily for readers. I am a reader. I am not a target for author spam. And I am getting weary of having it excused.

You know I used to say to my little boy, you might want to share the chocolates with your brothers, or you might want to let your friends play with the ball as well. He understood that he was to share, he understood I was putting it nicely, that I didn’t need to order him to do or not do things, but I was indicating the right thing to do. Everyone here would understand that. 

Just as everyone else understands that the rules discouraging authors from spamming people mean that they shouldn’t. It’s just you, because of your involvement with promoting authors, soliciting free books for review and all the rest means you want to see it from their side. Obviously they aren’t going to be giving you loads of free books and asking for reviews if you are seen as a heavy especially with authors, like this one, who is on your friends’ list. I’m not without sympathy for your position, however, I have a bookshop and I pay for my books and so am beholden to none.

The author has been requesting reviews, sending out in at least one case, a free copy of her work on Kindle, to someone who didn’t ask for it and didn’t review it. That was in 2010, there’s a link above to her spamming in 2011, and here we are in late 2012 still at it not only to me but to other people commenting on the review. And still you want to excuse her. She posted this, what I call a Pinocchio comment, on her bff (but my troll) Rebecca’s review of her book, Rebecca’s only book review, but then she is a new member:

“I carefully choose people whom I recommend my book or ask for a review and ask them once. Usually because they read and liked something that I liked o “. 

So you have excused her because she only spammed each of us once, excused her because the rules only ‘discourage’ rather than forbid and now will you excuse her because we might have a book in common we both liked? Maybe we both read Huckleberry Finn and liked it? Let me repeat, I am a reader here and that should not in any way make me a target for random author spam. 

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message 56: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 07:32pm

 

Actually, what I have done is to encourage her to read the ToS more closely and to not recommend her books to strangers anymore so as to not further upset anyone now that she has discovered that she can list herself as an author (she was apparently not aware she could claim her author page and someone sent her the link; she wanted to know if it was me, which it was not, and that was when I mentioned this to her). She offered me a copy of the book in thanks for my advice and since I was interested in it, and don’t have the money to pay for books right now, I accepted it – she made a point three separate times that she did not expect a review, but I’ll likely review it anyway, ’cause that’s just what I do.

My comment was a suggestion as to something you might bring up with Goodreads, encouraging them to toughen up the language so that there is no misunderstanding, that’s all. Just because I disagree with you on this issue doesn’t mean I don’t see the merit in your concerns; I was discussing this with my husband and brought up the fact that the ToS only says: it’s probably not a good idea just to randomly rec people or PM them about their book (even if they have it listed as TBR)…that can be reported as spam. He pointed this out to me: If it is not forbidden, everyone is going to say “well, I’m sure no one will mind just this one recommendation as long as I don’t send more down the lines…” you see? If the language is less-than-specific, people will use that as an excuse, and since I do sympathize with authors, I certainly don’t want them to bring this sort of situation down upon themselves. Believe me or not, I sympathize with your situation now that I understand it better – I have one guy who had recommended each of his books to me multiple times despite the fact that I’ve informed him that I do plan to pick them up – he keeps reminding me. It’s annoying, but I want to read the books, so I just ignore his repeated messages.

This is something you do not know about me, but any time I get the chance to bring it up, I talk to authors about these sorts of things. I discourage them from randomly contacting people, randomly recommending their books, or otherwise engaging in behavior that might be upsetting to people, because I see the potential minefields out here. As a result, I have met some very lovely people and had the opportunity to do what I love, which is read, and made a sort of career out of it. That doesn’t mean I haven’t had my share of problems (see this review for an example of the one really negative interaction I’ve had with an author; I’ve been asked why I didn’t change the rating when this happened – it is because I rate based upon my personal enjoyment of the book, not upon anything else), but I try to do my part to prevent these sorts of situations from happening (and I also want to say I do not accept or solicit payment for reviews, but often the interactions with authors will lead to new editing business, and for that I do receive payment). Just because I strive to maintain a positive relationship with authors does not mean I will bow over backwards or ignore the fact that I am a reader, reviewer, and blogger myself. Also, a lot of the books I’ve been reading and reviewing lately come from publishers, publicists, NetGalley or the Vine program, not directly from authors. Others I have picked up when I found them free on Amazon or Smashwords – I put in the disclosure in order to ensure integrity even when I buy the book myself.

I did not write that previous comment to “excuse” anything, but to make the point that discouragement is not being forbidden in the strictest sense, and people will “read” into it what they want to see. Since you have an issue with it, I simply thought you might want to address it with GR in the feedback section, that’s all. 

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message 57: by Osho

Oct 28, 2012 10:20pm

 

I also received a recommendation for this book by the author, whom I don’t know. Someone said on the first page of comments that any author would look to promote their work widely. I’m an author and I’ve never sent an unsolicited recommendation to someone I didn’t know. I did point out a giveaway to some of my friends, and I’ve responded to two reviews, one by someone who knew I’d given him the book but couldn’t remember the circumstances, and one to a friend who marked a book in which I have a chapter as to read. I rarely get solicitations/recommendations from authors I don’t know. It’s not the standard of practice around here. 

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message 58: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 10:23pm

 

I’m finding it mildly hilarious that I’m the only person who apparently did NOT receive a recommendation for this book and only discovered the book and learned of the author because of this review… 🙂 

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message 59: by Zahara

Oct 28, 2012 10:37pm

 

Katy~

>>Since you have an issue with it, I simply thought you might want to address it with GR in the feedback section, that’s all.<<

You seem to have a big issue with it. Why don’t you bring it up in the feedback section? 

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message 60: by Katy – added it

Oct 28, 2012 11:15pm

 

Zahara wrote: “Katy~

>>Since you have an issue with it, I simply thought you might want to address it with GR in the feedback section, that’s all.<<

You seem to have a big issue with it. Why don’t you bring it …”

You seem to have misunderstood – I don’t have a problem with it. I had actually discussed it directly with the author, so hopefully she will discontinue. A number of people have expressed their displeasure with the procedure, and I was suggesting a possible course of action. Why does that offend you? 

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message 61: by Henry

Oct 29, 2012 12:40am

 

Petra,honesty is always the best policy.So call them as you see them.It’s your right.
.

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message 62: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 29, 2012 07:17am

 

Katy wrote: “I’m finding it mildly hilarious that I’m the only person who apparently did NOT receive a recommendation for this book and only discovered the book and learned of the author because of this review….”

