Author Topic: The danger of buying your own books/Mark Dawson buys 400 copies of his own book  (Read 14781 times)  

Offline Brevoort

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Re: The danger of buying your own books.
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2020, 08:47:32 am »



I am going with the Nielsen BookScan official statement as posted earlier today (Thursday) by Mark Dawson on his Twitter Account.


It reads in part, "We have spoken at length to all those involved and believe it to be an innocent error."


I really don't have the time to go into the epistemology of this issue so I will take the word of Nielsen and Dawson.


I will make one other point. During a couple of the SPF podcasts Mark Dawson and James Blatch discussed the idea of the promotion ahead of time and Dawson seemed to be at pains to say that he had made attempts to make sure that what he was going to do was proper. And, he had the backing of the bookseller in question.


So, I will walk away from the bonfire and get back to work.







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    Offline GrandmaBirdie

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    Hat tip to Nate Hoffelder's The Digital Reader.

    Author loses spot in Top 10 after buying 400 copies of his own book


    Karma -- it doesn't pay to cheat the system.

    Offline Eskimo

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    I suppose another lesson here is that if you're going to cheat, don't publicize it.

    Offline Highbodycount

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    Re: The danger of buying your own books.
    « Reply #28 on: July 23, 2020, 09:15:53 am »
    I am going with the Nielsen BookScan official statement as posted earlier today (Thursday) by Mark Dawson on his Twitter Account.
    This is just the original Nielsen official statement from days ago, saying the purchases didn't meet their inclusion criteria and that the rankings were going to be adjusted, along with a writer apologizing to Mark Dawson for saying he gamed the system. The rankings haven't been changed back.

    Offline Becca Mills

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    Re: The danger of buying your own books
    « Reply #29 on: July 23, 2020, 09:17:29 am »
    I've merged in a second thread on the same event. Sorry for any confusion.

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    Offline Crystal_

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    I'm usually very invested in sportsmanship, but I don't really care if Mark bought his way into the list. He obviously didn't think it was wrong or shameful. He talked about it on his podcast as a strategy.

    People rant about gaming the system as if the system has an inherent value. I don't agree there.

    I remember a few year ago, before NYT got rid of their ebook only list, people were constantly up in arms about authors gaming the list with bundles.

    If the list has arbitrary scoring and he takes advantage of an unbalanced rule... I have a hard time caring about that. But I also think lists are silly if they aren't straight measures of sales.

    I don't really care that Mark is a successful, popular authors who helps other authors. I do give him the benefit of the doubt based on what I've seen from him over the years, but I would (and do) happily dismiss an author of his stature.

    Offline Eskimo

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    Re: The danger of buying your own books.
    « Reply #31 on: July 23, 2020, 09:28:06 am »
    I am amused ast how some people try and minimize what Mark did. In instances like this, I default to a comment made by a US Supreme Court Justice regarding pornography -- "I know it when I see it." The degree of his mistake can be debated. But did Mark proactively do something wrong? It's pretty obvious he did. That he boasted about it as well merely seals the deal.

    Offline Indy Strange

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    Re: The danger of buying your own books.
    « Reply #32 on: July 23, 2020, 09:29:32 am »


    I am going with the Nielsen BookScan official statement as posted earlier today (Thursday) by Mark Dawson on his Twitter Account.


    It reads in part, "We have spoken at length to all those involved and believe it to be an innocent error."


    I really don't have the time to go into the epistemology of this issue so I will take the word of Nielsen and Dawson.


    I will make one other point. During a couple of the SPF podcasts Mark Dawson and James Blatch discussed the idea of the promotion ahead of time and Dawson seemed to be at pains to say that he had made attempts to make sure that what he was going to do was proper. And, he had the backing of the bookseller in question.


    So, I will walk away from the bonfire and get back to work.
    LOL! That's company speak for 'We're aware Mark Dawson has a large following, so we're hoping that downplaying his actions will keep y'all off our back.'

