Jane at DearAuthor has a post up regarding reader and writer allegations surrounding Highland Press, specifically addressing conduct by one individual:
Among other things, Highland Press [and “secret co-publisher, DeborahAnne MacGillvray”] [are] purported to do the following:
* Banning authors from author loops for speaking out against Highland Press
* Sending emails to subsequent publishers of those “problemâ€ authors demanding that stock photography that the author purchased for the covers of her Highland Press books not be used by subsequent publishers. These stock photos can be used, as we know, by every publisher out there. I’m not sure on what basis Highland Press claims that stock photo cannot be used.
* Using MacGillivray’s position to delete reviews she has provided to these problem authors and deleting reviews of the author’s friends. (Of course, these are MacGillivray’s reviews and she is entitled to do whatever she wants with them).
A corollary to this is that the co-publisher uses a Yahoo Group list, Ladies in Waiting, change her Amazon reviews. When MacGillivray she gets a bad review, she tells the loop to click on the link to the Amazon page and vote “noâ€ and then “report abuseâ€. With enough of those “report abuseâ€ entries, the review is then removed.
Like Jane, the part that stop me cold – and how much that says about my exposure to behind-the-scenes press shenanigans, I do not want to think about – is the manner in which MacGillivray is allegedly playing the Amazon system to her own benefit. We’ve discussed many, many times whether Amazon reviews are worth even taking with a grain of salt, or if they’re so subjective they’re best ignored. Some authors hate the reviews, and some authors go out of their way to court good ones, but mobilizing a group to game the system? That would be some rather smarmy activity, to say the least.