So you mean that you read that people here were getting spammed and so you immediately friended the author? Wow, the mind kind of boggles at that and it really puts a different light on all your comments. 

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message 63: by Stefani – added it

Oct 29, 2012 07:24am

 

Petra X wrote: “So you mean that you read that people here were getting spammed and so you immediately friended the author? Wow, the mind kind of boggles at that and it really puts a different light on all your comments. “

QFT

I don’t understand why this has turned into an issue of semantics. GR was the ones who said they were going to institute rules for authors too then worded it so softly. So they stated these were rules for authors, therefore I am taking them as RULES. Also, as Katy said it says IT CAN BE REPORTED AS SPAM. What author in their right mind would say, well they didn’t say I couldn’t just that I shouldn’t so I’ll take that risk! No one would, unless they haven’t read the rules.

Also, I noticed that until yesterday the author didn’t have an author profile. Just a normal reader profile, which wouldn’t fall under the author guidelines. That couldn’t possibly have been on purpose I’m sure, to circumvent the author guidelines. Sneaky don’t you think? 

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message 64: by Zahara

Oct 29, 2012 07:57am

 

Katy~

>>Why does that offend you?<<

How did you arrive at the conclusion that I was offended?

You seem to be having a great problem with the way Petra has handled the situation and you suggested that she take it to the Feedback thread. Since you are having such a problem with the issue and you brought up the Feedback thread, I suggested that you take it there.

If you’re not having a problem, why do you keep writing long posts about the issue? 

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message 65: by Epee

Oct 29, 2012 10:50am

 

Its a weird triumvirate, the author, Rebecca out of order girl, an Katy, all friends. One spams, Rebecca attacks and Katy defends. 

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message 66: by Katy – added it

Oct 29, 2012 11:34am

 

Epee wrote: “Its a weird triumvirate, the author, Rebecca out of order girl, an Katy, all friends. One spams, Rebecca attacks and Katy defends.”

I met both of them through here; I was not aware of this book or them previously. 

However, it is becoming apparent that my attempts to maintain peace are coming to naught now and I do not wish to see myself further slurred when I have taken every effort to remain respectful and kind to everyone and tried to help you find a solution to this problem, and discussed with both the author and Rebecca better ways of approaching people than they have presented here to try to avoid this sort of situation in the future… So, I will now leave this thread before I give in to the temptation to break my own code. All the best to you all, and I’m sorry my attempts to help you come up with a solution to this problem have led you all to nothing but attacks upon me. Good bye. 

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message 67: by Ginmar

Oct 30, 2012 12:54am

 

That was a weak flounce. It was barely a miffed moment. 

This might be tolerable were you not a consistent defender of any and all authorial bad behavior. You leap in, you protest, you deny, you whine, and then you flounce. 

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message 68: by Deb

Oct 30, 2012 01:55am

 

Adding my 2 cents – I would totally call it spam (as you mentioned, most of those Nigerian emails only come once from each address… but they add up). I would think it would be better to start a book promotion by approaching Book Reviewers (preferrably via whatever method they stipulate that they like – e.g. via their blog). 
Yes, authors are people. Readers and reviewers are people, too. Each deserves to have their feelings, time and opinions respected. And each deserves a little backlash when they step over the line.
This review clearly states the reason for the 1-star. I see no problem with that. 

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message 69: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 30, 2012 07:11am

 

Katy wrote: “Epee wrote: “Its a weird triumvirate, the author, Rebecca out of order girl, an Katy, all friends. One spams, Rebecca attacks and Katy defends.”

I met both of them through here; I was not aware o…”

I wasn’t going to write this, but since Katy has taken her spurious argument of “spamrecommendations were only discouraged, not forbidden” to Feedback and also blocked me so, I will.

From the beginning of this I found Katy’s friendship with the author and the troll a bit odd. I mean most people wouldn’t read a review and immediately and the spammer and a troll as friends would they?

It wasn’t because she sent me a friend request which I turned down was it? I turned it down because her blog solicits books, interviews, giveaways, all kinds of things from authors and publishers and says she posts the reviews – almost every single one is 5-star – everywhere on the net. Those sort of reviews are not for me and I didn’t want to join the audience-base of about 900+ friends.

So maybe I am really wrong-headed thinking that she befriended the author who spammed me and the member who trolled me just because…. because why? 

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message 70: by Stefani – added it

Oct 30, 2012 07:24am

 

Petra X wrote: “So maybe I am really wrong-headed thinking that she befriended the author who spammed me and the member who trolled me just because…. because why? “

She has a looooooong history of trying to be the Review Police. I have seen her appear on so many reviews chastizing the reviewer for “not being nice enough” or “wording things harshly” I would be here all day trying to count them. And typically her pattern is to defend the author who is acting like an ass and make excuses for their behavior, then cozy up to the author about how mean we all are. Then cry and holler about we attacked her, and then flounce off only to come back later and complain some more about being attacked after she left.

So far this has followed her pattern to a T. 

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message 71: by Lexxie

Oct 30, 2012 07:50am

 

Thank you for writing about this in a review, Petra X! I have actually written in my ‘bio’ on my profile that if an author whom I do not know, and whose books I haven’t read any of asks me to ‘friend’ them, I will probably not accept. Lately, it seems like not many authors are reading my profile before sending me friend requests.
I have also stated in my profile that I will not read a book that is recommended to me by anyone at all (no authors, not other goodreads users) that I am not friends with.
It is strange that it is so difficult to just leave people be, and read what they want. 

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message 72: by Petra X (last edited Oct 30, 2012 09:09am) – rated it 1 star

Oct 30, 2012 09:03am

 

Stefani wrote: And typically her pattern is to defend the author who is acting like an ass and make excuses for their behavior, then cozy up to the author about how mean we all are. Then cry and holler about we attacked her, and then flounce off only to come back later and complain some more about being attacked after she left. …”

Interesting. So I was probably wrong in my thoughts that she had befriended the spammer and the troll and then blocked me ( http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1… ) 
because she was totally pissed off that I had turned down her friendship request. That she isn’t like that just when upset, but this is how she is all the time? 

