Why Goodreads Is Not A Great Social Plaform for Indie Authors

Hello everyone,

After my ordeal with a horrible reviewer, I did some research into the Goodreads social platform.  While the concept sounds great (readers coming together to review books), let it be stated that these online reviewers can be ruthless and Goodreads will not usually remove a review, no matter how untrue or insidious it is.  Before I go any further, they do state that reviews have to be consistent with certain guidelines (i.e., no hate speech, etc.), but good luck proving your case to those that look at the comments section.

That being said, this reviewer pretty much insinuated that I was writing some sort of horrible porn AFTER admitting that she had not even finished the entire book.  I have to state that even at my worst, I’ve finished a book or movie to the end before forming a solid opinion of the material as a whole.  What is even more shocking about this reviewer is that she is in the position of a Goodreads ‘Librarian’.  Basically, a Librarian is in a position of power on the Goodreads platform.  They can add records, edit records, etc.

What I have found in researching and dealing with this platform is that it’s nothing more than a more open form of the commonly hated and cringe-worthy Topix platform, except the usernames are not anonymous and are linked to a profile. Readers are seemingly encouraged to write horrid reviews and can openly taunt authors without recourse (or so it would seem), much like the forums at Topix bash others.

Which brings me to a crossroads.  If I choose to delete my personal account from Goodreads, it does not delete my books.  Goodreads can add anyone’s book (but not necessarily their cover art, unless you publish under Amazon) to their cringe-worthy database where roving gangs of child-like bullies can have their way with it.

I can take criticism as an author. I know that my books were not edited properly. I know that the plot wasn’t the best. I know that not everyone will like or agree with the content of the books; however, I do have an issue with a reviewer that did not bother finishing the entire book making a half-assed review that is way out in left-field.

I know that I’m not alone in the author Vs. readers struggle on Goodreads.  There are have been several occurrences where issues have escalated out of control on Goodreads such as one rogue author’s group actually releasing reviewer’s personal information online in retaliation.  While the platform is good in concept, the way that Amazon allows the site to be run makes me question their ethics and professionalism as a company.

I did write a message to Goodreads about their site and the setup and how it allows this behavior, but I doubt that anything will be done as many other authors have tried this and nothing has been done to date.  A lot of websites and blogs out there have stated that Goodreads loves the drama their roving gangs of trolls cause on the website and will not follow any recourse on the reviewers unless they are found in some sort of violation of their terms of service (which is very rare).

Needless to say, at this point, the best revenge on scornful critics is to keep on writing. Though I have decided to take a few months off before I finish my next book, I will occasionally post on the blog.  Thank you for dropping by to read.

 

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The Fine Art of Being An Artist

Hello everyone,

Being an author can be tough.  Being an independent author can be tricky (pardon my play on wording) 😉

Navigating the uncharted waters of playing all the hats of multiple people daily (press agent, book agent, editor, media organizer, etc.) can be physically and mentally exhausting, especially if you a work full-time job in addition to your writing duties, such as I do. Having published my first book a little over a year ago, I’m considered a rookie and as such, I will make mistakes from time to time.

According to the industry, it’s frowned upon to ever reply to a review from a reader if you are an author, either good or bad.  I’ve always tried to stay neutral and if I did dare reply to a reader it was for further explanation or to thank them for the their review.

Being new to the publishing platform, I only promote my books primarily through Amazon and Facebook.  There is the Twitter account, but I find that most times, my Tweets go largely ignored, so I usually don’t post a lot on that outlet.  Then there is the Goodreads platform.

I hardly ever notice Goodreads because it’s the 4th option for promotional activities and I’ve not noticed a lot of movement on the board since my first book was added.  I got a really nasty review on Amazon and replied to the reviewer who also happened to be a member of Goodreads.  The reply to the comment was a mistake as I should have remained neutral according to the old school unwritten laws of professionalism and ignored the obvious bait tactic of a provoker.

When I replied to the comment, it caused the provoker to respond in an even nastier post on Goodreads.  I decided to go head to head with the reviewer as she hadn’t even finished my entire book but wanted to degrade the work as a whole.  After a smack down posting war, I decided to calm myself and do some research on the matter.  Seems that Goodreads has been in the middle of a lot of bad publicity lately where readers (reviewers) can gang up on authors and ‘troll’ or harass them.

Since this reviewer was unnecessarily hideous with her review accusing me of misleading the reader by not giving my book a rating or disclaimer (like who even does that with books?), I decided to flag her responses to a moderator (which I’ve researched will probably not be taken down since Goodreads always seems to side with the reviewer, not the author) and I blocked that user.  Goodreads does not appear to be the best platform to be a part of. Unfortunately, it is owned by Amazon and even deleting my profile does not delete your books because any book published by Amazon will automatically be added to their database to be rated and reviewed by their readers.

It seems that the best approach when dealing with the online world is to ignore reviews as an author. I’ve decided to completely ignore reviews going forward.  While the explosion of digital media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.) has made it easier than ever to connect with people and for independent authors to share their work, unfortunately, in the same instance, it would seem that this explosion has become a double-edged sword.  It’s now easier than ever to hop online and gang up on an artist, musician, etc. and be comfortably shielded by your computer screen.

I almost let this discourage me from continuing writing, but that would let those detractors have their way.  As a fellow artist (musician) told me today, I’m creating something that will be here when I’m gone.  Those critics are building nothing but a lot of hype for themselves and when their hype wears off or burns out, what have they got to show for it? Nothing, except for the next ‘self-made’ critic that will take their place.

