Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Author behaving badly
If responding defensively to a critical review is the Author's Big Mistake, responding while pretending to be someone else compounds that mistake by a factor of at least a hundred.
On Amazon, a reviewer called Caligirl08 wrote that she had read a Christopher Pike novel because it was set in her homeland of Turkey. Unfortunately she found several problems - the novel mentioned Istanbul as the capital city, called Turkey an Arabic country, placed a desert in Istanbul, etc. She gave the book a one-star review and said she was very disappointed.
Someone calling himself Michael Brite then responded, saying he was Christopher Pike's editor. I sat up a little straighter when I read that, because I couldn't imagine any editor intervening like that on an author's behalf, especially not to praise the author :
"Pike would be the first one to accept blame for any mistakes in his book... Pike deliberately made Sara realistic... Pike embraces fans of all types, especially the crazy ones."
That wasn't even getting into his claims that there were good reasons for the problems the reviewer pointed out (e.g. readers preferred a non-Turkish name for the Turkish hero). He concluded by asking, "If you found the Secret of Ka so offensive, why did you read it?"
Perhaps because the reviewer isn't precognitive and therefore doesn't know she'll dislike something before she actually reads it?
But then it came out. "Michael Brite" is actually Christopher Pike.
This is Pike,
This is the real Christopher Pike, ignore the name this response appears under. I use many names online.
I was wondering why an author would need to "use many names online". I use two - Marian Perera and "Queen of Swords", and it's nearly always obvious that the two are one and the same person. But apparently "Michael Brite" gave several glowing five-star reviews to Pike's books, so perhaps that's why.
It reminds me of the time I came across a vanity-printed novel that had well over a hundred reviews posted in a short space of time, which was surprising because of the book's lack of distribution. But most of those were by anonymous posters who praised the book as an "epic" which combined "romance, action, adventure, fantasy, and tragedy". They also stressed that the book should be made into a movie. I read through the entire collection and still don't know what the story is actually about.
But at least that author may have felt there was no other choice - the vanity press wasn't going to send her book to any reviewers, professional or otherwise. Christopher Pike had no such excuse for his sockpuppet(s).