Edit: Stefanie you are so right! She’s back and complaining just as you said.http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/… 

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message 73: by Stefani – added it

Oct 30, 2012 09:28am

 

Petra X wrote: “Edit: Stefanie you are so right! She’s back and complaining just as you said.http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/… “

I really wish I was surprised. Also I know sometimes yesterday she was ranting and raving about how much everybody attacks her on an author’s blog post. Don’t have the link handy, but it was basically the same stuff as here. 

Next I expect there will be another message here, probably in a few days or weeks, to condemn everyone for attacking her. When, really, it’s not anyone else’s business how you chose to review or rate this book…get over it already! 

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message 74: by Skyla (Skoyklha) Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books – added it

Oct 30, 2012 09:58am

 

Katy wrote: “Christina, I agree that author started off on the right foot, but I don’t think it was necessarily a bad thing to note in a comment under the review that he was not the one responsible for sending …”

People can recommend books that are on one of your shelves. I get loads of recommendations for books I have already read all the time. If the book is shelved it doesn’t stop people being able to recommend it. 

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message 75: by The Holy Terror

Oct 30, 2012 10:15am

 

Petra X wrote: “From the beginning of this I found Katy’s friendship with the author and the troll a bit odd. I mean most people wouldn’t read a review and immediately and the spammer and a troll as friends would they?”

She also passive-aggressively stuck you as the “recommender” for this book.

She befriends any author she feels was “attacked” and then goes through peoples’ DNR shelves and adds those books to buy. She’s an editor of SP books and she has a vested interest in the SP world and roams around GR being argumentative and then flouncing, over and over again. It’s kind of sad to watch, but then it also gets a bit creepy when you realize she’s friended/followed people in your friend/follower circle that have no idea she acts this way. Then it feels like she’s everywhere and you can’t get away. 

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message 76: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 30, 2012 11:14am

 

Well folks, I think we have finally reached the end of this, and thanks for everyone’s contribution on how we don’t want to be spammed by authors and how we don’t think there is a defence against it. 

Before it disappears forever from my status, I would just like to post Katy’s comment as it really belongs on this thread, and absolutely confirms in every way what The Holy Terror and Stefani have said about her.
So I’ll do it in the next comment. 

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message 77: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Oct 30, 2012 11:18am

 

Katy said 
I explained what I was trying to do over in the Feedback thread. And let me just say I am so freakin’ tired of people “reading in” to every freakin’ thing I say. I say what I mean; I’m an honest person, but I try to be tactful and I try to build bridges rather than burn them. 

I was just trying to go away and leave you alone and then you go and hijack the damn feedback thread to continue your very subtle attack upon me. I’m not going to deal with people doing that sort of thing, which is why I left your review thread, why I’ve now left the feedback thread, why I’ve unfollowed you, and why I’m now leaving this thread. Enjoy your life – with any luck we won’t stumble across each other again.

http://www.goodreads.com/user_status/… 

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message 78: by Christina

Oct 30, 2012 11:25am

 

I think it’s sad that people have to put in their profile that they don’t want to be spammed. 

Authors, NO ONE wants to be spammed. Do it, and get shelved accordingly. 

There are better ways to market your product. 

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message 79: by Skyla (Skoyklha) Happy Go Lucky and Lost in Books – added it

Oct 30, 2012 11:26am

 

Christina wrote: “I think it’s sad that people have to put in their profile that they don’t want to be spammed. 

Authors, NO ONE wants to be spammed. Do it, and get shelved accordingly.

There are better ways to m…”

Agreed. 

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message 80: by Petra X (last edited Oct 30, 2012 11:38am) – rated it 1 star

Oct 30, 2012 11:27am

 

Katy wrote: “I explained what I was trying to do over in the Feedback thread. And let me just say I am so freakin’ tired of people “reading in” to every freakin’ thing I say. I say what I mean; I’m an honest …”

Honest? LOL, you do tell some porkies don’t you? You didn’t leave this review thread because I “hijacked” the feedback thread. You left BEFORE, you said goodbye (and blocked me) because Epee called you out on you making friends with a spammer and a troll because of my review. 

You couldn’t get any satisfaction on this review thread, because apart from the troll no-one agree with your defence of the spammer so you took it to the Feedback group. What makes you think that the Feedback thread is exclusively yours? What makes you think you can ‘subtly’ continue a battle you are losing in another group and think you should have the field clear for yourself alone?

But funnily enough, just as Stefani and Ginmar said on this review thread, having “flounced” out of that you reappeared not only in Feedback but also in the comments on my status, and just as she said you would, you started complaining about being attacked. 

I don’t care whether you flounce back in here or anywhere else, and I really don’t care enough to worry about whether we cross each other’s paths again or not, obviously I have had a much bigger impact on you than you on me. 

But you know, you really lost this one because you were in the wrong in every single way – no one, not even Kara to whom you ‘subtly’ appealed (as Stefani said only a person with the brain of an amoeba would have misinterpreted the no spamming clauses) for clarification or whatever went along with you and your defence of spammers. And that is what has caused your bad temper. 

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message 81: by Stefani – added it

Oct 30, 2012 11:29am

 

Petra X wrote: “But funnily enough, just as Stefani said on the review thread, having “flounced” out of that you reappeared not only in Feedback but also on my status, and just as she said you would, you starte complaining about being attacked. “

*puts fingers to temple* I is psychic!

Actually, I wish that was true. I’ve just seen it alllllll before on many reviews and many threads. 

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message 82: by duma

Oct 30, 2012 01:50pm

 

I wonder if any of the mass recommending/spamming was successful and anyone bought the book and reviewed it? 

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message 83: by Christina

Oct 30, 2012 03:05pm

 

duma wrote: “I wonder if any of the mass recommending/spamming was successful and anyone bought the book and reviewed it?”

They’d still run the risk of being known as a spammer and getting themselves put on loads of unsavory shelves. 

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message 84: by Susanna – added it

Oct 30, 2012 09:21pm

 

duma wrote: “I wonder if any of the mass recommending/spamming was successful and anyone bought the book and reviewed it?”

It still has only 15 ratings. I doubt it. 

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message 85: by Debbie R. (last edited Oct 31, 2012 07:40pm)

Oct 31, 2012 07:21pm

 

Oddly, the specific, targeted recommendations I ask for, don’t see off the wall recommendations from authors. Just the odd mass recommendations that go out using goodreads friends lists, group memberships, etc. to get themselves a “mailing list.”

I have zero tolerance for spam; I don’t mind if viewing a book page shows me what readers with similar interest were buying/reading/shelving. 

