Wednesday, August 21, 2013

#Goodreads should come with a warning label. NOT FOR AUTHORS

Yeah. We say it all the time. Goodreads isn't for authors.
But heck, it's where a ton of readers hang out so...

EXACTLY. It's where readers hang out. Not authors.
But authors are readers, too, so this makes for a difficult challenge.

Readers like to chat about current reads whether they be loving or hating them, and the majority  don't know the authors personally so they don't owe them special howdy-do-dee politeness yet they manage to hold a bookish conversation with thoughtfulness and manners. While others can be darn right mean.

Authors like to check out their latest reviews and encourage people to add their books to their lists/read their work. And once upon a time, we used to enjoy interacting with readers of our work on there, too. Because of the minority of readers and authors behaving badly on there, it's not an advised practice anymore.

Times have changed.

Goodreads is not author friendly. Think of Goodreads as the sounding board for readers. It's a READER site. Be there as a reader and be the good author and upload your books to stock the database, but don't be chatting with your author hat on unless in an author-aimed group. You may not like what you hear.


The place where authors go to thicken their skin.

Yes. The whole "I'm not publishing my debut book because I got bullied on Goodreads' is the reason for this post. In short, a newb self-pubber asked why her not-yet-released book had been down-rated.A simple enough question, right? But some readers didn't think so. She should have pulled up her big girl pants and walked away. Instead, she up-rated said book with five stars from two different profiles. This of course enraged the already pissed-off readers. Heated discussions exploded in the review threads and links made their way to Facebook and Twitter. Everyone was chatting about this last night. It was painful. I couldn't watch. I felt bad for the author, but I also wondered why she wasn't making good on a bad situation. Think about it? With all talking about this, in a few hours, her book when from a shoddy 2 stars to a solid 4 1/2 stars. If she had any sense, she'd get that book out TODAY. Talk about no publicity is bad publicity.

Nope. I'm not mentioning names. And nope I'm not providing a link.

I'm just going to pass on some Goodreads survival tips.
  • After you've added your book/s to the database, leave your author hat at the door.
  • Don't rate your own book. It's tacky as shite and tells readers your book holds those same qualities.
  • Don't comment on reviews/add to reader discussions of books you authored UNLESS you've been invited to. You don't want to stifle readers from chatting about your work. Often, when reminded an author is watching, a discussion can become stilted or heated. Why would you want that?
  • Grow a thick skin. Goodreads is full of wonderful readers who adore interacting with authors, unfortunately, the bitter and ill-mannered few have made this an impossible feature of Goodreads.
What about you? Got any thoughts on Goodreads and how best to approach the author/reader divide happening on  there?


  1. I keep hearing about this story but no one's naming names. I'll be blunt and say this author is an idiot. She definitely needs a thicker skin if she's going to put her book out for public consumption and how could she possibly think that fraudulently upvoting her own book was the right thing to do?

    I an glad to hear that her fraudulent behavior regarding her sockpuppet accounts was called out; it should have been. I hope that people were decent about it and didn't get nasty but probably someone did and that's wrong too.

    Goodreads is changing, and much of it not for the better. It used to be a place for readers to talk about, review and share books but recently the powers that be over there have been pushing to make it a site where authors can do promotion for their books. That's leading to a lot of friction; add in authors who behave badly, attack and bully readers and reviewers and the reviewers who attack and harass authors and it's becoming a mess. I mostly stay out of it, track my books, and post my reviews.

    1. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, Bea xx

      I didn't want to name names etc.. because it felt like if I did that, I'd be rewarding bad behavior.

      Goodreads, it's a mess. What a tagline!

  2. I wish she would release her book just to thumb her nose up at the haters but sadly she won't. Personally, I've never liked GR. It seem to most like high school for me. Now, I'm only saying this as an owner of a review site. If you are not one of the big, bad, my opinion is the gospel in reviewing, then your opinion doesn't matter. Yes, reviewers can be bullied too.

    As a published author now...I haven't had any problems. But then again, only about 12 people read my book. LOL!


    1. Hi, Harlie xx thanks for the comment!

      It's a bad situation when both reviewer and author are feeling uncomfortable at a book community site.

      But in case someone hasn't told you recently, authors (most authors anyway) absolutely appreciate reviewers...all reviewers no matter big or small. Esp the ones who show a little thoughtfulness in their online communications. You guys work on the love of books as your only payment. I mean, how awesome is that? It's hard NOT to be appreciative of such people. it really does make me sad that even reviewers are feeling slanted at Goodreads. That's not right. Not right at all.

  3. It's a shame readers seem to have such a bias against authors expressing an opinion. The same seems true for Amazon. But writers are readers as well!
    Goodreads disturbs me for many reasons, so I make my visits there as short as possible. I hadn't heard this story but agree that the author needs a thicker skin and a certain detachment from her work. And much less subterfuge!

  4. I have my debut book on goodreads. So far, the only "unpleasant" experience I had was when an ARC was given 3 stars. But...hey, I'll take 3 stars. Won't rate my own book to bump it back up...but it's a catch-22. I want to recommend by book to goodreads readers to get myself out there. Being new and inexperienced, I don't have a well of people to read/review my books. Goodreads provides instant access.

    So far I haven't run into any snottiness on goodreads. I've heard horror stories...I hope I don't face similar misfortune!

  5. I always miss these brouhahas! Next time you'll have to alert me! Basically, I just use Goodreads to note the books I'm reading and upload my own. But I always have done, since I joined a few years ago. It's an odd-duck day with a purple moon when I comment on anything.