    I just don't understand why he did this. Were the benefits of his little experiment really worth his reputation taking a hit? Especially since he sells online courses where reputation in this industry has more meaning. Also, he's been self-publishing long enough to see the various scandals so why would he think that this was okay to publicly announce?
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    Offline markpauloleksiw

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    Never underestimate an author's ego.

    So here is his excuse...i bought the book because I will eventually sell them to readers, this is okay.

    NO IT IS NOT. When your readers actually pay for the book and get the book is when you actually sold the book.

    Mark

    Offline VisitasKeat

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    This news made me listen to the million dollar man WWE entrance theme!

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=XFTmPzMbvBU

    Offline Triceratops

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    Mark Dawson's July 11 tweet. Mark has since deleted it.


    Offline alawston

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    The "If I was trying to game the system I'd have bought 10,000 copies" line is disingenuous. This wasn't a POD indie book, but a trad publisher's print run. These print runs are not large for hardbacks. I strongly doubt that there were 10,000 copies to be ordered from an independent bookshop on a Wednesday or Thursday (he did this after seeing his position in the mid-week chart, remember) in order to make it into the Sunday Times bestseller list which is presumably compiled shortly after the end of trading hours on Saturday evening. I suspect the maximum amount he could order was... about 400 copies. Strange, that.

    Yeah, factor in irritating details like limited print runs, the bookshop's credit terms with their wholesaler, and the sheer space 400 hardback books take up, I'd say he basically bought up every copy he physically could. Maybe not 10,000, but also possibly not for want of trying.

    I have dodgy extended family. When we've had to confront them with a clear wrong we know they committed, their favourite tactic isn't to try and outright deny anything - how can they, they've been caught red-handed? Instead they try and muddy the water. "If I was a thief," they'll say, "why would I only have taken the jewellery sitting in your bedroom when I could have stolen your car?"

    The whole thing stinks.


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    Offline Rick Gualtieri

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    On the scale of sins in publishing, I wouldn't consider this a mortal one.  The entire list system is pretty much corrupt.  Those who maintain the lists know full well they can be gamed and allow it to happen. They only take action when they get bad press and only on a small scale of booting the offending party, very seldom actually trying to fix the issue (NYT acting to stop Indie box sets being one such case). 

    All of that said, if 1000 people trespass and get away with it, that doesn't make it right for the 1001th person to do so.  Wrong is still wrong.  And I personally think the "I did nothing wrong" spin being put on this after the fact both feels a bit disingenuous and is likely doing nothing to make the situation better.

    Do I think this is worthy of destroying someone's career and/or ostracizing them from the author community - not even remotely. As I said, far worse has been done in the name of gaming the system.  Do I think he's suffered a ding to his reputation for doing this? Yes, and it is probably deserved.

    That's pretty much as far as I care to take this one.  I think it's wrong, but I'm not breaking out the pitchforks and torches.

    What I am hoping, though, is that the backlash is enough to keep others from following his lead.  The last thing we need is more author-see/author-do here.


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    Offline alawston

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    On the scale of sins in publishing, I wouldn't consider this a mortal one.  The entire list system is pretty much corrupt.  Those who maintain the lists know full well they can be gamed and allow it to happen. They only take action when they get bad press and only on a small scale of booting the offending party, very seldom actually trying to fix the issue (NYT acting to stop Indie box sets being one such case). 

    All of that said, if 1000 people trespass and get away with it, that doesn't make it right for the 1001th person to do so.  Wrong is still wrong.  And I personally think the "I did nothing wrong" spin being put on this after the fact both feels a bit disingenuous and is likely doing nothing to make the situation better.

    Do I think this is worthy of destroying someone's career and/or ostracizing them from the author community - not even remotely. As I said, far worse has been done in the name of gaming the system.  Do I think he's suffered a ding to his reputation for doing this? Yes, and it is probably deserved.

