Welcome to Buzz Worthy News where the stories are awesome and not at all well-written. Need your YA industry news? Never fear, Kate Copeseeley is here to give it to you straight.
In this week’s Buzz Worthy News: George RR Martin’s Novella Is Optioned, Harry Potter Short Film, Wonder Woman Gets A Backstory, Buffy Graphic Novel, and More Amazon Review Scandals.
Buzz Worthy News is Cuddlebuggery’s weekly news post bringing you all the best information about the book and blogging world, particularly for the venn diagram of people who overlap between the two. For new releases and cover reveals of all the best Young Adult fiction, check out our Tuesday post: Hot New Titles.
GRRM Gets More Stuff On TV (Maybe)
Not content with reigning over all of HBO, George RR Martin just had the rights to a novella optioned:
George R.R. Martin announced that Cinemax has optioned the rights to The Skin Trade. Martin describes this novella as an “offbeat ‘werewolf noir’” story.
Here’s more from Martin’s blog post: “The deal is closed, and Cinemax has ordered the pilot script. This being Hollywood, of course, you never know where things will end… but if they like the script, we’ll shoot a pilot, and if they like that, hey, who knows, maybe we’ll get a series on the air.”
Supposedly, he’s not going to be working on the show AT ALL, because of that other thing he’s currently working on. What was it again? Oh yeah, FREAKING WINDS OF WINTER. Finish it up already, will ya?
Harry Potter Short Film
If you haven’t seen it already, this youtube video by channel unPOP has created a stop-motion animation where Hogwarts is created from the pages of a Harry Potter book. It’s pretty cool!
New Digital Wonder Woman Series
You know I will jump on any opportunity to report a Wonder Woman story so I can use my handy dandy WW memes.
I am nonetheless excited about this story, however.
DC Comics will debut a new digital comic called The Legend of Wonder Woman.
Renae De Lizhas signed on to write the story and create the illustrations.Ray Dillon has agreed to work on the coloring and inking.
Here’s more from the publisher’s blog post: “In the beginning there was only chaos. But Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons, sees a better future – and eventually her daughter is destined to bring that new world to life. But before her ultimate destiny is revealed, Diana of Themyscira must learn the important lessons of an Amazonian childhood!”
Sounds awesome! Scheduled for release January 2016!
How To Train Your Dragon Graphic Novels
Despite their recent issues and bad press, Dark Horse Comics is still dedicated to putting out awesome content, as proved by this announcement during NYCC:
Releasing in 2016, How to Train Your Dragon: The Serpent’s Heir begins mere hours after the events of How to Train Your Dragon 2 as Hiccup and Toothless are thrust into their new roles as chief and alpha. The graphic novels mark an exciting expansion in the Dragons universe, with the first look into what happens to the riders following the conclusion of the second film.”
Dean DeBlois, the writer and director behind both of the How to Train Your Dragon movies, and Richard Hamilton, the writer behind the Dragons: Race to the Edge TV series, have signed on to write for this series.
Very cool. Let’s hope they can get their act together in other areas, shall we?
Dark Horse To Publish Buffy Comic
Another fun surprise announcement at NYCC was this revelation: Buffy will be a graphic novel!
Dark Horse Comics will be taking us back to Buffy’s high school years in a new, original graphic novel called Buffy: The High School Years – Freaks and Geeks, written by Faith Erin Hicks with art by Yishan Li (and cover art by Scott Fischer).
No word on when it will be released, but the writer had these tidbits for us:
I’ve been thinking of this comic as as a lost episode of the TV show from early in season 1. It’s a fun story from early in Buffy’s Slayer life, when things were a little less complicated. Buffy’s in high school, recently moved to Sunnydale, she’d adjusting to her new life as the Slayer. She’s met Angel, but hasn’t yet dealt with all that drama.
Willow, Xander and Giles are all part of this story, and Cordelia makes a cameo. If the book is successful, Dark Horse might have me back to write more, which would be awesome. I’d love to dive into more Scooby Gang stories, and hopefully include Cordelia more prominently.
Laurie Berkner Signs Three Book Deal
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard Berkner’s songs waaaaaay too many times. Well, hopefully she’ll be too busy writing to send any more ear worms out into the world.
Laurie Berkner (pictured, via) has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Berkner, a musician who specializes in songs for children, plans to write three picture books.
Her first project, entitled We Are the Dinosaurs, was inspired by one of her most famous songs. The second project will be called Pillowland and the third project will be called Monster Boogie.
Amazon Chart Cheats
Every couple of years a story like this pops up on the internet. Newsflash: People can buy reviews for their wares on Amazon.
The London Times decided to try it for themselves in their recent expose, by having a book about Bonsai’s written, then watching it go through the entire process.
ANYONE browsing new ebooks in Amazon’s gardening section last weekend may have been drawn to Everything Bonsai! standing proudly at the top of the bestsellers list.
The self-published title certainly came highly recommended with a series of glowing customer reviews, each marked with Amazon’s “verified purchase” quality stamp, which is intended to show that they were written by a genuine buyer.
In fact, Everything Bonsai! had been ghostwritten in three days in Bangalore, India, at a cost of just £65. The book was riddled with inaccuracies, grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. In one instance the word “bonsai” had even been misspelt.
Basically, they hired a ghostwriter, slapped on a cover, and hired a bunch of people to review it
Amazon’s issues with fraud reviews aren’t recent. Many might remember self-published author John Locke’s admission that he’d gamed the system by buying thousands of reviews to promote his books. This confession prompted the first review purge, which eliminated fake and real reviews alike, in the name of cleaning up the Amazon review problem. Unfortunately, this story proves the problems are far from over:
According to The Sunday Times, this fraudulent review practise is worrying widespread.
One reviewer claimed to control more than 70 accounts, while another had posted more than 2,200 five-star reviews since February.
Some fake profiles were even created using stolen details from the Facebook pages of British teenage girls.
One reader described buying a highly-reviewed bestselling chess guide purportedly written by a chess coach at California Institute of Technology, the newspaper reports.
However, the book was riddled with errors, including confusing knights for kings, and the supposed author was entirely fake.
“Our goal is to make reviews as useful as possible for customers. We use a number of mechanisms to detect and remove the small fraction of reviews that violate our guidelines, close abusive accounts, and in some cases take legal action. The specific accounts in question have been closed.”
It is not clear what Amazon can do to fix this issue, as people looking to make a quick buck will probably always find a way around their reviewing rules, but their most recent effort is to sue as many fake reviewers as they can, apparently.
The US online retail giant has filed a lawsuit in Seattle, Washington.
It says its brand reputation is being damaged by “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews paid for by sellers seeking to improve the appeal of their products.
It comes after Amazon sued a number of websites in April for selling fake reviews.
Amazon says the 1,114 defendants, termed “John Does” as the company does not yet know their real names, offer a false review service for as little as $5 (£3.24) on the website Fiverr.com, with most promising five-star reviews for a seller’s products.
“While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand,” the technology giant said in its complaint, which was filed on Friday.
Amazon said it had conducted an investigation, which included purchasing fake customer reviews on Fiverr from people who promised five-star ratings and offered to allow purchasers to write reviews.
It said it had observed fake review sellers attempting to avoid detection by using multiple accounts from unique IP addresses.
Fiverr has not been named in the suit, and is working with Amazon to track down the fake reviewers.