Review: Authors vs. Goodreads

Posted: 12/12/2016 in book reviews

Authors vs. Goodreads
Authors vs. Goodreads by Zoe Desh
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Well that was the most wasted 2 days ish spent reading this drivel (well less than I kept getting distracted by better books and hockey as I’m prone to being distracted by as well as regular life things).

*hah. I wish. I unfortunately read ALL of it*

Really. If I want to read whiny drivel, I’ll go back and read some of my journal entries from when I was in an abusive relationship. That’s EXACTLY what this read like to me.

*ok maybe not hyde crying……*

*leonardo dicaprio as romeo in the most accurate word for word version of romeo and juliet?*

*james van der beek as dawson leery in dawson’s creek?*

………

Chose to read it or not. Up to you.

Yes, rating system on here is flawed. Yes, this is social media and people are assholes.

I hate to inform the author though, GR isn’t the only place that you can *gasp* like AND comment on reviews. And not all of us are here to like/comment on reviews.

*reader/reviewer is out of fucks to give*

Also, sometimes it’s nice to do gif filled reviews. Especially as I run my own review blog (that I’m horribly behind on that this cross posts to and I usually link my reviews to but w/e, fight me).

Sometimes they can express what I thought of the book a HELL of a lot better than my words can. Also, I never *JUST* do gifs. I do actual reviews that have gifs accompany them. And they’re few and far between.

This is literally the second one I’ve done recently. I might include a screenshot of table of contents or quote that spoke to me or something like that *FROM* or relating *TO* the book but generally my reviews are walls of text separated nicely by paragraphs.

Generally.

Though, there is a thing I’d LOVE to address from your “pamphlet”.

Actually a few things. Have a seat.

First, you mention the site stgrb (“If you are still determined to join Goodreads as an author, please do an Internet search for information about goodreads reviewer bullying and goodreads reviewer trolling. One site all of these searches will find is STGRB. As an author joining Goodreads, you should be familiar with this site.). That site is a troll site. Not only do they have a history of trolling but they also have quite the history of harassing people because, heaven forbid, a reviewer DARED criticize a book. Kid you not. They have a history of harassment because they perceive criticism as harassment. Here’s a few links because it’s 4 am and I don’t feel like finding all my saved bookmarks about it and honestly google will pull more up trust me. 1 & 2. #2 will actually give you more comprehensive links and stuff. Also, as of August this year, it appears that the site had gone down and hasn’t re-appeared yet. For now it’s a temporary win on the side of the reviewers and authors who were being bullied and shit by the people behind that shit show of a site.

Ok that’s the first thing. Here’s the second:

A new author to Goodreads would probably start with the Guidelines For Authors if they were interested in documentation available on the website. No surprises in it except the Some things to avoid on Goodreads section, and this one is key:

Don?t engage with people who give you negative reviews. We cannot stress this enough. The number one mistake new authors make is to respond to negative reviews. Engaging with people who don?t like your book is not likely to win you any new readers and could lead to members deciding not to read your book. Remember Goodreads is not private; other readers will see a reaction from the author and interpret it as hostile regardless of how carefully the response was crafted. A single negative interaction is often enough to turn a reader off an author permanently.

Are you getting the picture that Goodreads is a rather adversarial environment. As an author, just bend over and take whatever abuse is heaped on you. Silently. Because you are supposed to have a thick skin. For 1* negative reviews, not simple ratings, there is a flag link provided to explain to Goodreads why you think a review is abusive, offensive or an outright lie.

That’s actually good advice in general. Not to publicly engage with a reader that doesn’t like your book. You know why? Simple.


REVIEWS ARE NOT FOR AUTHORS. THEY ARE FOR READERS.

