Monday, September 03, 2012

A Puppet Show

When I was a kid, my sister and I played often with sock puppets. Sometimes, when we were feeling a little silly while folding clothes, we would put a sock on our hands and have a little puppet show until our mother made us get back to the job.
 (Picture from Playsational)

That is what I thought of when I first ran across the term applied to authors. I saw it on a forum a few months ago and wondered, "what the?" Authors are playing with puppets? What's up with that? 

Then I followed some links that led to stories about authors who are called "sock puppets" for using assumed names and writing glowing reviews of their own work. 

Really? Surely that is a rare occurance. Authors have more integrity than that. 

Then more recently the news broke about British author, Roger Ellory, who writes as R. J. Ellory. He created two reviewer names to praise his work, but even more distressing, he also wrote scathing reviews of other authors' work.

Really? Whatever prompted him to do that?

When asked in an interview at the Daily Mail UK, Ellory said, "Everyone does."

Um... excuse me. Not everyone.

Ellory was outed by crime writer Jeremy Duns, who has campaigned on Twitter for some time to expose the practice across the board. If you would like to follow him, here is a link to his Twitter Profile

Nobody will know for sure whether those fake reviews played a significant role in making him a best-selling author with millions of his books sold, but with the emphasis on Amazon for reviews, I would guess they did.

Read more at the Daily Mail UK or The Mirror. Both have in depth stories that are worth the read. 

As with the practice of paying big bucks for someone else to write a rave review of your work, doing it yourself under an assumed name takes away the validity of the review. I remember the time when a person's work stood on it's own merit.

Wouldn't it be nice if that were still true?


6 comments:

LD Masterson said...

It's just sad.

Grover said...

I heard about this on the radio today and one person who phoned in summed it up for me. She just simply said, "What happened to honesty?"

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Wow, that's terrible! No integrity.

Maryann Miller said...

I have been getting updates on this all day on some mystery loops I belong to. It is surprising how many people are thinking this is okay. It is the way business is done. I find that incredibly sad.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

To me, this is just an extension of the study that claimed today's students think it's "okay" to cheat because "everybody does it." A real shame.

Maryann Miller said...

Susan, a lady in a Yahoo group I belong to commented about a show she stumbled across on the Discovery channel. On the show a mother was explaining to her child the difference between the lies that are okay and the ones that are not. That seemed to be a telling indictment on how skewed any sense of honesty is anymore.