Writer Advice: How to deal with Review Assassins

Note- this post is about writers dealing with attack dog bully critics, not legit critics who read your stuff and don’t like it. Bad reviews happen to everyone. But you don’t have to put up with the assholes who weaponize the review system just to screw with writers. This is about the scumbags who want to financially hurt writers just because the broken system makes it so they can.

This discussion happened elsewhere yesterday, but I thought I’d compile my comments (and clean them up because I typed this on my phone!) because I think this topic is important for writers to know how to deal with.

It started with a screen shot of some author’s emails, where a bully extortionist was threatening to spam their book with one-star reviews (this one was interesting because it was straight up extortion, as opposed to the usual social justice crusader bad review campaigns). Of course this new author was really scared by these threats, and other authors were sharing it (which is actually a very good thing, as I’ll talk about below)

So I quipped:

“Oh no! Someone is threatening to give me an unfair negative review! Help!”
Lol. They must be new at this.

##
The author who shared the screen shots responded and said that of course I wasn’t worried about it because I had sold millions of books and had thousands of reviews already so I was immune. She’s very talented and will probably have a great career, and I hate to see people like that fall into the bullies’ trap, so I expounded.
##

What? You think I sprang onto the scene fully formed with all those thousands of reviews and millions of copies sold?

Nope.

Real Talk time.

Whoever wrote this needs to learn to not negotiate with terrorists. Then when the attacks happen (and they will) you learn to use those attacks as a marketing weapon yourself and turn that energy around for your own benefit.

I’ve had repeated organized review bombs against me. That’s one reason I got to those millions of books sold. Obvious bad spam reviews motivate your fans to counter them and spread the word.
When you get those bullshit reviews, embrace them. Mock them. Celebrate them. Because it means you pissed people off. When you panic, it just makes the attackers stronger. When you point and laugh and bring your fans in to point and laugh, they tell their friends and it turns into something fun.

Plus, Goodreads is a cesspool of SJWs. I always have one star reviews trashing my books as soon as they are listed on there. Well before anyone has read it. Sometimes including me because the book isn’t done yet.

It don’t matter. The harder the attack, the more energy you can use to turn it around on them.

##

When I did the first Tom Stranger on Audible, I got over TWO THOUSAND one star reviews. (let me tell you, that’ll lower a rating average!)
But it didn’t matter. I’ve made a metric fuckton of money off that series. I actually weaponized the funniest one stars and wrote a scene responding to them in the sequel!

I took those one stars and spammed them across the internet. The more they push, the sillier it gets. The more people talk about it. The more people respond. The more people BUY YOUR STUFF.

The bad reviewers don’t understand that the harder they push, the more buzz words they use, the fiercer the scolding and condemnation, the more regular folks want to check it out. Nothing makes a real American want something more than being told they shouldn’t have it.

If I was this author (and I have been, probably 20,000+ times) I’d tell this anonymous critic “fucking bring it” in the hopes of provoking them to sputtery rage. Because then it is comedy gold.

##

Then I started getting questions about how to flip this kind of attack around.

##

Back when I started (pre-social media) it was via blogging. But the extortionist reviews really didn’t explode as a threat until Twitter and Facebook became a cesspool of scum and villainy. And then at that point I’d take the really stupid reviews, and cherry pick quotes from them (almost like cover blurbs) and I’d post them in order to mock them.

The key is not coming across as whiny or victimized. People hate that. It makes you look weak. As an author you want to come across as happy and successful. So the key is making it fun. The beautiful thing here is that most one star reviews aren’t honest at all, so they’re easy to pick apart to find nuggets of hilarity.

##

But what about genre? (it was felt my “Real Americans” comment might apply to my fan base, but not something like the genre in question, which was romance or erotica or something.

##
Genre doesn’t really matter. It’s always the same thing. Terrorist sees a target. Tries to threaten. Says mean bully shit.

Take that, flip it around back on them. If you wrote a good erotica or romance or whatever, there’s an audience out there for it. And that audience doesn’t like being lied to. The harder the reviewer reaches, the more obvious it becomes that it is a grudge review. And regular decent people hate bullies.

The biggest danger is if your publisher is a candy ass who caves to outrage mobs.

But as far as readers go, for every reader scared away by an angsty bully throwing a tantrum, you can pick up two or three who are curious about why an angsty bully is throwing a tantrum.
You get enough angsty bullies throwing a tantrum, and it gives you an incredible opposite effect. Get half the internet screaming at you, and it causes exponential fan base growth.

##

It’s like how Rotten Tomatoes the audience reaction is often diametrically opposed to the critic reaction. The more the critics rail against something (especially when it is loaded with political buzz words) the more it causes regular people to check it out in backlash.

If the terrorists were smart they wouldn’t do blistering one stars loaded with PC buzz words. They’d keep it vague, oatmeal, and two stars to lower the average, without drawing attention to themselves. But bullies aren’t usually that clever.

##

Then there was some more responses about how it’s not that easy, and how most writers aren’t combative. Absolutely true. It isn’t easy and most artists aren’t fighters. Bullies count on that.

##
“I think one thing that has changed dramatically is that blogging isn’t really an option if you’ve not already been doing it for awhile.”- Don’t matter. You respond on whatever regular marketing channels you do use, in whatever manner best suits you.

