I personally think it's just kind of tacky for authors to go around giving their own books 5-star ratings, but even so, I would never hold that against an author, provided of course that they did it openly and without pretending to be someone else. My reluctance to toot my own authorial horn may make me the odd one out -- since I rarely hesitate to tout my editing/reviewing/grammar skills -- and I certainly don't blame anyone for taking enough pride in their work to say so in public.
But I do consider deception done in order to boost a book's rating -- and therefore its position in the almighty algorithms -- to be more than mere tackiness. I consider it highly unethical. And when that kind of misbehavior comes from someone who ought to know even a little bit more about ethics than the average bear, I get a bit angry.
What I believe we have in the case of Pattimari Sheets-Cacciolfi is an author who claims to be a professional therapist and yet who engages in what appears to be rampant deception to foist her product on the unsuspecting public.
If that seems like a rather harsh assessment, let's just take a look at some evidence this author has graciously provided for us.
We'll start with her GoodReads author profile:
Now let's add another profile, this of Pattimari Sheets-Diamond.
Now, if we next look at the Amazon listing for one of those books we find this:
Next, here's the GoodReads profile for Charlotte Huston-Johnson:
Charlotte isn't listed as a GoodReads author, but what's interesting is that she lists only two friends, both of whom are named "Pattimari."
We already know the first one. The second, identified as "PattimariS1675 Aolcom," takes us to the next link in this odd chain, which is her GoodReads profile:
Although the pattimariS1675 Aolcom profile has no activity after August 2010, she does show herself in the persona of Pattimari Sheets Cacciolfi as a "friend." And this Pattimaris1675 Aolcom profile -- which remains active -- establishes Pattimari's presence on GoodReads for over three years. She is no newbie.
Pattimaris1675 Aolcom may be her non-author regular account, which hasn't been used since August 2010, and it may have been consolidated into her Pattimari author account. That's fine. Both accounts were opened Jun 2010, so this would make sense. But what isn't fine is that Pattimari uses her Sheets-Cacciolfi account to 5-star her Sheets-Diamond books.
And, it should be noted, she uses that account to 5-star books attributed to her husband, Peter, who is also listed as her co-author on some books!
And just in case you're wondering, no, there is no doubt that Pattimari Sheets Diamond and Pattimari Sheets Cacciolfi are one and the same, as evidenced in the front matter of the book that is variously titled Sometimes Your Greatest Misery Can Be Your Greatest Happiness -or- Sometimes Our Greatest Misery is Our Greatest Happiness. The former is the original title, published in paperback by Pattimari Sheets Diamond; when it was revised and listed on Amazon under the latter title (upper left corner, below), the interior material still contained the old title, and this:
Given the various permutations of Pattimari's names, one has to wonder what else she may be doing that skirts ethical boundaries. Regardless, however, the fact remains that she actively engages in review/rating swaps.
For instance, here's Daniel Sinclair Pearson's recent review of one of Pattimari's books as posted on Amazon:
Followed by Pattimari's review of Daniel Sinclair Pearson's book on GoodReads:
And of course Daniel Sinclair Pearson is among Pattimari's GoodReads "friends."
Authorial misbehaving doesn't have to be in the form of a huge histrionic meltdown. When authors collude to inflate each other's books' ratings, when they set up a variety of accounts to review and rate, when they have tainted the entire reviewing system for all authors but especially the self-publishing variety, I have absolutely no mercy when their books are absolute crap.
Pattimari may have a 98% 5-star rating, but how many of them are from honest, independent, impartial readers, and how many from (undisclosed) you-kiss-my-ass-and-I'll-kiss-yours 5-star swappers?
I would much rather have nothing higher than a 0.5 star average rating if it meant I was being hated for my honesty. I don't give a flying you-know-what how you or anyone else like you rates my books. I never have. I know that every review I've ever written has been an honest and justified review of the writing, not of the author. I may write my book for myself, but I write reviews for the readers.