Before Christmas, I offered readers a thread to share their best reads, books and blog. The rules were simple. List no more than three of your favorite reads and tell others why you liked them. The thread is full of awesome recommendations, and I really enjoyed reading them until I came to this nugget of joy.
So something about this set off my radar. First, there is only one book, when most people listed three. Second, the note has a very practiced tone to it, one you learn to recognize when authors are talking about their books and trying to be cute about it. Third, she posted a cover.
So I checked a few things.
It’s been about 24 hours and we didn’t get an apology. Her comment was moved into pending queue and I’m following up on my promise.
The problem here isn’t that she recommended her own book. The business is hard and sometimes you can’t help yourself. The right way to do this, as the majority of authors I spoke to today pointed out, is to list two of your favorites and say something along the lines of “And I hope you forgive me the shameless self-promotion, but I wanted to mention my own book. It’s a story of so and so and I think you might really like it.”
It’s difficult to reach new readers, this blog provides a modest but not insignificant platform, and everyone here tends to be nice, so it’s tempting to advertise here. If you do it more than once, I might ask you to stop, but at the core it’s an honest attempt to engage with readers.
That’s not what Princess did. She pretended to be a reader. The primary purpose of it was to trick other readers into thinking they were reading a word-of-the-mouth recommendation.
First, it’s dishonest. Second, it’s incompetent, because the fraud was ridiculously easy to track via ISP and email. Third, it shows you what this person thinks of her audience. She thinks that all of us are idiots.
Because I am a bitch, I went and looked at the free sample of the book she linked on Amazon.
The book is not good.
The heroine is “simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust.” There is no subtlety or finesse; it’s overkill in every single sentence. So I couldn’t recommend this even if I were inclined to do so, which I am not.
Because I don’t support punching down, her email, gravatar, cover, etc have been redacted.
Since Princess hasn’t graced us with an apology, I am going to apologize on her behalf. Sorry you were defrauded on this blog.
Well, at least we got a laugh out of it. The reason you are so successful as an author is that you have such a way with words. Even if Princess grovels, it won’t beat this blog entry! Thanks for the humor befor bedtime.
Patricia Schlorke says
I don’t think I read Princess’s comment. Word of mouth about an author is one thing but to do what that person did…not good. Unless the newer author is invited to post something about his or her work on another, established author’s blog, the newer author should be respectful and not pretend to be someone he or she is not.
Thank you, Ilona, for pointing out that post and the warning. However, you don’t need to apologize for someone else’s stupidity. ?
Everything about this post had me howling in laughter!!! Jeez. “simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust” is now my new favorite line ever.
Right? I need to figure out how to use this regularly.
I forgot your sensitivity to power imbalance. That makes this somewhat less than the deserved comeuppance for trying to defraud the BDH. I, for one, could have been conned, as I don’t generally look at gravatars before looking at the author’s picture on goodreads. At least I learned about a new to me concept — gravatar.
So the fruits are . . . simmering? Lustily? Is this a recipe for mulled wine?
This reminds me of The Smart Bitches, Trashy Books review of The Playboy Sheikh’s Virgin Stable Girl. I excerpt their review here:
. . . “Kaliq dismounted with the same speed and grace as he would remove himself from the body of a woman he had just made love to.”
OH, my GOSH, it’s a revelation! It’s just… delicious crazy!
But wait, there’s more! This entire book is so freaking crazy, it speaks for itself.
Kaliq sees Eleni for the first time:
“Kaliq glanced over at her, his antennae automatically alerted by the sound of a woman’s voice. It was soft and soothing, he thought—like cool, running water running through this oppressive and stuffy room. And it was curiously fluent for a servant. His eyes narrowed, but he could not see whether she was plain or beautiful.”
Antennae? Like, he’s a hemi-pene? Wouldn’t it be just the one antenna?
Also, I love when cool running water is running. Run, water, run! Run like the wind! Run like the bosoms in Kaliq’s frustrated imagination! . . .
Go read the whole thing, it is so good.
The use of plural “antennae” did not alert me to what part of his anatomy the author was trying to metaphorically describe.
Instead, I immediately pictured that either the character was an insectoid alien, or else the story is some kind of bizarre (and disturbing) insect alt-reality fantasy (like A Bugs Life or Antz, except erotic?)
Oh good, I’m not the only one who thought insectoid alien
That was great! Thanks for the suggestion!
I think I got one of those Sheik books for free once and read it. It was one of the worst I’ve ever read. The Sheik’s Sweet Bride by Leslie North. Just awful.
Anna L says
I’m glad I was not drinking, because my computer would be wearing it. Remind me never to piss off Ilona, she will eviscerate you in a good way. I agree with everything in this post.
I second/third this!! Absolutely
Ha ha ha the post had me howling and this comment accurately descibes it! “Eviscerate” ?
Simon Lyon says
Are you sure the evisceration would be in a “good” way? 😉
You learn something new everyday! “Gravatar”
For that, I’ll thank Princess.
Although I hope she “simmers fruitlessly in unrequited” book sales as a result of her efforts here.
Thank you for the belly laugh and for the warning. “Simmering fruitlessly…” sound like a really bad recipe for jam.
But a great description for homemade beet kvas!
Anna L says
Oo recipe? As a russian, i keep meaning to make it.
Will Princess have ripper cushions?
LOL!! I think there already were! Great comment!
Ilonna I agree. Honesty and direct ownership of one’s actions is much better.