” So while it might have been easier to build a following of loyal readers willing to go to bat for you when social media came along, that’s now gone.” – Totally disagree. It was HARDER back then because we could reach 1/10th the people with the same amount of labor.

If she doesn’t want to fight back, good for her. Then she can be a victim. Because this business is cruel, there are lots of bully assholes out there, artists are easy targets for bullies, and nobody is going to come to save you.

You see her problem. I’m offering one potential solution. That way might not be for her. Oh well.

But this stuff isn’t insurmountable. I’ve taken probably a thousand times more hate and heat than most authors ever will, and I’ve used that like pouring fertilizer on a weed. Your mileage may vary.
But either way, bullies are going to come for you.

##
Then a couple of other authors who’ve been through this sort of thing chimed in:

Jason Cordova
It’s like the woman who was bullied into pulling her book after landing a huge contract a few years ago. They kept attacking her even after she pulled the book, made changes, etc etc. Once they smell weakness they continue to attack and, as Larry said, seek to terrorize and exploit this weakness.
##
Brad R Torgersen
Yeah, never, ever let them bully you into making a decision. The reason this so often works is because writers (as a class of people) tend to be sensitive, often introverted, and anything which looks even a little bit like barbed criticism can be a real emotional killer. The trolls know this. They depend on it, in fact.
##

Jason and Brad are right. Artists tend to be sensitive, which is why they make great targets for bullies. They count on it. They love it. (and it’s why they extra despise those of us who don’t fit their victim selection stereotype)

So your friend might not care for the fight, but that’s exactly why they’re going to go after her. So she can either learn to respond, cope, or ignore.
As for how to use/reach her audience, whether it is social media and what kind, it doesn’t matter. She’s selling books somehow. Whatever that channel is, whether there is ten fans or ten thousand, that’s who you care about reaching. That’s who you flip this stuff on.

It is a great and universal truth of human nature that when someone attacks something, the fans of that thing also feel personally attacked. Humans put some measure of their self-esteem into the things they like. So you make fun of a sports team to a hard-core fan of that sports team, they’ll want to kick your ass. I learned this back when I sold guns for a living. When I was behind the counter, I never insulted a customer’s choice in gun, because that customer would take that as a personal insult. (now I don’t sell guns, I don’t care, so Taurus isn’t very good, sorry, BRAD) The customer picked that brand, so by insulting it, you insulted them.

Writer fans are the same way. If their writer gets insulted. THEY feel insulted by proxy. (if the bully critic declares that a writer is gutter trash that only stupid people would like, the people who like that gutter trash understandably don’t like being called stupid) So when somebody goes all one star attack dog and talks trash, the people who liked it are now a thousand times more motivated to post reviews in response, and go to bat for their choice, and most importantly of all TELL THEIR FRIENDS.

Because word of mouth is still the most powerful marketing tool on Earth. So weaponize your tribe.

##
Heh. I never look at Goodreads because it is fucking trash.

I just checked. Monster Hunter Bloodlines already has a bunch of one star reviews. It doesn’t come out until August.
I’m pretty sure those morons didn’t purchase the eARC.

(note on this one, best one star was somebody whining that the cover was too sexy and blah blah blah feminism evil male gaze and whatnot. The character in question is a literal succubus!) 😀

##
At this point the author who started the thread posted a link to another discussion about this, that had more screen caps from the extortionist. However, the really interesting part was the comments afterwards. The discussion here had been a bunch of writers. That linked discussion was a bunch of regular internet denizens seeing this nastiness in action. And the extortionist’s shitty behavior really made them angry.

##
Yes! Absolutely! Read the responses under that post!

What are the regular people saying? They’re offended. They’re pissed. They’re going to buy her books. They’re going to go post reviews. If they bring a knife we’ll bring a gun. THEY ARE GOING TO WAR.
WEAPONIZE THAT TRIBE.

Right there, that’s using social media right.

That one new post already has 36 comments and 44 shares. Each of those people are going to see that and be like WTF. Because regular people HATE BULLIES.
This is what I was talking about. When you get attacked, respond, expose, adapt. For every scumbag hater you can pick up a few normal decent people to check you out. The harder they hate, the better. The more fire, the more light.

Every time these assholes have come at me, for 12 years now, I’ve come out stronger. That same time I’ve watched dozens of other writers roll over meekly, and that never works out. They just keep getting picked on.

Embrace the suck.
##

So that’s what I wrote yesterday. Only thing I’d go back and change is to say that ignoring them is also a perfectly valid tactic sometimes, but that depends on scale. Most of these bullies aren’t that motivated. You are the temporary focus of their hatred, so they’ll post some one stars about a book they haven’t read because you’ve got the wrong politics, said something that hurt their feelings, or they just want to watch the world burn… But then they’ll move on to the next person they’re supposed to hate.

But if you’re getting a ton of them coming at you because you pissed off some moron collective, ignoring them just leads to you getting buried. That’s when you dump this stuff out there for the people to see. Just remember, make sure to have fun with it. Don’t come off as whiny. People root for under dogs, but they hate whiners.

