Monday, February 14, 2011

Candace Sams Archive #10


The Candace Sams Affair: The Archived Version (Part 10),
For all whom are curious, this is a word for word posting of everything that was said during the Candace Sams affair on amazon. I altered none of what was said. The only things I changed were some html that had been attatched to the word document that had come from the amazon page. (And I took that out because it was bloody hard to post here on lj.)

I bear no ill will towards the author. This was not posted in order to either boost or lower her sales. This is here to educate writers, both new & veteran on how not to respond to a negative review.

 E. Ambrose says:
After reading all 16 pages of this public thread I find that I have a few things to say.

First, to L.B. Taylor: I think that your review would be improved a bit if you could be a little more specific about how the lead characters were dull and boring to you (if you can do so without giving all the plot away). Other than that small detail, I cannot think of anything that begs for a response. I also applaud your decision to not participate in an unproductive debate.

To Niteflyr One: I would like to thank you for providing me with several pages of amusement, free of charge. In these difficult economic times, I cannot help but appreciate those who save me money and entertain me at the same time. I suspect that this will be a gift that keeps on giving for some time as you seem rather prone to circular logic and ranting. Perhaps you will consider turning your vitriolic pen to a more profitable venture at some point. Until then, I thank you for the free entertainment.

To Niteflyr's editor (should they ever read this): You deserve a raise. Editing is a tough, thankless job at times. :)

17 of 17 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 7:11 AM PST
 nightsmusic says:
I have, unfortunately for me, read every word you've written here. Throughout the entire debacle you've caused. As I said, YOU are the one who brought this on, no one else. This is a PUBLIC forum which you can't seem to understand as you've pointed out time and again, ""it's yours"" when in fact, it is not ""yours"", it's Amazon's. Public. Anyone can post.

Public.

And again, had you handled your complaint about the review, with the reviewer, via email, none of this would have happened. Evidently, you feel terrible press is better than none at all. If you'd been smart, you'd have not responded regarding the review at all...

I rest my case.

16 of 16 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 7:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author 12 hours ago
 Niteflyr One says:

Okay guys...I've just downloaded all the comments made on this site as per the FBI's instructions...I don't care if you believe it or not. The threat wasn't made on this site...please read what I wrote...it was sent elsewhere. And I don't care if you believe that, either.
5 of 30 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 7:42 AM PST
 T. Whitsett says:
Actually, if the editor IS to blame for a book's low review, then maybe you need a new editor? I'm sure there are plenty out there.

12 of 12 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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Posted on Dec 15, 2009 8:21 AM PST
 E. White says:
I know the good people at Amazon are having good laugh at the author's expense, whose main argument seems to be ""I know you are but what am I"" insults.

9 of 10 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 8:34 AM PST
  T. Whitsett says:
The original review was published on 11/8/09. Ms. Sams' response was on 11/29/09 - that's 3 weeks. The OP came back on 12/7/09, bringing it to just about one full month. And in the 8 days since, Ms. Sams has repeatedly maligned the OP and everyone else who has posted since then by name-calling, ridicule, and just plain meanness.

The first few responses by Ms. Sams suggests that reviewers post ""professional"" reviews. I have seen many reviews for a lot of different products, especially books. I am an amateur at best when it comes to writing reviews. However, in reading a review, regardless of who wrote or posted it, I look for a few key points: a synopsis of the product (in this case, a book), whether the author of the review liked it or not, and reasons for their opinion. The OP had all of those. I suspect those are probably the same criteria that ""professional"" reviewers go by when writing their reviews.

Ms. Sams- I am sorry that you feel you were attacked by an OP who had ""something against the author"" of the book in question. Truly, I am.

But why would you continue to call people names (referring to us as ""minions"", calling us cowards, etc.) after complaining that a review wasn't ""professional""?

For the record, I have no idea who LB Taylor is, or who any of the other posters on this thread are (although I do recognize some names), nor do I have anything to gain by posting. I *DO* recognize the name Candace Sams, and I think I might have read something by you in an anthology, but I'm not certain. I can assure you that I will be keeping an eye out for your name again, and will post whatever review I feel is appropriate for anything I read by you.

20 of 20 people think this post adds to the discussion. ________________________________________________________________________

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 8:58 AM PST
  bgn says:
""It was not an outside matter for masses who then invited someone over who could not control herself. As I've said...someone else took their emotions to extreme and a very unfortunate message was sent to someone not even involved with any of this posting.""

