Book reviews · The book

Be Like Ron Weasley

And recognize a troll when you see one.

If you know me at all then you’ve been bombarded with messages about the book. I hate to be annoying, but I also hate to see a year of hard work go unacknowledged. If too few people buy a book then it turns into a vicious cycle – next stop pulp mill, and no more publishing contracts for yours truly either.

What does that have to do with trolls? Quite a bit this time, unfortunately. My book points out how ordinary investors were taken advantage of by companies that got rich off of hyperactive stock trading, among other things. The victims in my story really do believe they are victims, but because they weren’t allowed to KEEP buying meme stocks for a few days a year ago. It’s evidence that the system is rigged. Well it is, but not by an illegal conspiracy.

Pointing this out makes them angry. I’m a hack and I work for the Wall Street Journal, which is owned by Ken Griffin (no, it isn’t). I am a paid shill for hedge funds (I wish) and I didn’t even read the WallStreetBets message board (oh boy did I read it). I don’t want to insult anyone, and I’m sympathetic to the newest generation of investors, but there are some unpleasant aspects to the online army that made GameStop the most traded security in the world.

They haven’t read my book, but they would prefer you didn’t either. So if you go onto the UK Amazon page, where it went on sale a few days ago, this is what you’ll see:

I personally avoid things on Amazon with poor reviews and many potential readers have doubtless done the same. When the book goes on sale tomorrow in the U.S. and elsewhere then you’ll probably see the same phenomenon from “MoxPlatinum” and others.

My ego isn’t so fragile, but this is injurious in other ways. It’s a prime example of how some people behave toward strangers these days online – ironically a phenomenon I discuss in the book in the part dealing with the horrifying online harassment campaigns against some of the main characters. If I saw, say, a local baker wearing a shirt touting a political candidate who offended me, it just might make me upset enough to shop elsewhere. Or it might not if she’s really good. But I would never threaten her livelihood by saying her stuff tastes bad without actually sampling it.

So whether you know me or not, can I ask a favor? I spent a year of hard work baking this cake. If you don’t like it then please feel free to say so, but only after you’ve had a bite. And if you did then please consider writing something nice and maybe clicking on some legitimate negative feedback as helpful, not that it’s “utter Dribble” (the word is “drivel,” by the way). And please extend the same courtesy to other writers you know whose online reviews are suspiciously negative. I do and I will even more now.

Thank you!