Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Author WTFckery at Play: The Sad Case of Candace Sams

By now you probably heard about the big ole bat shit craziness from author Candace Sams on Amazon, who published with Dorchester as well as with some epublishers. I first heard about this from Jane at Dear Author who announced it on Twitter about Sams being more than upset over a one star review concerning her 2008 release, Electra Galaxy’s Mr. Interstellar Feller (Dorchester Love Spell Line) posted on Amazon on November 8, 2009.

Part of me hopes that this is a troll and not the actual Sams, because her reaction and comments she posted in section under the review are a bit out there and a case of major diarrhea of the mouth. Her reaction strikes me as strange for a book that has been released for over a year. The on-going discussion that just won’t quit now has over 230 comments, the most I've ever seen on Amazon review.

Sams goes by Niteflyr One on Amazon.

Here I have highlighted some of my favorite Sams comments so you don’t have to scroll down through all of them. She goes on to say how Harriet Klausner is such a professional and amazing reviewer, how certain publishers and editors she works with *TAKE NOTE DORCHESTER* take control of her work, where an author has no control over the dialogue, language and love scenes, as well as getting in touch with the FBI because she feels she was threatened in the comments. My comments are in red.

- And there you go's easy to play the critic...not so easy to take the criticism.

- Again...I point to Ms. Klausner as a number one reviewer for She knows that authors rarely have full editorial control; rarely do they have even 'scant' control over their covers or the language used in dialogue or even sequencing of scenes: love scenes, kissing scenes, scenes of violence, etc. These are ultimately controlled by editorial staff...very rarely the author alone.

(WHOA! This is a big accusation about your publisher who cuts your checks so you can continue to make a living! And how would Harriet know this about authors and editorial control?)

- Ms. Klausner is reviewing with the knowledge that a professional reviewer would have. That is to say that she knows the titles are judged in relation to others of their kind, the differences inherent in trying new concepts as well as pacing, world-building, imagination, etc.

- Those conversations were, on the whole, fraught with sophomoric comments blaming authors for all kinds of editorial decisions over which they have no or very little control (kissing scenes, cover content, love scenes, language, etc., etc., etc).

- This leads me to believe the reviewer in question is somewhat of a frustrated romance author - who could not get his/her own work published - or who cannot write a manuscript at all......there seems, therefore, to be a need to render rather caustic attacks and on those who 'can' write and who 'can' get published.

- Posters such as L.B. Taylor may have had the disparaging effect of altering publishing professional's opinions about whether or not to allow a particular author to continue making a living. Now...this hardly effects some would-be reviewers. They post carelessly and without any consequence for their actions. Taylor has done this many, many times to many authors - possibly effecting their ability to engage future publishing contracts.  

(*Authors beware! Reviewers can cause you to lose your publishing contracts because we have such power.*)

- Taylor, unable to take the same kind of criticism he/she inflicted (which is common for these hit-and-run reviewers) seems to have recruited 'help' to defend him/herself. The true mark of a coward. But, alas, this is the nature of the hit-and-run review beast. I leave it to you - dear readers - to decide whether authors should be allowed to try and make a living...or if reviewers such as Taylor should be allowed to run amok across Amazon deciding who might or might not get another contract for new work. Why not try thinking about the consequences of your actions before roaming the Internet and posting whatever you will, without thinking first? Your actions might keep someone from working...what do you suffer?

- For some time now, I've been getting messages from more equitable reviewers, agents and editors that this person (Taylor) was 'known' in the industry for having some very angry, almost hateful opinions (if she ever thought about being an author, she and some of her cohorts can now give that dream up).

- Because, that's the way the business works in some New York venues. Only the highest paid authors won't have their manuscripts ripped apart by some editors. As to my bad author behavior...I'm getting a lot of email telling me to stand my ground...from people who ARE buying my books.

- Good for her...come back when she's published thirty novels like me and has done business with Dorchester.

- This is where Sams mentions the FBI: When I was made aware the facts and what happened and how the law reads, I told about the matter - I was on the phone with them very early this morning. They've been sent an email bearing a copy of the message in question. An investigative agency in charge of cyber stalking was also contacted...not by Amazon but by me! They also have a copy of the message. I'm told that a felony 'might' have been committed. If that was the case I WILL file charges against the person who made that threat, as a witness to it.

- Of course the topic of discussion was then focused on Harriet Klausner yet again: Harriet's been clocked at 60 reviews A DAY. You can buy entire crates of the ARCs she's "reviewed" online. She does exist, and she does post the reviews. But I'd be amazed if she actually reads one book in a hundred. Ironic that you should make this claim just a few posts after noting that Klausner sells crates of the ARCs she receives. She's receiving those ARCs from people in the industry and she's far from the only Amazon reviewer to be provided with ARCs. Similarly, people in the industry pay enough attention to Amazon reviewers to produce thousands of ARCs for Amazon reviewers under the Amazon Vine program.