Social media has empowered a whole bunch of dumbshits to sound a lot more powerful and numerous than they really are. Artists/companies listening to them has led to some really lame choices in movies, books, video games, and pretty much all of society. And artists keep caving to these mopes and tweaking their art to suit them, which leads to bad art, which annoys regular people who then buy less of it. Meanwhile, the artists like me who just make whatever art we want are considered obnoxious dicks by the mopes and the snoots, yet we keep our audiences happy and make money, just like how the “un-woke” movies and TV shows and games get mocked, but are financially successful, while the proper approved woke stuff goes broke. Or in the case of the multi-billion dollar IPs that are Too Big To Fail, have super disappointing ROIs.

It ain’t complicated people. Just make your art your way, have fun, and get paid.

I'll be at FantaSci 2021 in North Carolina this weekend
The eARC for World Breakers is out now

89 thoughts on “Writer Advice: How to deal with Review Assassins”

  1. The original post reminded me of the waves of blackmail messages about “I have your porn history. Pay me or I’ll reveal it.” One commenter brought up that example.

    And that makes me think that ignoring is the best response to this particular blackmailer. These scum aren’t actually targeting someone personally. They’re using scattershot on a big list, hoping to hit a few targets. I don’t think it’s an organized campaign against a particular author.

    If actual attack reviews get posted, THEN go on the counterattack.

    1. “Thanks Mr. Extortioner! I was meaning to bookmark some of that, but completely forgot. Could you send me my porn history too? How much would that be?”

    2. “I have your porn history. Pay me or I’ll reveal it.”

      Potential response:

      “Could you reveal it? I’ve been posting my homemade videos online, but I’m just not getting a lot of market exposure. Maybe with some free publicity my career could really take off.” ?

      LOL

    3. See Larry’s response is the best for that too. You reply:
      Me: Cool! I had a browser crash and lost all my links. Send it over ASAP.
      Scammer: 😳
      Me 🤣🤣

    4. I got one that said they had hacked by computer and had video of all the nasty things I do in front of it. If it didn’t respond to their email they would post it on my FaceBook account. I’ve never connected a camera to my computer.

      BTW: That book Jason mentioned. It’s in front of me right now. I pre-ordered it as a show of support when the whole thing came out. Then completely forgot to cancel when she pulled the book. Many months later it appeared at my door.
      Also have a kindle copy of Ctrl-Alt-Revolt if anyone remembers what that author went through

        1. Nick Cole is the Ctrl-Alt-Revolt guy, and he’s kicking ass. His career is doing great and he’s selling lots of books.

    5. I’m sort of an old school guy, so the Duke of Wellington’s response says it all:

      “Publish, sir, and be damned!”

  2. Great advice, sir. Now, if I can just acquire some haters? Well, I guess I first have to slay the Marketing Monster and learn how to sell my writing. Love the blog almost more than your writing, sir. Don’t ever change.

  3. “And artists keep caving to these mopes and tweaking their art to suit them, which leads to bad art, which annoys regular people who then buy less of it.” The comic book industry is a prime example of this very thing. The absolute SJW horse shit coming out of Marvel and DC these days is mind blowing and the sales (or lack thereof) show this on full display. Unfortunately the heads of these companies aren’t self aware enough to grasp this.

    1. yeah they’re definitely over-compensating in their attempts to be better than they were before. But at least they’re trying. Though that doesn’t mean they’re getting my money anytime soon.

      1. Marvel and DC aren’t trying to be better than they were before.

        Marvel just announced a 12 issue arc based on fashion designs some no talent hacks on Tumblr drew. DC just canceled one of their few remaining profitable series because it referenced a story that came out 4 decades ago and someone -might- get offended. 🙄

  4. Awesome post and advice. Needs to be required reading for every writer and anyone who wants to write.

    1. Any type of creator could benefit from this. Some artists I know keep getting hounded by a bunch of “holier than thou” churchies cause they draw naughty pictures for the internet.

    1. Well, actually, Amazon is your publisher. And your ISP is your publisher. And the cloud server you’re hosted on is your publisher.

      And any or all of them can decide to unpublish you.

      That’s changing, thank Ghu, but it’s still something to be aware of.

        1. I have yet to read it, will shortly. And you’re exactly right. Always left wanting more. Even at a feast and surfeit of riches… (no criticism of any of the authors on this post).

      1. 4 stars: I would’ve given it 5 stars, but the ending means I’m going to have to buy yet another book in this wonderful series.

        Wait…

        I just said why it should’ve gotten a 5…

        Oops…

  5. It’s unfortunate that Goodreads can’t come up with a way for reviewers to demonstrate they actually read the book.

    1. It’s not that they can’t. It’s that the won’t. The platform is an SJW cesspool and they like it that way.

      1. Fortunately, Amazon has that “Verified Purchase” tag. Unfortunately, Amazon has also deleted the “Comment” button and the “Not Helpful” button.

        I blame Norm for abusing the Comment system.

  6. Fantastic advice. Bullies are bullies, and they thrive on fearful compliance. Backing down never works, it merely makes you theirs to shakedown for your lunch money next time. Your advice of exposing them to mockery is the social media equivalent of standing up, punching back, and enlisting your own friends to not be a victim.