""Okay guys...I've just downloaded all the comments made on this site as per the FBI's instructions...I don't care if you believe it or not. The threat wasn't made on this site...please read what I wrote...it was sent elsewhere. And I don't care if you believe that, either.""

No, I don't believe it. If a threat really was made, that is wrong. But I'm skeptical, and I don't understand why comments from this site are relevant if the post was elsewhere. Vague and confusing and sounds like a scare tactic so you can get out of the mess you made. All you have to do is stop posting.

16 of 16 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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Posted on Dec 15, 2009 9:47 AM PST
  S. McGee says:
Just to get the full disclosure out of the way first, I do not know who LBTaylor is. A friend directed me to this discussion.
Why am I here? That's a question that Ms. Sams has on her mind a lot about anyone choosing to engage in this debate. I'm a professional writer (journalist for 25 years) with one book out and another book due out in June. I'm an active Amazon reviewer. Ergo, I'm curious about any kind of superheated debate between writer and reviewer, regardless of the nature of the book in question.

Thanks to the Internet, everything all of us write -- books, articles, comments, reviews -- is now open for scrutiny and comment. And that's as it should be -- what is the point of writing without an audience to read it? It's a two-way dialogue. Yeah, that's sometimes painful. Someone recently commented on a story I'd written, saying that it was the worst they had ever read on the subject. I would have loved to follow up their comment with one of my own showing that they had misunderstood the points I had made. Instead I went for a walk and then to a movie with a friend. Am I upset? Sure; it's not fun. But part of writing, especially these days, is criticism/feedback. Sometimes it's more constructive than others, which is great. When it's not, about the only dignified thing to do is walk away and trust to the good judgment of others who read a review. I do actively seek out negative reviews when I'm contemplating a book purchase, because sometimes they'll alert me to small things in the writing or plot that I know I won't like in the book itself. But I often end up buying or reading the book anyway. It's hard to imagine a single bad review killing a career, as you suggest in your earlier posts. (Where you were pointing out that poor Amazon reviews can kill sales.) In fact, some poor reviews of controversial books can draw attention to the book and generate more sales.

Ms. Sams, you mention that this is ""about a lot of folks not wanting anyone having a contrary opinion"". Not at all. I think it's fair for an author to point out if a reviewer has misunderstood the book, made inaccurate statements or otherwise to call someone to account on a substantive issue. The author has the right of reply, and the reviewer in turn has the right to debate substantive issues arising from the review. One of the joys of Amazon is the many disparate views and opinions on almost any topic I can think of. What I think many of us do object to (well, except as kind horrifying and hypnotic entertainment) is a tirade of abuse directed at anyone who dares to question an author or be less than laudatory about their book. What is the purpose of a review feature? Presumably, it's to share an honest opinion of the book. How are any of us serving Amazon readers, as reviewers, if we only say warm, fuzzy and supportive things? That's like letting your best friend buy a really unflattering suit to wear to a crucial job interview.

But it's possible to take a debate over a substantive issue waaaay too far, and this is one example. Particularly odd is the fact that it's a fight between you, Ms. Sams, and -- no one. Since LBTaylor, presumably, has better things to do with her time than engage in a slanging match, you've chosen to lambaste even those well-intentioned souls suggesting that you take some time out and blow off steam somewhere where it won't damage your career far more than a single one-star review would ever be capable of doing. Threats about turning us in en masse to the FBI? Wow. I'm sorry that you've received any private threatening e-mails -- and that would obviously be waaay out of bounds -- but I think most of those posting here have remained civil. If anything posted here would concern law enforcement, I would wonder whether it might not be your hyper-aggressive attitude to someone who had the temerity to criticize your book. If I were the reviewer, and cared enough to follow this thread, the last thing I would want to do is give you access to my e-mail address or any other identifying information. Because in this debate -- I can't speak to what is happening in the blogosphere, as I don't track many of those blogs -- there has been one person who has advanced an opinion in a reasonable (if not detailed enough for my taste) fashion, and defended it with an admirable degree of grace, and another who has ranted and raved indiscriminately at anyone choosing to weigh in on the debate she started. If, Ms. Sams, you wanted to keep this between you and the reviewer, this wasn't the way to do it.

