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Discussion Starter #1
Silly me, when I wrote my little novella Perfect Me, I thought "Everyone loves Douglas Adams! They'll enjoy this!"

Wrong. I'm down to two bloody stars. It's purely Adams fans that hate it. People without that background seem to enjoy it a lot. The audiobook, narrated by a brit female, really takes it to a whole other level.

Granted, it's edgier, Americanized, and everything they probably should hate, in a sense. The only device I borrowed from him, purely as an homage, are Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a mention of Parabola Blue, and, well, the fact that it ends as a prequel to Hitchhiker's Guide.

But, damnit, it's not fair! I love the man so much. He was a huge influence on me. It hurts. A lot.

Not that there's anything I can do, not really looking for advice as such. Just venting. I haven't been on here in something like seven years. All aspirations of actually selling books are lost, but I am slowly approaching writing again. Despite the heartbreak.

I'm including the link here in case anyone wants to listen to a preview. It's the start of the novella, so a good place to start. I'm honestly not trying to sell books anymore, don't worry. And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.

Audiobok preview
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Me-Perfection-Labs/dp/B00BSX9CJI

INCREDIBLE NARRATOR MOLLY ELSTON'S AUDITION:
https://soundclick.com/r/s75z61

Another snippet that really drive's home the fact that this is pretty far from Douglas Adams. And probably part of what upsets people.
https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandID=202428&content=songs

Am I too square? Too sensitive? Is this stuff just...bad?

Douglas Adams fans, help me out. Or at least please quit giving me one-star reviews. I mean no harm to your planet.
 

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jasonzc said:
And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.
That's karma working. How do you write a fake review and not feel bad about it? You realize, by writing a fake review you are lying to people so that you can get their money, pretending that you are just a customer when in reality you are the creator. You are trying to manipulate people with a lie. I don't feel bad for you. I really can't stand it when I hear authors writing fake reviews. Why can't everyone just follow the rules in life and do what they know is right?
 

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jasonzc said:
The only device I borrowed from him, purely as an homage, are Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a mention of Parabola Blue, and, well, the fact that it ends as a prequel to Hitchhiker's Guide.
Copyright law is...a thing. You know that, right? Fans are mad because your book seems like a poorly done rip-off, which it kind of is. I've read the Hitchhiker's Guide, though I wouldn't call myself a fan girl, and there is a line between homage and copyright infringement. From the tenor of your reviews, you're dancing on the wrong side of it.

And you should be really careful comparing yourself to the greats. Douglas Addams has a signature narrative style that is unsurpassed. The only other author I can think that comes close is Terry Pratchett. You're setting yourself up for disappointment by anchoring readers on the far end of the spectrum and then providing an obviously amateur experience.

jasonzc said:
I haven't been on here in something like seven years. All aspirations of actually selling books are lost, but I am slowly approaching writing again. Despite the heartbreak.

And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.
Selling books requires treating this like a business. You won't get very far with bad business practices. Writing reviews for your own books is a bad business practice and a violation of TOS for most platforms.
 

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jasonzc said:
And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.
Well, at least if/when your account is terminated you will know why.
 

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AugFul said:
That's karma working. How do you write a fake review and not feel bad about it? You realize, by writing a fake review you are lying to people so that you can get their money, pretending that you are just a customer when in reality you are the creator. You are trying to manipulate people with a lie. I don't feel bad for you. I really can't stand it when I hear authors writing fake reviews. Why can't everyone just follow the rules in life and do what they know is right?
Yep. All this. ^^^ Not cool.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ouchie. Well, it was seven years ago or something. There are far more horrendous practices out there than writing a review of a book you wrote and love.

I'm definitely in no way comparing myself to Douglas Adams. That's not what an homage is.

Anyway, thanks, I guess.
 

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The voice sounds mechanical to me, and nobody in England (not even the Queen) speaks like that! It might appeal to Americans, but I am not surprised that Brits don't seems to like it - sorry, but perhaps that's part of the problem.
 

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Oof. Unfortunately, any mention of the literary greats and you run the risk of getting lambasted.

I wrote in my foreword that I was inspired to write comedy by reading Terry Pratchett. A couple of people took umbrage at that for some reason, and decided to disparage me in reviews. Thankfully, they're outnumbered by a couple hundred other five star reviews that say I did a decent job.