    And you also have a really good point on fan psychology and the Streisand effect. Your fans will get mad at being insulted vicariously, and others will wonder whats up. When you lay it out that way it makes sense that it could be a marketing gold mine.

  7. Everything you said applies to every single industry right now. I reopened my spa in WA well before the government gave us permission to do so. The departments of came after me and so I took their Cease and Desist letters to local protests. My clientele doubled in the last year and I was able to move into a bigger location.
    Regular people don’t like bullies, and there are still plenty of regular people around. Even if they’re not willing to stand up to them on their own, they crave the experience of watching someone say to the bullies exactly what they’ve been thinking.

    1. A local(ish) firearm shop did something similar. They have an attached restaurant (not bad food, either,) got a “Gov says you can’t be open” letter, posted putting it on one of the target hangers on their range and turning it into confetti on social media.

      And kept doing it every time one of those announcements popped up on their door. Pretty sure it drove their clientele up, heck, I’d been planning to go out to see their shop when I’d heard about it a couple years ago, and finally, pardon the pun, pulled the trigger after the above events.

      1. “got a “Gov says you can’t be open” letter, posted putting it on one of the target hangers on their range and turning it into confetti on social media.”

        Was it an official letter, or some Karen?

        Because if it was official, and a blue jurisdiction, the tendency is for po-po to show up armed with arrest warrants about “making terroristic threats.” And the internet is forever.

    2. Regular people don’t like bullies, and there are still plenty of regular people around. Even if they’re not willing to stand up to them on their own, they crave the experience of watching someone say to the bullies exactly what they’ve been thinking.

      Which is exactly why all the “wrongthinking” books and movies are hugely successful financially, even though they get panned by SJW critics. We normal people want to see the bullies taken down — which nearly always happens in “classic” storylines — even if we’re not the ones to do it.

      But SJW crybullies don’t like the classics.

  8. I got into a minor flamewar on Eric Flint’s website with a nitpicking historical enthusiast calling himself “Lyttenburgh”. Almost bought a copy of the book he was calling “inaccurate garbage” because of his sniping.
    I heard of a Catholic campaign upset by “The Da Vinci Code” urging people to go see “Over the Hedge” instead (they opened the same weekend) as an “othercott” – buying the competition of a movie that they found offensive.

    1. My dad, a noted theologian in his day, was asked to review The Last Temptation of Christ back in 1988. The best comment he mentioned to me was “piece of garbage that no one would have watched if there hadn’t been a giant boycott campaign”.

      1. The thing I hate most about religiously-motivated boycott campaigns (especially about things as innocuous as Harry Potter) is how they make sensible religious people look dumb by comparison.

        The Dan Brown nonsense and similar works that engage in mockery, those I have stronger feelings about, but I recognize that I’m not gonna help anything by throwing a fit either.

    2. Those religious campaigns are a great example. When I was younger, you know, some time back in the Cretaceous Period or at least pre-Y2K, I remember seeing a lot of religious ‘enthusiasts’ whining about the Harry Potter books and witchcraft and how J.K. Rowling was the devil on the news. I headed to the bookstore that same week for some new stuff to read, bought the first 2 books and a few days later was back buying the 3rd and lending the first 2 to a friend and encouraging them to read the series.

      1. Ironically, a different group of busybodies consider Rowling to be the devil now. But then, as today, she still sells well enough that she can ignore them.

  9. I’ve been trying to remember why I started the MHI series.

    Recently, I finished my 4th time through the series, finished Bloodlines and ordered some patches. After all of that, I just could not remember how I discovered you as an author.

    This post helped jog my memory.

    I had tried to read a book that had a good looking cover and the words “Hugo Award Winner.” About halfway through, I started wondering how or why it would have won any awards. This lead me to Google “Hugo Awards” and I discovered things about Sad Puppies. Everything they used to describe you and why I shouldn’t read your stuff, also described ME!

    This lead me to the first MHI book and me becoming a big fan of all your stuff. I’ve since turned 4 other people into fans including my son.

    All because someone tried to tell me not to read your books.

    1. Mr. Correia got on my future-read radar when other bloggers I follow linked here and raved about his books. Not having much expendable income at the time, I didn’t buy right away.

      But then the Kindle version of Monster Hunter International was put up for $0.00.

      Me: Hmmm… *clicks Buy Now*
      Me, 10 pages in: Yes!!
      Me, 50 pages in: Hell, Yes!!!
      Me, 100 pages in: Oh, F#$K YES!!!!
      Me, finished: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!

      Between the “No F#$ks Given” rants on this site and the no-holds barred, gritty action in the books, this guy has a fan for life. And I encourage everyone I know who reads (and even some who usually don’t) to check him out, too. 🙂

    2. Ha, that reminds me how I found Correia novels. It was somewhere in the mid-2010s when got fed up with pink genre fiction to the extent that I started to google for “racist sci-fi” (I never considered myself a racist, I was just desperate that much). That led me to Vox Day first, I think, via whom I learnt about all that Puppies thing.

  10. Excellent post. I keep seeing people apologizing for things and then never being forgiven or given atonement. It’s as pointless to apologize as it is to argue. You have to find a third way, and the one Larry has outlined is a proven winner.