And I FIRST heard that from authors. Think about it. You, as an author, spend countless hours of time, love, devotion creating this world and then editing it and tweaking it to perfection or as close as it can possibly get and then putting it out in the world. You hope it doesn’t get torn to shreds by people like me. Now, normally, I’m actually a really decent person. Most will attest to this. I’m patient with everyone *EXCEPT* myself. But, in that regard, I find, *MOST* of us can say that about how we are to ourselves as opposed to how we are to others. We’re harder and more critical to/on ourselves. Things we put out there though? We’re too close to. I’m hit and miss on what I will and won’t answer about my reviews. Hell, I mostly don’t even write reviews right after finishing reading. So that I can sit there, think about what I read, form cohesive thoughts, (and if applicable because this is so in a few cases, take the time to divorce my friendships with the authors from their creative works so I can be as objective as possible while trying not to show favouritism even though I still do some but I can still be critical of what I’ve read and if they fuck up and say something offensive be like “hey dude this was offensive. Was this printing error? Editing error missed? What happened here?” where dude winds up gender neutral because I’m from So Cal and my area of So Cal dude is used to refer to both the animate and inanimate.) and then sit down write out my review and then spell/grammar check it and then post it. Doesn’t matter if I love it or hate it. I sit on reviews anywhere from a day to a week minimum. Depending on how strong my emotions are about the book (though I’m behind right now for other reasons that have nothing to do with emotions of the books by like 40 reviews). I’ll jot down notes in a word doc on my computer and save/back it up naturally. But I won’t sit down to properly write the review until after I’ve had the time to mentally digest everything. But the word doc will be open off and on the entire time to jot down thoughts, revelations, or whatever else since sometimes my brain likes to have a thought and then lose it not long after.

Anyway. Point being. After I do my reviews, if someone makes a comment, be it here, amazon, my blog, or somewhere else. Public or private. If it’s anything other than a “thanks for the review” or “can I/do you mind if I quote/link your review x” or along those lines I don’t immediately respond (answers respectively are usually you’re welcome and thank you for writing the book if I enjoyed it if not just you’re welcome and for the latter feel free to quote just give me credit and link to the review/and feel free to link to the review). Unless it’s a correction to a misspelling in author name or something like that or an update to a link for buying a book then that’ll also garner an immediate response and update with a “thank you for letting me know” with an apology if there’s a misspelling (and in instances like that I have considered becoming a librarian so I have the power to fix things like that but then decide I don’t want the responsibilities and stuff and ire of people who think that I apparently have godlike power when I don’t). I have found as have others I’ve talked to on the reviewer and author sides that whether you mean to or not, typically, you get defensive about your own works and no matter how good your intentions, most times they’ll come off as attacking. If something really bothers you, sit with it for a few days or a week. If you still feel compelled to communicate, the best advice would be consult with an outsider. Have them read the review and then your response and give their honest opinion. As in copy/paste the review into a word doc and then your initial response under it. And as you mull on it revise your response. Take their advice. Contact person privately if at all possible. That way spectacles are not made. Screenshot original review as well. Re-read their current review before contacting to see if anything changed. Of course, this is all my unprofessional reviewer opinion (and honestly, I never want to be a professional reviewer, that’s the day I’ll stop reviewing). When I personally let things sit, I find I am better equipped to deal with whatever they’re commenting about. Then again, I’m also not the greatest with words all the time either so that’s part of why I do that.

AND the last part.

The private profile thing. And the racism in your talking about profiles thing. This is all going to get combined with reviews because I can’t talk about the reviews or lack of without the other two in this instance.

Remember, Goodreads allows readers to make their profile private, so you are not on an even footing from the get-go. This fact alone should raise your suspicion. If a reader is allowed to exclude their information from you, you best make as little information about yourself available to them because author profiles are always public.

Something peculiar that I noticed soon after putting up my first book on Goodreads was the number of foreigners who put my book on their to-read shelf and others even started reading it. All of my stories are in the erotica genre and they’re short, a novella at most. Strangely, these foreigners were from countries whose governments would probably frown on smut. And strangely, nobody ever finished a book, even after months of reading it. Most of the profiles were only name and country and almost all of them had at least one other classic literature book on their bookshelf or were reading it. Something like Moby Dick. After signing up at Goodreads, there was never any recent activity and they didn’t join groups.