I do get a lot of recommendations for books I already read in response to personal recommendation requests. Maybe goodreads could note before someone clicked to send recommendation what shelves I put the recommended book on? Or could prove irritating and discourage people from making recommendations.

I’m not sure new to goodreads authors understand friend versus follow; the author guidelines read to me as encouraging authors to use goodreads, particularly the groups, as a social site with millions of intereted members to target with your promotions. Theeach group-has-policies-on-author-participations part not exactly emphasized. 

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message 86: by Deb

Nov 01, 2012 01:26am

 

duma wrote: “I wonder if any of the mass recommending/spamming was successful and anyone bought the book and reviewed it?”

If the recommendation even drove me to look at the book’s Goodreads page, I’d be on the lookout for solicited vs unsolicited reviews … i.e. it would have to be clear that a good chunk of the 4-5 star reviews weren’t friends of the author.

I still take word-of-mouth promo over anything. Or at least a recommendation based on a good algorithm that thake into account what I have read and how I’ve rated it. 

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message 87: by Christina

Nov 01, 2012 08:16am

 

Deb wrote: “I still take word-of-mouth promo over anything.”

Me too. Nothing beats word-of-mouth, nothing. It’s what made Harry Potter and The Hunger Games such a success.

Spamming and carnival barking will only cast a negative light on your book. Successful marketing is about being clever, not annoying. 

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message 88: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Nov 01, 2012 11:11am

 

A recommendation on GR should be the same as I do it in my bookshop. I find out what books they enjoyed, what they seem to be in to right now, whether they like series and whether they read out of their favourite genres all not.

Spammers like this one whose been at it for at least 2 years, and their defenders, think they are going to get sales but if you look how many shelves with never-going-to-read type names it’s on you would think that they would realise that what Einstein said is true. It went something like the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same result. 

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message 89: by Susanna – added it

Nov 01, 2012 11:28am

 

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein. 

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message 90: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Nov 01, 2012 10:07pm

 

Susanna wrote: “”Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein.”

Yes, you are right. That’s actually worse, lol! 

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message 91: by Carol (last edited Nov 03, 2012 02:50pm)

Nov 03, 2012 02:43pm

 

Rebecca wrote: “OK, I was back and forth with Dana the author (she is a friend of a friend and I’m helping her to get her book out) she said she can’t see this thread because Petra X blocked her from this conversation. So, I had to cut and paste it for her. Anyhow, she said to Katy — thank you! Good karma back at ya!
To everybody else (except me) “Get a life!”
And about Steve — ” Is that the guy who values courtesy above the rubies? Go figure

Uncalled for and inappropriate. Sorry you received such flak from posting your response to spam, Petra. 

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message 92: by Wendy Darling

Nov 04, 2012 10:58am

 

Solicitations you didn’t sign up for by someone you don’t know = spam. 

I don’t know why it’s ANYONE’s business how you shelve or rate any book, Petra. I’m sorry that this policing of fellow GoodReaders has happened yet again. 

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message 93: by Christina

Nov 04, 2012 11:59am

 

I don’t think people should have to specify in their profiles that they don’t want spam. 

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message 94: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Nov 04, 2012 12:12pm

 

Christina wrote: “I don’t think people should have to specify in their profiles that they don’t want spam.”

Yes, it’s like saying that if you don’t specify you don’t want spam, then it’s a free for all for allauthors* spammers to promote their books to you. It should be the other way around. If you are happy to have authors promote their books to you by way of recommendations, then by all means write it into your profile. 

*Most authors don’t spam, not fair to tar them with the same brush. 

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message 95: by Ginmar

Nov 04, 2012 01:09pm

 

Carol wrote: “Rebecca wrote: “OK, I was back and forth with Dana the author (she is a friend of a friend and I’m helping her to get her book out) she said she can’t see this thread because Petra X blocked her fr…”

It’s funny how it’s always the people being assholes who tell their critics to get a life, isn’t it? Apparently being an asshole is part of their lives. Add to that the passive aggressiveness of having a friend relay such a juvenile comment, and you’ve got a real winner! (Not you, Carol, but on the comment you relayed, in case it wasn’t obvious.) 

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message 96: by Serendy

Nov 08, 2012 11:21am

 

So much drama. How anyone can defend spam I don’t know. They must have sad lives and welcome it as any form of communication. 

I agree with Ginmar. It is the assholes who not having anything intelligent to say, ask their friends to relay stupid messages. Very playground, I would say. 

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message 97: by A(nnabeth)

Nov 16, 2012 03:26pm

 

 

This message has been hidden because you have blocked this member. To view this message,click here.

 

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message 98: by O2

Nov 18, 2012 10:00am

 

I got spammed by this author too. 

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message 99: by Richard

Nov 18, 2012 10:26am

 

Wendy Darling wrote: “Solicitations you didn’t sign up for by someone you don’t know = spam. 

I don’t know why it’s ANYONE’s business how you shelve or rate any book, Petra. I’m sorry that this policing of fellow GoodR…”

So speaks the gentle voice of experience! 

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message 100: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Nov 18, 2012 07:38pm

 

I have removed the last few posts, including my own because they were not about the book, the author, the review or spam but introducing problems of another kind with different authors/commenters that I don’t think belong here (even if they were interesting). 

 


message 101:
 by Daybook – rated it 1 star

Nov 20, 2012 11:39am

 

The book was awful anyway. I couldn’t finish it. I’m sorry your review was hidden, I don’t understand why when you didn’t say anything personal against the author. 

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message 102: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Nov 20, 2012 11:55am

 

I think it was the commenter whose posts I removed complained because it the author had it would have been down long ago. 

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message 103: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Dec 02, 2012 10:22am

 

In answer to your deleted (!) comment AnneTaintor, the commenter was Ginmar. Too much of a coincidence that I removed their comments and then the review is banned. My personal feelings on such revengeful behaviour (but then they were seething about other authors/commenters) is best not written down, but can be imagined 🙂 

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message 104: by Susanna – added it

Dec 02, 2012 10:34am

 

A very petty revenge, indeed. 

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message 105: by Amy or “Ames”

Dec 02, 2012 10:39am

 

Petra X wrote: “In answer to your deleted (!) comment AnneTaintor, the commenter was Ginmar. Too much of a coincidence that I removed their comments and then the review is banned. My personal feelings on such reve…”

I’ve seen a conversation about this elsewhere and I believe Ginmar said it was a misunderstanding though was unable to explain this to you because they were blocked. 

