Author Community All Aflutter and Cluck. OMG!
So, a bunch of “legitimate, hard-working 'authors'” are in an outrage. Feathers are kerfuffled, bent, even broken. Tsks, clucks, cries, and screams of outrage (text-style) flood the cyberlanes. SJW-style calls-to-action abound. Hands grab virtual pitchforks, clubs, hoes, and hatchets.
It might not make your local news, but, in the online author circles, the ripples are palpable, the temblors quaking their virtual landscapes. The headline reads: “Scammers Break The Kindle Store.” What that headline should read is: “System-Gaming 'Authors' Beaten at Their Own Game,” because that's what's happened.
Authors 'serious' about getting their 'eBooks' noticed in the hopes of making both money and a name for themselves as 'successful indie authors' collect and then mine their followers, email list subscribers, author pals and cooperatives, friends, relatives, and anybody else they possibly can to try to get their books highly ranked on Amazon and other online book selling venues. Calls-to-action abound with:
- Urges to read a provided eARC (eBook version of an Advanced Review Copy) then post reviews of the book on its release date or very soon thereafter. (Of course, four and five star reviews are expected.)
- Coordination of blog posts among genre-similar associate authors promoting the book are pre-scheduled, as are blog tours.
- Subscribers and followers are urged to buy within x days of release or an older release's new promotion, with specific dates sometimes assigned.
- Social media pals are sent copy to post pre-release, on release day, and the few days following that release.
- Seeking permafree status on Amazon of an author's first book or, better, of the first of a series, is something pursued with vengeance and artful manipulation.
- BookBub campaigns, Book Gorilla campaigns, eliciting votes for best cover contests and best book contests....
- et al. ad infinitum.
Of course, only authors who are 'members of the approved clique' are welcome to participate, and clique membership is dependent upon, NOT the actual quality of an author's work(s), but on strictly socio-cultural measures, such as adherence to the 'correct' socio-political perspectives and, especially, sychophancy to select top tier members of the group.
Here's the reality: Legitimately good books written by legitimately good authors don't usually make it to the top of any rankings, because most legitimately good authors don't have the crowd charisma and marketing gumption necessary to hold sway. Success in eBooks, especially on Amazon, regardless of actually how good the book is (and most of them are, in fact, schlock) is based on how well the author of that top-ranked book has GAMED the system, which is dependent upon 'likeability', luck, skill at manipulating the various ranking algorithms and, mostly, skill at manipulating and convincing others to click and raise you and your book's popularity and sales/download/pages-read numbers (clickfarming).
So, indie authors are in an uproar ...because outsourced clickfarms have stolen their tactics of inner circle clickfarming and are ruining their game-plan. The truth is that the outsourced clickfarms are just doing exactly what the authors were doing, only much more effectively.
Me? I don't find the outsourced clickfarming any less ethical than author-run efforts. Both are equally unethical In fact, I think I find outsourced clickfarming less offensive because it's not based on mob rule and brown-nosing. Of course, my opinion is that of a tiny minority, and that opinion is, it seems, extremely offensive to people like Stuart Whitmore over on G+ who decided to resort to insults and getting his pals to stalk and troll me over it. That's okay. I expect that. I'm not and never have been willing to just go along to get along, embracing the most popular opinion just because it's socially advantageous.