A Cascade of 1-Star Reviews…

I woke up this morning to a cascade of 1-star reviews on Amazon. All three of the books in my Tormay trilogy had, overnight, received them. The Hawk and His Boy & The Wicked Day has both received six 1-star reviews, and The Shadow at the Gate had received seven 1-star reviews. All the reviews are done by the same seven people, so I guess they trooped from book to book last night. Their comments are short and somewhat vague and, in several instances, factually incorrect in relation to my plot. Interestingly enough, most of them have only reviewed my books and, strangely enough, two other authors: Jennifer Howe and Michael von Werner. Those that reviewed Howe and Werner gave them both 5-star reviews. I have never met Ms. Howe or Mr. Werner and I’ve never reviewed or mentioned their writing in any fashion, but I’m suspecting that I have somehow offended one or both of them. Also, oddly enough, they are both the only authors published by a company called Wodan Publishing.

I don’t mind receiving a well-earned 1-star review. This cascade, however, is blatantly malicious. After all, who in their right mind would read the first book of a series, hate it so much to give it a 1-star review, and then immediately read the second book and the third book as well? A sane person stops after the first book and moves on to spend their time more wisely. Anyway, I’ve written Amazon in the States and in the UK in order to figure out how to rectify the situation. This number of 1-star reviews has an effect.

Currently, my mood is a mixture of irritation, amusement, and bemusement. How odd to think that adults (I’m assuming the culprits are adults) would behave in such a petty fashion. I thought this sort of thing was left to wither on the playground.

From a writer’s perspective, it’s interesting to compare the various reviews left by my uninvited critics. If I was a suspicious person, I’d wager good money that they were all written by the same person. The phrasing and word choices sound remarkably similar.

13 thoughts on “A Cascade of 1-Star Reviews…”

  1. Those are some hack reviews. Most of them are more hate directed at you than any mention of the story. The fact that the last 7 reviews are the same for all of them should be a dead giveaway for Amazon to pull them. I’m glad that Hawk and His Boy has a lot of reviews so it didn’t completely destroy the overall, but that sucks.

    I guess trolls will always be looking for a way to flex their internet muscles. Ignore their crap and keep up the good work.

  2. Yeah, that’s just uncalled for. I hope, as Bookblogger says, that Amazon’s algorithms (or whatever) catches that and pulls them. It is kind of weird, though, how that happened.

  3. Gah. I sure hope Amazon does something about it. I agree, the posts sound like sock puppetry. Also, the writer has obviously not read the books. Stupidity can be so very irritating…

    1. Yeah, pretty irritating stuff. I certainly hope the algorithm, like you guys are saying, looks for things like this. I sent some lengthy emails to KDP customer support in the States and the UK. I imagine they see this kind of behavior fairly regularly.

  4. Sometimes I’m inclined to believe that online stores shouldn’t allow product reviews, for this very reason. It allows people who find no purpose in life other than to spew bile to do so and usually without repercussion. Thankfully, I and many others only base purchasing decisions on word of mouth from people I trust (i.e. know in person) and otherwise take whatever samples I can. I’m also more inclined to believe a review on a blog I frequent than one found on an online store. They have more credibility.

    1. What Malignant Carp said. I’ve read the first and quite enjoyed it. I have the other two on my humungous TBR pile and once I have read those, I’ll be posting a review (sometime in the next century I hope!).

      I noticed something really strange on those 1 star reviews. No more than between 2 and 5 people out of sometimes 20 or so found any of those reviews helpful. That there says that they have no idea what they are talking about. I tend to read the 1 star reviews of books I am interested in purchasing and it is very telling when only a few people find them helpful.

  5. Sorry to hear about this. Sad, and sadly unsurprising that these things happen. I do hope Amazon will remove them for you, let us know how that goes hm?

    1. Amazon just removed them, here in the States and in the UK. I’m amazed at their speed, but somewhat disturbed about how some random stranger can reach through the ether and rearrange the bookshelves.

  6. That is disturbing but I am delighted to see that Amazon responded so fast and so reasonably.
    I’d be devastated if someone left me a one star review. People can have an opinion, but this is clearly malice and just sheer nasty stupidity involved.
    I do really wonder whether they truly believe they will achieve anything by such behaviour. I also believe that what goes around comes around and they’ll get suitable rewards in time.
    I suspect this is not personal. but rather a generic attack on someone they feel might threaten the sales of “their” books by perhaps being a good deal better.
    Glad to see you have taken it so calmly; I’d have been livid.
    By the way, I got here via Thea Atkinson tweeting the link, in case you were wondering.
    good luck.
    Viv

  7. I know I’ve said it before but sorry again Chris. Wodan(via their artist) still isn’t talking to me for all the crap I pulled. I feel even worse that I’ve damaged their name when all I wanted to do was help them out. I was so angry at what I saw as attacks on one of my favorite books that the D. Brown one citing your work made me temporarily crazy. I should know by now that giving in to trolls and becoming one yourself is no substitute for calm and reflection. Thanks for helping me get through this Chris, you’re the best!

    1. No worries, Phil. I’m glad we could get things worked out. I don’t have it in me to get too upset these days. There are way too many things to be thankful for. Yeah, I later found that D. Brown review and realized that must’ve been the catalyst.

      1. There’s still no excuse for that kind of behavior. Thanks for being so cool about it, you’ve taught me a lot about mature online behavior.

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