A 21st Century Problem

If you happen to follow my sketching on this blog, Instagram or Facebook, you will know I’ve been more than a bit focused lately on the release of my new book!! I really appreciate and am so grateful to everyone who has been so supportive and welcoming of this year-long labor of love.

That said, this week I’ve learned the hard way that first impressions really are important, and as the publisher said, the first reviews online of a new book are critical to its success or failure. What happened has me so stunned, I am compelled to share it with you all. It’s definitely a problem of our times.

The first two reviews posted to Amazon are awful. One person says they received a mis-printed copy, which if that happened is truly unfortunate…but, the post states they received a digital/Kindle/e-book, not a hard copy book. Hmmm.

The second review is truly bizarre. It’s written by someone who states there are only men represented in this book, that there are no women, and that they plan to send it back because they value the input of women. Did they even look at the book? Last time I checked, I’m a woman, as are Nina, Simone, Suhita, Shari, Sue, Monali, Zainab, Alicia, Eleanor, Maru, Alena, Rooi, Rita, Katie, Angela, and Anna. The work of women is everywhere throughout this book. So what gives?

Sadly, the damage is done unless Amazon deletes these reviews. To that end, I’ve clicked the “report abuse” tab, but I don’t hold out much hope they’ll be removed. AND remember how your school GPA works? You can make A’s all semester, but one C will pull it down so far, it’s nearly impossible to get it back up to an overall A. Same for Amazon ratings, which means these bizarre reviews are a big, bad hit, as people really do look at the number of stars.

So, I appeal to you with this shameless request: If you like this new book, if you learn one new thing, if you have an “ah-ha” moment, and if you are willing, please post a positive review on Amazon–especially if you purchased your book through Amazon. It will make a big difference, and I’d be so grateful for any help. I’m taking deep breaths and fingers are crossed, and I promise to get back to posting sketches!!

49 thoughts on “A 21st Century Problem

  1. I’m so sorry this happened to you, who can explain what is wrong with people like this? I am in the food service industry, and have dealt with this sort of BS for years… Yelp is a disgrace, just a mouthpiece sometimes for terrible people to complain about made up things just to feel important on a public forum. You’d have to feel sorry for them, if it wasn’t so detrimental to your business. I don’t know if Amazon can help, but worth a call to them. Unfortunately, you have to learn to not let these people get you down. I will be ordering the e-version this weekend, and will be sure to post comments. Best of luck!

    >

    Like

  2. I am so sorry, Stephanie… My husband is an author and I am only too aware of these challenges. I did buy your book through Amazon, read the whole thing the day I got it, and loved it!! And I just posted a review on Amazon saying so. 🙂 Thank you so much for writing it!!!

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Jane, I am so grateful to you for this help! I sure hope your husband never encounters this kind of thing…definitely a sign of our times. And best of all, I’m sooooo happy that you liked the book!!!

      Like

  3. This is such a shame Stephanie.
    I have written a review on Amazon but as I purchased through Book Depository, I’m not sure they will post it.
    I have hit the report button too. Seems to me that this might be a bit of sabotage, but for what reason I’m not sure.
    Keep your chin up. It is a fabulous little book and will be a treasure in my library.

    Like

  4. Hang in there. When I started as a seminar speaker 25 years ago, retired now, the comments people would make could be hurtful. So for a long time I kept a journal of the good comments, by far the majority, then when someone would slam me for no reason I would read back through the comments of people who said I helped them, it diffused things a bit. It worked, did seminars all over world. You have helped so many of us, remember that.

    Hope to meet up at a sketch group, maybe you can help with my nemesis of ovals.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, Terry, for sharing your experiences. I really appreciate it. I just caught 10 minutes of the movie Erin Brockovich, and after a few tears, realized this is so minor in the scheme of things. Thank you so much for your kindness and encouragement…and ellipses are a bit of a nemesis for just about all of us!

      Like

  5. Again Stephanie, your book is fabulous. You stuck to your goal of offering tips for being a better sketchbook artist. Kudos to you and shame on the feminists or anyone else for that matter who degrade your fine work.

    Like

    1. HI Rene, thanks for your support, and I’m SO GLAD you like the book!!! I have to say, I consider myself a feminist, I think this person is just strange and missed the mark, didn’t bother to actually look at the book. That is assuming it’s a real person!

      Like

    2. I did have an ‘ah-ah’ moment this past Saturday during a Plein Air paint out in my home town of Georgetown, Tx. Using the eye-line (while sitting) with the door knobs as my reference. I measured and placed in all my verticals along the eye-line in the street scene. Then I measured the hight of each vertical to the roof of each portion of the buildings in my sketch. As well as the pavement below the eye line. As a check I had predetermined my vanishing point. Everything fit perfectly. Thank you again for putting this book together, as well as your other small book on perspective.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Stephanie! I LOVE the book and was happy to post a review on Amazon to let others know. Hopefully all of the super positive reviews will push those two negative reviews down so far that no one will even see them. Thanks so much for all you do to support all of us who love to sketch and watercolor!!

