Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Trolls who Trawl

From the acclaimed collection of  Lucy Pepper's Troll
Catalogue (permission given by Lucy)
See her collection here: http://www.trollologist.com/


(Do take a look at Lucy Pepper's illustrations of internet trolls. They're all here: http://www.trollologist.com/)

The troll of choice today is the reviewer troll. All writers among us will know about these folk who trawl the online book sites such as Amazon and GoodReads, and enjoy throwing about 1 or 2 star reviews like fairy-dust when they probably haven't read the book. You can usually spot them spitting phlegm alongside the normal 4 and 5 stars.

This problem is being much debated at the moment, some people are badly affected by them, others try to get Amazon and GoodReads to remove the review (without success apparently). However, there is a common resounding advice to authors: do not reply or engage with these people. 

If you have been a victim, take a look at this fabulous blog post in which it's discussed by an author who has been hit: http://susanrhughes.weebly.com/1/post/2013/01/my-guest-today-author-jenny-twist.html


  • Tell me, writers: What do you do in these cases?


  • And readers: If you've seen or had a book recommended to you but then you spot a 1 or 2 star review, does it put you off buying the book?


16 comments:

  1. As a writer, I take a deep breath and remind myself that I am not the first - nor will I be the last - to be targeted. Also, I remind myself that I must be doing something right to have scared this troll so much they see me as competition. As a reader, I frequently swim against the tide and don't take much notice of reviews. If a book attracts me, it attracts me. I'll make my own mind up about it.

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  2. I'm reading a book now that I'm really enjoying, but it only has a mediocre-ish rating on Amazon. I checked some of the reviews, and one of the one star write ups was done because they thought the price for the Kindle version was too high. They hadn't actually read the book, just wanted to vent over the pricing.

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  3. Exactly, Catherine, I also make my own mind up about it. It's wrong, I think LG, to mark a book down review-wise just because it was too expensive. That's the publisher's fault. Thanks for commenting!

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  4. Rarely does it impact me unless they mention something in the book itself that would make it of a type I don't read (like erotica or even erotic romance or excessive violence). I recognize that not every book is for every reader.

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  5. I normally don't worry too much about those 'low-star' ratings when I'm choosing a book to read. Unless - what Donna said. It's pretty easy to spot the non-specific review of trolls who haven't actually read a book.

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  6. I have a couple one star ratings on Goodreads and I know for a fact several of them have not read my book. Didn't even bother asking for them to be taken down, as it's just a rating.

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    Replies
    1. Absolutely, Donna. If it's obvious that they've read the book and that's their true feeling well, good for them. It is, FAE, easy to spot them. That's the right attitude Alex!

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  7. 1 an 2 star reviews will never keep me from buying a book or a dvd for that matter. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Hugs and chocolate,
    Shelly

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  8. I usually don't bother with the reviews as I find they often steer me from a book I end up loving. I generally rely on recommendations from friends.

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  9. Anonymous8:13 am

    As a reader, I usually read the 3-star reviews rather than 1-star or 5-star reviews. 1-star reviews usually mean that the reader did not connect at all with the book and 5-star reviews are often by friends of the author pretending to be independent readers.

    Personally, I have never rated or reviewed a book where I haven't read and I try to make specific points, usually with quotations. Surely the content of the review is more important that the star rating? A 2-star review which gives detailed critique may be more useful than a ‘It was wonderful’ 5-star review.

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  10. Selina Ford8:15 am

    As a reader, I usually read the 3-star reviews rather than 1-star or 5-star reviews. 1-star reviews usually mean that the reader did not connect at all with the book and 5-star reviews are often by friends of the author pretending to be independent readers. Personally, I have never rated or reviewed a book where I haven't read and I try to be very specific, giving quotations where possible. Surely the content of the review is more important that the star rating? A 2-star review which gives detailed critique may be more useful than a ‘It was wonderful’ 5-star review.

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    Replies
    1. Me too Stina! Recommendation is the best pointer. Anon, that's a good point: I wouldn't mind losing the star rating at all. It's all in the written review and, as a reviewer, I often think I'm going OTT when I want to give a 5 star review, so I usually give a 4 star to a book I love.
      Absolutely, Selina. The content of the review is much more important.
      Thanks for commenting everyone.

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  11. I don't know, to be honest. I know these people are probably vindictive in the main, but I don't know--and don't care--if I've ever been targetted. SEriously. I hung around Amazon for literally a year on a daily basis after I'd first been published, relishing every good review and gnashing my teeth over those unfavourable reviews, but now? I couldn't care less. The reviews aren't for me, and are readers really fooled by revenge trolls? I recommend that authors wean themselves from obsessing about reviews and likes and simply get on with the biz of writing the next book

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  12. It sounds like a creature related to the one who sends out computer viruses. Yes, I agree. Don't engage because it's the exact result that they want.

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  13. What a great collection of art work on internet trolls. Thanks for posting and sharing the link. I didn't realize the troll could be broken down into so many categories. Wish they would find something better to do with their time.

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  14. Yes Erastes - I remember hanging about all the time on those sites after my first book was published. Now I might look once a month, just through interest. Lucy Pepper's a very talented artist Elise - and I suppose it's just a problem of the digital age. Thanks Brinda x

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Don't be anonymous - it's not worthwhile. Anonymous comments go straight into the spam box. Sorry.