Now, you know how I like a bit of controversy, so I was rather tickled to read today about crime writer RJ Ellory, who’s been dabbling in a little ‘crime’ of his own. He’s been caught faking glowing reviews for his books on Amazon, whilst panning the work of rival authors, including Mark Billingham and Stuart McBride.
Writing under the pseudonym ‘Jelly Bean’, Ellory awarded all his books 5 stars (of course!) and described A Quiet Belief In Angels as ‘a modern masterpiece’. He was apparently exposed on Twitter, rather fittingly by ‘spy novelist’ Jeremy Duns, ‘using a bit of searching and detective work’. (That’s a great story in itself!)
Roger Ellory is an award-winning West Midlands writer, who was a Richard & Judy favourite and has now published 10 novels (one of which won the Crime Writers Novel of the Year Award in 2010). I saw him talk once and he was pretty inspiring. He wrote over 20 novels – all rejected – before he finally found publishing success. All of his novels are set in the USA and many of his readers don’t realise he’s British.
But what d’you think about what he’s done? I suspect Roger Ellory’s not the first writer to ‘fake’ good reviews for his books on Amazon but slating other writers’ efforts is a bit below the belt.
He’s subsequently apologised to “my readers and the writing community” and I bet he feels a bit stupid, don’t you?
P.S: Entries are trickling in for my Random Words mini-story competition. And that’s what I’d expect. Because it’s only 5 days since I announced the details. There’s still plenty of time to revise, edit and ‘hone’ your work. Resist the urge to send the first thing you dash off! There’s no prize for sending it in quickly. If you leave it for a while and go back to your story, you will, I promise you, be able to improve it.