    Like

  7. I just posted a wonderful review of your new book. I even included a photo of my book with all of my tags for the various tips I want to review more in depth. I also mentioned that there are many great examples by men and women whose work best exemplified your tip. For the life of me I will never understand why people write lies in a review. I also reported it as being malicious. I really love your book and will recommend it to everyone I know.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cynthia, my gosh, I appreciate this so so much!!! I love that you want to review some of the tips even more (I wish I had had the room to go into these things more!) Let me know which tips they are and I can do blog posts that go into greater depth. Thank you for all so much, I appreciate it greatly… S

      Like

      1. You asked for me to give you some of the tips I wanted to review more in-depth so here goes. #40, #50 (it does show where you started and I loved that, but it would be a big help to expand with more examples of where you started your sketches. This relates to #69 & #70 as well. I assume you start with the walls, but where to go from there? And, lastly #96, again, just a little more info. Thank you so much for all you do. I have learned so much from your Craftsy classes, your workshop in Seattle and now both of your books. Just when I think I have it, something else needs clarification.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Negative comments are painful in so many ways and that one was totally wrong. I have your Understanding Perspective book, both of your Craftsy/Bluprint classes, and attended your Civita Workshop, session 1, in May 2018. You are such a talented architectural illustrator, sketcher, teacher and writer… also I truly appreciate all the tips you generously give us on your blog pages. Thank you so much and I look forward to purchasing your new book. You’re on my wish list for another European workshop someday too.

    Like

    1. Ciao Beth, Thank you so much for writing this message!!! I am so grateful for the encouragement and kind words…and you know me pretty well!! I hope you will like the book 🙂 I also want to share with you that someone in next year’s Civita workshop is also staying in the same apartment as you and your sister (wasn’t it your sister?) She is an architect, I think she’ll really love that apartment! Best wishes to you, hope you are well, and yes, please do come join me for another workshop in the near future. xx S

      Like

  9. Stephanie I preordered your book and received it this week. I will be posting my review on our USk Kansas City blog next week. I got so excited when it arrived I had to make a deal with myself not to devour it in one day. I wanted to savor the tips, and let them soak in!

    Like

  10. Aaagh! I am just so appalled! For this to happen to YOU of all people! You are nothing but the kindest person and the most generous with your knowledge! Rest assured I will review your book.
    I am on my 5th review of your 2 Craftsy/Bluprint classes and my second reading of your 1st book. When I was taking the Craftsy classes I was so amazed by your thoughtful responses to everyone’s questions! I get something new out of reviewing these each time! I’ve been so excited to read your new sketching tips book- I’m sure it will be another tool I will refer to often. You have certainly changed my sketching life for the better. Can’t wait to put in my two cents. Thanks for all you do! Looking forward to your new book.

    Like

    1. Emily, you are so so kind to write this! Thank you for every word, it is so much appreciated. And I LOVE that you are viewing the Craftsy classes for the FIFTH! time… I intentionally packed so much information into those classes, I think it takes multiple times to catch it all! Thank you so much, these are the words every teacher lives for, that we could change the lives of our students in some way, for the better. Heartfelt thanks~~
      S

      Like

  11. Stephanie, I preordered and received a hard copy of your book through Amazon. I have read it from cover to cover and it is an exceedingly good and helpful book. I gave you a 5 star rating and made very positive remarks on Amazon. Keep sketching and writing and smiling.

    Like

    1. Thank you so so so much!!!! My heart is warmed by you and others who have come to my rescue…literally! Thank you, and yes, I’ll do my best to keep sketching and writing, the smiles are getting easier the past few days!!! ~~S

      Like

  12. Stephanie, I love your new book, and I preordered it from Amazon. As someone else had commented, I also am savoring the book, trying to absorb all of your wonderful tips! I am very inspired by your work and am learning a lot by reading your books and watching your Bluprint class. Thank you, and please just ignore those negative reviews you received and wrote about. I just wrote a 5-star review for you on Amazon. I hope you will do a workshop in Chicago sometime.

    Like

    1. Thank you so much, I truly am so grateful to you and others who have risen to my rescue. I was SO upset looking at those two strange reviews for two days, I thought all hope was lost. So truly, thank you. I love also to hear that you have the bluprint class (classes?), and that you are learning from them. It’s music to the ears of any teacher! Thank you again, and I’d LOVE to do a workshop in Chicago!!!!!!! I’ll give it some thought! ~~S

      Like

    1. You have a book, that’s great! To be honest, probably neither of us make money on these endeavors, so it’s clearly not about the big bucks ;), but about spreading the knowledge and joy. Thanks so much for your comment, and I hope your sales do pick up!! 😉 ~~S

      Like

  13. This is awful. I’m appalled. I was going to wait and buy your book in the US, but now I’ll buy the Kindle so I can review immediately. Your Craftsy class, your blog and the previous USk Handbook are so helpful. If only I would apply the knowledge…..

