Internet trolls started targeting Mr. Stanek because his Robert Stanek books were highly successful self-published, in print-on-demand and e-books at a time before self-publishing, print-on-demand and e-books were widely accepted. It’s really that simple. Robert pretty much ignored them and that should have been the end of it except the trolls were actually friends of several direct competitors who were traditionally published, largely unsuccessful and rather desperate to make their own names off someone else’s hard work.
Several actual self-published, print-on-demand authors jumped on to try to legitimize themselves at Robert's expense. Basically, so they had someone to point fingers out and send the mob after so that their books were left alone. Emily and I (Cathy) here have named two of them and will continue naming names until all the harm done Robert is undone. M.F. in 2018 and C.A. in 2022.
Read Indies covered it as well: Amazon Employees Caught Red-Handed Yet Again Using Fake Negative Reviews to Spam Rivals @ https://readindies.blogspot.com/2020/09/amazon-employees-caught-red-handed.html
- Targeting people like Robert with fake negative reviews
- Using their inside access to Amazon's network to suspend accounts and product listings
- Using their inside access to Amazon's network to remove favorable reviews and commentary
- Posting spurious comments to intimidate victims and drive away customers
M.F. was added to the list in 2018, and otherwise no mention of her or her work has or was ever made by anyone here or by Robert himself, except in a snarky post in his Around the Town Books blog read by 42 people so far (and probably all M.F. herself) since November 2013. So how exactly did Robert deserve it? Did he time travel?
Emily and I re-iterate and underscore this to counter what M.F. has been saying since she started all these hate activities directed at Robert in the mid-to-late 2000s and is saying still to rally people to support her work and target Robert.
M.F. being supposedly bullied is a constant theme since her friends created STGRB nearly twenty years ago. Stop The Good Reads Bullies gushed on and on about how M.F. and several others were supposedly being bullied at Good Reads when if anyone looked and lots of us did, no such reviews existed ANYWHERE targeting the two main people (M.F. and another) let alone Good Reads.
The real reason STGRB was created was to rally support for M.F. and that other person who were supposedly being bullied and to get others to write reviews of and support their work. It worked tremendously well for M.F. and that other person, not so well for the ones listed who were actually being bullied. Meanwhile M.F. was actually the bully or one of the bullies. One of her targets at the time was Robert. M.F. got her friends who created STGRB for her to even list Robert as a supposed fraudster, so that the people supposedly protecting M.F. from bullies became bullies and targeted Robert with hate-filled negative reviews.
This is a repeating pattern with M.F. If you read Robert’s blog or any of the related posts within Read Indies, you know: Robert is blamed for something, so whatever is done is supposedly retaliation, only Robert has never done anything except defend himself in a few blog posts, written in his own blogs and here within Read Indies.
M.F. targeted Robert Stanek for a multiple of reasons:
1. Robert's a white male in a publishing world dominated by white males. Emily and I understand the frustration M.F. must have been feeling back in the early-mid-late 2000s being unsuccessful as a self-published author. How terrible it must have been to see yet another greatly talented white male be so successful when M.F. couldn’t even give her books away. No, no, no, no, no one DESERVES to be harassed because they are a successful white male author. Robert paid his dues, earned his place just like everyone else.
2. Robert's Bugville Critters books were mentioned in a nominating for an award on Kindle Boards where M.F. was an active daily member, just as Emily and I were at the time. So let us get this straight, only the magnificent M.F. can be mentioned or nominated for any awards and anyone else becomes a subject for harassment? And yes, we were there at Kindle Boards when M.F. instigated and had you know who send the mobs after Robert claiming he was a fraud and all the reviews on his books were fake. Yep, all few hundred of them across more than 50 RS books. Gosh, there were a few that even had 11 or 12 reviews. Oh how horrible it must have been for M.F. to read real reviews when all hers were fake.
