Giving John Locke One Star Reviews? Not Cool!

Over the past few days, ever since the New York Times article about paid reviews, many people seem to have appointed themselves head of the moral police and are giving author John Locke’s books (who was mentioned as one of the authors who had paid for reviews for his books) one star reviews.

I think that’s really uncool guys.

This is not about whether you agree/don’t agree/don’t care about the issue.  Personally I’m in the last category.  But this isn’t about me.  And it isn’t about you.

Yes that’s right.  This issue is not about you.  It’s not even about the customers of John Locke’s books since this issue has nothing whatsoever to do with the stories and novels that he’s written.  They stand on their own, with or without reviews, as each reader can easily judge for themselves whether they like or do not like what they have read.

The hypocrisy of giving someone a negative review based on your belief system, (and the irony that you are giving a false review based on false reviews), means you are entering a slippery slope of morals and ethics.

And seriously – that’s just not cool.

Tall Poppy Syndrome

In Australia we have what is referred to Tall Poppy Syndrome.  It’s where, when one person starts to become more successful than the rest of the group, they start to criticize them and ‘cut them back down to size‘.

Whether it’s born of jealousy or low self esteem, I’m not sure.  But it’s an unhealthy obsession when we really should be happy for the person for becoming successful, not try and punish them for it.

It’s akin to the pack mentality of bullying, which we all know is unhealthy and needs to be stopped.

Giving an author (or anyone) a poor review based on something you personally think is morally unjust, is unfair and it’s placing yourself smack bang in murky waters.

Reviews are meant to be about the books.  Not whether you personally like or don’t like the author.

If you start writing reviews based on your own personal ethic system, then where do you draw the line?  Would it be the same with an author who is caught drink driving?  Someone who paid their way through college by being a pole dancer?  Who lives a polygamist lifestyle?

I’m not saying that you personally did this (because the cool people who read my blog wouldn’t unjustly review someone’s books based on their own beliefs).

All I’m saying is that my grandmother was a wise woman when she said, “Mind your own goddamn business.”


  1. says

    Tracey, extremely well put! Could not agree more. Close to two million Locke books purchased to date. That didn’t happen because of a small minority of reviews. He just tells a fun story and his fans know it. The moral high-horse is grazing in a field of sour grapes.

  2. says

    I hate what some self-published authors are doing at the moment – paid reviews, fake reviews, attacks on competitors etc. – but at least Locke is coming clean about it. I can’t comment on his fiction, having never read it, but his book on self-publishing is full of great tips and it is plain wrong to take the moral high ground and slate his books as some kind of revenge.

  3. says

    Well said, Tracey. When others achieve the greatness we wish for, we can react in one of two ways: 1. Be inspired. Redouble our efforts and seek to match their success. 2. Be jealous. Resent others’ accomplishments and make yourself feel better by criticizing or even undermining them.
    It’s far easier to tear others down that it is to build yourself up. This, unfortunately, is all too common a reaction.

  4. Tim says

    Americans have become very mean spirited in the last 10 to 20 years. You might not know that since you aren’t from the US but it is true. And very sad. Being mean is the way things are done now.

  5. Skyward says

    I hadn’t really heard of him until I saw the article. My god what an absolute sleazeball. That guy is as immoral as they come. I don’t think I would review his books negatively however based on something unrelated (his books ARE unrelated no? I havent checked). I wish there was a way Amazon could crack down on places like this. It really hurts *real* writers–though I’m sure its the mother lode for marketers/spammers.
    I wonder if the Fifty Shades author utilized his services.

    • Skyward says

      Ok..just checked out his book. He admits that he deceived/duped buyers into buying something based on false pretenses. That is fraud, and against the law.

      Not going to leave a bad review however for a book I didn’t buy. That would mean I’d have to stoop to his level.

      • Tracey says

        He never admitted that he deceived buyers, just that he bought reviews. That is not against the law. Unethical – probably, but illegal – not at all.

  6. says

    I am not sure if people really are more mean spirited theses days.
    I think it’s more a case of social media giving people an easy to use new platform to post their thoughts to a global audience via Twitter, Facebook and Amazon Reviews etc.
    When you think about it, that’s very powerful and potentially intoxicating.
    The old saying of “power corrupts” springs to mind.
    Every mean, nasty, jealous or damaged person now has the power to hurt others and some are bound to use that power.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *