Saturday, May 25, 2013

Reviewing Books You've Never Read

The Situation 

I arrived home the other day and found I had a text review for my newest book Murder Machine. I read the review and realized that the person hadn't read the book. They read the sample developed an opinion and left a review that they later extended making it more detailed. The reviewer didn't like the book based on the sample. I guess you could go read books that way, but that's not how I do it.

After I read the review I realized something. That on May 21st my book had been attacked by a large number of reviewers/trolls. It had actually started a week earlier. When I checked my other books I realized that they'd also been hit by the same people. These are not people who've read my book and unlike the text reviewer, they hadn't even read the sample.

I'd just heard of some other authors that had experienced this kind of thing. It all started to come together. I was being attacked because of my association with these other authors in various groups. These trolls are seeking out independent authors and intentionally railroading them. I looked further into the situation and found a list that most of them are on, but I know the numbers are much bigger than the list.

The List:

I don't think that Goodreads should allow reviewers to leave non-text reviews. When I'm looking at reviews I never pay attention to those who had nothing to say. In my case with Murder Machine, at least I knew the reviewer had read the sample. Which is not enough to judge that story by. They said the dialogue was flat and quoted my book in their review to show that. I don't think you should ever quote a book in your review, but if Goodreads allows it then it's within the rules.

Murder Machine opens with a court room scene, and perhaps the yes and no questions being asked are not explosive dialogue, but one cannot judge this story by the first chapter. I had originally considered cutting that opening chapter. However, in the end I decided against it. The sample gives you a couple of sentences of chapter two. You can see that the story changes from there.

I'm not responding to the review. If the reviewer didn't like the sample I'm all right with that. The reason I'm responding to this issue at all is because people are reviewing books they've never read. Reading the sample isn't enough to review a book on, and that isn't why the sample is there. It's there to help you decide whether or not you want to buy the book. It's not designed for you to review the book. Stop reviewing books you've never read.  

I'm going to find out why these groups are attacking indie writers...more to come on this issue.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Serial Cyber-stalking, Cyber-bullying and Harassment Rampant on the Internet

Serial Cyber-stalking, Cyber-bullying and Harassment Rampant on the Internet

A Minnesota man is troubled by a case of wide-spread, serial cyber-stalking he has uncovered.
Rick Carufel has found a disturbing number of reports and evidence of blatant, organized cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and harassment all originating from the same online source – a public forum owned by a well-known global corporation. It appears to have been ongoing for at least three years and involves dozens of people victimizing hundreds.

“There seems to be some indication that the corporation in question may be deliberately shielding those responsible and may even be actively supporting them. Recently I have seen an alarming number of cases concerning attacks on a certain group of individuals.”
It is obvious to anyone who carries out a cursory investigation by going to the website in question that the corporation has some very questionable policies which it has made no attempt to address, resolve or even acknowledge. The company’s public forums are the origin of what can only be described as vicious personal cyber-attacks to date. Even in the face of thousands of complaints, the corporation does nothing to correct the situation.

While researching the US cyber-stalking laws, Carufel has discovered that the Minnesota statute 609.749 clearly defines the activities of these people as criminal acts. This is the same statute used to prosecute predatory sex offenders who stalk underage victims online. There are between thirty and forty people currently responsible for hundreds of organized attacks with the intent to damage careers, reputations and income. These are not merely isolated incidents. Instead, when the predator’s focus their attention on an individual they keep up a sustained attack trying in every underhanded way possible to discredit, demean, insult, demonize and harass their victims across the internet at every opportunity.
Carufel said that according to his understanding of the situation, these people are committing crimes which the particular company that owns the website is fully aware of. “It’s absolutely amazing how many people these cyber-terrorists have frightened into not speaking out against them because of the threat of very damaging retaliation. These stalkers have found the perfect cover for their crimes, protected as they are by the company concerned.”
Carufel went on to say that these attacks if allowed to continue, will potentially cause millions in damage over time. “They are the offshoot of an industry in transition that desperately clings to outdated models and these waning industry leaders are not happy with the current state of events.  I’ve had reports that there may actually be corporate sponsorships for some of these attacks, targeting a certain segment of the industry most responsible for their decline. There is much more to be uncovered, but I am out of resources to pursue this investigation much further. I’m hoping to gather enough solid evidence together to compel the State and Federal authorities to request indictments.  These people are spreading terror and misery every day and must be stopped.  Their cover is diabolically clever and they have thus far managed to weather every attempt to root them out.  Hopefully armed with 609.749 by proving the association between the cyber stalkers and the particular corporation, we can accomplish that.”

Carufel stated that were he to publicly reveal the details, people would be shocked.  He stated that he already has enough evidence from his own case to send several of the individuals concerned to prison. Combine his evidence with the many other reports of similar personal attacks and harassment condoned by the corporation and Carufel hopes to have a deeper investigation into it and its system of protection tailored to accommodate these criminals.