They are for a region or a country. And if it is for a very tiny country, it doesn’t take much to be the #1 reviewer and best reviewer in your country. Especially a country where the majority of the population can ill afford books, computer equipment and eReaders in order to be a member of Goodreads.

So here’s what you see if you’re not a member of GR and look at my profile.

But here’s what you see when you are.

It’s racist to assume a country can’t afford books (especially as there are companies other than amazon that ship worldwide and ebooks tend to be cheaper and can be loaded onto mobile devices and/or tablets which tend to usually be cheaper and more accessible)/computer equipment. And to presume that there’s in no way any public wifi or libraries or computer lab type places that you can borrow/rent a computer for x amount of time. Sure they might not be able to get out to there often but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Also, who cares if someone does or doesn’t join groups? Groups mean nothing. For the longest time I literally only used GR when I remembered it existed and to update it with the books I had read and only do star ratings (get to that in a few). And possibly whatever I was reading if I remembered to do that. I still don’t do a lot of participation in groups even though I belong to a few of them. Everyone uses the site differently. Hell, some days I use the site strictly to figure out the order of series. Usually because I’m at my local library because they don’t have the order of series and it bugs the crap out of me but that’s different story there.

So the ratings without review thing. I’ve only recently started writing reviews. Like I’m starting on year 3 or 4 I believe. I know I started sometime in December a few years ago. And I’ve always been bad at writing. It started as a writing exercise. To help me get better at getting words from my brain out of my brain. Instead of freezing up and them disappearing. And I started getting better at it. And I enjoyed it. Genuinely. And went fuck it. I’ll just officially do book blogging/reviewing. That way when people ask me about my opinions of books I can point them to reviews. And as noted, I’m pretty decent at it apparently. And because I speak my mind and say what I like and don’t like about the books I read and enjoy I’ve apparently provided valuable feedback to authors which is what has helped cultivate friendships with some of the authors I’m friends with. Which is a definite positive I didn’t foresee happening or even plan or hope happening. Was just an awesome byproduct of me being my opinionated self. Which, for me, is fantastic. I get to help awesome people promote books I like, I get to hear when the next books coming out and help do promo stuff saying when it’s coming out sometimes, I get to hear about when they’re going to be at book convention things near me, and I get inadvertently “omg-this-book-is-great-you-should-read-this” or author is great you should read their stuff or show/movie is great watch it. Or look at cute new pet! or tattoo. Or look at new place I discovered with fantastic food. Or new recipe I tried that I made that was good here’s the recipe. Or any number of regular generic things you’d hear from friends and acquaintances (I’m not fooling myself thinking I’m friends with *ALL* of them only some, most we’re just acquaintances). And that is the best byproduct of the blogging/reviewing. Is meeting new people and second hand hearing of/experiencing/seeing new things to me. But, I remember still when I was terrible at saying why I liked things or didn’t like them. I still have those moments. I have a book right now that I’m not even sure it’s getting a star rating. I finished it last week. I still haven’t worked out my review. I mean I know some of why I don’t like it. But that some of why I don’t like it? A paragraph. The rest? I just don’t know why. I loved the first 3/4 of it but the last 1/4…….that’s why I’m not sure it’s getting a star rating at all. IF it does it’ll be 1 MAYBE 2 stars at the absolute most. And I can’t write the review until I can work out my feelings. I know they’re conflicting but I can’t say why. And it bothers me personally to write that I have conflicting feelings but I can’t say why for a review. So I’m not going to do that until I can work out why. I mean I did put in the review box “review and rating tba” while I mull it over but….”review tba” is my generic review until I actually write my review and then post it so I can link it on GR.

Anyway, those are my thoughts coherent or incoherent they may be.

*back to mine and your regularly scheduled program of actual good reading material*

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