  11. I hate Larry’s books. It’s why I have MHI as my license plate and am the GM for our MHI RPG, that we’re resuming (finally).

    1. Probably why they removed the option.

      They can’t have their paid reviewers (because many of them are paid, though not always by Amazon) questioned or challenged, let alone mocked.

  12. Gonna send this to some artists I know, since most of this can apply to any type of creator.

    They got some Bible beating ultra conservatives on their asses cause they’re willing to draw *GASP* LEWD ART *FAINTS* for both fun and profit, and its been stressing them out. Who cares if its how they’ve been paying the bills since covid screwed the vacation industry. :<

  13. “Artists/companies listening to them has led to some really lame choices in movies, books, video games, and pretty much all of society. And artists keep caving to these mopes and tweaking their art to suit them, which leads to bad art, which annoys regular people who then buy less of it. Meanwhile, the artists like me who just make whatever art we want are considered obnoxious dicks by the mopes and the snoots, yet we keep our audiences happy and make money, just like how the “un-woke” movies and TV shows and games get mocked, but are financially successful, while the proper approved woke stuff goes broke. Or in the case of the multi-billion dollar IPs that are Too Big To Fail, have super disappointing ROIs.”

    Like, say, your a certain former animation company and current multi media conglomerate that has one market (Princess Girls) locked down cold, to the point that boys wouldn’t be caught dead watching your shows and buying your stuff?

    So you buy half the most popular super-heroes -and- the most beloved space opera franchise of all time?

    But both the hero comics and the space wizards have been taken over buy totally worth woke people who want to rip out everything that makes it appealing to boys?

    ….nah. That’d never happen. 😒🤔🙁😐🙂

    1. A frequent gripe of mine is how, out of the plethora of great fiction novels and novellas out there (*cough* Monster Hunter *cough*), TV and movie producers are choosing to either pick the worst “woke” crap to make into “original” productions, or choosing to recycle and remake stuff that’s already been done. (Marvel is seriously on … what? … their fourth Spider-Man reboot in the past 15 years?)

      Either that, or they’re actively trying to out-smut each other with the over-the-top sex and nudity — particularly but not exclusively the streaming services (looking at you, Netflix and your “originals”!).

      There’s no more artistry or good storytelling coming out of the major studios. There are plenty of fantastic stories to tell, but none of the producers are interested unless the stories or writers are sufficiently “woke”.

      “Woke” crap, as we’ve seen, doesn’t sell except to a very small niche, and the producers wonder why most of what they make are financial flops.

      1. “Marvel is seriously on … what? … their fourth Spider-Man reboot in the past 15 years?”

        THAT’s a holdover from the actual comics biz. You had a 10 year window before the next generation arrived craving the origin story….. which was in issue 1 of something bid up into 3-4 figures. Kind of out of the pocket range of the next gen.

      2. “…none of the producers are interested unless the stories or writers are sufficiently “woke”.”

        Pretty much. To be blunt, as a sci-fi and fantasy fan, I wouldn’t be annoyed quite so much by it all, if it didn’t ruin the genuinely fantastic elements of the stories and settings involved. For instance, the Grimnoir Chronicles is just about the only modern take on the “people with superpowers” concept that doesn’t treat it as some sort of social justice metaphor – “behold, this poor, downtrodden minority of people… who can bench-press firetrucks and summon hurricanes”. Somehow, I don’t think the allegory holds up after a while.

        Similarly, MHI is a rare urban fantasy series that doesn’t devolve into “woe is me, the special savior of the world” melodrama. If anything, it gleefully mocks the whole “chosen one” cliche altogether. Which, in turn, isn’t really a “woke” writing staple, but more of an uncreative self-indulgent power and importance fantasy… reflective of the actual mentality behind the modern social justice movement. There’s nothing un-“woke” about trying to avoid that kind of crap in my reading time.

    2. As a parent of two grown children, and two little ones (5 and 3, girl and boy), I’m shocked at the dearth of programming aimed at little boys today. I’d unscientifically estimate that a solid 85% of children’s programming is aimed specifically at girls, with the remaining 15% closer to gender neutral.

      Out of mainstream programming, little boys get maybe Blaze and the Monster Machines. After that, if you don’t have streaming, little boys get pretty much nothing aimed at them. Certainly nothing with solid stories. Or really any stories.

  14. Hi Larry, I might be the writer you mention in this post. I was one of several authors hit by cyber-extortionists this week, and I did post about it in a couple writers groups. Though … I don’t recall writing anything about you selling millions of copies. Is it possible someone else on the thread posted that? Or, maybe it was another writer.

    I have to admit I was stunned. And then I was curious. Now I’m just pissed. I figured out how they got my email address, but it’s not a big deal.

    I like a lot of what you have to say here. You’re right. This incident made people take notice. What a world!

    Anyway, I want you to know that I’d never pay creeps. Instead, I created some fun graphics and posted them. I’m also going ahead with more books.

    Two are available and another is coming soon. A fourth will be out for the holidays. I don’t write about guns, but that’s okay. There’s an audience for my books too. And you’re right. This week inspired me to jump up and build that email list I’ve been putting off. Thanks for the blog post.

