Sunday, May 1, 2011

This Could be a Scandal--but that would be Bad Karma!

A few weeks ago, a writer emailed me. She told me that she wrote a book set in ancient Rome at approximately the same time period as my novel Vestal Virgin and asked me if I'd like to exchange books with her. I said I'd be delighted, and I was. In fact, I hoped we might develop a friendship, even cross-promote. I sent her my book as an electronic file, and she sent her book to me.

A few weeks passed, and I hadn't had a chance to read her book. And then, a few days ago, I noticed a new review for Vestal Virgin had been posted on Amazon. Until then, the book had received all five and four star reviews, so I was surprised to see a two star review--but everybody has a right to their opinion. The reviewer apparently hated my book's ending. Oh well, I thought, can't please everyone. But, as I continued reading, I realized that the reviewer had posted the resolution to my story; in other words, the reviewer posted a spoiler which ruined my book's ending for potential readers. The book is suspense, so the ending is particularly important.

This upset me.

Posting a spoiler without a warning is considered a malicious act, and Amazon will not tolerate that kind of behavior. I wrote to them, and they promptly took down the review.

But the mystery continued...

I noticed several suspicious things about the review.

1) It was not an Amazon Verified Purchase, which meant the reader had either bought the book on another site and taken the time to post on Amazon or I had personally given the book to the reviewer.

2) The timing of the review made me wonder, could this have been posted by the other author? Of course, that was just a hunch...

3) The reviewer had only written five reviews over the past two years, and one of those reviews was a 5 star review for the author who'd contacted me. Another of the other reviews (also about a book that takes place in the Roman Empire in the same time period) received a poor review--and that review referred to the book of the author who had contacted me (with a link to her book) stating the book as an alternative, and better, read.

My sleuth kicked in. Everything on the internet is trackable.

And, guess what?

The poor review of Vestal Virgin was written by the husband of the author who contacted me.

Why am I posting about this? Unfortunately, I'm not alone in this negative experience. Trashing another writer's book with malicious intent, attempting to ruin their sales, is very unprofessional behavior.

So please, don't post spoiler reviews.

Note: please see the happy resolution of situation in my May 3rd post about happy endings. The author knew nothing about her husband's review, and she apologized for the spoiler. We have a lot of common interests in our writing, so I hope we stay in contact.



Sandy Nathan said...

Yipes. What an experience!

Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Yes Sandy. Ultimately, a sad experience. For both of us. We don't live too far from each other, and I hoped we might be friendly.

PJ Jones said...

How tacky! Getting ready to download Dating My Vibrator. I was sold on the cover before I even read the synopsis, which also sounds awesome!

Suzanne Tyrpak said...

Thanks P.J.!