Note: I’m not taking sides, just passing on some information. Misunderstandings are easily had online, if it was indeed a misunderstanding. 🙂 

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message 106: by The Holy Terror (last edited Dec 02, 2012 10:59am)

Dec 02, 2012 10:56am

 

Petra X wrote: “Too much of a coincidence that I removed their comments and then the review is banned.”

No regular member has the ability to hide any reviews or has any influence over what is hidden/prioritized. Even if someone flags it, GR staff still has the final say. Most reviews like yours that GR would hide because they’re about the author and not the book go under the radar just because there are millions of reviews and there are like, 5 staff members that deal with the flags. (It might even be less than that … they seem so understaffed … Also, that’s another reason why it’s just a coincidence it happened at the same time – GR staff takes days to respond to flags.)

Your review was being liked all over the place and it’s possible that someone who has a grudge against reviewers (or feels the need to be a self-published author “champion”) just caught wind of your review the same time Ginmar did and they flagged it. Knowing who posted on your review on the first page, my money would be on her running off to the author and getting friends and fans to flag your review. 

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message 107: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Dec 02, 2012 11:03am

 

I would like to know how you saw the comment I made a few minutes ago? I was under the impression that comments on a blocked review could only be seen by the reviewer and their friends/followers and you and I have no connection. Do I think wrong about the visibility of the comment? 

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message 108: by The Holy Terror

Dec 02, 2012 11:07am

 

All reviews are public, as are comments.

Hidden reviews just can’t be seen on the book page.

I commented before so I get an email/notification when someone new comments. 

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message 109: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Dec 02, 2012 11:43am

 

Ok, thanks. I didn’t that. 

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message 110: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Dec 09, 2012 03:48pm

 

Amy or “Ames” wrote: I’ve seen a conversation about this elsewhere and I believe Ginmar said it was a misunderstanding though was unable to explain this to you because they were blocked. …”

Lots of comments have been deleted and not by me!!!

There was NO misunderstanding with Ginmar. The comments she made included names of commenters/authors she wished to totally disrespect. I didn’t necessarily disagree with what she said about them (I didn’t know about them actually) I just thought it was totally the wrong place is all AND explained that exactly. 

However, I have also been told that a certain A Hole who did make comments here that are now deleted but not by me, was the actual complainer and apparently is a disgruntled author who dislikes anything written against other self-pub authors. 

There you go. Whether it is true or not I have no idea, but I wouldn’t want to be down on Ginmar if in fact it was A Hole.

None of this would have happened if the author hadn’t been spamming for two years and eventually hit on someone who was pissed off enough to write about it. 

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message 111: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Dec 21, 2012 03:37am

 

Kat wrote: “I find it interesting that this hidden review is not being hidden from your goodreads friends. Makes me feel terribly clever to be your friend, Petra, because apparently, that means I have earned t…”

I think it’s GR way of trying to play sides against the middle. Hide the review from the general audience but allow friends to see it. 

What I think it interesting is that neither the author nor her friends-and-supporters, not even the trolling ones, requested this hidden, props to them for that. The two troublemakers at the end, sock puppets, fabricators of excuses, one of whom did get this hidden are just plain malicious. Still nasty people are everywhere they can hide behind anonymity. 

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message 112: by Neil

Jan 03, 2013 01:56pm

 

Someone mention spam? It’s been around in various forms for years. It works, whether you chose to ignore it or not. Why let it bother you? We get spam through our letter boxes and in our inboxes. Major companies use it. To attack the little guy, for trying it; and prentending ones GR inbox is somehow better than ones letterbox or email inbox is a little…….niece….. I wonder if one spends the same amount if energy defending ones mailbox or email inbox; or one simply puts the spam in the bin/trash….

Curious reaction in my humble opinion…. 

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message 113: by Petra X (last edited Jan 03, 2013 02:34pm) – rated it 1 star

Jan 03, 2013 02:34pm

 

Neil wrote: “Major companies use it. To attack the little guy, for trying it; and prentending ones GR inbox is somehow better than ones letterbox or email inbox is a little…….niece…..”

Ah so you think spam is great, just little guys wanting to send messages to anyone they don’t know that might give them money, and you would therefore be really really happy to have any so-minded author on Goodreads try and flog you their book? Ah poor little spammers guys, need all the help they can get, so if someone doesn’t like being spammed, no problem, delete it and let these poor little guys carry on with their ‘marketing’ efforts.

You know, I’ve got a great idea for you. Why don’t you write to Google, Hotmail and to GR saying stop attacking the spammers, those poor Nigerians, those little people at home just flogging ersatz viagra, those girlies who just want to send you photos and be friends, tell them to just stop it. That they really shouldn’t be making any efforts to block spam, because you think that it is attacking the poor little guy and that we should all happily accept the spam (we can just delete it) and they can concentrate their efforts elsewhere. People would look at you with incredulity, they’d think you were mad. No one likes spam except those that somehow benefit from it or do it themselves.

You don’t think that you might have wasted a lot of energy getting to this hidden review and reading all the comments. You surely wouldn’t have posted in defence of spam without knowing what went on would you? That’s called trolling, trying to start things off. 

In my humble opinion writing a defence of spam and calling spammers ‘the little’ guy is a VERY curious reaction. Unless it is from an author’s sockpuppet account (not unknown around here) and then of course, I completely understand your reaction. 

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message 114: by Stefani – added it

Jan 03, 2013 02:55pm

 

Neil wrote: “Someone mention spam? It’s been around in various forms for years. It works, whether you chose to ignore it or not. Why let it bother you? We get spam through our letter boxes and in our inboxe…”

I would love to see if your reaction is the same after you sign into GR one day to find 4 messages all touting some book from someone you’ve never heard of before and why they think you’d love it. 2 friend requests that all include the message “check out my book”, and several recommendations from authors saying “here’s my book, you’d like it”. So you spend 20 minutes getting rid of all the garbage and…well, time to go to work, guess there’s no goodreads time today.

And yes, that has happened to me before. I promptly reported every last one of them for spamming me. If I haven’t shown an interest in your book, you shouldn’t be pitching it to me…unless it’s on my blog and through the appropriate channels on my blog. GR is my space, I don’t want it cluttered up with junk. 

