Full text of letter from authors condemning fake book reviews by Ellory and other

Forty nine leading British writer have written to The Daily Telegraph in London condemning the proliferation of false book reviews.

This follows revelations that several authors, the most recent being award-winning crime writer RJ Ellory, have posted flattering reviews of their own work while criticisng the work of other authors.

book, author, Lee Child, book reviewThe group, including bestselling writers Ian Rankin, Lee Child, Karin Slaughter, Val McDermid and Helen FitzGerald, say widespread use of “fake identities” was causing untold damage to the publishing world.

They urge the reading public to "take possession" of the online review process with free and honest reviews that will drown out "phoney voices".

The online review capacity of sites such as Amazon has suffered a credibility issue in the past with the widespread practise of authors and publishers purchasing positive reviews.

book, Ian Rankin, book review, authorOne example was American Todd Rutherford's now defunct gettingbookreviews.com where he offered 50 positive reviews for $999 and at one stage was making $28,000 a month.

Meanwhile, here's the full text of the British authors' letter:

SIR – More and more books are bought, sold, and recommended online, and the health of this exciting ecosystem depends on free and honest conversation among readers. But some writers are misusing these channels in ways that are fraudulent and damaging to publishing at large.

Stephen Leather, the British thriller writer, recently admitted that he used fake identities online to promote his work. John Locke, the American bestseller, has revealed he has paid for reviews of his books. R J Ellory, the British author, has confessed to posting flattering reviews of his own work and to using assumed names to attack other authors perceived to be his rivals. These are just three cases of abuse; few in publishing believe they are unique. It is likely that other authors are pursuing these underhand tactics as well.

We condemn this behaviour, and commit never to use such tactics. But the only lasting solution is for readers to take possession of the process. The internet belongs to us all. Honest and heartfelt reviews, good or bad, enthusiastic or disapproving, can drown out the phoney voices, and underhand tactics will be marginalised to the point of irrelevance. No single author, however devious, can compete with the whole community.

Linwood Barclay
Tom Bale
Mark Billingham
Declan Burke
Ramsey Campbell
Tania Carver
Lee Child
Michael Connelly
N.J. Cooper
David Corbett
Ruth Dudley Edwards
Stella Duffy
Jeremy Duns
Mark Edwards
Chris Ewan
Helen FitzGerald
Meg Gardiner
Adèle Geras
Joanne Harris
Mo Hayder
David Hewson
Charlie Higson
Peter James
Graham Joyce
Laura Lippman
Stuart MacBride
Val McDermid
Roger McGough
Denise Mina
Steve Mosby
Stuart Neville
Jo Nesbo
Ayo Onatade
SJ Parris
Tony Parsons
Sarah Pinborough
Ian Rankin
Shoo Rayner
John Rickards
Stav Sherez
Karin Slaughter
Andrew Taylor
Luca Veste
Louise Voss
Martyn Waites
Neil White
Laura Wilson
Susan Hill
Gordon Harries


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