I like to open these things with a bit of a story, so gather round.
Once upon a time I was a member of one of those bad writing groups I mentioned before. (See HERE) I also enjoyed pretty regular contact with the groups founder/creator who had, on more than one occasion, told me some very worrying things. She claimed to love writing but didn’t have the time to read anything. She didn’t want to give harsh criticism of any works posted because that might drive people away. The kicker, the group was actually just a platform to sell her own online magazine.
Sketchy with a hard “Y”. However the group did have some pretty awesome active members who were more than happy to help tear apart a bad sentence, so I hung around.
Now the creator was prolific in adding herself to other groups about writing. Didn’t matter what group it was, she got in and started to private message members about joining her group. So, many times through the week I would see different group connections. Suddenly, I saw this face.
And I literally lost my shit.
I mean that, like, I couldn’t find the poor guy in the toilet or the medicine cabinet where I sometimes like to leave him. My shit was well and truly lost. I hung up posters and everything.
For those of you that don’t know, that is Robert Stanek. He just so happens to be the poster child of everything not to do when self publishing. He and people like him play a big part in why self publishing has the stigma it does. Even now, his name is a stain on the indie publishing scene. I’m just going to list a few of his shitty practices.
- Making dozens of false claims about being voted “Best of” and being a “Bestseller”. Now, Reagent Press does list his books as their number one best selling titles. Funny that, they seem to have only ever published books by Robert Stanek. Why that might make one think something crazy, such as maybe Robert Stanek owns Reagent Press or something, but that’s nuts right? (He does.)
- Creating an untold number of sock puppet accounts not just to post up false reviews of his own stories but to argue with anyone who posted anything negative about the books on Amazon. (He also has the bad habit of reviewing other books by famous authors and adding something to the effect of: “…if you enjoyed this book, you’d love books by Robert Stanek.” Those words have never been uttered by anyone ever, other than Robert Stanek.)
- Releasing the same book with a different title over and over again. Word for word, identical. This has lead to people accidentally buying the same book, twice. (That’s like getting hit with a turd that then poops on you!)
- This madness:
Truth be told, I could go on and on about the nutjob antics and awful practices that this guy has used to try and trick people into buying his books. But Conjugal Felicity has you covered on anything and everything Stanek. (Seriously go check it out. How deep the rabbit hole actually goes will blow your mind.)
Let’s bring things back home and wrap up. As soon as I saw that the creator of that group had joined up with a group run by Stanek, I sent all the info I just listed to her in a PM. I explained that you really don’t want your star hitched anywhere near that guy. Her reply, was the reason that I eventually ended up leaving the group and cutting ties. A picture is worth a thousand words they say, so here it is.
Now I tried to help her out whenever she’d come to me to bounce off ideas or just to vent, but her mindset, as evidenced above, just didn’t jive with me. Anybody who could see the underhanded tactics that have put a stain on the self publishing community and get “…some good ideas…” is too far gone and someone I don’t want to help.
Robert Stanek and his ilk are the reason indies have to work twice as hard to be taken seriously and get the traction that more traditional authors have. It is a hard, uphill slog sometimes and we don’t need people making the climb anymore difficult.
Stay frosty out there
PS: A rant by the madman himself! Enjoy!