Re book editing: you may have drawn a dud as an editor, of course. But as a few people on this site have mentioned, there are alternatives to this kind of public slander of that editor's efforts. You can work with them to make the book better; if you don't like a suggested change, the writer has the veto power. (Hey, you could even withdraw the book, repay the advance and move it to another publisher!) My editor on my current project didn't like my title idea; I didn't like his; we negotiated and found one that we could both live with (with the help of my agent.) While I don't know the romance publishing industry, I'm a bit stunned that any publisher would force changes on their writers to the extent that you suggest. Which begs the question of why you are still working with that publishing firm and editor?

Re Harriet Klausner. I'm pretty sure she's a real person. I'm sure she can speed read. But to call her reviews 'professional' is, simply, laughable. As others have mentioned, her plot synopses are so off-base as to be bizarre; she reveals spoilers too often for it to be accidental. Her writing is at best pedestrian, at worst full of spelling and grammatical errors and horrible syntax. She wouldn't last a week reviewing 'professionally', quite aside from the fact that she never met a book she didn't love. I know several authors who would probably pay her NOT to review their work, for those reasons. When I first encountered her reviews, I was puzzled that they were so badly written and yet she was so highly ranked. After I while, I realized that it was volume that propelled her to that ranking, and since I became an active reviewer about 18 months ago, I've realized that there's a whole ""Harriet controversy"" out there. I couldn't care less about that; I do care that you would hold up reviews that any 'professional' writer would never have authored as an exemplar of good reviewing. I can only assume that you define good and professional as positive and upbeat.

Nope, I'm not going to follow your suggestion and burn a copy of your book. It doesn't matter that much. And besides, in order to burn it, I'd have to buy it...

31 of 31 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:22 AM PST
Last edited by the author 9 hours ago
  Niteflyr One says:

IC3 Complaint: I0912151247104142 has been issued from the Federal Govt.

If you're posting,your names are on a Federal report leading up to a threat that was made against me. The Feds wanted to know who everyone was...IC3 stands for Internet Crime. And I don't care, once again, if you believe a single word I say...no skin off my back...that's just how crazy I really am.

2 of 23 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:27 AM PST
Last edited by the author 9 hours ago
  John Green says:
@S. McGee- your points are cogent and well thought-out. Unfortunately, you haven't said anything that hasn't already been stated here... and that's the problem.

We're all abetting Ms. Sams as she chooses to perpetuate this exercise in insanity for whatever her reason(s)- and I mean just that; the classic definition of insanity is repeating the same actions and expecting different results. To wit: Sams spews her diatribe at everyone who disagrees with or challenges her while we- in our train-wreck vicariousness (thank you, TOOL)- keep trying to bring it back to something resembling an actual discussion. As my grandmother told me: ""Argue with a fool, and soon no one can tell who's who.""

That said, I am withdrawing from this thing. I am ashamed to admit I wasted a good portion of my Monday tracking this mess; I miss my life and I'm going to reclaim it. I strongly urge everyone- including Ms. Sams- to do the same. Or at least do something a little more constructive, like downloading porn.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:35 AM PST
  Eon says:
Good luck with that. Odds are that they'll laugh you off the face of the planet. One threat and some people pointing out your ridiculous behavior do NOT make a case for the FBI, as you'll find out soon enough. I've seen just what it takes to prove an internet crime and this? This isn't going to do it. They won't thank you for wasting their time.

I think you should listen to what S. McGee said above. Though I doubt you will.

9 of 9 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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Posted on Dec 15, 2009 10:39 AM PST
  John Green says:
Dammit!!!- I knew this was gonna happen!

Niteflyr1: IC3 Complaint: I0912151247104142 has been issued with the Federal Govt.

This is allegedly in response to the threat she claimed was made against her. A quick look at the IC3 webpage reveals the following mission statement:
Since its inception, the IC3 has received complaints crossing the spectrum of cyber-crime matters, to include online fraud in its many forms including Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) matters, Computer Intrusions (hacking), Economic Espionage (Theft of Trade Secrets), Online Extortion, International Money Laundering, Identity Theft, and a growing list of Internet facilitated crimes.

While there's a smidge of wiggle room in there, it basically means that unless someone hacked her bank account, she either contacted the wrong agency (at the behest of the FBI?) or this is more crap. Yeah, I already said it, but I am really done with this mess!