+1! I immediately thought, oooh there will be ripper cushions! I love that line.
“Simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust”. I would call this the start of a solid entrant for the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. Ranks up there with “it was a dark and stormy night”.
Nice try but never mess with Mother Nature or the Authorlords. Nothing good comes of it.
I don’t see the problem with “simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust”. Simmering is a perfectly good adjective to describe someone suffering from unrequited lust and it isn’t helpful, and is therefore fruitless.
It may not be grammatically incorrect but it still sounds cheesy.
It’s also kind of redundant. “Unrequited Lust” will always be fruitless – it’s unrequited.
And it sounds very….1980s.
+1 Also, the word “fruitlessly” suggests that the word “loins” may be lurking nearby, and nothing good will some of that. So to speak.
will *come* of that. Thank you so much, autocorrect. So helpful!
Leanne Ridley says
No need to apologize for someone else’s boorish behaviour, Ilona, and thank you for shedding the light on this crassness.
I love hearing about great new reads from fans who already enjoy your books (especially because I’m in the intense small children phase so reading time has been severely curtailed)!
Thanks for catching and sharing this amusing cautionary tale.
Happy New Year!
??????? (catches breath) ?????
BWAHAHAHAHA! I love you. I do appreciate that you review and police the recommendations. Remind me to never piss you off. Lol
Ista in Sydney Australia says
The dishonesty and thinking it would never be spotted is a little insulting.
Sidebar: I have Xmas pudding vodka marinating in the fridge. It’s too hot here in Satan’s Armpit (western Sydney, Australia) to not refrigerate. At 41C or about 106F it would be simmering it I left it anywhere else. I only started it 2 weeks ago, not the usual 6 weeks.
You are making vodka for Christmas?
Ista in Sydney says
Xmas pudding flavoured vodka. Similar to the NotQuiteNigella recipe shared by Robin.
I can’t be bothered making gluten free Xmas pud – too hot to cook much of anything – and it’s hard to find. So I get the flavour in my booze ?
Sara Quan says
That was such a hilarious blog post!
By the way, thank you for recommending Jesse Mihalik; I got addicted to her writing, then I got addicted to a romance series (Veronica Speedwell) on her recommended reads page. So lost lots of sleep :-). Mihalik’s friday story posts are feeding my BDH tendencies for now. I also loved your other recommendation for The Kingpin of Camelot and I devoured that author’s works.
I fell in love with the Amaranthine Saga recommendation.
Cindy M. says
Yes, I started following Jessie after Ilona’s recommendation. I love her stuff so far and am looking forward to get first book, Polaris Rising, which is due out in February (I think). She also posts free novellas.
Ilona is the Kate of comment moderation, fair but tough.
(And hilarious with it.)
And not as bloody.
Bill G says
Nice takedown. BTW, I only listed two, but I assure you this is just me behind it, not the author using a false front. Of course, my clumsy verbiage no doubt keeps anyone from thinking I’m a professional writer. LOL
Lisa L says
I’m crap at writing, but it would drive me bonkers reading anything from an author that uses “Extremely highly”.
I remember that post, it was so obviously wrong, but I also remember thinking that an author could not be so clumsy with her verbiage (mine sucks but I’m not an author)
Jolie Vines says
This made me grin, but weirdly, I feel sorry for her. Maybe I’m soft hearted.
She’s taken a ballsy and ill-thought-through step and presumably sat back thinking how clever she was, using another author’s platform to self-promote. For free, too! And then she logs back on to see the lovely comments…
If anything, this is a great learning experience. Perhaps she could pick up some of your writing lessons, too. That would make this a far more valuable experience than just how not to piss off your peers.
As I fancy myself a bit of a detective, I embarked on a journey to find this “author”. Alas, I had not seen her original comment, but Ilona’s clues helped me along.
Found her on goodreads, found her on Amazon, found the excerpt of her 3rd book.
I am a bit baffled.
The book seems to have positive reviews, so people out there must genuinly appreciate the hero’s “cheekbones that could cut glass”, his bodily odours that resemble a dessert presented in “the haute-couture artistic fashion of three star Michelin restaurants” and “the internal temperature” of the heroine, who has “above-average-sized assets”, also “eyes like Bambi, full of innocence and ignorance” and seemes to suffer from “diarrhea of the mouth”, poor thing.
Also, I pity the person who at some point must have told the author straight-faced something along the lines of “yep, that’s fine, folks want to read exactly that, carry on”.
Oh, and she compares her novels to the opus of writers like JR Ward and George RR Martin.
But thanks for the recommendation. Should I ever aspire to become an author I now know what to read to motivate me to do better.
But in the end, writing is art and beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Since she does what she likes and some people seem to like what she does, good for her.
Sounds more like she’s self-publishing, so not as many people reviewing the drafts and editing. But, yeah, ballsy to compare yourself to those authors.
Anna L says
Allright, I tried to find this person, but was not as successful, I dont know if there are private messages via this forum, but I would love a hint, because I always enjoy reading bad fiction.
Anna L says
Never mind, I think I managed to find it, if its the series where book 3 features a geneticist.
Crystal K says
Oh that sucks. I understand wanting to reach an audience as you have stated but definitely done wrong. Also,I kind of wish those types of books had another category other than just Romance. Romance to me must have something romantic, a story, a build up of a relationship, and strong characters. Sex is nice but isn’t always necessary (though some stories can have some great physical relationships that build up the story and add to it) and stories that emphasis just sex are not really romance in my book.I wish they had a separate category for just wild sex books so that I would not have to get through so many of those to find new Romance authors who fit my guidelines and I like.