    That's pretty much as far as I care to take this one.  I think it's wrong, but I'm not breaking out the pitchforks and torches.

    What I am hoping, though, is that the backlash is enough to keep others from following his lead.  The last thing we need is more author-see/author-do here.


    I think that's fair. The sin I can live with, it's the spin that I'm finding increasingly difficult to stomach.


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    Offline Highbodycount

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    I think that's fair. The sin I can live with, it's the spin that I'm finding increasingly difficult to stomach.
    Definitely agree with all that.

    Offline blubarry

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    The spin is bad, the bullying for apologies on twitter equally bad, but not the first time MD has acted like that.

    Offline Carl Johnson

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    I see it as gaming the system, especially where he admits doing it to manipulate his book's ranking. There's a reason why ordering 1 or 1000 copies of a book on Amazon, only affects the book's ranking as if only one was purchased -they consider it gaming the ranking system too.

    Offline Marian

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    I have dodgy extended family. When we've had to confront them with a clear wrong we know they committed, their favourite tactic isn't to try and outright deny anything - how can they, they've been caught red-handed? Instead they try and muddy the water. "If I was a thief," they'll say, "why would I only have taken the jewellery sitting in your bedroom when I could have stolen your car?"

    The whole thing stinks.
    You said it perfectly!

    Offline Jeff Hughes

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    Offline ShayneRutherford

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    Re: The danger of buying your own books.
    « Reply #44 on: July 23, 2020, 01:14:43 pm »

    THis guy is leaping ahead of the line of someone who is likely grinding their way like everyone else.


    This is a really good point. Those 400 copies could have been -- and probably were -- the difference between making the list or not for some other author who was playing it straight and busting their butt to make it on the list the honest way.
             

    Offline MMSN

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    Has he apologized to the authors whose ranks he sunk?

    Offline ........

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    As I've read elsewhere, contracts have clauses to buy author copies at wholesale. I haven't seen Mark comment on this. Pretty hard to believe his contract didn't have this option.

    Pretty hard to believe he just coincidentally was doing this super duper good thing for his overseas readers at the same time his book launched, knowing it would push him on to the list.

    If you were more cynical about it, you'd almost think the bulk-buying, the talking about it, the articles and controversy was planned in the all publicity is good publicity mode.

    It's so bad though. I don't understand why he keeps repeating "innocent mistake" like everyone is stupid.

    Offline Triceratops

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    I don't mind an author buying copies of his own book to get on a list. But an author doing that, then thanking the readers for placing his book in the top 10?

    If Mark wants to buy his way onto a list, fair by me. It's his money. But he should not have thanked the readers. If you thank the readers, you are propagating a false narrative that it was the readers and not you who made the book hit a high position on the list.

    It's like lawyer-speak to imply something, but not actually saying something.

    Offline Indy Strange

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    Uh...it looks like he deleted his Twitter account. Other than the Guardian article being retweeted and a handful of writers being snarky, the response to this has been tepid, so I don't even understand the need to do that. I swear, people would rather be dramatic than just post a sincere apology and promise not to do things like this in the future. Times like these make me grateful I got my thick internet skin from hanging around in the Supernatural fandom on Tumblr during the height of its popularity. That was a dark experience.
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    Offline Triceratops

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    Uh...it looks like he deleted his Twitter account. Other than the Guardian article being retweeted and a handful of writers being snarky, the response to this has been tepid, so I don't even understand the need to do that. I swear, people would rather be dramatic than just post a sincere apology and promise not to do things like this in the future. Times like these make me grateful I got my thick internet skin from hanging around in the Supernatural fandom on Tumblr during the height of its popularity. That was a dark experience.

    He might only have taken a break. You can deactivate your Twitter account for 30 days. After 30 days has elapsed the account and all data related to it is deleted. So if 30 days goes by and Mark doesn't come back, then yeah he will have deleted it permanently.

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