    1. Beth, tell us the title of your book! So we can all go throw money at it. It doesn’t -have- to be about guns -all- the time, right?

      Although, if you can work some in, that’d be okay. ~:D

    2. I second the esteemed The Phantom. Give us a title!

      I’ve recently made a pledge to financially support more people willing to give the mob the finger, so let us help.

    3. Good for you, Beth. Stand up to those jerks.
      It wasn’t your page. I just saw screen caps shared by another author (Monalisa Foster, though I didn’t want to drag her into it)
      I hope you get some great publicity out of this and sell a pile of books.

  15. Yep, one stars sell books! Every time I’ve put a one star on my blog or social media, I’ve seen a jump in sales. Remember the one star word salad we got for Spotreps? 🙂

  16. I don’t normally post on GR… but when I do it is because SJW asshats have trashed an author I care about and want to see succeed. Even if that author writes a scene in their book about “goofy Taurus shotgun pistols”… see I bought the eARC, I’m qualified to post a real review (5 stars, thank you sir may I have another)

  17. There’s an actual cyber extortion plot happening recently. They write a poorly spelled email at the author threatening them while one-starring their books and say they’ll only stop if you pay for their review service.

    This particular thing is illegal, so authors are encouraged to report it to the cyber division of their police and the FBI with all the info you can gather.

    Goodreads did remove this particular attack on one author this week because it was beyond the usual trolling

    1. Thank you for calling the FBI. We are currently experiencing a high volume of calls but all our agents are busy holding grandmothers in no bail isolation because they attended a political protest rally. We recommend you call back another day or leave a detailed message that includes your street and work addresses so that we can conduct a no-knock raid on your premises. If you are a lawyer please also list your current and past clients so that we can plan our raid in such a way as to maximize our violation of attorney client privilege. Thanks for choosing the FBI for your federal law enforcement needs and have a great day.

      1. We recommend you call back another day or leave a detailed message that includes your street and work addresses so that we can conduct a no-knock raid on your premises.

        “And please kennel your dogs so our agents have an easier time shooting them.”

  18. First reviews I check now are the one stars.

    I was in an airport bookstore, waiting for a flight to London, and found a copy of MHI. At the time I knew nothing of Larry and his books. It seemed interesting, so I looked up the Amazon reviews on my phone. So many of the reviews were complaining about the guns that I picked it up. Read half of it on my flight. After that I was hooked and get everything. Now both my kids are hooked as well.

    So for me the one star reviews are quite helpful.

    1. Negative reviews can often be more useful than a positive review. With a positive review, I’m tempted to wonder whether the reviewer is just fanboying. But a negative review often makes it easier to pick up on the reviewer’s biases.

    2. “I have your porn history. Pay me or I’ll reveal it ”

      “Gosh, could you? I lost a few jpegs when I switched hard drives and I’m missing some favorites…”

  19. I got two one-stars *coincidentally* at the same time I got a particularly emotional response from someone on Facebook (I still have the abusive PM). The two one-stars were (supposedly) from someone in Africa who has never ever reviewed any other book or story.

    I laughed so hard. I doubt the person read anything but if a person takes the reviews at face value, someone read one, decided it sucked and was utterly horrible, and then read another one. Oh, a 15 page story isn’t a huge investment but it’s still funny.

    I understand that it’s sometimes possible to get obviously fake reviews removed but I haven’t tried to do that. They feel a little bit like a badge of honor.

    Haven’t gained any reads or additional reviews from them though. Still funny.

  20. I don’t do much art or writing, but on the occasion I do, I do it my way.

    If someone has a string of critiques about why they hate what I’ve created, I have the same response for all of them:

    “Great! Make your own. I’m not changing mine.”

    I also keep a link to the “Man in the Arena” excerpt of Teddy Roosevelt’s “Citizenship in a Republic” speech handy, and re-read it often.

    To whit:

    It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

    — Teddy Roosevelt, 1910

    Until the critic is willing to be the “man in the arena”, his/her opinion doesn’t mean much to me. “Armchair quarterbacks” is another term for them; it’s easy to criticize when they’re not the one in the pocket risking getting sacked. They’ll never know victory or defeat, so who are they to criticize?

  21. “best one star was somebody whining that the cover was too sexy and blah blah blah feminism evil male gaze and whatnot.”

    Are you planning to use that review in your promotional materials?

    “The book does have some flaws, however, most notably the fact that the cover is ‘too sexy’ along with fears that male readers especially might spend too much time staring at the hot demoness on the cover.”

    1. “Beware all people attracted to females, DO NOT VIEW THE COVER and therefore endanger your immortal soul to Satan’s temptress.”

    2. I went looking for that review, as I was curious. She actually
      noted the mention in the blog and responded. Of note is that it wasn’t actually a “review” in that it didn’t have a star rating 1-5. While I disagree with her, (I don’t think the cover is “sexist” in and of itself) she really wasn’t too outspoken, IMO.

  22. There’s a classic episode of WKRP where the local religious type start a boycott of the station- and the station staff eggs them on, because it’s getting the word out that WKRP is actually playing rock music.