16 of 16 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:40 AM PST
  S. McGee says:
@ John Green, I'm right behind you at the exit; after a while, train wrecks just seem tragic. (I'm not even setting up the tracking feature on this one...) Besides, I've got some real paid writing to be getting on with or I'll miss deadlines. But having that dual perspective as a reviewer (dealer out of criticism) and writer (recipient of criticism) actually helped make me more irritated with the OP. Ergo, my 0.02...

11 of 11 people think this post adds to the discussion. ________________________________________________________________________
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:41 AM PST
  Niteflyr One says:

Oh...since I'm a cop...I doubt it...but whatever helps you get through the day.

2 of 20 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 10:54 AM PST
  S. McGee says:
I don't think any comments I've made rise to the level of libel, much less anything that the FBI defines as Internet crime. So, not terribly concerned. Hmm, maybe this threat is a new form of 'libel chill'?

9 of 9 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 11:01 AM PST
  Eon says:
Are? Or was? Your profile says ""former"".

So, what, you're going to abuse what power you have to get the FBI to do something about a ""crime"" like this one? I'm so impressed now.

11 of 11 people think this post adds to the discussion. ________________________________________________________________________
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 15, 2009 11:04 AM PST
  J. Myrna says:
Niteflyr,

Your original response to me would have been fine until you edited it. *tsk tsk* My ""threat"" as you choose to call it, is exactly what you claim that you've done in response to a ""threat"" from someone else. While it's deplorable that you've bothered the *snicker* FBI with your erroneous claims, I rest easy knowing that filing a complaint is as easy as entering some information onto a website. Hopefully they will see this foolishness for what it is.

As many people have said as well, I have no connection whatsoever to the reviewer (never heard of her until this). I haven't read about this on any blog. A friend directed me here because of the Harriet Klausner connection (which I'm not going to address because it distracts from the true artistry of this thread). I am not an author, nor am I an aspiring author. I do, however, have a blog that rags on bad romance covers and bad romance quotes -- self promotion here, please visit, it's a lot of fun and you can get the links through my profile or rottenromance. We have a lot of fun doing it, and we've become quite popular. :) Plus, I'm more than happy to carry on any discourse there, plus there's no risk of having your posts deleted!

It's terribly sad that you've taken a negative review so personally. It's clear from the 110+ reviews that L.B. Taylor has written, that she is NOT a ""hit and run"" reviewer. She HAS written negative reviews, just as I have. I doubt she's gone to the same levels that I have, quite frankly. When I met an author whose work I disliked, I told her *to her face* that I disliked her books, and why. I'm sure I hurt her feelings, but that's what she gets for writing the garbage that she writes. Heck, I correspond with one of my very favorite authors and I've made clear to her that I *despise* one of her books. I'll give both of them (especially the author I of the books I abhor) credit for carrying themselves with dignity and grace in the face of negativity. YOU had an opportunity to do that, and instead chose to attack a woman whose only crime was to dislike your book. Disproportionate, no?

You claim not to care what people think of you or your work, but your behavior is that of someone who cares *greatly.* The best way to show that you are disinterested is to *be* disinterested. That's not the case here. I would love to take this to my site, to give everyone free voice without the risk of censorship, but this is still a fine way to do it, at least until amazon steps in to delete things randomly.

I'd love to continue this more right now, but I have to go pick the kids UP from school. *sigh* Why does life have to interfere with the drama I'm trying to insinuate myself into??

18 of 20 people think this post adds to the discussion.
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Posted on Dec 15, 2009 11:06 AM PST
  KindleVixenStarr says:
Wow, just wow. Good thing you couldn't care less if anyone buys your books...don't think you'll need to worry about that one. Get over yourself, you aren't Tolstoy. I don't believe much of what you said (the editor made me do it, etc) but I DO sincerely believe you don't give a sshtt about your readers. That is, at least, one point you managed to make quite effectively.

Although no one condones threatening behavior, certainly not me, I must say that if the FBI has the time and resources to devote to tracking down an errant author's Amazon critics/detractors, all the while reading through her - let us say 'less than amiable' rants/postings/name calling (illiterate? seriously?) etc., (over a book with the word 'Feller' in the title no less!)....than this Country is in much worse shape than even I imagined.

14 of 15 people think this post adds to the discussion.

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