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Yeah, I said it.

Before returning to the breakdown of the Anne Rice publicity story that isn’t and never was, I’d to share some background info on the man behind the mission, he who started the now-(in)famous petition to ban anonymity on Amazon– Todd Barselow.  His FB page proclaims him a freelance editor who’s a gushing fan of Ms. Rice, yet a little bit of diligence shows exactly how deeply embroiled he is within this whole mess.

Ya see, Todd Barselow is not only an Anne Rice fanboi, he actually has some pretty good connections within her inner circle, including Rice herself.  And he’s also a hypocrite and a liar.

The whole story is that Ms. Rice signed the petition started by some random person she didn’t know, wholly on the strength of the righteousness of his cause: to put a stop to the online bullying in Amazon forums by anonymous posters hiding behind screen names.  News outlets as prestigious as TIME Magazine and bloggers all over the world took to this story like a swarm, quick to share, re-blog and opine about the matter, largely siding with her just because.  Only one tiny thing was missing from all this buzz and bother- due diligence.  Or in other words: not a fucking shred of  journalism whatsoever.

Back in May 2013, a fellow author of his, Nathan Robinson, posted on FB about how a friend was having some difficulty getting the rights to his novel back from a vanity publisher.  Robinson openly called for people to go out and trash the book, i.e- leave a slough of fake 1-star reviews all over the place to tank it.  Todd was one of the first to jump on board and help out (the US review is gone now, but here’s screenshots of Barselow’s responses and a link to the UK review).

Todd Barselow Fake Review 1

Todd Barselow Fake Review 2

On Barselow’s Amazon profile you’ll notice an abundance of 5-star reviews.  In fact, the ONLY 1-star review on his profile was that one!  Guess Todd never met a book that he didn’t like… until he had a personal agenda against the publisher/editor (now where have we heard that before?), then it was perfectly ok for HIM to try to tank it and even say so.  But that doesn’t make him a bully- or in Rice’s language, a termite or a parasite.  From the Guardian UK article: “They’ve worked their way into the Amazon system as parasites, posting largely under pseudonyms, lecturing, bullying, seeking to discipline authors whom they see as their special prey,” Rice told the Guardian. “They’re all about power. They clearly organise, use multiple identities and brag about their ability to down vote an author’s works if the author doesn’t ‘behave’ as they dictate.”

And then this: “I hope Amazon and other book websites do eventually clean them out. They certainly don’t serve the true book buyers and readers of this world. And they are gratuitously destructive towards the creative community. They are like termites in a beautiful wooden building, there for what they can get for themselves, quite oblivious to the building’s purpose or beauty.”

The cherry on top is that Todd is actively campaigning for authors to share with him their horror stories about being bullied on Amazon (probably for a new book he’ll be working on).  See for yourself.

ScreenHunter_79 Mar. 12 23.11

Wonder if the first story he shares will be the one where he posted fake reviews?

Hey, Anne- yer lil’ buddy’s a termite, a parasite, a bully!  And you’re 100% supporting him!  But I’m guessing ya already knew at least some of this stuff, eh?

He also has no issue with reviewing books he’s worked on.  Comparing his Amazon profile with the links to the books he’s worked on shows this in short order, such as Found, Oz the Schonz and the Elephant Rebellion, The Afrikaans, Lakota Honor and more.  These are clear and utter violations of both FTC and Amazon guidelines which clearly states anyone who has as a personal/financial stake in a book they’re reviewing must declare it.  Something any author or editor would be well aware of.  Lies and deceit, y’all.  Lies and deceit.

Todd’s always been a busy man.  Back in October 2013, his personal quest to meet Ms. Rice and her son drove him to create a GoFundMe page to finance his trip from the Philippines to New Orleans.

Todd Barselow GoFundMe 1

Todd Barselow GoFundMe 2

Not long after that in November, a Reddit interview he’d done was personally linked on FB by Ms. Rice.  Note again his relationships to her assistant, Becket and another author, Greg Wilkey- another member of Rice’s FB fanpage.

Todd Barselow FB Screenshot 1

Barselow’s FB page’s latest post even focuses upon the newest release from Anne Rice’s assistant, Becket.  Here’s a screenshot.

Todd Barselow FB Screenshot

It gets really grimy when when you finally see just how cozy Becket and Barselow really are.

Here’s Becket’s FB page, and here’s his Amazon profile.

Barselow’s mother wrote a book of poetry, with a foreward by her son.  Guess who left a 5-star review for it over on that nest of vipers, Amazon?  And without ever disclosing his personal connection to the author- which is an FTC violation?  He did get thanked by Barselow for his efforts, though, along with a quick plug for Becket’s own YA series.

Becket Reviews Barselow Mom Book

Their relationship goes even further with Becket leaving reviews for books that Barselow edited.  Going back to his FB page with the book links, a quick comparison between that list and Becket’s Ammy profile shows a mutual regard for novels written by fellow Person of the Page (as Anne Rice likes to call her FB followers), the aforementioned Greg Wilkey.

Links to Books Barselow Edited

Note the first entry on the page.

In fact, I’ll bet anyone out there a DD Irish Creme coffee that none of these articles aggrandizing her supporting Barselow’s petition has any mention of these friendships and connections.  Not a one.  Why?- because they all had their heads up their asses and nobody bothered to check up on this guy.  A man who’s intimately involved with Anne Rice’s camp and helped push this suspected PR campaign for her new book along.

All I can do is repeat my previous question: so who out there is feeling played for a sucker yet?