Mistaken Identity

I’m not going to lie to you. (Hopefully, you know this by now.) I am one of the most competitive people I know. I try to repress this aspect of my personality because I don’t find it endearing. If someone has to win, I want it to be me. If someone is going to judge me, they better damn well judge favorably, because I do everything I can do to “win”. I don’t do things I can’t excel in. Like I said, it is one of the things I dislike most about myself, but it is what it is. So, it was with a sick feeling in my stomach that I checked my books on Amazon and saw that, along with 8 five-star reviews, ‘The Biker’ now has a ONE STAR review. Then I looked deeper and breathed again, and then I made a call to Amazon. Now, I am waiting. A bit bemused, a little angry, and a lot befuddled.

This is the eloquent review:

By lbo

This review is from: The Biker (A Matt Stark Novel) (Kindle Edition)

1st paragraph started out like overblown figment of the worst novel ever written,and within the space of two confused pages (M-16 or AK?, make up your damn mind!) turned into a completely hyperviolent, moronic fantasy written in totally juvenile fashion. Complete waste of 4 dollars and 5 minutes!

Now, I have known for a while that there is another book called “The Biker”. It was published two days after mine – I checked when I published mine that there were no others. I have not read it. I have no idea whether this review is accurate. I want to be very clear here…it may be a great book – I have no idea – this is not an attack on the other “Biker”. The other two reviews it got are good.  I do know from the preview that it mentions an M-16 and an AK in the first two pages and neither guns appear in my book. The mistaken identity is pretty clear.

I really don’t want to come off as a review whore, but I think we are all like that to an extent. If I got thousands of dollars in royalties every month, I wouldn’t care quite so much. Right now, reviews are the biggest reward I get. My friend, Jesse, recently wrote a blog post about the importance of reviews. They mean a lot. “Joe Café” has 53 reviews with an average of 4.5 stars. The fact that people enjoyed the book and cared enough to leave a review means A LOT to me. Some of the people I know, most are strangers (some that I have come to know), some are from writers that I respect – those are extra special. Point being, I take reviews seriously.

When I got this bogus review, I didn’t understand; I had no idea what to do. I was confused because it was an ‘Amazon Verified Purchase’, so the reviewer must have bought my book. Maybe he bought both and got confused? Maybe there was a glitch. Maybe (horror) people were somehow getting the wrong book when downloading mine. I called Amazon. They are “looking into it”.

I feel weird about what will now be referred to as THE REVIEW. My friends stepped up and commented on the review – asserting, as I did, that there was a mistake. That made me feel good. But it is a strange feeling. I can’t help but wonder how many people are out there telling people what a terrible book “The Biker” is. I feel bad for the other writer who I know nothing about. I have faith I can get the review removed, but it opens a whole new portal of paranoia that did not exist before. This is the first time I have ever heard of something like this happening, so it doesn’t happen a lot. But keep your guard up, because it CAN happen.

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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels ‘Joe Cafe’ and ‘The Biker’ – co-author of the mighty ‘Bad Book’ (available here). For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog: www.jdmader.com.

Author: JD Mader

JD Mader is an award winning short story writer and novelist. 'Joe Café' and 'The Biker' are out now, as well as 'Please, no eyes'. and the collaborative 'Bad Book'. Mader has been writing for half his life and has no plans on stopping any time soon. Learn more about JD Mader at his blog and his Amazon author page.

43 thoughts on “Mistaken Identity”

  1. I can only imagine the sick feeling this must have given you. For me the worst would be knowing that it can have a negative impact on your book and your reputation as a writer, and that there is little you can do about that. I hope they remove it soon and that the repercussions are minimal.

  2. Hey JD –

    No reason to get upset. I was pretty riled up when a reader gave me a 3.0 and a bad review (not a 1.0 TG) because I didn't write with more emotion about my disease and how I was diagnosed. Unfortunately I can't write with extreme emotion on that particular subject because if I do I will probably go into a stress flare and end up back in the hospital. However, I obsessed about it for a long time. I talked to a few of my buddies about the review. (They had read the book, but didn't leave me a review.)

    They went back and explained why there was no excess of emotion… it was about reality… you either get upset and die or you suck it up and live. Emotion is not helpful when you have a disease that can kill you. I am glad for the few who stuck up for me. The person who gave me a bad review had never had a disease in her life. She was a reviewer that liked to read memoirs. She liked to read about the emotions involved. I don't think she understood that abuse memoirs and medical memoirs are quite different.

    So anyway – don't sweat it. You did what you could do. You have some wonderful five star reviews. Even better you have 53 reviews. I would love to have that many.

    😉 Cyn

  3. I feel ya dude. One of my personal trolls has posted lies about me on amazon, on my page, as a review…..

  4. That is really weird. I've never heard of that happening though I can see how it could. Hope Zon fixes things up for you quickly. I would tell you to not sweat it, but I would.

  5. We know the truth. 'Zon hopefully will take it down soon, and any reasonable person will see the comments on it and realize something went ridiculously wrong…still, it sucks while it's going on.

  6. So sorry to hear this, we can all empathize with that ache in your solar plexus, JD. If the review is not removed, it will stand in stark contrast to the others, and become a glaring aberration. Readers will wonder what kind of vendetta is being waged against you.

    This topic (what to do if someone hits you with a one star review)appears often, especially in Goodreads discussions. The same lame advice is always given, "Ignore it, and move on." I don't believe any author can really do that.

    Awhile back, you wrote a post here about having been attacked in some way. I assumed you were talking about a verbal assault. Could this incident possibly be connected?

  7. Glad that it turned out to be a fluke!

    I definitely understand taking reviews seriously, since as you said, they can mean a lot to an indie writer whether for sales or just to validate the time put into our work. I find myself giving my Amazon book page a look a couple times a week to see if any new reviews are posted. I'm not looking for adulation, just a sign that someone out there was (hopefully) entertained for the few hours they spent with my book. It just gives me a sense of fulfillment that the time I put into it meant a little more than being able to say, "Hey look, I wrote a book!"

  8. JD, on a related yet slightly off topic issue, what about the name you chose for the book? Moving forward would it be better to choose an extremely unique name "Snigglefritz rides a moped" for example rather than a name which could be confused with another book? Stand out for marketing purposes too. Having never had the opportunity to name a book, I don't know if there are "rules" about this kind of thing.

    P.S. I'm sorry for the upset my friend. I know that these things chafe, burn then bleed. I'm sure it will be sorted soon.

    1. Thanks Jo. Books can have the same title. I don't know if I would change it. I do know I'm glad everyone thinks I spelled 'Joe's Cafe' wrong. That should stand. 😉

      1. Oh of course. I didn't mean it should be any different. It is perfect for the story. By the way, I've been checking Amazon too to see if it's been removed from your reviews. Nice to read here all the comments of people who are doing the same. You've got a legion of supporters, JD 🙂

  9. I hope Amazon get this sorted pronto. BTW I've just looked up the review and it doesn't say that it's an Amazon-verified purchase.

  10. Same thing happened to me – I reported it as an abusive review and explained that the reviewer had posted on the wrong version of “The Chosen.” Review was taken down within a couple of days. I didn’t look to see if it was transferred to the correct book, didn’t care, just wanted it to be gone from my book. They took care of it promptly.

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