Patricia Schlorke says
Some bookstores put that under “Erotica Romance”. Unfortunately the majority of stores lump it all together.
I totally second this! (Especially since I’m asexual.)
Lynn T. says
Ha ha ha. Personally I do not read “romance” but I have sisters who do. Well one reads “regency romances” and another sister reads “paranormal romances”. And no they do not share reading tastes but all books end up at my house while my deadtree books vanish to their houses. Sigh. [My grandmother read “harlequin” romances as her time was very limited and she could read a few pages and pick back up next day without having to go back any. ]
I have learned that what I define as romance is not what others define as romance. What I define as westerns differs as does science fiction. Okay, Dad raised us on Analog magazine and then Baen website.
That said I appreciate Ilona Andrews sharp eye and detective skills as well as verbal skills. I do understand her apology to the BDH as she feels her good deed to us was undone. Not so in my book but I do appreciate the heads up about this unprincipled being.
Thank you, Ilona Andrews. The pup is getting his Friday night reading fix, yes, he misses Innkeeper, as we are working thru The Edge series now. He went this week for annual vaccines. Urinated all over restraining tech. But thankfully no one got bitten or mugged and fecal was negative. Best display of aerial acrobatics vet had seen in awhile. Vet said Titan will be under 100 pounds when he matures but we can go to bimonthly weight checks since he is over 80 pounds. Oops, Mother summons. Off to eye doctor we go.
Simon Lyon says
Writing a good, romantic but also hot sex scene is possibly one of the hardest things in fiction. I suspect this is the case because so many authors do it so terribly badly!
I only recommended a single book in my post as well. Is that ok? All the other books I thought of had already been posted and well…. my “new book” finds this year were very…. mediocre.
I hope so too. I only recommended a blog because I’m a new mom and have funny baby stuff on the brain, and needed a bit less of a romantic view on parenting. That and I read at least 3 posts on Alex verus and Dresden files. Oh well. XD
Simon Lyon says
Of course recommending a single book/blog was OK. The rule was “no more than three”, it wasn’t compulsory. It just so happened that, combined with other stuff, it set off Ilona’s radar in this case.
Ilona sensibly set a three book/series limit because some of the BDH (myself included) would spend hours listing half the series they’d read! 🙂 🙂
I used to lurk on the DorothyL listserv back in the ’90s. Many of the posters were authors, and some of them did write about their own books. The phrase “blatent self-promotion” was used to describe one post, although to me it came across as the author’s joy at first seeing her book in print. After that, it became customary for the best contributors to self-identify their own BSP. Of course, the worst offenders never really got it.
I ended up unsubscribing because I was spending waaaaay too much time at work reading the posts.
Thank you for the due diligence!
I have checked a few of the other recommendations, so far. Binged 5 books from one author, passed on 2 after reading samples as the writing styles didn’t work for me, and I’m pondering whether to keep going on my second author purchase as the book is becoming…predictable.
Overall, the recommendations were a great gift – with so few physical book stores and book shelves left, it can be hard to find new authors. Happy new year!
Gai LaMarche says
Ilona, I absolutely adore you!
Ilona wrote: “The right way to do this [i.e. self-promote], as the majority of authors I spoke to today pointed out, is to list two of your favorites and say something along the lines of ‘And I hope you forgive me the shameless self-promotion, but I wanted to mention my own book. It’s a story of so and so and I think you might really like it.’”
Actually I would go so far as to say that an author wouldn’t even need to mention their own book(s), but just identify themselves as an author. If their recommendations align with books that I myself as a reader love, I would probably check out their book(s) on the strength of that alone, assuming that we have similar tastes in books and that that would also translate into their own writing (hopefully).
One of the authors listed his two recommendations, then suggested his wife’s blog for another author to follow. It was only after that that he linked his own blog for his work. He did not recommend any books that he or his wife wrote, merely their blogs for reading while online with nothing better to do. As far as I could tell, both husband and wife self-published and had minimal reviews for their works.
That was well done, I thought.
That comment is still up for a reason. 🙂
My all-time favorite bad romance line is “And the glory of his manhood rose.” [Kathleen Woodiwiss, either “Flame and the Flower” or “Wolf and the Dove”, the heroes were interchangeable back then. Is it formulaic if she wrote the “formula”??]
That line still sends my sisters and I into uncontrolled giggle-fits. I don’t think “simmering fruitlessly” comes close.
Huh. I liked Kathleen’s books and still have them. I don’t remember that line. On the other hand, I read them when I was a teenager, so now I just parts when I reread them, so I probably missed it as an adult.
Now I want to look for that line.
Kathleen E. Woodiwiss was actually one of the first romance authors I read and in defense of her we have to consider the historical context. The books you mention were written in the late 70s/early 80s and much has changed in the romance genre since then, also and especially fictional descriptions of sex.
