I'm still learning Booklikes and I have a lot to learn.  Like how to add the book's cover to the review.  Right now, however, I don't care about that.


This is the book that was monumentally spammed by its author all over Goodreads.  The author voted for her own book in the Goodreads Choice awards, and she has had at least a couple sock puppet accounts do likewise. 


But here is what else she's done:


Remember that if you have purchased this copy legally, your name has automatically been entered into a draw. Ten lucky people will win a free, signed copy of The Medea Complex, limited edition in hardback just in time for Christmas, 2013!


(Roberts, Rachel Florence (2013-10-31). The Medea Complex (Kindle Locations 4242-4243). Tista. Kindle Edition.)


That's at the very, very, very end of the book.


It suggests that the author has access to the names of the people who have purchased her book.  How would she have this information?  She doesn't get it as a matter of course just for being a Kindle self-publishing author.  I'm one of those and I can assure you I don't have that information.  So, does that mean she's lying?  Did she make this up so people would think they have a chance to win a hardcover copy of her book?


Again, is she just flat out lying?


Frankly, I think so.


Remember, this is an author who created a sock pupped named "Medea" as if that would fool anyone.


She also has ratings from two other accounts that look very suspiciously like sock puppets (and a third that raises a few flags).  She also has a 5-star Goodreads rating from one Peter Roberts, who may be a spouse or may be a brother or whatever.  (Rachel identifies herself in the book as a "fiancée," so who knows who this Peter is?)


But Peter has done something else:  He "likes" all the positive ratings of Rachel's book, which of course is all right.  That's well within the bounds of what's acceptable for a supporter of an author.  He has also, however, given a 1-star rating to the only other book on his Goodreads shelves:  The Asylum by John Harwood.


According to the Amazon description, The Asylum tells a story that has major similarities to The Medea Complex.  Given the publication timeframe and the fact the Harwood is a traditionally published author, it's not likely that either of the two authors plagiarized the other.  It's just one of those odd coincidences. 


It's not uncommon for books to come out with similar -- or even identical -- titles, and subject matter is re-used all the time.


The fact that Peter Roberts has only two books on his shelves and they are on the same subject, and one is traditionally published by an established author and the other is self-published by a new author. . . . . Do you begin to see the pattern here?


Let me complicate matters for you a bit.  Both of these books are about women in late Victorian England (1880s) who are committed to asylums against their will and what happens to them in the asylums, how they try to escape, etc.  Beyond that, I'm not sure what other similarities there are.  But I was drawn to the Roberts book -- it was free for Kindle, while Harwood's is still prohibitively expensive for me -- because I'm working on a novel myself that features a woman in late Victorian England who has been involuntarily committed to a lunatic asylum.  This is one of the books that has been sitting on my personal back burner for about 10 years. 


I still don't know exactly what the plot of Harwood's book is, and it may have striking similarities to mine.  The plot of Roberts's book has very few similarities.   But shouldn't a reader be aware of the potential for conflict of interest?


Amazon used to have fairly strict policies for that.  Now the policies aren't so strict.  Now the policy is that authors can give favorable reviews to other authors' books, but no negative reviews.  Regardless how valid the reviewer's comments and analysis might be in that negative review, it's not allowed.  Regardless how empty and false the reviewer's comments and analysis might be in the positive review, that's fine.


The Roberts book is not well written, not well presented, and certainly not well promoted.  Did she really think she was going to get information from Amazon on who bought her Kindle edition?  Did she really think people would believe her when she said so?  Or was she just flat out lying?  None of those possibilities instills confidence in me as a reader that she's written a good book.  None of those possibilities instills confidence in me as a writer that my book, if and when it's completed and published, will get a fair reception.


Rachel Florence Roberts damaged the entire universe of self-publishing.  I can't say that, however, in other review venues.  I can only say that the book wasn't well written.  Without the context, however, my review is meaningless.


I hope here it means something.

Reblogged from Linda Hilton