An Open Letter to the American Tarot Association
10 Ways to Screw Up a Writing Blog

Authors Shouldn't Review Other Authors? Get Real.

WritingThe last year, I've been subjected to harassment, blackballing and stalking. This also included a spate of 1-star reviews on my traditionally published Tarot books.

Why? Because a few self-appointed loudmouths in the online Tarot world think it's awful for me to continue reviewing Tarot books and decks on Amazon after becoming an author. (Never mind that I'm a Hall of Fame Reviewer with over 1,000 reviews to my name who has helped promote many a Tarot author and deck creator via my volunteer efforts.)

Because of this mindless mob, unchallenged by others in the online Tarot community for fear of the same type of reprisals, I've soured on writing Tarot blogs, books or reviews...and am moving away from it altogether.

For you clueless Tarot twits, read what Anne R. Allen has to say about authors reviewing other authors:

If authors weren’t allowed to review, there would be no New York Times Book Review. No New York Review of Books. No Times Literary Supplement.

Can you imagine the San Francisco Chronicle asking some random tourist at Fisherman’s Wharf to review the latest Michael Chabon instead of hiring National Book Award finalist Jess Walter?

Or if the New York Review of Books had told John Updike he would be “unethical” to review Philip Roth?

Or if the New Yorker had banned Dorothy Parker from reviewing The House at Pooh Corner because they suspected she’d be “too nice” to A. A. Milne after meeting him at a cocktail party? (Her famous review under the byline "Constant Reader" said "Tonstant Weader fwowed up.")

Here's the link to the rest of Anne's brilliant, thorough post: Online Book Reviews: Games People Play.

-- Janet



More often than not, especially for self-published authors, the reviews you NEED in order to get noticed by reviewers in the wider community are those by fellow writers.

Janet Boyer

Good point, Deb!

Anne R. Allen

Thanks much for the shout-out, Janet. I've seen other writers get slammed by vigilante one-stars, but you were the first I saw who got bullied so blatantly. And when I sent a Tweet defending you, I got DM'd with hate mail myself.

And I'd forgotten--these people all claimed to be those "top Amazon reviewers"--the same ones that are pushing out so many good reviewers with their psycho game playing and bullying. This is one more example of how they control Amazon--and the whole publishing industry. And they HATE authors. How can Bezos and co. let these people bully one of the biggest corporations in the world? Scary.

And Deb is right--this is a body-blow to indies, who mostly read each other. Almost all their readers are authors. So now they can't get any reviews at all. It's what the Amazon forum bullies want--they hate indies. But I wonder what the outcome for Amazon will be if they drive the cutting edge of the publishing industry away?

Elle Carter Neal

This is shocking. Until recently I had no idea this sort of thing was going on. Then I heard about the paid review-mill scandal (i.e. "reviewers" not even properly reading the books for which they were generating reviews). Now this bullying of honest reviewers?

Most of the half-decent authors read a lot, and can actually tell whether a book is well-written or not (as opposed to just being well-marketed). Their reviews don't count? Seriously?

Janet Boyer

You're most welcome, Anne! OMG, I had no idea you were bullied because of defending me. :o/ It's pathetic, isn't it? I've been an AMZN reviewer for over a decade and the last two years, I've only posted a handful of reviews. I'm glad I've moved away from it, because I'd be VERY disheartened to have hundreds of my reviews removed for who knows what reason. (I belong to an AMZN Reviewers FB page, and THEY are flummoxed. True top reviewers are being penalized with no explanation. One gal, not even an author, had over 300 reviews removed...and AMZN refused to explain why.)

Yet, AMZN has allowed stalkers to post 1-star reviews of MY books (nothing by hateful vitriol) with impunity. I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars at AMZN, and the way they've handled my emails--and other reviewers'--has DEFINITELY affected by buying decisions. I used to LOVE AMZN. Just adored them. Now? I get a bit of nausea when I think of them. NOT good!

WHY in the name of God wouldn't they protect reputable reviewers who obviously READ the books they review? (My personal ethic is that I won't review a book unless I read the WHOLE thing.)

And never mind what this means to authors! I've had some of my self-pubbed eBooks--that were selling VERY well (I was making hundreds of dollars a month on one)--start to receive 1-star "reviews" (lies). Guess what? My sales plummeted. Reviews DO matter.

Grrrr, I could just rant and rant and rant about this!

Janet Boyer

You are SO right, Elle! It makes absolute zero sense.

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