As for writing a review on your own book... eek. That was one thing I learned from this forum right at the beginning - don't do it!
 

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jasonzc said:
Silly me, when I wrote my little novella Perfect Me, I thought "Everyone loves Douglas Adams! They'll enjoy this!"

Wrong. I'm down to two bloody stars. It's purely Adams fans that hate it. People without that background seem to enjoy it a lot. The audiobook, narrated by a brit female, really takes it to a whole other level.

Granted, it's edgier, Americanized, and everything they probably should hate, in a sense. The only device I borrowed from him, purely as an homage, are Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a mention of Parabola Blue, and, well, the fact that it ends as a prequel to Hitchhiker's Guide.

But, damnit, it's not fair! I love the man so much. He was a huge influence on me. It hurts. A lot.

Not that there's anything I can do, not really looking for advice as such. Just venting. I haven't been on here in something like seven years. All aspirations of actually selling books are lost, but I am slowly approaching writing again. Despite the heartbreak.

I'm including the link here in case anyone wants to listen to a preview. It's the start of the novella, so a good place to start. I'm honestly not trying to sell books anymore, don't worry. And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.

Audiobok preview
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Me-Perfection-Labs/dp/B00BSX9CJI

INCREDIBLE NARRATOR MOLLY ELSTON'S AUDITION:
https://soundclick.com/r/s75z61

Another snippet that really drive's home the fact that this is pretty far from Douglas Adams. And probably part of what upsets people.
https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandID=202428&content=songs

Am I too square? Too sensitive? Is this stuff just...bad?

Douglas Adams fans, help me out. Or at least please quit giving me one-star reviews. I mean no harm to your planet.
Might be worth to "de-Douglas Adams" it, make it your own universe, add more to it, and re-release with a new cover/title. As people mentioned (and you've experienced), people get very sensitive about the classics. I reckon you can make an improved book that doesn't set Douglas Adams' fans into a rage. I wouldn't get disheartened. Clearly, you enjoyed it and comedy is always needed.
 

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Comedy SF is my chosen genre, and I can confirm that any mention of the Great Man, even in passing, will upset people. (Something like 'Ideal for fans of Hitchhiker's Guide' is enough to set many off.)

You're just encouraging people to leave reviews saying 'No it isn't'.

 

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jasonzc said:
There are far more horrendous practices out there than writing a review of a book you wrote and love.
Like copyright infringement.

And using that reasoning "people do far worse" is never an excuse to do it. Amazon doesn't care.
 

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Can you delete your review? If you can, do it. Also, you may want to consider the suggestion of removing any references to Adams--in blurb or anywhere else, including changing the names in your book that are same as Adams' names; they're pretty unique, so using them can't even be considered a "coincidence."

This won't take away the negative ratings you already have, but you can add a line to the bottom of your blurb saying something like "references to Douglas Adams/Hitchhiker's Guide have been removed from this book, to allow it to stand on its own in the SF genre. As of [insert month & year here]." That way people will know you've addressed the issue.
 

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Granted, it's edgier, Americanized, and everything they probably should hate, in a sense. The only device I borrowed from him, purely as an homage, are Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a mention of Parabola Blue, and, well, the fact that it ends as a prequel to Hitchhiker's Guide.
If you are using those words, instead of "filing the serial numbers off," then it's not an homage, it's infringement.
 

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Speaker-To-Animals said:
If you are using those words, instead of "filing the serial numbers off," then it's not an homage, it's infringement.
Yes, this. If you used the actual names of specific things that are unique to his books, you've written fanfic and are trying to sell it. Which is not okay. Others have pointed out other things you've done wrong. I'm sure this is all out of ignorance, but I'm afraid it's part of our jobs as authors to educate ourselves about these things, and ignorance of the law (whether or not that means the actual law or just accepted behavior in the field) is no excuse.

