Statement on author behaviour

Posted by on September 3rd, 2012

I’m pleased to be one of the authors putting their name to the statement below.

These days more and more books are bought, sold, and recommended on-line, and the health of this exciting new ecosystem depends entirely on free and honest conversation among readers. But some writers are misusing these new channels in ways that are fraudulent and damaging to publishing at large. British author Stephen Leather recently admitted that he used fake identities online to promote his work. The American bestseller John Locke has revealed he has paid for reviews of his books. The British author RJ Ellory has now confessed to posting flattering reviews of his own work and to using assumed names to attack other authors perceived to be his rivals.

These are just three cases of abuse we know about. Few in publishing believe they are unique. It is likely that other authors are pursuing these underhand tactics as well.

We the undersigned unreservedly condemn this behaviour, and commit never to use such tactics.

But the only lasting solution is for readers to take possession of the process. The internet belongs to us all. Your honest and heartfelt reviews, good or bad, enthusiastic or disapproving, can drown out the phoney voices, and the underhanded tactics will be marginalized to the point of irrelevance. No single author, however devious, can compete with the whole community. Will you use your voice to help us clean up this mess?”

Linwood Barclay, Tom Bale, Mark Billingham, Declan Burke, Ramsey Campbell, Tania Carver, Lee Child, Michael Connelly, N.J. Cooper, David Corbett, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Stella Duffy, Jeremy Duns, Mark Edwards, Chris Ewan, Helen FitzGerald, Meg Gardiner, Adèle Geras, Gordon Harries, Joanne Harris, Mo Hayder, David Hewson, Charlie Higson, Peter James, Graham Joyce, Laura Lippman, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Roger McGough, Denise Mina, Steve Mosby, Stuart Neville, Jo Nesbo, Ayo Onatade, SJ Parris, Tony Parsons, Sarah Pinborough, Ian Rankin, Shoo Rayner, John Rickards, Stav Sherez, Karin Slaughter, Andrew Taylor, Luca Veste, Louise Voss, Martyn Waites, Neil White, Laura Wilson.


This entry was posted on Monday, September 3rd, 2012 at 3:06 pm and is filed under General, Stephen Leather, Writing. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


10 Responses to “Statement on author behaviour”

  1. Dan Smith Says:

    I’d put my name to that.

  2. Quando l’autore si recensisce da solo… | The Blog Around the Corner Says:

    […] (via Steve Mosby): gli autori si mobilitano per denunciare il fenomeno e stigmatizzarlo. Share This entry was posted in Acido muriatico and tagged Amazon, autorecensioni, R.J. […]

  3. ++ The Sock Puppets Affair – a gruesome story on Twitter ++ (Update) | Krimi-Depeschen Says:

    […] Pleased to be one of the authors putting their name to this statement on author behaviour: […]

  4. Benoit Lelievre Says:

    Not that my name has a lot of weight, sir, but I’d like to add it to this list.

  5. Gordon Harries Says:

    We’re trying to figure out how best to invite further signatories at the moment. Hopefully we’ll have something to announce soon on that front.

  6. Geoff Says:

    Thank you for your work here. I’ve never written a book, although I might one day, and it seems to me that you know right from wrong on this. So thanks for standing up for right, and being prepared to take he rubbish that will no doubt be flung at you.

  7. Daryl Nilbett Says:

    Amazing statement – great to see.

    I’ll sign up too – as reader and writer.

  8. Gordon Harries Says:

    Stand by. We’ve got the place to sign set up, we’re just ironing out a few kinks.

  9. James Thompson Says:

    Please add my name to this letter. – James Thompson

  10. James Thompson Says:

    While I think a pledge for ethical behavior is a good beginning, I see no one writing about censuring fraudulent authors. A couple have issued mea culpas, but that’s not enough. Those that have attacked other authors, given them scathing reviews and low star rating, have in effect stolen from the victim authors. Many readers put great stock in rating and reviews while deciding on purchases, and so these authors have reached into the pockets of their perceived enemies.

    I think there is a simple way to expose all using sock puppet accounts and writing reviews for pay. Amazon can identify all suspicious reviewers by algorithm—those who almost exclusively give one and five star reviews—then feed their email addresses into an IP identifier like appverse —which will trace the source of the reviewers. ALL engaging in fraudulent activities could be identified in a matter of days. I think GR and all similar sites should do the same, and that those proven to have engaged in fraud should have both their reviews and their works removed from all online bookselling and review sites.

    Also, I think sock puppet authors and purchasers of reviews should be banned for life from professional writers’ organizations.

    Best Regards – James Thompson

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