Because I was doing so well self-publishing (I had the top three places in the UK Kindle bestseller list at the time) I was constantly getting emails asking for advice, and I was happy to help wherever I could.
Back then cover designers were few and far between, and there were very few people out there who could format quickly and cheaply for Smashwords and I would pass on the names of those that I could recommend. I was often asked for tips on pricing and marketing, and again I was happy to oblige and tell writers what had worked for me.
Since those heady days, self-publishing has become a global industry, yet I get far fewer requests for help. That's mainly because there are now hundreds of 'experts' offering advice on self-publishing. There is a huge support industry offering editing services, formatting and covers. It's far easier to get advice on what to do to make a success of self-publishing.
One of the best sources of information is the amazing Joe Konrath, who is very much a self-publishing evangelist and one of the most successful self-publishers out there. You can read his self-publishing blog HERE and I suggest you do, because it's a mine of information!
But for every Joe Konrath there are hundreds of people who describe themselves as experts but who in fact know little or nothing about the industry. There are hundreds of self-published books charging for the same information that Joe Konrath offers for free. And there are hundreds of so-called journalists who are scrambling to make a living from the self-publishing industry.
One of those so-called journalists is a Canadian by the name of Michael Kozlowski. I had never heard of him until he wrote about me on his website. Well, lied about me would be more accurate. This is what he wrote on his Good Ereader blog -
I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Michael Kozlowski, who I have never heard of and who has never made any attempt to contact me, had published two outright and unequivocal lies about me.
I have never, ever paid people to leave positive reviews. Leaving aside the legality/morality of paying for reviews, I have never done so because I get plenty of 5-star reviews anyway. All my books get all the positive reviews I need, I don't need to pay for reviews.
And I have never left fake reviews. I don't review many books but when I do I use my own name. Saying I leave fake reviews is an absolute lie.
Michael Kozlowski didn't provide any evidence to back up his allegations. And frankly I didn't understand where the allegations had come from.
I sent him a polite email pointing out that he was in error and that the unsubstantiated allegations he made on his Good eReader blog were false.
I didn't get a reply, let alone an apology. But some time later he amended his copy and republished the following -
He was now accusing me of creating multiple accounts to generate buzz on forums and to leave reviews on his own books.
The first allegation is complicated. I have never denied that I have sometimes been on forums and not used my real name. Most people on discussion forums use a pseudonym or pen name, especially on forums frequented by trolls. But his second allegation, that I left reviews on my own books is an outright lie. As I said earlier, I get all the reviews I need, I don't have to pay for reviews or review my own books.
I wrote back to Michael Kozlowski at Good eReader pointing out that his article was still making unsubstantiated false accusations about me.
This time I did receive an email from him. No apology, in fact nothing other than two links which I assume were to the websites he had taken his lies from.
It turns out he had taken his information from two 'journalists' who are as unreliable as he is.
The first one, Suw Charman-Anderson made allegations that are simply untrue in her Forbes blog. She corrected some of the mistakes she made but not all, and I have complained several times to Forbes management. She no longer writes for Forbes. In fact she never really did, she just had a blog that ran under the Forbes banner.
The second link is to another website where another journalist wrote that I confessed to reviewing my own books. That is not true. I asked for a correction but as with Michael Kozlowski I didn't get it and the lie remains up there.
That's the problem with these so-called journalists. It's almost impossible to get them to correct their mistakes and they never seem to apologise. If Michael Kozlowski had contacted me before writing his piece I could have given him the truth. But he didn't want the truth. All he wanted to do was to knock out a quick article using work stolen from other writers.
So, I can safely say that Michael Kozlowski is a liar and a plagiarist. He claims to be a journalist, but to me a journalist is a professional who gathers facts and then assembles a readable article. From what I've seen of Michael Kozlowski's work, he seems to think it's journalism when you take another reporter's work and repost it. That's not journalism. That's theft. And what makes it worse is that Michael Kozlowski doesn't even check the material he steals, which means he publishes lies and rumour.
There are also doubts about his impartiality. He accused me of paying for reviews - which is an absolute lie. But he quite happily tells manufacturers that they can buy reviews in his column. That's worth repeating. If you pay money to Michael Kozlowski, he will review your products. The man is a liar and a plagiarist and a hypocrite.
You can read his Good Ereader blog HERE - but I wouldn't bother. It's rubbish. And pretty much all the material is lifted from elsewhere.
For instance, he doesn't think that self-published writers should call themselves authors. You can read that nonsense HERE. But I wouldn't bother. The man's an idiot.
He also thinks that self-published authors are destroying literature. You can read that nonsense HERE, but again I wouldn't bother, really.
I'm not the only one who thinks that Michael Kozlowski is an idiot - you can read more HERE
I'm guessing that he makes outrageous statements on his website to get people to click on his links, and I assume that's so he earns money from advertising. That doesn't excuse him plagiarising the work of other writers or from printing lies.
This is how Michael Kozlowski of Good eReader describes himself on his Twitter account -
He says he's editor-in-chief but I get the impression he's a one-man band. He describes himself as a 'young hero' but he's not that young and he's no hero.
I'm not the only one who thinks that Michael Kozlowski shouldn't be describing himself as an editor in chief. And he often gets accused of blogging nonsense to get traffic to his blog. He's a blogger, and not a very good one, and not a journalist.
Eric is right to question Michael Kozlowski's journalist credentials. A look at Michael Kozlowski's CV shows that he has had no journalist training. He is not a journalist.
Professional journalists, when confronted with their mistakes, apologise and print a correction. Not Michael Kozlowski. I know this from experience because he published lies about me. He didn't apologise when I pointed out his errors, he just rewrote the article so that it contained even more lies. And he justified his lies by showing me the articles he'd stolen his copy from. I pointed out that those articles were inaccurate, but he didn't care. I doubt that Michael Kozlowski's career will prosper. We'll see.