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message 115: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jan 03, 2013 03:16pm

 

Very popular name is Neil!!!

Yesterday I didn’t accept a Neil’s friend request because of a really smarmy, sarcastic message. Today I get this defence of spammers (poor litttle guys) from another Neil. And gee, what a coincidence, I block Neil, and then find ANOTHER Neil has just joined GR and has immediately gone to comment on another of my books. 

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message 116: by MrsJoseph

Jan 03, 2013 03:59pm

 

Petra X wrote: “Very popular name is Neil!!!

Yesterday I didn’t accept a Neil’s friend request because of a really smarmy, sarcastic message. Today I get this defence of spammers (poor litttle guys) from another…”

You should send a message to GR with all the info. I think they may be able to trace their IP… 

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message 117: by ETA: soon

Jan 03, 2013 11:01pm

 

Just wanted to say “thanks” for this…
My own PO level steadily rising due to recent escalation in such things, whether by an author or “a fan”. As if I needed yet ANOTHER in-box to clean out. *SMH* 

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message 118: by ❂ Jennifer

Jan 04, 2013 04:10am

 

Neil wrote: “Someone mention spam? It’s been around in various forms for years. It works, whether you chose to ignore it or not. Why let it bother you? We get spam through our letter boxes and in our inboxes. Major companies use it. To attack the little guy, for trying it; and prentending ones GR inbox is somehow better than ones letterbox or email inbox is a little…….niece….. I wonder if one spends the same amount if energy defending ones mailbox or email inbox; or one simply puts the spam in the bin/trash….

Curious reaction in my humble opinion….”

Let me assure you I most certainly DO defend my e-mail box and postal box as assiduously as I do my GR mail (and Facebook messages, and Pinterest, etc. etc.) Most defenders of spam claim it’s passive – you don’t like it you can ignore it/throw it out/delete it. There’s nothing passive about a postal box so crammed full of advertising crap you can’t find your legitimate mail. There’s nothing passive about an email box so full of crap advertisements that you hit your mailbox quota and your legitimate email gets bounced, or you’re charged overage fees. And as Stepani says above, there’s nothing passive about the time I’ve lost and will never get back dealing with/deleting/reporting unsolicited crap, garbage advertisements.

I hate being sold to with the passionate heat of a thousand suns. I’ve posted in my profile that I will never ever buy or read a book that an author tries to pitch to me. I’ve locked my profile down tighter than a drum so I don’t receive messages from people I’m not friends with. I don’t participate in recommendations because I don’t want recs from people who don’t know me. Does all this work? Yes. Am I the poorer for it? You betcha! I’m certain I’m missing out on a lot that GR has to offer because I’ve blocked out the good with the bad.

I think Petra X has written a very fair piece calling this author out for obnoxious self-promotion. GR offers quite a selection of legitimate, reasonable options for authors looking to promote their books – ads, giveaways, scheduled author chats, videos. Resorting to unsolicited spamming reduces the author to the caste of snake oil salesmen. 

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message 119: by Debbie R. (last edited Jan 04, 2013 07:25am)

Jan 04, 2013 07:19am

 

Well, by U.S. federal law, it is SPAM as electronic unsolicited commercial communication. The only way to avoid the heavy duty federal penalties, per FTC, any such communications must:

be clearly identified as a solicitation or advertisement for products or services;
Opt-Out – must provide easily-accessible, legitimate, and free ways for you to reject future messages from that sender;
Return Address – must contain legitimate return addresses

Okay, so the third return address satisfied.

It’s totally ridiculous, at the risk of being contentious, to expect Petra X to spend any time whatsoever making responses to politely let author know unwanted or on anything else. 

A reader’s time is valuable. We’d rather spend it reading. We did not join goodreads to be a marketing target. There are more than 100,000 new books per month and no way should our time be spent fending off spam (and, definition is unsolicited/unwanted electronic commercial solicitation of products for free or for fee and does not matter how many people it was sent to or how many one person was sent).

Authors should read the goodreads terms of service.

In my experience, the spamming authors do not read anyone’s profile. So anythng anyone says there, …good grief. Polite reasonable discussion or not, why do I have to spend my time stating that I don’t want anyone sending me anything I don’t want? When goodreads TOS already says they can’t? 

Author is going on my “do not review” shelf. No one will ever know if I did or did not buy or read the book. 

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message 120: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jan 04, 2013 07:28am

 

Debbie (Debbie Rice) wrote: “In my experience, the spamming authors do not read anyone’s profile. So anythng anyone says there, …good grief. Polite reasonable discussion or not, why do I have to spend my time satating that I don’t want anyone sending me anything I don’t want? When goodreads TOS already says they can’t?…”

Apparently that isn’t so. According to major-spam-defender (and after my review was published) new friend of spamming author, Katy, says that the TOS only discourages sending out uninvited solicitations to give them your money (which is essentially what it is), it doesn’t actually forbid it. 

Goodreads point of view is quite obviously – authors must be allowed to spam but readers mustn’t be allowed to complain about it, otherwise the review will be hidden (even if it isn’t personal, rude, or anything else against the author) in case it hurts their marketing effort. And the author will receive a message from Goodreads telling them not to do it again! 

Mostly I delete spam, I don’t really care that much, but you know those days when you got out of bed, tripped over the cat, poured sour milk into the coffee, and then the battery was dead on the car – this author spammed me on a day like that. And so did this spammerhttp://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16… but this time I got good advice on how to not get a review hidden! 

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message 121: by Derek – added it

Jan 09, 2013 07:46am

 

I’m way late to this party. But have a few comments (because I am never without an opinion).

1) I don’t personally care if authors “spam” me (however you want to define spam). But I completely reserve the right to give a one-star review, unread, if you ask me to read something that is blatantly not in any of my preferred genres. I don’t even mind that GR makes it possible: but an author just has to accept that if they won’t target their recommendations more carefully, they may pay a price. 
2) If an author is a “friend”, and they regularly spam me (even though the very fact they’re in my friends list implies I either like their work, or we like many of the same books), they will be unfriended (Yes, David David, this means you).
3) No matter the rightness of the one-star review, either the author or her fangirl went beyond all bounds by telling everybody who feels that a one-star review is warranted, or even permitted, to “get a life”. Bad author! We have lives, you apparently only have a newborn book. And I value courtesy above rubies, too, … but then I don’t care much for gemstones. 