Just consider the following excerpt from a literary masterpiece, which over decades was hailed as one of the ultimate sex scenes:
“His body was urgent against her, and she didn’t have the heart anymore to fight…She saw his eyes, tense and brilliant, fierce, not loving. But her will had left her. A strange weight was on her limbs. She was giving way. She was giving up…she had to lie down there under the boughs of the tree, like an animal, while he waited, standing there in his shirt and breeches, watching her with haunted eyes…He too had bared the front part of his body and she felt his naked flesh against her as he came into her. For a moment he was still inside her, turgid there and quivering. Then as he began to move, in the sudden helpless orgasm, there awoke in her new strange thrills rippling inside her. Rippling, rippling, rippling, like a flapping overlapping of soft flames, soft as feathers, running to points of brilliance, exquisite and melting her all molten inside. It was like bells rippling up and up to a culmination. She lay unconscious of the wild little cries she uttered at the last. But it was over too soon, too soon, and she could no longer force her own conclusion with her own activity. This was different, different. She could do nothing. She could no longer harden and grip for her own satisfaction upon him. She could only wait, wait and moan in spirit and she felt him withdrawing, withdrawing and contracting, coming to the terrible moment when he would slip out of her and be gone. Whilst all her womb was open and soft, and softly clamouring, like a sea anenome under the tide, clamouring for him to come in again and make fulfillment for her…”
I have to admit, I love this like crazy. I might have read it long ago but if I came across it today, I’d stop and think it was fantastic. I think it’s awesomely written.
Also, Kathleen Woodiwiss is credited with the first modern romance novel that followed the characters into to bedroom. She changed the face of genre romance. While I don’t love all of her novels, A Rose in Winter is one of my favorite romance novels ever.
She was one of the first authors I read at way too young an age. I have definitely outgrown her, but none of my favorites books or authors would likely exist without her.
I’m afraid that the clamouring sea anemone might have been the end for me.
You might want to edit my post too. No self promotion, just misread your blog. More than 3 recommendations & personal stuff I did this year. Also repeated some of your recommendations.
Ilona, you really know how to go for the jugular. Loved this whole episode! You always make me laugh!
You are awesome
clara brotherton says
I’m a book blogger, and I didn’t put my blog on any recommendation, all I did was recommend one of my favorite series, because I didn’t want to seem like I was using your blog to self-promote.
That’s just terribly rude to do.
I don’t see a problem with self promotion (I think Ilona doesn’t either, at least I understood it that way) It’s the fact that “Princess” was underhanded.
clara brotherton says
Oh, I self promote in places, with no problems, but there are times and places where it’s appropriate, and it’s rude to do it otherwise, at least, in my opinion.
And yeah, she was underhanded AF.
shannon markle says
“Simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust”…..ROFL. You crack me up!
I’m sure that sentence is going to be in the top ten searches of the google bar ?
My favorite sentence was,
“A gelatinous mass of wantoness.”
To me it was not the sentences (even with so much weirdness to choose from,… better not to go further into that issue) but the character’s inconsistency: a female with “an IQ of over 200” “PhD and MD in molecular genetics” “PhD in regenerative stem cell science” “one of the world’s foremost experts at the age of thirty” that expresses herself as a teenager filled of insecurities… but got all that career achievements regardless (from a cheetos bag, apparently).
I have to admit, when I read “A gelatinous mass of wantoness,” my first response was “Ewww!”
I just read Dark in Death and I laughed when I read your post because the plot is about a successful author of a series who pisses off a fan/also writer. Then the murders begin…..
Wow.. This chick was ballsy!
I hope your Christmas was delightful and I’m glad you are back!
Self-promotion without owning up to the act makes it seem like the person doesn’t really want to be associated with effort.
There was a whole series? But she only recommended book 3?!? Geck….
Now, see, this is why I admire you and Gordon so much: yes, you are a amazing writing team and I love your books. However, it’s your integrity that I admire most. Thank you again for showing the world how it’s done.
I used my GoogleFu and found it. Wow…. I couldn’t even make it through the whole excerpt. I ended up searching the website for the phrase just to make sure it was the correct one.
Other clues, please? I’ve searched without success (I am curious to check out the excerpt, but the “simmering fruitlessly…” is not enough of a clue for me)
I found it (just out of curiosity, I don’t want to start or continue any discussion regarding this topic) I’ve read the excerpt, and I think Ilona overviewed it well.
Simon Lyon says
Wow and I thought had some decent GoogleFu – you actually found it. But it sounds like it was probably a good job I didn’t!
You just need to Google the book quote (in quotation marks). It only gets a handful of results, two of which are this blog.
I know someone who self published and they were in various large groups online with other self published authors where they would go on Goodreads, Amazon, etc and give each other praising rewiews on everything. The groups would even sometimes have titles with or have “Like for a Like” in the description. Some of the excerpts I read were just awful but had a ton of high ratings.
I can’t believe they’d try to pass that off as a reader. That’s ridiculous. Especially for the 3rd book in a series. Seriously who recommends a series with anything other than the first book? Even then you might say “The first few are slow/whatever but it really picks up by book 3” or something like that.
RJ Blain says
Eep. I’m an author, and this makes me want to buy a box of Cheerios so I can weep into it.
My new kitten just expressed her opinion about this in her litter box. I think I need to go fling myself off the balcony to escape the stench now.
On behalf of random authors everywhere, I’m sorry.
Wow , I recommended 2 or 3 series and by the second word you can tell that I am not a writer, just a enthusiastic reader and I love to recommend books to others.
And I would never try anything so underhanded.
It’s going to backfire, because Ilona Andrews is smart, savvy and does her research.
So fie on you !!
Julie Lea says
Now I’m worried about my recommendation – it was just one book and I added a picture. But, if I could write as well as THAT author, I would be very happy indeed.
Liv W says
If only I had even a tiny bit of creative ability to even attempt a move like Princess’s. Alas, I can’t write, sing, craft, cook/bake, play an instrument/sport, or tell jokes.