    Like

    1. Thank you so much! I need to buy that Kindle version too!!! I’m truly so happy you are finding the Craftsy classes and previous book helpful, thank you so much for your kindness. And I know what you mean about applying the knowledge…!!! ~~S

      Like

  14. Stepahnie – Great book. I reviewed it and commented on all the illustrations from women and men active in Urban Sketching. It is a clearly written guide for those that are learning to see and to draw buildings and landscapes. Just realized I wrote on my wife’s Amazon Smile account so it will show up as written by her, Jeannie Neely. I wrote it and meant it. A good five star book. – Marlin Schoonmaker

    >

    Like

    1. I cannot thank you (and your wife 😉 enough for this, and best of all, I’m SO GLAD you like it! Thank you so much for taking the time to write and post, both on Amazon and here. It is so much appreciated, you have no idea…!!! ~~S

      Like

    2. I have received my copy of your new book and it is fabulous. Clearly a labor of love. It is a fantastic collection of ideas. Thank you for taking the time to create such a thoughtful and well presented “handbook.” (Not sure what to call it exactly…but it is really helpful.) Shame on those who would disparage it. Be proud of what you have created. I have posted a review on Amazon (my first) motivated by your post…

      Like

  15. Please Report that comment, clicking next to it on:
    “Report abuse
    If you find this content inappropriate and think it should be removed from the Amazon.com site, let us know by clicking the button below.”

    Like

  16. Dear Stephanie, congratulations on your book! I’m am sorry that you have had such a bad experience. I have not as of yet purchased it, but i am an admirer of your work. Sounds like there’s some jealousy out there. I’m sure that you have chosen the artistic contributors for their skills and their relevance to the subjects presented, whether they be male or female. I personally don’t count the male to female ratios, I look for high quality work that demonstrates well. Wishing you much success!

    Like

    1. Thank you, Tricia…I honestly have no idea how that review could have possibly come about, something like that never even occurred to me…being that I’m a woman and my work is all through that book? I will probably never understand this… BUT, I thank you and the others who have come to my rescue and sent such uplifting and encouraging messages. They help so very much. Thank you!! ~~S

      Like

  17. I tried to leave a comment on the Amazon site but was refused because I haven’t met the dollar amount on purchases. I read all the comments and I’m very pleased that you have received overwhelming positive comments versus the women who obviously confused your book with another! It’s a terrific book and one that every person interested in sketching/drawing should have. I prize my copy, thanks for taking time out of your life to write it. Frank B

    Like

  18. Hi Stephanie – I just left a 5-star review of your wonderful 5-star book! I’ve followed your work for many years and have learned so much from you. In fact, didn’t pickup my sketchbook for almost 2 years until your wonderful new book came out. In the last 3 days I’ve made 4 new sketches! As Taylor Swift says, “haters gonna hate”…but I have a feeling there’s a lot more people who truly appreciate your work than them. Best wishes and thanks for all you do!

    Like

    1. HI Mary, I cannot thank you enough for this lovely message, and especially for writing a review!!! I was truly so upset seeing those bizarre reviews posted, they impact everything!! I’m really profoundly grateful to you and others who have taken the time to write and post a review…it’s making all the difference in the world!! AND I LOVE that it’s gotten you sketching again!!! That’s really wonderful. Best wishes to you, and thank you again for taking the time to write…~~S

      Like

  19. It seems like the reviews for your book are running 4 1/2 to 5 stars and I did see the bizarre and ridiculous reviews you mentioned, as well as people asking to have these reviews taken down because it is obvious the person either meant another book altogether or didn’t actually purchase your book. So we all seem to be working on this. I love the book by the way. >

    Like

    1. HI Diane, Thanks so much for writing. Yes, sketchers have come to the rescue, and I cannot tell you how grateful I am for this amazing showing of support!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Looking at only those 2 bizarre reviews for two days was so disheartening, seemed like a cruel trick. I am so thankful for the many folks who have posted beautiful and supportive reviews… and I’m SO HAPPY that you like the book! Thank you… ~~S

      Like

  20. I can’t imagine how someone could write anything about positive things about this book.
    I got my copy a few days ago and I love it. One of the best books ever written, and will cherish this book. Went to Art School in the 1970’s, and learned things from this book already that they never taught us in Art School, How Good Is That?

    I am an artist, and also an Amazon Associate, and just wrote my review.
    https://www.amazon.ca/review/R2XK8H71OA5NH5/ref=pe_1086170_134824320_cm_rv_eml_rv0_rv

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s