Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Sockpuppetry

If you've been following the literary row about sockpuppets, then reading Dean Crawford's blog is calming. The Guardian has a long article for those who want to catch up on what's been happening: click and there are a couple of links so you can find out more.
I find it amazing that some authors think it's worthwhile to spend so much time writing anonymous praise of their own work and denigrating the work of fellow authors. If a book can't achieve some measure of success without such lies, then it can't be a very good book in my view.
Trying to imagine why they do it leads me to thoughts of fear. Fear of failure, of falling sales. Perhaps publishers do it, thinking to help sales along. Every publisher will have people who live in fear of losing their job because they've backed the wrong author too many times. Perhaps authors do it because they fear their contracts will not be renewed. If sales of the latest book fall, publishers don't hesitate to cut the string, and once that happens, finding another publisher can be hard. Livlihoods depend on sales, and I imagine desperation can set in for those concerned. It can't be easy when the well runs dry and ideas don't come any more.
So many things have become possible with the internet, but I bet Tim Berners-Lee never envisaged sockpuppetry.
I don't know why, but Blogger won't let me upload a pic today. I'll try again later. ( Later - one minute to midnight, and I can load the pic with no trouble.)

2 comments:

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I was discussing this with a few of my writing friends, Jen, and in one particular case we found it very sad. We'd heard him at a conference, he inspired every single person in the room and was a firebrand. To then find out last week what he'd done is incomprehensible to us as he is so successful! It shows it's best not to get too hung up on reviews.

Dean Crawford said...

Thanks for the compliment, Jen. I'm glad my post helped ease your concern over all of this. Although it was mainly aimed at traditionally published authors, I think the same percentages apply to all writers. Even if a book with a small circulation did receive an unfair review, eventually the injustice would be exposed by other readers. It's a shame that we have to deal with these kinds of things when finding success as an author is already hard enough...