I haven’t have a chance yet to read others’ book recommendations or post my own, so apologies for the delayed suggestions (and advance apologies for any redundancies) and thanks for allowing me this opportunity to share my picks.
– Karen Chance has two interconnected paranormal urban fantasy romance series, The Cassandra Palmer tales and the Dorina Basarab series. I enjoy these for their laugh-out-loud humor, complex background politics and world building (and time traveling), and memorable characters. The author has consistently released stellar end products, I always wait in anticipation for the next books, and I’ve never been disappointed.
– Bec McMaster has several series available. My favorites are intertwined steampunk tales (the London Steampunk novels and the Blue Blood Conspiracy series), as well as the Dark Arts trilogy. I enjoy these for their complex world building, the fantasy elements, and the fully drawn characters and motivations.
– Michelle Sagara is another multiple series writer. She is probably the most controversial in my list because people seem to either love her novels or hate them. Ms Sagara writes long epic fantasies with complex world building and politics, and there is generally a bit of a gap between books within a series (partially because of her concurrent multiple series). I will confess that the only series of hers that I’ve enjoyed and still follow is the Elantra Chronicles. I like this series for its world building and fantasy elements, and its interesting and noteworthy characters. However, it is also quite challenging on occasion to understand what is happening and why on the first read. Some readers have taken issue about this obscurity as well as what they see as the slow pace of the books in general, and within the world’s timeline in specific. (For example, although it is now about a dozen books in, overall events in the series have only occurred over a period of a few months.)
Shout outs to Grace Draven and Jesse Mihalek, both of whom I discovered through this blog and who are also fabulous writers.
The recommendations post is still open, and you might want to consider posting this there, if only because I (and probably most people) will not come back to THIS post when we need something new, but will look at the one in the menu.
Liv W says
Cindy M. says
+1 for Jessie Mihalik
I’ll echo another reader’s comment: I appreciate your diligence in protecting the power balance where possible! Thank you for insightful and entertaining blog post. I understand Princess’ motivation; however, this duplicity is not justified.
Thank you for clearly articulating what was wrong and how this situation could have been handled differently from the author’s perspective to still include self-promotion.
It’s the combination of “Simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust” and “I don’t believe in punching down” that has me snickering. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.
I’m sorry. “I don’t support punching down.”
And to add: Go Ilona!
Dear Mrs. Andrews,
I agree with you that it was bad form – we (the hypothetical audience) are not idiots and she should have just been up front about promoting her work. However, I disagree with you on two counts. First, the 24-hour time limit. I, for instance, used my junk email address for this post because it is smart to limit the number of people/companies you give your work or personal email to for a variety of reasons. It is logical to assume that other people use their junk emails as well when they post comments. I point this out because I only look at my junk email once a week. I also tune into this blog with roughly the same frequency. It is plausible that the individual in question has not even read the original message you sent to her, much less this post. She had no time to adequately respond.
Secondly, to use a quote (because Michelle Obama said it better than I ever could), “when they go low, we go high.” It is one thing to call out dishonesty, it is another to use humiliation to teach a lesson. First, though this is not the main point, it is hardly the most effective method of persuasion. Accusations, threats against someone’s work, and ridicule only serve to make people defensive and angry. This is hardly a mindset that would allow for thoughtful contemplation of ones’ actions and subsequent apologies. Not to mention it erodes the moral high ground. The phrase, “don’t fire shotguns if you live in a glass house”, exists for a reason, as does, “two wrongs don’t make a right.”
Furthermore, and perhaps this is naive of me, but I believe the vast majority of people on this planet are good people who often make mistakes. Think back to your worst mistake. How did you deal with it? How did the person who was affected respond? Were they kind and forgiving? Did they pull you aside to constructively point out where you went wrong in order to help you? I ask these questions because I believe you are one of those good people. I ask them so we all can step into the shoes of a stranger – if you made a mistake similar to the one Princess did, how would you want the other person to respond? Would you want that response to be similar to the one she received?
My goal in this post is not to defend Princess’ actions, nor is it to level accusations at you or other people commenting on this post. I concede that I may not have the full story. I also concede that I know nothing about Princess’s true character or how she would have responded to criticism in general – kind, constructive, or otherwise – if given the chance. All I wish say is we, as humans, are flawed. But, we should not assume that someone’s flaws or mistakes are all that defines them, and should remember that good people will rise to the occasion if you extend the offer to meet them on higher ground.
Lisa L says
Ilona and Gordon repeatedly set the ground rules for their blog (THEIR blog) and someone always has to break them or do underhanded things like this. They are really busy and I’ve never come across any other authors who take the time to interact with their readers on the level that they do.
They’ve shown far more patience with this nonsense than I would have and sometimes you just have to be a bitch to get your point across.
Also, you talking to a grown woman like this as though she is a child is not at all irritating.
Have a lovely day.
“I point this out because I only look at my junk email once a week.”
She used her professional author address she uses to interact with her readers.
“Secondly, to use a quote (because Michelle Obama said it better than I ever could), “when they go low, we go high.” It is one thing to call out dishonesty, it is another to use humiliation to teach a lesson. ”
You are now criticizing me for how I responded to someone who attempted to defraud the readers of my blog. This is akin to a burglar breaking into a house and suing the homeowner when he trips on the carpet and breaks his leg. It is not our job to take Princess aside gently and teach her how to not be underhanded and dishonest.
So that’s as high as I am willing to go. Take it or leave it. 🙂
Simon Lyon says
It’s about dishonesty, not honest self-promotion per-se.
