The Corner

re: Amazon

I second the experience outlined by John J. Miller in his post below re Amazon’s “reader reviews.”  My novel, Hostile Intent, debuted at No. 1 on Amazon Kindle when it came out in September, rode high on the Barnes & Noble mass-market lists for more than two months, and twice reached the New York Times extended mass-market bestseller list in October — not bad for my first foray into the international thriller market.  It was so successful that the publisher has extended the series by three more books, making a total of five (the next installment in the “Devlin” series, Black Widow, comes out next fall), and the franchise is now the subject of a bidding war in Hollywood  And yet it, too, has been subjected to a barrage of one-star review attacks, some of them personal, some of them illiterate, many of them still coming, and all of them characterized by the trademark lefty sneer.  


It’s a shame.  Once Amazon was an author’s best friend: Now, it’s an enterprise that undercuts a writer’s sales almost instantly by offering second-hand copies along with new ones, and allows an army of trolls to attack, apparently completely unmoderated.  I flagged a couple of the reviews as inappropriate, but of course nothing was done.  Listen: I was a critic for 25 years at the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, the San Francisco Examiner, and Time magazine.  I used to tell Horowitz how to play the piano and Pavarotti how to sing.  I can dish it out and I can take it.  But this is a new, and ugly, phenomenon indeed.

Michael Walsh — Mr. Walsh is the author of the novels Hostile Intent and Early Warning and, writing as frequent NRO contributor David Kahane, Rules for Radical Conservatives.