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A Weird State of Limbo and a Lot of Vindictiveness

This post was going to be about several things that are going on for me personally right now; a new book in the works but not quite ready like I hoped it would be this late in January, a 2016 haunted house creation caught up in the infighting between people in the village over the building, new additions to the clan and a few other things. It was going to be…That changed. Instead, I want to talk to you about vindictiveness.

A fellow writer of lesfic and a friend recently released a new, self published, full length novel. It’s geared toward the Young Adult/New Adult audience but her readership tends to run pretty deep in age range. The book spent most of the last two weeks at number one in three categories including the romance category for the LGBT fiction/lesbian genre’s. That’s incredible! It’s still in the top 5 in all three categories now two weeks out. Not only that, but it has ranked well below the 2,000 mark in overall sales rank for the entire Kindle store (of more than 4.2 million Kindle eBooks).  Wow!

Admittedly, high literary art the book is not. What it is, is the type of book that the 16-29ish and holding crowd devours. It’s got an engaging story with a unique premise, likable characters, it’s well formatted and it’s reasonably error free. No book is perfect, it doesn’t matter who edited it and who published it.

Indie authors really struggle to get reviews. About one in 500 readers bothers to leave one, if we’re lucky. This book is selling so well that it managed to eke out a couple of reviews, full of praise, early on. In the social media groups where lesfic authors and readers all hang out, readers who don’t write online reviews have been quite vocal in their praise for the book. They’ve enjoyed it. The author has continued to promote it heavily via social media while it’s still a very hot commodity. Yesterday, she got burned.

A troll, as we loath to call them, wrote her book a  scathing one star review and, in the process, insinuated that this well known lesbian lesfic author was a man to boot. The reviewers account, of course, does not have a real name attached to it, just “her” nickname for herself for when she wants to leave 1 star reviews. She’s left 19 such reviews. Only one other one is for a book. In that other book review, ‘she’ wrote much the same thing and also referred to that very female author as probably a man. If you’re not aware, this is an affront to any female lesfic writer any time it happens but that’s another story for another day. 

Some people like books that other people don’t like, right? We’re all entitled to our opinions, right? But what if we actually know who’s written the review and we know it’s been done for reasons ultimately more vindictive than because the ‘reader’ actually didn’t care for the book? What then? We as authors have recourse, don’t we? You might be surprised to hear that we really don’t. There’s nothing we can do and, we’re advised, nothing we should do. We’re told, ‘don’t feed the trolls,’ it just eggs them on.

Most sites will take a review down only if it is profane or inflammatory. A review posted by a troll to get back at an author for a perceived slight or for no reason at all often stands. It hurts the books sales and it hurts the author while the troll merely ‘snickers’ and goes on her merry way. In this case, she didn’t stop with one. She used another account and wrote a similar review, this time giving the book a second star. All the ‘activity’ seems to have prompted a third, seemingly legitimate reviewer to come out of the woodwork and give the book only three stars. So now her winning book with two rave reviews has three very negative ones in the space of a couple of hours. Her average isn’t pretty anymore. How very sad for her and for a book she’s worked hard over and that readers have obviously enjoyed.

My friends book is hanging on to it’s sales, but for how much longer? We know why the troll did her dirty deeds. What we don’t know is how to stop her. Why is vindictive behavior acceptable behavior?