Dear Mrs. Andrews,
First off, I apologize if I offended you. Other people viewed my original post as an insult to your intelligence, which was not my intent. I have great respect for the work you do, and I was not trying to talk down to you or belittle you. If I may, I would like to say a few more things to clarify what I meant.
“She used her professional author address she uses to interact with her readers.”
As I conceded before, I may not have the full story. If it was her professional email, then yes, by now she has most likely read it and chose not to respond. However, I stand by my original opinion – 24 hours is an insufficient amount of time, especially when you consider that Christmas just happened and New Year’s Eve is only a couple of days away. It’s the holidays and there is no way of knowing if she has checked her work email yet.
“You are now criticizing me for how I responded to someone who attempted to defraud the readers of my blog……So that’s as high as I am willing to go. Take it or leave it.”
On this next part I may be mistaken, and, if so, I apologize ahead of time. When I read your response earlier today, I did not have time to sit down and type out a thorough reply. When I came back this evening, I reread your comment and found that it had changed. I am paraphrasing what I remember, but instead of saying, “take it or leave it”, your post said something along the lines of, “I could have released the Goodreads link, the book title, and her photo, but I didn’t. That was me being nice, but I can be mean if that’s what you want.”
That is definitely not what I want, and it is the reason I commented in the first place. I have a friend who works in the tech industry doing complicated computer things I don’t understand, and he spends a significant amount of personal and professional time online. He is a good person who did a stupid thing three years ago and he is still paying for it. He made a mean and petty comment online about a moderately well-known individual and some people did not take it well. People were right to be angry because it was a rude comment he never should have said. He understands that and he feels terrible about it, but what happened next was not ok. As you can imagine, things escalated quickly as they tend to do in today’s digital age. People started posting things on his social media accounts and his work website. It wasn’t pretty and people said some horrible things, until one night a person sent him a message that said, “I know where you are.” Like any sane person, my friend found that concerning. All his former social media accounts have been deleted and he now uses a pseudonym for everything he does online.
You have every right to be angry. What she did was dishonest and wrong. I said in my original post I was not trying to level accusations, but you are correct, I was criticizing. I am a blunt person by nature and my previous attempt to make a point diplomatically was an obvious failure. In lieu of my previous BS, I would like to ask you this: why did you originally decide to blackout the link, picture, and title, and why did you retract your comment and replace it with “take it or leave it”?
I 100% meant what I said before – I believe the vast majority of people in this world are good people and I believe you are one of them. However, when you made your original post you cracked open Pandora’s box so to speak. There was just enough information in the post for your readers to identify who it was you were talking about. I know this not because I was trying to find Princess, but because other people have commented on your post and they know who she is.
All actions have consequences. All you meant to do (I think) was shame her, but the punishment does not fit the crime. More specifically, at the moment you made your original post it was, by your own admission, only 24 hours after you asked her to apologize. At that point there were a number of legitimate reasons as to why she had not responded. At that point, when you made the post, did you have any way of knowing if she had read your request and deliberately ignored you? Furthermore, you acknowledged in your post that, “the business is hard and sometimes you can’t help yourself,” which suggests to me that you considered it plausible that she was a decent person who had made a mistake. The vast majority of the world is filled with good people, but not all of it. You cracked open Pandora’s box with your post and you can’t control what happens next. If you found “the fraud…ridiculously easy to track”, other people can find her too and some of them have. I am not saying that the people who have found her so far are bad people, only that she is now vulnerable. One of my criticisms is that you decided to punish someone without giving them time to apologize for it and then signaled to other people that they could do the same.
Right now, over 72 hours after you asked her to apologize, the odds that she has read your request (and this post) are fairly high, and she has chosen not to apologize for her actions. If so, that is not ok, and she was wrong to do that as well. However, just because she was wrong doesn’t mean you handled the situation perfectly. The consequences of your post could be minor to disproportional. It could achieve what I believe you intended, which was to call out a fraudulent and dishonest act against you and your readers. The other possibility, no matter how remote, is one I think you may have considered at least subconsciously. That brings me back to my non-BS questions: why did you blackout some of her information, why did you include enough info in your post for people to ID her anyways, why did you retract the threat to release the blacked out information in response to my original comment, and why, when you read the posts of the people who had found her, did you not take action?
What you do next is up to you. However, you cannot control the actions of the people around you. There are some cracked out people in this world and right now there is nothing to stop them from blowing that box wide open and doing everything from trashing her career with repeated bad reviews of her books to trolling her on her professional website to sending her terrifying messages like “I know where you are” (and possibly meaning it). All these things may sound like I am being over dramatic, and I concede that this would be a fair argument, but everything I listed is plausible because it has happened before. Princess could be a narcissistic, greedy jacka$$ who doesn’t care that what she did was wrong, or she could just be someone who made a mistake. Either way, I respectfully disagree with how her actions were addressed.
I’m going to point out in advance I’m about to express just my opinion regarding this situation in case you might misunderstand this as a personal attack. Furthermore, English is not my mother tongue so please excuse my grammar (considering you have taken the time to write your reasoning so precisely, I’ll try to do so as well).
1) Ilona and Gordon haven’t critized the writer. They published a brief opinion related to one of her works, and just after the aforementionated writer used their blog to promote herself under false pretenses. They critized her behaviour, which is unacceptable.
