There’s been an epidemic in the writing world lately, one that I knew about but ignored because, quite frankly, I didn’t give a damn. That was until a longtime reader of mine emailed me about it. When me, a mid tier author type guy, is getting emails about this, I guess it’s time to deal with it. I’ll let reader Cal introduce you to the issue:
A number of authors I follow recently on their blogs have complained about other authors “buying their rank.” What do they mean by that? I’ve asked a few others, but no one has taken the time to email me back with some sort of explanation. To me, it looks like they are jealous of other people’s success.
The funny thing is, this is a hot button issue in the author community thanks David Gaughran and his latest blog (which you can find here) calling out people he’s deemed spammers for getting high rankings. I’ll let you read his accusations for yourself, I’m here today to rally against them.
I’m not naïve to realize we live in a world where everyone is guilty. Hell, even when they prove their innocence, they are still labeled guilty. The books Gaughran has personally called out are now flooded with terrible reviews from people who never bought the book. Those authors reputations are in the trash can, all on a hunch from an internet Amazon detective. And what happens if/when those authors prove their innocence? Not a damn thing. There’s no chance Gaughran goes back on his blog and issues an apology. Those seekers of justice who went out of their way to leave 2 to 3 word 1 star reviews? They are already on to their next target.
Could some of these authors have used nefarious means to make gains? Sure, but we have no way of proving it (and if you say you can, you’re just fooling either yourself or the readers for follow you). Even the trumpeted ‘Customers also bought’ people like to use as proof isn’t fool proof. I emailed Amazon on the issue and if enough people search for the same titles in a row, those titles will appear was the representative’s official answer. What do blogs like Gaughran’s do? They cause people to search for those titles back to back to back, etc…
I apologize if I got a bit soap box-y today. I’m just sick and tired of ‘experts’ with nothing better to do going out of their way to hurt others. Being an author is an absolute joy for me and for a lot of readers. Let’s keep it that way for crying out loud. I just worry that this issue is going to be like the actual Salem Witch Trials, a lot of innocent authors are going to get burned at the stake without a shred of credible proof against them.