Saturday, September 8, 2012

Sock Puppets and Olympians...

So, here we are.  The end of weeks of unbelievable Olympic and Paralympic performances. Superb displays of dedication and hard work from all of the athletes.  Opening and closing ceremonies full of creativity and passion.  For me, a whole month of Olympic level procrastination.  Although, in my defence, a large part of that time was taken up by my day job, painting the house and coaching the local kids cricket team.  Still, it's time to get back to the writing and finish off the short stories I've started.  The first is half written and is a follow up to Blood on Their Hands, the story I wrote for "ACTION: Pulse Pounding Tales Vol 1."  I'm hoping to have that finished quite soon.

Meanwhile, the subject that seems to be causing division and controversy within the writing community is sock puppeting.  I think, as with lots of things in life, it's really a question of harm.  What harm does it do?

For some authors, a self penned review and some from friends and family might be the only way to generate a little interest in their work.  More established authors might provide free copies to journalists and bloggers that they know will write favourably about them.  Some are lucky enough to have such dedicated fans that they will always get good reviews no matter what.  This isn't limited to writing.  How many ads are there on TV which contain glowing testimonials from satisfied customers?   "Mr P from Milton Keynes says we are the best..." or "8 out of 10  women wouldn't use anything else...".  How many of these reviews do we actually believe are genuine and how many customers have been given a large discount in return for their enthusiastic endorsement?  These are all marketing tools and I, personally, don't rely on them to influence what I buy.  The same goes for my book buying.  Unless I know that the reader has the same likes and tastes as me then their review really has no relevance.

It's a different matter when an author criticises another anonymously under a fake name. Especially if it's done in an attempt to make the authors own work look better by reducing the five star reviews of someone else.  If an author wants to criticise the work of another then I think it should be done constructively and under their real name.  If they are not willing to post criticism of someone else's work under their real name then it's probably better not to do it at all.

I do think, however, that the whole thing has blown up out of proportion.  So here's to spending time being inspired by Paralympians and not wasting time worrying about sock puppets.

Anyway, back to my writing...No! Wait! Paralympics aren't quite finished.

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