2) From your comments I assume you don’t read the blog frequently, but I do. If the work was good, regardless of the writer’s mistake (as you categorized it, I disagree) Ilona may have added a good word because she is kind like that. The excerpt I read was terrible. And Ilona didn’t even provide us with a link to check it for ourselves (which the aforementionated writer had already posted, as you can see in Ilona’s modified screenshot).
3) Following your logic, Ilona did a mistake leaving clues for us to identify the aforementionated writer because we may rise to attack her like ultras from a football game. Again, I disagree. The only reason I checked her excerpt was because the expression “simmering fruitlessly…” was so hilarious I thought “perhaps this is a book that’s so bad that it may cross the line to hilarious by chance”. That was not the case. Not because of her dishonesty, but because her work was actually a pain to read.
Finally, just a few points regarding the friend’s example that you provided and this situation: It’s true sometimes haters gonna hate, not matter what you do. But other times “you reap what you sow”.
Simon Lyon says
I agree. We haven’t attacked the author (though many of us know her name by now) – we’ve just poked fun at her writing. Which is lighthearted just desserts for her deception. Though to her credit she has provided a lot of laughter for the BDH!
Lisa L says
English is my mother tongue and I could not have written out half as good a response as you just did. All the points you made are spot on and saves me a lot of typing.
Thank you for addressing this comment in a polite and thoughtful manner.
You didn’t offend me, but now I am convinced that you are Princess.
PS. If you are Princess, it’s not too late to apologize. And if you are not her, she is lucky to have a friend so loyal that even when she lies to people to steal their money, you are still there in her corner.
Simon Lyon says
And also +1
Simon Lyon says
“If you’re in a hole it’s time to reach for a ladder, not a shovel.”
Cheryl z says
That wa succinct. Yawn
Well that’s interesting. I’m happy you saved all the recommendations so I can check them out when time permits. I tend to believe honesty is the best policy and believe she should have been upfront about writing the book.
My reading experience has been that poor editing and spelling errors that pull you out of the story can ruin what otherwise might be a good read. On the other hand florid descriptions and over the top action that serves no purpose does the same thing, I guess I just like good writing and characterization. I joined Free Booksy for the free books to try and I rely on the review comments to pick and choose. I haven’t the time right now to read them as the library books and holidays have to take priority but soon I hope.
Christmas comes down today then I have to unplug the garbage disposal so the dishwasher can be run (plumbing is so not a favored activity). Bah humbug!
(Hope you are enjoying the holiday season, getting some R & R, and working on the new book!) Lots of self-interest there. 🙂
What is the sound of giggling while striking your forehead against the keyboard at the same time.
(And, okay, there is a bit of “OMG, look at the nifty new icon a young cartoonist I follow made for me!!!” …which is some kind of promotion? I’d happily share his contact info if appropriate – nice guy, not great financial state, could use the commissions…)
Does your new icon look like you? My daughter once submitted my photo to an app that converted me to Grinch… I thought it was cute. There was a more general app that used chosen characteristics given like hair and eye color, wears glasses, etc., for a cartoon version of oneself. I wonder what Ilona and Gordon use for their cartoon avatars…. Really enjoy them!
In a cartoon sort of way? It’s hand drawn (well, on a tablet), and I gave him a couple of photos for reference. I think it’s mostly this one and one of my professional “no extra points awarded without a citation from the primary literature” ones. He did a great portrait of my sister doing Aerials last year.
He did a great job!
I love it ?
Nicely done! Does he have a website you could possibly share?
He’s @porkironandwine on twitter – and the timing would be good, as he has a sick cat.
From there there are other links, but we’ve always communicated through twitter? Highly recommended, anyway – as I said, he’s done other portraits for family before, it’s just now that I decided to get one for myself 🙂
I am always more offended by lazy lying than the lying itself. If you are going to lie, lie well. Otherwise it’s embarrassing for all of us.
Also “simmering fruitlessly” sounds like a wonderful description of a failed jam recipe.
Gracie O'Neil says
Failed jam recipe!! ROFL!!! Thank you. ?
As an author myself I have to say that, in my opinion, using another author’s page/blog/whatever to promote your own work is rude. I’m still shaking my head over the fact it even happened. Thanks for sharing your response, Ilona and Gordon. Knowing that you both watch out for the good of the BDH is what brings us here and keeps us coming back.
Amanda Stebbing says
While I love the failed jam comment, I’m irresistibly drawn to think “Or some kind of nasty…yeasty…STI-type of thing”. Bad.
Amanda Stebbing says
Also “Princess”? What are you, 9?
+1 to all of the above, definitely including the ROFL!
Please don’t let this ummm self promoter keep y’all from doing this reader recommendation thing again.
It’s always so fun to see what everyone loves and see the range of folks who read y’all.
Thanks for all you do!
Robin Moore says
Has anyone seen the new mystery series about obama and biden. Its hysterically funny and they have a sequel in the works. No matter what you think of obama, its still funny is what a friend told me. I called her to laugh at the idea of them being the geriatric Hardy boys. Now its on my to-read stack since I bought it. As soon as I finish re reading the chicagoland vampires series again. I got my copy of Hope Never Dies here. https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-never-dies-andrew-shaffer/1128831492?ean=9781683690405#/ I want to find the scenes when they visit a biker bar. I don’t know the authors at all. I just want a good escapist funny read.
