When I was a kid, my sister and I played often with sock puppets. Sometimes, when we were feeling a little silly while folding clothes, we would put a sock on our hands and have a little puppet show until our mother made us get back to the job.
That is what I thought of when I first ran across the term applied to authors. I saw it on a forum a few months ago and wondered, “what the?” Authors are playing with puppets? What’s up with that?
Then I followed some links that led to stories about authors who are called “sock puppets” for using assumed names and writing glowing reviews of their own work.
Really? Surely that is a rare occurance. Authors have more integrity than that.
Then more recently the news broke about British author, Roger Ellory, who writes as R. J. Ellory. He created two reviewer names to praise his work, but even more distressing, he also wrote scathing reviews of other authors’ work.
Really? Whatever prompted him to do that?
When asked in an interview at the Daily Mail UK, Ellory said, “Everyone does.”
Um… excuse me. Not everyone.
Ellory was outed by crime writer Jeremy Duns, who has campaigned on Twitter for some time to expose the practice across the board. If you would like to follow him, here is a link to his Twitter Profile.
Nobody will know for sure whether those fake reviews played a significant role in making him a best-selling author with millions of his books sold, but with the emphasis on Amazon for reviews, I would guess they did.
Read more at the Daily Mail UK or The Mirror. Both have in depth stories that are worth the read.
As with the practice of paying big bucks for someone else to write a rave review of your work, doing it yourself under an assumed name takes away the validity of the review. I remember the time when a person’s work stood on it’s own merit.
Wouldn’t it be nice if that were still true?