Candace Sams may think this is all a joke and not care what others think. I find it sad and pathetic. If I were an author, I rather my book read and reviewed, even if they are negative ones. No author wants a bad review but look at it this way- it’s better to have someone read your work than have no one read it at all. From those criticisms I can go on and write a better book. Too bad Sams doesn’t seen it this way and may have destroyed her reputation.

Oh, but KB how can a small kerfuffle on Amazon damage her reputation?

Have you heard of Neil Gaiman? He picked up on this and mentioned it on Twitter. He has over 1.3 million people following him there, not counting the countless others on Twitter who did the same thing, including me when I heard this.

Imagine if Sams hadn’t commented or just said, “Sorry my book didn’t work for you, but thanks for the review.”

Word of mouth is a very strong thing and in this case it showed how much power is behind it.

Also, Candace is very vocal about her experience with Dorchester on Absolute Write.



The Queen B said...

This is just some crazy ass shit. Has anyone confirmed that this is the author? It's a bit scary either way....

Has said...

I think from the absolute links- I think this is an author who wants to get out of her contract. Although this is shades of the rants from Dara Joy and her troubles with Dorchester.

Smokinhotbooks said...

Has I never thought of that, it would make sense why she suddenly went bat shit on Amazon. All I know is that she crazy.

KB I have to say this was my fav quote from Sams "Good for her...come back when she's published thirty novels like me and has done business with Dorchester" in response to Meljean Brooks kick ass author who doesn't put her foot in her mouth.

MsM said...

Maybe she was desperate to get attention and like a toddler pitched a fit in a department store reasoned that even bad attention was better than no attention to her book???? I wonder how many people will now buy the book just to "see for themselves" and review it.


MsM said...

Did you know Sams is AKA C.S. Chatterly??

heidenkind said...

Whoa. If her writing is anything like her circular arguments and crazy-ass paranoia, I am going to stay far, far away.

It seems Amazon has deleted some of her comments and hidden most of them because they "weren't helpful." Too bad she can't get tons of helpful votes like her apparent hero, Harriet Klausner.

orannia said...

Sorry my book didn’t work for you, but thanks for the review.

That's all that needed to be said...

MsM said...

She's the most paranoid Kung Fu/Tao martial arts award winning/cop/ambulance driver/author/weight lifting/gardener I've ever seen... oh wait... I've never seen anyone else with all those accomplishments! I think she's Wonder Woman!



Teddy Pig said...

Is this like a Yule Wank Log? We stand around and watch it burn itself out.

nightsmusic said...

Well, she flounced out yesterday evening and hasn't been heard from since. Maybe they corrected her meds.

I admit, I commented a couple times in that thread. Repeating the same mantra KB did. Better to say "sorry my book didn't work for you, but thanks for the review" and she read the exact opposite. I guess I'm not surprised considering her lack of grammar/punctuation/correct word usage.

I still don't think I'd publicly shoot my publisher or editor, no matter how bad it might be. Do that and no one else in publishing is going to want to deal with you either.


Kristie (J) said...

I read some of that train wreck and all I could think of was she is demented!!

Anonymous said...

Wow. Shocking, actually. When you are an author, not-so-good reviews come with the territory. Sometimes you can learn a lot more from the bad reviews than you can from the rah-rah yay-yay reviews your friends stick up on Amazon when a book is first released. I recently reviewed a nonfiction book - gave it two stars because I thought it deserved two stars. Within an hour one of the author's friends went off on all personal and nasty. I just wrote a review about the substance of the book, I didn't get personal about the author. Shit happens on Amazon.

Misfit said...

I think there's a fair amount of certainty that it was the author. Click on the Amazon profile and then the wish list - it says the list is for Candace Sams. She also posted a *plea* on her Facebook page (see page #32 of the Amazon comments to read it, she's now set her profile to private).

An interesting side-note to this kerfuffle is comment #15 on this blog:

Now go to Barb's one star review of Tasha Alexander's new book Tears of Pearl. Considering he's still name calling methinks he didn't learn his lesson very well.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Misfit: Sams probably didn't think it would be a big deal. Hello, the world of the internet moves fast and I knew she was up shit's creek without a paddle when Neil Mo Fo Gaimman tweeted it an posted it on his blog!

One review of a book is not going to destroy and author. Buy a doll and push some pins in the doll instead of going bat shit for the whole world to see.

A Buckeye Girl Reads said...

*shakes head* when you want to leave a comment like that in defense of your work, that is when you step away from the computer and take your frustration out on something else.

In this day and age, you can't assume something like that will go unnoticed. I've never heard of this author before, and while it does give her publicity, it's not the kind you really want.

Anonymous said...

The Guardian article about this links to this page as having the full archive of the trainwreck. Looks like you don't-- wonder if anyone does.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Anon: I only copied some of the more outspoken comments from Sams, seeing as she went on and on. There is a way to read it in some type of archive, which is mentioned in one of the many comments left under the review.

Tokyogirl79 said...

I made an archive of all of the posts that Sams made, as well as everyone's comments to her. I figured that it would be something interesting for a while.

kartinki popki said...

I read some of that train wreck and all I could think of was she is demented.
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