Wolf Packing? Did the Tea Party get upset with me?

I’m told that “wolf packing” is a neo-con tactic of sending lots of people to Amazon to write negative reviews of books they objected to because of socio-political content.

Something strange is happening re my novel Everything Is Broken- –reviews are good, producers in Hollywood are interested and impressed by it, but there has suddenly been a rash of instances of the ebook version being “returned” for money back. Apparently there’s a 27% EBOOK return rate on this ONE book–which is unprecedented, and the novel just happens to satirize tea partiers, and trickle-down free marketeer conservatives. This trend followed on a PW review mentioning the political angle. Then I heard that the gush of returns may be a variation of “wolfpacking”, but in this case they buy the book and then “return it” (yes, one can “return” an ebook, strange as it sounds) as a way of making a political statement. In such cases they might not actually have read the book, they just heard ahead of time what it was about–probably due to the Publisher’s Weekly review, which was clear that the book satirized tea party/libertarian people. Once the PW review was out, word got around amongst those the book satirizes.

Someone who reviews a great many books told us that “this is the first novel we know of that uses the words ‘tea party’ and ‘tea baggers’ and extrapolates a very near future in which the US has been changed for the worse by ‘tea party’ politics.”

So–did tea partiers set out to discredit Everything is Broken, through ebook returns, to try to get Amazon to drop it? At any rate, the book remains available, in all its formats.

I heard there was a concerted group effort to trash some of Al Franken’s books on amazon and elsewhere…

All very disturbing. If true, it’s a most underhanded variety of dirty politics.

Here is the Publisher’s Weekly review. Note the clarity on the political subtext (my emphasis added) : “In this slim, grim, and powerful novel, Shirley lets his imagination loose on the frightening possibilities of a massive natural disaster striking a small American town. A tidal wave transforms Freedom, Calif., from seaside idyll into a broken and perilously unstable landscape. Survivors include some natural helpers like Drew Haver and his son, Russ, as well as psychopaths Dickie Rockwell, a gang leader and drug dealer, and Lon Ferrara, the town’s ultralibertarian mayor, who privatized emergency services and now refuses help from FEMA. Treating women like commodities and wielding a plethora of weapons, these men fight for survival and ownership of the ruins. Shirley’s vision is vivid and horrifying…”

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