  23. You know, its funny. Back around 2014 I stopped reading cold turkey from a 5 book-per-week habit, and started writing instead. Because I just couldn’t take reading another SJW-themed book. Couldn’t. Do it. I think it was Charles Stross that finally did me in. Nope-nope-nope-nope-nope.

    But you know what? It -never- occurred to me to go to Charles Stross’s web site and leave all kinds of fiery denouncements of his work. Seriously did not even cross my mind that a person would do that. I just stopped buying it.

    Then I said if that guy can get published for that thing that pissed me off so bad, -I- can fucking well get published. So I wrote an SF book. And published it on Amazon, because publishers do not answer their email. (Unfair Advantage by Edward Thomas, in case anyone is interested.) Then I went and wrote five more, just because. Not published yet, because Life, but they will be.

    The only SF authors I still read are Larry, Neil Asher, Sarah Hoyt and Dave Freer. (The only non-SF I’ve bought lately was “Ingenious Mechanicks” by Christopher Schwarz and “The Joiner’s Work” by Peter Follansbee, shout-out to those guys.) Because those four are about the only people left from what I’m starting to call The Good Ol’ Days who still write a gripping yarn with no SJW content.

    This does not mean I go around freaking out on SJW-aligned authors websites trashing their books and being a jackass. (I do admit to being loud on China Mike and the flopping camel blogs, but that was more as a public service. Some guys, you just have to take a swing you know?) They’re free to write whatever the hell they like, the same as I am. Should they care what some guy who read a book once thinks of their work? No.

    Same going the other way. Larry has raised this to a high art, and I’m pretty glad he was there to lead the way. Carry on, Mr. Correia sir.

    1. And this is the point where one of the review-warriors would point out that it’s a false equivalency. After all, Stross isn’t harming people. Larry is. So comparing your behavior, that it wouldn’t even occur to you to take up some sort of vindictive action against Stross, to those people who find it important to review bomb books by bad authors that aren’t even out yet, is a false equivalency. The authors are different, you see?

      It makes me nuts. And it’s utterly impenetrable. I mean, it’s totally self-affirming by definition because it’s *different* it can’t be compared to anything. No common-sense check or what-if-we-turned-this-around check.

      After all, it’s HARM and what should a moral person do when they observe harm?

      Granted, “harm” is defined as someone who agrees on basically everything but isn’t 100% on board about the corrective agenda of the day.

      And the jerks that *do* review-bomb someone like Stross or Scalzi or whoever, even if they believe the same things about harm and believe it’s important to take important action, well, it doesn’t matter what they think because it’s still different authors and they’re wrong.

      Because it’s the target that defines right or wrong, not the action.

      Start applying that to all the various upsets and divisions of the day and it’s everywhere, absolutely everywhere.

      1. “Because it’s the target that defines right or wrong, not the action. ”

        Knowing you are morally in the right and that your opponents are inhuman monsters is so convenient, isn’t it? You can do -anything- and it is still virtuous.

        This is why I loved Sad Puppies and participated in it. Just showing up and saying “Hi there!” made them go completely nuts. For years! They’re still yammering about it this year. There’s a frigging pandemic, people are getting sick, the whole world is shut down, and those morons are still raging on about Sad Puppies.

        Pretty good return on a few blog posts done for a laugh, eh? ~:D

  24. Just about the only thing I can add is that, in my impression, negative reviews can be just as effective at drawing the right type of crowd. People have become well aware that biased reviews exist, and once you know how to interpret them, every insult reads as praise. To me at least, descriptions of MHI like, and I quote – “the equivalent of well made sharknado movie ,a 500 page abomination of weak and cheesy characters,bad plot,and the worst dialogs i have ever read” – sounded like an anally retentive idiot’s way of saying “an action-filled adventure with no needless melodrama, and a self-aware yet unapologetic sense of humor”. Which is what the book ultimately turned out to be.

    The opposite is also true – for sci-fi and fantasy in particular, the heaps of praise regarding “relevance”, or “social significance”, or the favorite buzzword of Writing 101 dropouts – “character development” – always seem to translate as “heavy-handed polemic full of self-absorbed insufferable dickwads, where any sci-fi or fantasy element is either window dressing or a poorly concocted allegory for matters the author has no real understanding of”.

    All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the old adage of “no such thing as bad publicity” still stands, and numerical review scores are really a poor gauge of subjective quality – that is, whether the respective work is to one’s own taste. Take it from a Hallmark addict whose favorite films to rewatch rarely if ever go beyond 5.3 on the IMDB rating scale… while the channel has been growing consistently for the past decade or so. So, for writers, I’d say bad reviews – and threats thereof – are worth risking in the long run.

  25. Bought the MHI Bloodlines eARC.
    Larry, you tease.
    I really really really want to read the finale of this series.

    And BTW I hope you get a good chunk of the change from people buying the eARC from Baen.

    Because

    “The acme of prose style is exemplified by that simple, graceful clause: “Pay to the order of. . . .”‘”
    -Robert A. Heinlein

  26. This reminds me, I just finished Destroyer of Worlds and need to go drop a nice review of it on Amazon.

    It’s been a long time since I read a book that fun and engaging. The style is easy to read (not an easy task!) so I didn’t have to put it down much, but when I did, it was the first book in a long time that I found I couldn’t wait to get back to.