As someone who's written fanfic for twenty years or so, I can say that I've seen many a time when a person comes up with the idea "I'll write a story based on an existing story that I love" and think they've come up with something totally unique that no one has ever tried before. But this practice is actually something ingrained into humanity. People have been doing it for all of human history. It's just that now we have IP and copyright law, so we don't have the freedom to just do that. I would say it's one of those things that is only considered morally wrong because it's legally wrong (in most, but not all, countries). But that's a different topic. It IS wrong, and that's the main point. You have to 'file the serial numbers off' if you want to write something inspired by an existing (non-public-domain) story. (And even then, if it's obvious what you've done, you might still annoy some readers.)
 

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jasonzc said:
Silly me, when I wrote my little novella Perfect Me, I thought "Everyone loves Douglas Adams! They'll enjoy this!"

Wrong. I'm down to two bloody stars. It's purely Adams fans that hate it. People without that background seem to enjoy it a lot. The audiobook, narrated by a brit female, really takes it to a whole other level.

Granted, it's edgier, Americanized, and everything they probably should hate, in a sense. The only device I borrowed from him, purely as an homage, are Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, a mention of Parabola Blue, and, well, the fact that it ends as a prequel to Hitchhiker's Guide.

But, damnit, it's not fair! I love the man so much. He was a huge influence on me. It hurts. A lot.

Not that there's anything I can do, not really looking for advice as such. Just venting. I haven't been on here in something like seven years. All aspirations of actually selling books are lost, but I am slowly approaching writing again. Despite the heartbreak.

I'm including the link here in case anyone wants to listen to a preview. It's the start of the novella, so a good place to start. I'm honestly not trying to sell books anymore, don't worry. And, oh, dear. Did I really review it on Audible under my own name, in the third person? What can I say, I'm an idiot. I WAS PRETTY SURE I USED AN ALIAS. I suspect something changed when Amazon took over.

Audiobok preview
https://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Me-Perfection-Labs/dp/B00BSX9CJI

INCREDIBLE NARRATOR MOLLY ELSTON'S AUDITION:
https://soundclick.com/r/s75z61

Another snippet that really drive's home the fact that this is pretty far from Douglas Adams. And probably part of what upsets people.
https://www.soundclick.com/artist/default.cfm?bandID=202428&content=songs

Am I too square? Too sensitive? Is this stuff just...bad?

Douglas Adams fans, help me out. Or at least please quit giving me one-star reviews. I mean no harm to your planet.
Bruh...why you do any of this?
 

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I think there is a mindset where consumers hate being told something, but love discovering that same thing for themselves.  If someone tells me, "you will love this book because you loved this other book" I'm instantly skeptical.  But if I read something and think to myself, "hey this reminds me of that other book I like" then it can really add something new to what I'm reading.

Maybe it would be better to let the book speak for itself and not try to lead readers by bringing up another book or author.  When someone is reading it and they think to themselves, hey this is like Hitchhiker's Guide, they might love that.  It's just different when it's you saying it, you know?  The fact that people who aren't Adams' fans like the book tells me that maybe if you didn't give them expectations and if you didn't give them the view into your process, then people might enjoy it more.

Maybe what I'm trying to say is that it can be good to give the reader the story and make them guess about you the writer.  If you just put it out there that you want to make a fresh take on Adams' style, then yeah, his fans will pick you to shreds.  Every writer has influences, and most of us have one or two big that really stuck with us, but does the reader have to know about it?  I say let them guess.  Otherwise you will open yourself up to direct comparison with someone who people read years ago and loved, and you can never win that.  Somebody remembering Adams' work will only remember the parts they loved, but someone reading your book and thinking about Adams will only remember the parts where you didn't measure up.  It's an impossible win.
 

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NikOK said:
I think there is a mindset where consumers hate being told something, but love discovering that same thing for themselves. If someone tells me, "you will love this book because you loved this other book" I'm instantly skeptical. But if I read something and think to myself, "hey this reminds me of that other book I like" then it can really add something new to what I'm reading.
That's because, when someone makes that claim themselves, it smacks of hubris.
 

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I agree re not mentioning other (famous) works.

I've actually played down the humour side of my work over the past few years. My stuff stands alone as a series of scifi adventures, rather than being a collection of jokes stitched together, so the humour is a bonus.

Plus if you tell people something is hilarious or laugh out loud, they'll leave a one star if they don't like the humour - even if the plot etc was okay.

The only exception I make is when I pinch a quote from a review which says it was funny or whatever.
 
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