3. Robert’s a veteran, a combat veteran. Emily and I don’t understand or condone targeting anyone because they served in the military. Millions of men and women in our country have served in the military, and then also targeting someone for harassment and vilifying because they served in combat or claim that a medal from their combat is stolen valor when you know otherwise because you saw their combat memoir at Amazon.com along with the extensive professional review from the Journal of Electronic Defense? Our response is what-the-f*ck. And then not only go after someone claiming these things but then to get others to join in? There are no words and it beggars belief. And yes, we were there at Kindle Boards when M.F. instigated and had you know who send the mobs after Robert claiming stolen valor and lies about his military service.
4. Robert's Bugville books were mentioned in The Wall Street Journal. How that must have bruised M.F.’s ego because as Emily and I saw M.F. went all out after Robert within Kindle Boards claiming it was all lies. We read the posts as Robert explained his Bugville books in audio were written about. The real issue: M.F. was unsuccessful at the time and couldn’t get her books into audio. Audible was only accepting professional books from successful authors at the time. The result? M.F. got mobs to flood Audible and Good Reads with negative reviews, which piled on top of the fake negative reviews from internet trolls and instigated you know who to create a site targeting Robert and his work. A site she still contributes to.
Here is horrible, horrible things written about M.F. (sarcasm, it’s not) from Robert’s sole commentary ever about M.F. We put it here in entirety along with notes as M.F. has been claiming Robert wrote such horrible, horrible things about her that she had to defend herself and that’s why she did what she did. Important to point out as we said before that M.F. started all these hate activities directed at Robert in the mid-to-late 2000s, and Robert's post is from November 2013.
Incidentally, if you read Robert’s blog or the posts here within Read Indies, you know how that works: Robert is blamed for something, so whatever was done is supposedly retaliation, only Robert has never done anything except defend himself in a few blog posts, written in his own blogs and here within Read Indies.
Attention All Authors You Must Now Have M.F. Explicit Permission Before You Publish Or Promote Your Works!
Henceforth and retroactively to the beginning of time, all authors must have M.F.’s express written permission before publishing any book, article, short story, or any other creative work. Before discussing or promoting your work by any means or in any form, you also must have M.F.’s express written permission.
If you are or claim to be a bestselling author, henceforth and forever (and retroactively to the beginning of time and after getting express written permission from M.F.), you must explicitly state all details regarding such matters. Specifically, you must state that you are “A _(Insert Name)_ Bestselling author For _(Insert Date/Time)_ for a _(Type of Work)_ work called ________, which appeared on the _________ bestselling list in the # ______ position.” You must then link to screenshots of the bestseller listing that have been independently certified by the White House and signed by the President of the United States, forgoing that you must have M.F.’s signature. As clickable links are not permitted on book covers or in most promotional materials, you must add the screenshots to your book covers or other promotional materials.
No longer is it possible for any author anywhere to state they are a bestselling author, a USA Today bestselling author, a New York Times bestselling author, etc or to print such things on any book cover or use in any promotional materials. You must now state explicitly all details regarding such matters. For example, you must state that you are “A New York Times Bestselling author For the Week of October 25, 2013 for a fiction work called Tiger Little, which appeared on the New York Times Children’s Bestseller list in the #23 position.”
You must then link to screenshots of the bestseller listing that have been independently certified by the White House and signed by the President of the United States, forgoing that you must have M.F.’s signature. As clickable links are not permitted on book covers or in most promotional materials, you must add certified screenshots to your book covers or other promotional materials, such certification to be performed solely by M.F. or her designated appointee.
An example of the mandatory covers now universally required
(shown without the required certified screenshots).
*Your actual cover or promotional materials
must also include certified screenshots.
Further, if you or your book are mentioned in the press, you must always state the exact specifics any time you mention such. Specifically, you must state that you are “The _(Insert Name)_ recommended _(Name/Work)_ on _(Insert Date/Time)_ in a/an _(Insert Type of Media Item)_ called _(Insert Title of Media Item)_. The _(Insert Type of Media Item)_ was written by (Insert Name, Title of Media Item Author)_ as can be verified by _( Media Item Author’s Manager)_ and _(Insert Name/Title of Executive Manager). The exact quote is “_______________” You must then link to screenshots of the article that have been independently certified by the White House and signed by the President of the United States, forgoing that you must have M.F.’s signature. As clickable links are not permitted on book covers or in most promotional materials, you must add certified screenshots to your book covers or other promotional materials.