    I picked up some Bujold and Butcher in the meantime to help tide me over until the 4th installment drops.

  27. The FBI is having serious problems right now trying to decide whether to assist the Democrat Administration by deploying its manufactured Muslim extremists or assisting the Democrat Administration by deploying its cultivated right wing extremists…

  28. “If you wrote a good erotica or romance or whatever, there’s an audience out there for it.”

    I will remind you that Stephanie Meyers and E. L. James are extremely successful authors. So it doesn’t even need to be particularly *good* for there to be a ravening audience ready to throw enough money and movie deals at you to build a house out of gold bars.

  29. When you see attack chihuahuas, speak up. Speak up for your friends by reviewing their books and sending them money.

    But this has happened before:

    George Phillies

    May 18, 1998
    As some of you will have heard, the Origins Board Wargaming Convention offered best-selling SF writer Larry Correia a Guest of Honor slot, and very soon thereafter retracted their offer because they did not like what was alleged about his politics.

    Origins was launched by Simulations Publications, Incorporated and The Avalon Hill Company as a board wargaming convention. I remember when it happened.
    Now, I am actually somewhat familiar with the board wargaming hobby and its history.

    I started playing board wargames, what we now call hex-and-counter games, in 1958. That was when the first modern board wargame, Tactics II, was published. It’s like becoming an SF fan, by subscribing to Hugo Gernsback’s new magazine, Amazing, in time for the first issue (which I have read, thank you). Of course, back then the hexes were actually squares.
    In 1963, I played a computer wargame using what was perhaps the world’s first joystick. The computer in question, a PDP-1, is I gather now in the Boston Computer Museum.

    In 1964, I founded what was probably the first college wargaming club, the MITWGS (now the MITSGS).
    Soon thereafter, I published the very first board wargaming fanzine, The Tank. We advertised in the world’s first and only board wargaming prozine, the Avalon Hill General. The Tank was the first board wargaming magazine to publish a complete board wargame in one issue. (I designed it.) I later published a number of other game magazines, including The Guide To Wargaming Periodical Literature, History Of Wargaming Quarterly, the American Wargamer, Strategist, and Game!

    In 1974, I published, in another zine I founded, this being the American Wargamer, a review of that new set of miniatures rules Dungeons & Dragons. The rules had been written by two friends of mine, people with whom I had corresponded for some years, Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. I said that Gary and Dave had in fact not written a new set of miniatures rules.

    They had created a whole new branch of the hobby, to be compared in its importance with board wargames, miniatures, and diplomatic games. At the time I published this claim, it was unique and not widely believed. As it turned out, I was right.
    I also collect board wargames and their literature. My board wargame collection now approaches 6000 titles, a count that will probably be passed this year. [GP: in 2021, not approaching 7000] I also collect board wargaming magazines. My collection occupies 16 four-drawer filing cabinets.

    I therefore have some modest knowledge of the wargaming hobby.

    If I think back to the early 1970s, and a meeting of the MITSGS, I am reminded that members might have very different political opinions. At a given meeting, we had several people who were far to the right, we had the student political analyst whose computer software in 1968 meant that the Technology Broadcasting System called the presidential election correctly and accurately well before any of the other networks did, I had my Battle of the Bulge opponent who spent his time between his moves reading Mao Tse-Tsung’s On Guerrilla Warfare because after all he was a far left sort and should read the material written by distinguished far left leaders, and finally there was the young lady whose support of women’s liberation included her shaved-to-the-scalp haircut. We were there to meet and play games, not to argue about politics, which we didn’t.

    We now arrive at the present and the recent Origins action with respect to Larry Correia.

    In my opinion, the conduct of the Origins convention has disgraced our entire wargaming hobby. The convention organizers should be ashamed of themselves. Prior generations would have greeted news of their actions with contempt, assuming that disbelief could have been overcome.

    GP: I spoke up, when I didn’t need to, and most of you (Authors: Beware Amazon terms of service.) can do the same.

  30. Mostly agree with you, but you should add that you can’t cover up the fact that you’re whining by being angry and bombastic. It doesn’t work for the bullying SJWs and it doesn’t work for you either.

    1. If you use a broad enough definition of the word “whining” then so are you. So shut the fuck up. 😀

      As for being bombastic, yes. It’s my writing style, and writing is something that I am wildly successful at. So thanks for that utterly useless dumbass hot take advice.

      As for “angry”, not at all. That’s on you. I can say with complete dispassion that exact same message, but that would be boring as fuck and I wouldn’t have a giant readership paying me lots of money. Which would be a major bummer. So embrace your emotions and quit being a lifeless pussy. It’s way more fun.

  31. I haven’t written any books. Perhaps one day I will. I doing what I can to ‘mock’ the hate-mob. I made a list on Goodreads for books that have been “canceled.” Far as I know I’m the only one that made a list on GR. Oh…sure there are plenty of “banned” book lists. I got to say those lists are BS considering how Orwelling-like the publishing companies are now.

    Here the link:
    https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/161137.Books_that_have_been_a_victim_of_cancel_culture_

    Feel free to add some books. Some of the authors on the list have to bend the knee. I am still keeping those books on there because those books are part of the path of destruction the mob leaves behind.

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