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message 122: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jan 09, 2013 07:51am

 

Derek wrote: “I’m way late to this party. But have a few comments (because I am never without an opinion).

1) I don’t personally care if authors “spam” me (however you want to define spam). But I completely res…”

Shame that GR doesn’t think the same way you do. 

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message 123: by Derek – added it

Jan 09, 2013 08:08am

 

Petra X wrote: “Shame that GR doesn’t think the same way you do.”

I’d say that, in this case, GR thinks exactly the same as me. They are happy to let authors spam, and they definitely support our right to give authors 1-star reviews for any reason whatsoever. 

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message 124: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jan 09, 2013 08:25am

 

Unless you are saying GR thinks it’s fine to give a book one star but not write the reason why, then they don’t think the same way because the review was hidden entirely because of the subject matter. 

If I had attacked the book instead that would have been perfectly fine even if it had been fake. A course of action several people suggested to me as the ones they have used to make sure their review won’t be banned. But it’s not my way. 

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message 125: by Derek (last edited Jan 09, 2013 09:01am) – added it

Jan 09, 2013 08:53am

 

Petra X wrote: “Unless you are saying GR thinks it’s fine to give a book one star but not write the reason why, then they don’t think the same way because the review was hidden entirely because of the subject matt…”

I’m not understanding something – how is it “banned”: despite the words “banned review” it seems perfectly visible. In any case, I was under the impression from your first post that the _author_ had banned it – though, still, I couldn’t see any evidence that it was banned. Since it’s a “Goodreads Author”, and they have full control over their books, I would expect that if anybody can ban a review, the author would be the one.

Ah, just went back and found I’d missed Holy Terror’s explanation of all that…

Still, my point stands – you’re allowed to write the review, and give the book one star, and all that remains. And anyone, like me, can find the review. It just doesn’t show on the book page: and that would appear to be because you didn’t actually review the book – which I also think is fair. 

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message 126: by Petra X (last edited Jan 09, 2013 10:04am) – rated it 1 star

Jan 09, 2013 10:01am

 

We are coming from different viewpoints. You don’t mind spam at all. I do. 

You and I have different ideas of fairness as well. Banning it from the book page is not what I consider fair as the review cannot be found by anyone who doesn’t go through my reviews and I’m not well-known, I don’t have a long list of friends, so it is effectively invisible. 

You want to consider that fair, well ok, but no agreement from me, nor if you read this thread, a lot of other people. (On the other hand, there are people here who think that just blocking it is more than generous.) 

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message 127: by Derek – added it

Jan 09, 2013 10:59am

 

Well, no, I _do_ mind spam, but I honestly think joining GR does grant a certain degree of license for authors to try to sell to you. 

I considered it fair in the sense that GR’s guidelines indicate it’s inappropriate to review a book by not actually reviewing the book. But then I reviewed the review guidelines (for which I had to do a google search, because I can’t find an actual GR link to “review guidelines” – even on the “flag” page where they direct you to them…) and the review guidelines say nothing about “banning” reviews such as yours – only that they’ll give it a lower “priority”. So, I’m coming around to “unfair” as this review certainly hasn’t been given a lower priority. 

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message 128: by Becky

Jan 10, 2013 03:02pm

 

Derek wrote: “Well, no, I _do_ mind spam, but I honestly think joining GR does grant a certain degree of license for authors to try to sell to you.”

Uhh, no. This is a site for readers. Authors can also use the site, and Goodreads has given them means of getting the word out regarding their books. That’s why they can buy ad space. 

Spam is spam and not acceptable. 

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message 129: by Derek – added it

Jan 11, 2013 07:07am

 

Becky wrote: “Uhh, no. This is a site for readers. Authors can also use the site, and Goodreads has given them means of getting the word out regarding their books. That’s why they can buy ad space.”

No, that’s only _one_ reason why they can buy ad space. GR has always not only permitted, but encouraged, authors to use the site to promote their books. I accepted that when I joined. 

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message 130: by MrsJoseph

Jan 11, 2013 07:12am

 

Derek wrote: “Becky wrote: “Uhh, no. This is a site for readers. Authors can also use the site, and Goodreads has given them means of getting the word out regarding their books. That’s why they can buy ad space….”

Dude, you’re so full of it. This site is for readers. Not for authors to spam the shit out of us. It seems that no matter where we go…some asshole authors follow behind claiming that its their right to force their shit at us. 

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message 131: by Derek – added it

Jan 11, 2013 07:44am

 

Whoa, dude! This is actually a site for respectful discussion and you’re way out of line. 

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message 132: by Amy or “Ames”

Jan 11, 2013 07:58am

 

I didn’t join GR to be spammed by authors. It’s fine if they go through the proper channels and use the giveaway features and buy ad space. Spamming is unacceptable behaviour and a poor marketing tool, leaving a bad taste in readers’ mouths. 

I’d much prefer an author politely ask if I would like to read their book because they’ve checked out my shelves and believe I’ll enjoy it. But that takes time and effort and spammers don’t like that. 

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message 133: by Becky

Jan 11, 2013 08:27am

 

Derek wrote: “No, that’s only _one_ reason why they can buy ad space.”

What other reason does one buy ad space? It’s FOR ADVERTISING. Other methods of getting the word out, such as posting a giveaway, are not the same thing, as I voluntarily go to those areas – it is not brought to me. 

If it’s unsolicited contact by an author, either by messaging or using the recommendation system for their own books (or shilling for someone else), etc – it’s spam. I didn’t join the site for that, and I won’t accept it as a cost of using the site either. 

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message 134: by MrsJoseph

Jan 11, 2013 08:43am

 

Derek wrote: “Whoa, dude! This is actually a site for respectful discussion and you’re way out of line.”

It’s all me. It’s almost like I came to someone’s review and told them that they were signing up to be spammed. 

Oh, that wasn’t me. It was you. 

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message 135: by Ceilidh

Jan 11, 2013 09:59am

 

MrsJoseph wrote: “Derek wrote: “Whoa, dude! This is actually a site for respectful discussion and you’re way out of line.”

It’s all me. It’s almost like I came to someone’s review and told them that they were sign…”

Heh, I so enjoy your style Mrs. J. 😉 

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message 136: by Lexxie

Jan 11, 2013 12:11pm

 

+1 

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message 137: by Georgina

Jan 20, 2013 06:21pm

 

I hate being spammed about books too. I get it all the time, and no one bothers to check my tastes either. I don’t spam them, I expect the same treatment in turn. I am perfectly happy to receive recommendations from fellow readers but I am NOT a marketing opportunity! I am capable of seeing and choosing books that will interest me. 

