Friday, July 25, 2008


It is a profoundly unfair and antiquated practice to allow the hundreds of thousands of "Reader's Reviews" to be posted online, willy-nilly, without a more careful way of monitoring them.

I've written you before as an author with several books online and have always gotten the answer that wants a forum for readers to post their views.

However, what your system allows is a forum for people to vent, rage, rant, lie, and if the truth be known, they haven't even read the books they claim they have read. How can there be thousands of "Reader's Reviews" of a book BEFORE the book has even made an appearance, which has happened on more than one occasion? Popular and controversial authors will have literally thousands of posts in the "Reader's Reviews" section before the book has hit the shelves of bookstores. These are, therefore, not reviews at all but a raging screed.

I get the same thing and I am a relatively unknown author. Because I write of the controversial practice of Americans committing CULTURAL IMPERIALISM in the Gringolandias they form in Mexico as "Fakepats," I get Americans who live in those Mexican towns who have never read the books sending me such harmful comments. The most popular comments are the ones that accuse me of "Self-Publishing." They level these claims against my first two books and the claims are absolutely false.

Why would allow such a thing to go on and on if what you, the company, want to do is sell books? Mindlessly, most buyers will believe these idiotic claims and not buy the book, thus diminishing my income. And, incomprehensibly, with no proof whatsoever of their false claims and raging screeds, Amazon will post nothing but the "Bad Reviews" first, forcing a reader to read all the reviews to find a good or favorable one. You constantly do this on my books' pages on your site.

I've had my first two books reviewed by a credible and professional source. None other than the former Editor and Chief of the National Public Radio of the Washington Bureau FAVORABLY reviewed my books and yet you bury that review.

The other point is that this is not a forum for book reviews. Literally no one offers any semblance of a book review on my books or even on most of the rich and famous authors. Have you read lately what Danielle Steele has had to say about the insanity of's "Reader's Reviews"? It isn't favorable.

Major news media all over the United States are coming to grips with the very thing I am talking about. Attacking an author instead of examining and arguing pro or con about that author's views is NOT a book review. It is NOT free speech to call an author names, call into question the veracity of his choice in publishing outlets, call into question the author's mental health, and the name-calling! My God in heaven, the name-calling.

What is even more chilling than all of this is how on more than one occasion I've been threatened with death over my views on what is and what is not Expatriatism. Fiction writers who are on the New York Times Bestseller List have pictures of their homes, address included, posted online with suggestions from the "Reader Reviewer" on just how to assault the author when he or she is seen on the street.

Why would any news or media outlet allow such dangerous practices?

Yahoo and many major news outlets are seeing the problem and doing something about it. One major metropolitan newspaper is now cutting off "Reader's Reviews" on articles and stories after a certain period of time (two weeks, I believe). Yahoo ended up cutting off its "Reader's Comments" section completely because of what these sorts of practices always devolve into.

LuLu Publishing allows its authors to choose whether to allow comments on the author's page or not. I personally would never allow "Reader's Comments or Reviews" (an oxymoron) because it just, as in the words of a very well known fiction writer, "…invites personal attacks and threats."

Perhaps there was a time in America when to allow a forum where some, who actually read the book, would offer a review. Perhaps there was a time when Americans would engage in a properly constructed dialogue on issues instead of attacking and threatening the author proffering different or unusual ideas.

That time is long gone.

What are you going to do about it,


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