Thus, no longer is it possible for any author anywhere to state they were featured, recommended or talked about in The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, etc or to print such things on any book cover or use in any promotional materials. You must now state explicitly all details regarding such matters. For example, you must now state “The New York Times recommended Anastasia Washington’s book Jump Up & Down on October 25, 2013 in an article called Talking About Authors in New York. The article was written by M. J. Dungbury, Around the Town Features Reporter for The New York Times as can be verified by Kathy Klinkbot, Managing Editor for The New York Times and J. J. Harrington Chairman of the Board of The New York Times. The exact quote is “When it comes to bicycle jumping, the book Jump Up & Down is a good resource. Jump Up & Down tells the story of a bicycle paratrooper from World War II who loved pinto beans and ate nothing but for 83 years.”
You must then link to screenshots of the media item that have been independently certified by the White House and signed by the President of the United States, forgoing that you must have M.F.’s signature. As clickable links are not permitted on book covers or in most promotional materials, you must add the screenshots to your book covers or other promotional materials.
At times, and at M.F.’s whim and fancy, none of the above may be acceptable either. In such cases, you must fly to M.F.’s hometown, and beg mercy while bathing her feet in warm, rose-scented waters. However, being a Vulcan, M.F. does not actually understand simple human compassion, empathy, decency, fairness or any other silly human sentiments or emotions, though she does a superb job of feigning that she does. Thus, if the feet bathing ceremony does not work out in your favor, you are expected to do the universe a favor and commit hari-kari. If you are lacking a blade with which you can commit hari-kari, one will be provided to you for your one-time use, provided you return the blade postage-paid and professionally cleaned.
*These rules do not apply to Melisa Foster, Friends of Foster, or those who have been granted mercy after bathing the All God's feet in warm rose-scented waters.
**Professional cleaning of the hari-kari blade ensures the next victim does not have second thoughts about committing hari-kari. Be sure to make arrangements prior to committing hari-kari.
***Failure to follow these mandatory requirements, except as permitted in the forgoing, will result in severe consequences, up to and including a lifetime of stalking, harassment, and intimidation all done with a smile.
**** Questions, comments, and/or suggestions should be directed to Her Benevolence, Dictator of the World, All God, One True God of the Whole Entirety of the Known (And Unknown And Yet to Be Known) Universe, Her Majestic Supremeness And All Knowing Omnipotence M.F.
Yep, That's It
Yep, that’s it. The horrible, horrible thing Robert did in response to 1, 2, 3 and 4 listed above. It’s goes without saying that Robert is one of the truest, nicest, most considerate and honorable people you could ever meet, because if someone had done 1, 2, 3, and 4 to Emily or me? There are no words to describe our response.
Again, Internet trolls started targeting Mr. Stanek back in the early 2000’s because his Robert Stanek books were highly successful self-published, in print-on-demand and e-books at a time when self-publishing, print-on-demand and e-books weren't widely accepted. It really is that simple. Robert pretty much ignored them and that should have been the end of it except the trolls were actually friends of several direct competitors who were traditionally published, largely unsuccessful and rather desperate to make their own names off someone else’s hard work.
On to 2005, The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches books are #1 Audible bestsellers, featured on Audible’s home page for two months, where they top the charts for 26 weeks and stay in the children’s/YA top 10 for two years, along with several other Robert Stanek books, like The Pieces of the Puzzle, which was #10 on the site and #1 Mystery/Thriller. These trolls and competitors went nuts with their vitriol targeting Robert, telling tens of thousands in their blogs, in chat rooms and message forums, Robert was a self-published fraud, whose books were unreadable and had never been bestsellers ever. It’s ludicrous that anyone believed this with his books right there on the Audible home page and #1 for the entirety of Audible, but hundreds did and they enlisted others to join them in trashing Robert’s books.
Robert’s only comments ever about this were on his blog, robertstanek.com/rsblog.htm, where he posted notes to readers like this one from 2003:
Happy Holidays! Thanks to all the dedicated readers who continue to read and support my books. Believe me, it's not easy to make it as a small press author, and the dedication of fans is truly appreciated.