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message 138: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jan 31, 2013 05:53am

 

Make a shelf that says something like “author spammed me” then if the author checks your book list first they would realise “recommending” you their book you wasn’t a good idea. And if they didn’t read it first well then the rec would be spam and deserve to end up there. 

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message 139: by Georgina

Jan 31, 2013 12:36pm

 

Good idea! Will do with the next one. 🙂 

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message 140: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Feb 24, 2013 07:12pm

 

Ted wrote: “I’ve just spent what, 20-30 minutes? playing with my kittens. It was entertaining because they are so amusing jumping up when I wave a piece of string. I should have stopped playing when they got so excited because one of the dear little fluffies bit me. Imagine!”

Oh how sweet. Thank you so much for telling me. 

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message 141: by Lexxie (last edited Feb 25, 2013 01:08am)

Feb 24, 2013 11:03pm

 

That is a great idea – I have a Monthy Python shelf now… Spamalot 😀 we’ll see if it will ever get any books. 

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message 142: by Ixan – rated it 1 star

Feb 25, 2013 07:51am

 

Petra X wrote: “Ted wrote: “I’ve just spent what, 20-30 minutes? playing with my kittens. It was entertaining because they are so amusing jumping up when I wave a piece of string. I should have stopped playing whe…”

Fluffy kittens. Haha. Someone who intended to provoke got provoked? n’est ce pas? 

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message 143: by Jessica (last edited Apr 21, 2013 02:53pm)

Apr 21, 2013 02:50pm

 

Well I actually understand it both way, as a writer I understand that they really want to sell their book but I hate spam too, and as a reader it I might find it annoying and not buy the book instead. Beside, adding the book in Goodreads should be enough exposure. Though I won’t mind other readers or friends who had read it recommend the book.

Though as a author I did write on some forums saying “I give you free copy if you post a review for me” but I don’t believe that count as a spam. 

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message 144: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Apr 21, 2013 03:05pm

 

If you do it in forums which have threads for author promotion or are about books in your genre, then I think that is the right way to go about it. To just send out spam to anyone for two years like this author did isn’t probably going to get you any sales. Unless you think all publicity is good publicity, spamming people could be like shooting yourself in the foot with a gun just when you are at the start of a Marathon race. 

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message 145: by Jessica

Apr 21, 2013 03:10pm

 

Petra X wrote: “If you do it in forums which have threads for author promotion or are about books in your genre, then I think that is the right way to go about it. To just send out spam to anyone for two years lik…”

Hahaha 😀 I agree. As a reader I most likely to turn my back on the book before even giving it a glance. 

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message 146: by Jen

Jul 15, 2013 01:58am

 

Obviously the authors have a biased here but I think most readers agree when it comes to receiving random recs from strangers that are simply trying to promote their book. That is not what the rec feature is supposed to be used for and when authors do so they are abusing it. Rather than a thoughtful recommendation based on prior reading style or an active relationship between two people it is solely a method of advertising which is obnoxious! You are right when you say the authors should PAY if they want to use GR as advertising, NOT misuse a GR feature and bombard unknowns with advertising. And for the author saying to the people who are opposed to being spammed that they need to get a life and will be victims of bad karma is just totally rude! YOU get a life and stop sending strangers messages! I would think that as authors you would be interested in hearing from readers & that it would be in your best interest to take to heart what is said about your chosen advertising methods so that you can either continue or discontinue what’s being done. (In this case the irritating spamming/recommendations. Readers don’t like it! It annoys them. So perhaps that is not the most effective way to get the word out there?)

In light of all this, perhaps if anyone knows of a way to block receiving recommendations from people that are not your friends all this could be easily solved?! 

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message 147: by ETA: soon

Jul 15, 2013 02:03am

 

Jen wrote: “…In light of all this, perhaps if anyone knows of a way to block receiving recommendations from people that are not your friends all this could be easily solved?!”

Jen, no need to block. 🙂 IIRC, GR finally implemented tweak whereby only GR friends can rec books to each other. No more random spamming from non-friend authors or other members. 

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message 148: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jul 15, 2013 06:50am

 

ETA: soon wrote: “Jen, no need to block. 🙂 IIRC, GR finally implemented tweak whereby only GR friends can rec books to each other. No more random spamming from non-friend authors or other members. …”

That closed one path for spam, another is allowing only friends to message but there is a loophole often used by author-spammers that GR won’t close. That is the friend-request message. That is how I get them these days. Gloopy, slimy, upbeat messages soliciting my friendship and to read their book. Of course, they always uncheck the ‘follow’ box. Even most non-spamming authors do that. They have no interest in you only your money! 

That said, I do have quite a few authors on my friends-list but they are acting as GR readers, same as the rest of us. 

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message 149: by ETA: soon

Jul 15, 2013 12:03pm

 

Yep, I’ve noticed that change in antics. Pretty quick of them, huh? 😉

I assume that you flag/report all of them? I wonder if those who abuse the FR system in this manner realise that it’s a much quicker way to get their butts banned from GR? 

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message 150: by Petra X – rated it 1 star

Jul 15, 2013 12:14pm

 

Authors very very rarely get more than a slap on the wrist no matter what sort of stuff they get up to. Join a private/secret author group and be amazed at the mutual reviews/likes/ etc here and Amazon. Goodreads knows all this, same as Amazon, never cared. Sells books. 

 


message 151:
 by Genesis – added it

Jul 15, 2013 03:24pm

 

Ah, crap. I had this awesome-sauce penis enlargement deal just for you and was gettin’ ready to send it to you, but if you’re going to be that way… 

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message 152: by MrsJoseph

Jul 15, 2013 03:36pm

 

lol 

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message 153: by ETA: soon

Jul 15, 2013 03:51pm

 

Petra X wrote: “Authors very very rarely get more than a slap on the wrist no matter what sort of stuff they get up to. Join a private/secret author group and be amazed at the mutual reviews/likes/ etc here and Amazon. Goodreads knows all this, same as Amazon, never cared. Sells books.”

Heck, doesn’t even need to be a private/secret group. Blatant circle jerks abound in public GR groups these days–which is why I rarely bother to visit the GR Author/Reader group (as one example).