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
I just posted on Facebook that I’d read all the books of my favorite authors and was looking for new authors because nobody has anything new coming out until March. I now have 12 new authors to check out and more coming in (because most of my friends are readers). I shamelessly promoted my friend Dave Levine’s YA series (Arabella of Mars) (and you, Courtney Milan, several others). (I forgot you’d done the same thing… I need to check your list) But yeah pretending to be a reader talking up your book is tacky at the very least.
And if you’re going to lie, at least lie better… Sheesh.
Simon Lyon says
Do not meddle in the affairs of the AuthorLords for you are crunchy and taste good with popcorn. 😉
Simon Lyon says
And anyone who can actually type the words “simmering fruitlessly in unrequited lust” in a book needs to seriously rethink their career choices!
Colleen Whitley says
Simon Lyon says
I said popcorn because whenever I see (read) Ilona taking someone down a peg I automatically reach for some! 😉 🙂
This would make a wonderful t-shirt
Simon Lyon says
I have occasionally noted that the ALs should do a line of t-shirts.
My own recommendation, with suitable logo/artwork, is “We are the BDH. Fear us!”
Hell yes please.
Yes or a horde surrounding the author lords caption booookks bbbooookkss
Simon Lyon says
Or – Fantasy book cover type artwork with two seriously badass male and female warriors advancing, sword in one hand and a book in the other. And a horde stretching back behind them on a desolate plain.
Text – We are the Book Devouring Horde. We come for your books.”
Robin Moore says
oh gods, I read and talk about (regurgitate) my favorites ll the time, took this make me booklemic? and yes, its an awful pun.
Robin Moore says
urk, typo hell, Does this make me……… Typing impaired by MS. some days it emerges as an unintentional word salad.
Ista in Sydney says
Would buy straight away. Even with foreign exchange rate & international post.
Along with vampire fangs under a pirates hat captioned “Vampirates”
and a Lee’s screeming “Sqqqquuuuueeeeeee”
oh oh oh and Kate in a crouching attack walk holding her sword with the words “here kitty kitty” in the background!!!!
would definately buy the package deal from Australia… I need more themed T-Shirts to go with my Harry Potter and Marvel.
I would like an Erra shirt that says “Bow, Worm!” Lol one of my favorites. Maybe w a rose after one of her titles…
Susie Q. says
Ripper cushions!!! An ornate tufted flying cushion with long tassels. Rotated into a diamond shape back somewhat elevated. Two of the tufted indentations forming eyes, the front tassel forming fangs, the side tassels forming claws and the back tassel a mace. The words Ripper Cushion below in a barouqe font. Perhaps a choice of colors on the cushion. Or the same cushion, labeled Anatomy of a Ripper Cushion in a stream lined font with arrows and short description such as “Tassels change shapes at will. The mace, claw and fangs illustrated above are capable of cutting through armor rated below ten.” Arrow towards fabric list tensile strength and weapons that will penetrate.
LMFAO fabric tensile strength and armor rating … holy crapola I think you nailed it Susie Q !!!
Susie Q. says
If I could draw what I see in my head, it’s adorable. I would buy either version and as a member of the BDH would wear it proudly. The general public would be confused, but Iit ,would make it easier as to mwet the BDH. We are legion and legends in our own minds.
Susie Q. says
Sorry for the typos. I have bronchitis and a bit groggy. I’m blaming it on prescription cough nedicine.
Wow, totally tacky.
I loved that post and the comments. My reading list is longer, which is a good thing. I hope you do it again and that one so-called “author” doesn’t spoil it in the future.
LMAO….that reply was soooo Aunt B, Savage yet classy?
Oh. Dear. 🙁
I’m British so I suppose I shouldn’t use this but I understand in the southern states of America the comment would be ” bless your heart”
That person’s actions were bold and brazen, which can sometimes be a good thing, but in this case was definitely not cool.
Ilona, you did a nice and generous thing by encouraging the reader recommendations. I found lots of new books to add to my “books to read” list. I anticipate hours of future enjoyment. Thank you!
I’m extremely sorry that I wasn`t able to post my favorite books – still thinking about the ranking …. 😉 – but because of Christmas and all the family members in house I couldn’t even take a peek.
@Simon Lyon: not Popcorn (too sweet), but a nice roast and a perfect potato or biscuits on the side!
I won’t have the time tomorrow so I wish you all (especially the AL and the BDH) a Very Good, Healthy, full of Laughter, Happy New Year!
Simon Lyon says
Have a good one Annemarie.
d LM a says
U have a blog where u get a say.
U invited open forum your readers to recommend,
Princess does not read her mail OR can’t handle her feedback so she DOESN’T read her mail …
Who reads what folks have to say? Commited protagonists who asked, because they wanted to know.
Princess did not apologize, for the same reason she doesn’t read her mail, . . . I believe, she doesn’t want to know
Her loss, this blog is a quiet place, where honest opinions are expressed politely
I don’t believe she could survive that promotion:▪|
Oh, boy. I really hate it when I friend/follow someone on social media & a second later that person is all in my comments advertising their book. First, I thought you were a reader, like me. I don’t mind talking about books with authors, but don’t follow me just to tell me to read your book. I quickly hit the block button. Especially, on “book”stagram.
I wasn’t defrauded, because I have – dare I say it? – good antennae (definitely the plural) for that kind of thing. But I very much appreciate this whole post and thread, including the review link for the desert romance, and the many comments which made me LOL. You guys rock, all of you. Special props for the Bulwer-Lytton mention.
I still remember, many years ago, when you helped me figure out that it was the author herself who pretended to be a fan to comment on a negative review of her book on my very old blog.
This behaviour still weirds me out as much now!