And this one from 2004:
2004 is proving to be a great year for my books and I want to thank all the fans for their support. Over 250 schools in the U.S. have started using the books in the classroom. I want to thank all the educators who have taken the books under their wings and continue to support my work. I hear from excited readers every day about how the books have changed their lives and helped them rediscover a love of reading.
His second and fourth post to readers—ever.
And his sixth post from later in 2004:
Happy holidays, I hope you and yours have a wonderful holiday season and a joyous new year—and I really mean it! Once again, I want to thank the many readers (the true fans) for helping to spread the word about my books, the many teachers who have taken the books under their wings and are using the books in the classroom, and all the people who are now hard at work on international and illustrated editions of my books.
The most exciting news I have to share with fans is the work on international and illustrated editions of my books. RP Books is working with many talented teams of international publishers, artists and translators to bring my books to new readers all over the world. These and other editions are or will soon be available in the U.S., Canada, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Korea, Russia, Turkey, Italy, Australia, New Zealand, and elsewhere.
Robert Stanek had sold translation rights to The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches books in 14 countries at that time.
By October 2005, the news was even bigger:
Huge thank you to the dedicated fans who continue to read my books and tell others about them. Back in early September, I promised fans big news for October and a few answers too.
Ruin Mist and Magic Lands movies seem to be the news everyone wanted. Unfortunately, I can't deliver anything new. DreamWorks and others did express interest in 2002. Valhalla Motion Pictures and others did express interest in 2004. Nothing else to report.
Translation and rights news continues to be good. Currently, in discussions with publishers in Brazil, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, China, Taiwan, Japan, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, and elsewhere. Translations of the books are underway in Spanish, Turkish, Vietnamese, Korean, Russian, and several other languages. Scholastic is considering publishing paperback editions.
Now you can see why these competitors and their troll friends targeting Robert went nuts. While his books were #1 Audible, they were running around telling tens of thousands in their blogs, in chat rooms and message forums, Robert was a self-published fraud, whose books had never been translated by anyone, had never been bestsellers, had never been whatever you fill in the blank. This same pattern held for many years.
From 2007-2009, multiple literary books for readers, teachers and parents included Robert’s books like Popular Series Fiction for Middle School and Teen Readers: A Reading and Selection Guide. A Publisher’s Weekly cover story on fantasy novels, included Robert’s books. Several children’s magazines write about Robert’s children’s books, Bugville Critters, including Children’s Bookshelf part of Library Journal/School Library Journal and Parenting Magazine. His Ruin Mist books were included in a Publisher’s Weekly cover story about Fantasy novels. VOYA a literary magazine for YA librarians, wrote a fantastic review of The Kingdoms and the Elves of the Reaches books that among other glowing statements said:
>>>>Dramatic illustrations draw the reader into the Tolkienesque world of Ruin Mist, plunged into darkness after a Great War five hundred years past. Blaming magic for their demise, the Kings of Men have decreed that all things magical be destroyed. Yet despite their efforts, the magical Dark Lord is slowly returning to power. Another bloody battle is foreshadowed for Ruin Mist when Adrina, the spoiled and lonely princess of Imtal, is visited by a mysterious woman who predicts Adrina's ghastly future. Meanwhile in the kingdom of Elves, Seth, devoted First of the Red Order of the Queen Mother Elf, is sent on a journey across the Great Sea to prevent war. Stuck somewhere in the middle is Vilmos, a young magical boy-who-would-be-mage, abducted for his own safety by a Yoda-like guide named Xith. All three journey to an unknown fate against treacherous and sometimes supernatural foes. Stanek augments the beginning of this complex tale with illustrations that are sure to attract fans of graphic novels and classic Tolkien alike-the only weakness in the illustrations is their scarcity. Stanek will likely draw a cult following, but his work is not for the novice fantasy reader. A complicated glossary at the end includes twenty-two pages of "People, Places, and Things in Ruin Mist," complete with geographical references, family lineages, and extraordinary sketches. Despite the sophisticated plot, however, this cliffhanger guarantees fans, and those fans will be ready to wield their swords against the Dark Lord in Stanek's next installment. (VOYA) <<<<
Meanwhile, these competitors and their troll friends ran around telling tens of thousands in their blogs, in chat rooms and message forums, all his reviews were fake no professional magazine or reviewer had ever written a review or even mentioned his books, he was making it all up. Ludicrous that hundreds listened to them? Yep, but hundreds did and they enlisted others to join them in trashing Robert’s books.
