Oh, hai! I read books, then I write down what I think of them.
I tried to start this blog several times, each time with a way of explaining that I'm not involved in the GR drama or any of the knobheaded behaviour which has come out of it. But actually, I am sort-of involved. I may not be a GR refugee but I'm a keen observer and I've commented publicly about some of the people behind it. I'm sure they have my IP address. For all I know they have my real name, my address and my phone number. If I had an employer who wasn't me they could tell her I sometimes make sarcastic and hurtful comments about things I don't like when I'm supposed to be working. If I had a regular routine they could post that on the internet so people could come and watch me doing maths in Tesco.
And it's pathetic. I didn't like a book, or a game, or a tv show, or a film, or every aubergine ever grown. I said so on Amazon, or GR, or here, or the blog I keep meaning to start. I did so because three things happened: I read a book; I had something to say about it; I was at my computer and didn't have a deadline.
It wasn't about you. It had nothing to do with you.
So when I read blogs which explain how authors can keep safe from all the terrrrrrrrible people out there in interweb land, I'm just ... seriously?
"Out there on the internet are MEANPEOPLES who don't appreciate you spent WHOLE MINUTES writing this book ALL THE WAY TO THE END and that means they have opinions and shit and you can't do anything about it. Here's 8 rulz to stop them all ganging up on you because that's what they do when you remind them you're an actual person who doesn't like it when MEANPEOPLES happen"
Really? Really and truly and seriously? You think it's a fabulous idea that I - who have read your book and idly googled you to see what else you've written, or maybe followed a link to your website from Amazon or wherever - should get to your website and find you explaining how it's really unfair that people on the internet have opinions but you can't stop them so here's how you protect yourself? It's not - although I'm confident you think it is because there will be people telling you so.
Consider how many people there are like me: I read your book and that was all. I am looking for something else to read, that's all too. Even if I liked your book, I'm not your friend; I'm not heading for the barricades on your behalf. The only thing having 8 whole rules on your website does is make me put you on my list of "If I see it in the Library" books. The same is true if you bitch in a newspaper interview, or on the TV, or the radio, and you won't know about it because I won't tell you. I'll just go quietly on my way and buy something by somebody else.
There is one rule, and it's not even a rule, it's just something which stops me mentally deciding I'd rather spend my time and money on somebody else.
Don't be a tosser.
If you make a mistake and find you have behaved like a tosser, apologise for what you've done, acknowledge the damage, and endeavour not to do it again.
I don't think it's wrong for authors to write reviews, but I do think they need to be aware of their position and what they say if they are writing a review as an author (as opposed to "name I use on the interweb". If you are punching downward, maybe take a second to rethink posting.
I don't think authors should get involved in reviews because I feel it inhibits conversations between readers. That includes saying thank you. My review is not about you, author. It's got nothing to do with you. It's not for you. It's not there in the hope you'll read it.
If I read something I didn't like, I am going to say so. I may attempt to do so in an amusing way because it was actually that terrible. I may not read the whole book in order for that to happen, but I will have read more than 80 pages.
As for this idea that it's fraud that Amazon and GR have reviews from people who didn't read the book?
Contrary to popular belief I'm not stupid, I just act that way sometimes. I am capable of making up my own mind occasionally. The issues other people have with books may not be the issues I have with books. If I'm looking at a book which has a load of 1 star reviews complaining about the swearing and explicit self-abuse scenes, I'll go and check the 2 star reviews. If I read a review which says your historical novel is really poorly researched, or your crime novel has negative stereotypes of women, or your romance is rapey and unpleasant, then I'll not buy it, because those are all things Idon't like.
And if you are somebody who happens across the STGRB website and thinks they are doing great work because Bullying Is Wrong: spend a little time reading it. Properly.
And if you're thinking that it's alright for me, know this: I've self published some stuff. I've sold a number of copies, although probably fewer than I'd have managed if I'd done more than press the "publish" button. I have no idea if I've got any reviews or not because I haven't looked.
And the reason I haven't looked is because the reviews are nothing to do with me.