Monday, December 17, 2007


Since being published, I find myself checking in with my books on Amazon from time to time, and becoming quite familiar with the various abuses of the system that are going on.

For starters, you can spot the author-under-pseudonym reviews a mile off. Usually they award themselves 5 stars. The review is usually only a couple of paragraphs, presumably because they fear waxing on at too great a length, they might give themselves away. But the real give-away is when you go and check the reviewer's other reviews and find, surprise, surprise, there are none. It's as if said reviewer had winked into existence just to post the one (glowing) review, and then vanished into obscurity.

Poor thing.

I think of these as 'phantom reviewers'...and they usually puff into existence, as if by magic, after a particularly negative review has been posted. And they don't come in ones. Oh no....the phantoms miraculously appear in two and threes, post their gushing 5 star opinions, and then disappeared amidst a cloud of wishful thinking.

So does seem a lot of authors are out there playing a bit of a dodgy game. I do think it's damaging the value and integrity of Amazon's review system that there is so much of this going on. As well as an author I'm a big reader and trawling for something new to read, I rely very much on what other readers have said about a book.

So bad is the proliferation of author-authored reviews, that the only reviews I'm beginning to trust are the negative ones! Even then...I suspect some of the really bad 1 star reviews are either posted by rival authors in an attempt to spoil each other's potential sales, or acquaintences from an author's distant past - perhaps some old school bully who's stumbled via Friends Reunited or Facebook onto the fact their one time victim actually managed to achieve something...or an ex-partner looking to stick an anonymous boot in.

I'd like Amazon to tighten up this system somehow. I mean, it's so open to abuse, that bigger name authors now have Web Pr companies busily heaping praise on their books no doubt hiring an army of monkeys to cut and paste generic glowing-praise reviews for their clients.


Thursday, December 13, 2007

I'm Back!'s been 3 months since I last posted. That's really lame. I should perhaps explain myself - work really. The last novel, AZRAELS WHISPER proved a real bugger to finish. Hardest thing I've written. Anyway, the good news is, having handed in a 1st draft to my editor some weeks ago, he came back yesterday loving the book. Yes, of course, there are some issues to tweak and retune, but most importantly it's not the disaster I thought it was.

Now, I've got to try and work out why I thought it was a disaster. That's the tricky bit. Well, I've done some thinking on it, and I suspect I was measuring the book against my previous one, LAST LIGHT, which was a work of passion. Nothing I write will compare to that I think, at a personal level...because I realise now how much of myself I put into it.

Anyway, point is AZRAEL is a wholly different book, and yes...I'm confident now that it's a good 'un. It'll be even better when I get in their and tune the engine after christmas. The only real bummer about the book - one that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, is the title. My editor didn't like it, said it sounded to 'high fantasy'. And he's probably right there.

So, I need to get my cap on and start thinking about something else.