UK’s The Telegraph reports today that RJ Ellory, noted writer of crime fiction, has been outed as the author of pseudonymously posted raves of his own work—and likewise posted pans of his competitors’ books.
I will admit that I have posted a “review” on my own works on Amazon, but (1) it was done under my own name, and (2) it wasn’t an actual review, but a more in-depth blurb and a note to readers. The idea of heaping glory on my own work under a fake name just reeks of desperation, and the idea of trashing other writers in my genre? Oy. What was he thinking?
RJ Ellory has since apologized for his “lapse of judgement” but I say, this is no lapse. This was a self-justified, long-term pattern of bad behavior born of some overweening belief that he is just “too cool for school” and that the rules of fairness just don’t apply to Himself. For someone who gets the kind of notice, press, and accolades RJ Ellory already enjoys, this sort of petty, schoolyard tactic is nigh on unbelievable.
But, it is just another example of how standards have been reduced and misbehavior is only regretted once one is caught out red-handed. I expect this will not hurt Mr. Ellory in the long run—his sales will not markedly drop nor will his next contract be in jeopardy—but I hope it stings like hell for a while.