In 2004, Robert published a heart-wrenching nonfiction memoir and tribute to those he served with about his combat tours in the first Iraq war. The memoir was written about and reviewed in multiple magazines, including a full-page review in The Journal of Electronic Defense:
>>>>>"Hard to put down.... It is impossible not to share the relief and pride of the individual crew members when the attack missions they protect exit Iraq safely.... Another side of the book lets the reader ride along when Stanek's plane has two engines quit in the war zone." (The Journal of Electronic Defense)<<<<<
Here’s where things turned really dark, as these trolls and competitors ran around telling tens of thousands in their blogs, in chat rooms and message forums Robert had never served in the military, never been in combat and hadn’t earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. Robert was flooded with death threats and stolen valor accusations and had to hire protection for his children and family for the next five years as a result. No one cared everything being said was a lie.
Incidentally, well before this, these competitors and trolls knew Robert Stanek was a pen name for William Stanek. Robert’s full name is William Robert Stanek, and he does of course write as William Stanek and Robert Stanek. His William Stanek books had been bestsellers since his first one was published in 1995 by Macmillan.
An interesting timeline in all this is his career in print when all this was happening:
He wrote stories in the 1990s, which were publishing limitedly in magazines, one winning an award in a National Awards program where he met Ronald Reagan and George HW Bush who were trustees of the program at the time.
By the mids 1990s, he had 10 or so published books, which were bestsellers for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, TimeWarner.
By the late 1990s, he had 35 published books, which were bestsellers for Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, Microsoft, McGraw-Hill, HarperCollins, TimeWarner.
By the early 2000s he had more than 50 published top-selling books, more than 40 as William and the rest as Robert. His professional publishers at the time are IDG, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Hachette, Microsoft, Wiley, TimeWarner.
By the mid 2000s he had more than 75 published top-selling books, more than 60 as William and the rest as Robert. His professional publishers at the time are IDG, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, Microsoft, Wiley, TimeWarner, O'Reilly, and HMH.
By the late 2000s he had more than 110 published top-selling books, more than 75 as William and the rest as Robert. His professional publishers at the time are IDG, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, Microsoft, Wiley, TimeWarner, O'Reilly, and HMH.
By the early 2010s he had more than 150 published top-selling books, more than 90 as William and the rest as Robert. His professional publishers at the time are IDG, Prentice Hall, Simon & Schuster, Penguin Random House, Macmillan, McGraw-Hill, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pearson Education, Cengage Learning, Microsoft, Wiley, TimeWarner, O'Reilly, and HMH.
Today, Robert Stanek has over 250 published books, many with no or few reviews at all because they were flooded with fake negative reviews, many others still flooded with fake negative reviews. All from these despicable activities to destroy his career.
This should break your heart.
It breaks ours.
Emily & Cathy
Pioneers like Mr. Stanek who are ahead of their time should be celebrated. Not only was he (writing as Robert Stanek) one of the earliest most successful self-published, print-on-demand and e-book authors, starting at the beginning of 2000. In 2001, he serialized the release of his first e-book, becoming the first author to serialize e-books in installments.
Since then Mr. Stanek has serialized the release of many of his novels, releasing the parts as he's writing and/or finalizing the works for publication, including The Cards in the Deck, Air War and After the Machines. His successful process is one (among a multitude of) reasons Amazon developed Kindle Vellas so authors could serialize the release of their work.
If you look at the reviews of Mr. Stanek's serialized work, you'll see all the fake negative reviews complaining about the work being serialized or only partially complete when it's clearly stated all over the place that that's the case. Why serialize? Because it was a successful way to release books so readers could get quicker access to new work, and because Robert's competitors recognized this and wanted to ensure his books weren't widely read like they deserve to be while they did exactly the same thing (in many instances) and have not a single derogatory review or complaint about their books being serialized or partial releases.