I have decided to take some time off, however.  I’ve steamrolled 3 books out in 2 years while working full-time positions.  That has taken a toll on my body and mind and I need to rest.  Do not fret though.  I’m not quitting.  Just taking a very long, much needed vacation.

I appreciate everyone for stopping by to read my blog.  I will continue to update on here from time to time. 🙂

Cursed Unleashed and Beyond

Hello everyone!

It’s been a busy last month for me.  I finally finished the 3rd entry in the Bellwood series, Cursed.  Albeit, the third book is a lot shorter than Broken and Tainted, Cursed ties the previous two books together and ends the Bellwood family series for now.  I intend to revisit Patrick Bellwood’s family in the future, but for now, I’m moving on to other projects.

Beyond the Southern Veil is my 4th book and will be told from a 3rd person perspective.  Beyond will focus on the town of Oak Grove and the dark secrets that the citizens keep.  There is definitely a horror theme in this book.  I’m a little nervous about writing out of first person perspective.  This will be my first time formally story-telling out of first person narrative.

Alas, as much as I would love to have Beyond the Southern Veil out by Halloween, I’m not for sure if it would be possible for that to happen.  I’ve just finished the first story.  I haven’t determined how many short stories this book will contain, but I don’t want to rush the work out.  I’d like to give my readers quality over quantity.  Too many times, I hear about writers rushing their books.  I don’t want to cheapen the quality of my stories for a deadline.

I will keep everyone updated as I progress on the 4th book.  I would like to eventually get a book signing together.  I’m not for sure where I could hold the venue.  I don’t have any support from the local media, so I would be 100% in charge of my own advertising, etc.  I was thinking maybe Cove Lake State Park as that might be the easiest place for everyone to find me without a lot of issues. Feel free to message me with suggestions.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog!

Closer To The Bittersweet Conclusion

Hello everyone!

I’ve been working diligently to bring my 3rd book of the Bellwood family series to my fans.  As of today, I have edited/rewrote my way to Chapter 13 of 16. Bringing this family’s story to a close will be somewhat bittersweet for me.  It will mark the conclusion of a story that took shape in April of 1997 and finally formed a cohesive story in 2014.  It’s been an interesting journey for me on a personal and professional level.

Even though this is the end of Patrick Bellwood’s story, this is not the end of my stories.  I intend to continue writing and have already started a 4th book unrelated to my characters from Broken, Tainted, and Cursed; however, the town of Oak Grove, North Carolina, will be the setting for the new collection of short horror stories.

Some of my fans may not like the direction I take the Bellwood series in with the 3rd book.  A few of my fans may not like how tightly packed the story is for the 3rd book as Cursed is shaping up to not be a rather large book.  When I began writing Broken and later, Tainted, I was goaded into bigger, bolder, more, more, more.

I’m realizing that even though more is sometimes better, it’s not always necessarily needed.  The readers have been through a lot with Patrick Bellwood and his family’s story in Broken & Tainted.  I want Cursed to bring both of those books together in a climatic end without adding additional scenes/issues that are just filler.

The third book will tie up a few loose ends, but there is always the possibility that maybe in the future Patrick Bellwood’s story has more chapters.  And that’s where I will leave that point for now.

As the end date on Cursed nears, I will continue to keep everyone updated.  When I post the book for pre-ordering I will let everyone know.

Thank you for stopping by to read my blog!

Cruel Summer

Hello everyone,

I know I’ve been pretty quiet over the past few months with only occasional updates.  Between working full time and having some health issues, I’ve been rather busy and my writing has unfortunately taken a backseat.  I recently began to work on Cursed again and rewrote/edited the first chapter of the book last night.  I am pretty pleased with the results.

I am aiming to release Cursed by the end of summer if there are no major setbacks.  Life has ways of happening and there may be unexpected setbacks that will occur so I don’t like to set a definite date until I feel that the book is 100% ready for publishing.

I will admit that it’s been a rough road. I’ve never liked being in the limelight. I tend to shy away from crowds. I fully expected my work to be ridiculed and that fear almost made me not publish the first book. With a little encouragement, I gritted my teeth and pushed forward and now I’m here.

I am hoping that I can get a book signing event together soon.  I was hoping that I would have the support of the local newspapers, but that panned out quickly when I was pretty much snubbed.  Being an independent author is tough. I don’t have backing from a big printing house, nor do I have an unlimited budget for professional anything, such as editing. The only thing I can do is network and attempt to garner support through contacts, such as the local libraries, and through online media, such as Amazon.  And events that I organize myself, such as a book signing.

I will attempt to keep everyone updated with the progress of Cursed as I go along.  At present, I feel that Chapter One is complete and I can move on to Chapter Two’s edits/rewrites tomorrow.  And if I can get together a book signing event, I will let everyone know well in advance.

Thank you for stopping by.

Slow Process

Hello everyone,

It’s been a slow process to finish the third book.  I know everyone is impatiently waiting for Cursed to drop.  I can say that the rough manuscript is finished.  I can say that last night, I began the edit for Chapter 1, after a few false starts.  Sometimes, balancing a full time job with creative writing can be challenging.  I don’t want to cheapen the third book by rushing the story out.  Broken and Tainted were released within months of each other;however, I wrote both books simultaneously from 2014-2016, working nonstop on edits and rewrites during those two years.

I can say that Cursed will tie up a lot of lose threads with the Bellwood family and will open up the possibility of more books and/or prequels for future release.  As I have written before, Broken was almost not published.  I was very hesitant to put the story out there because of the content.  Some readers were intrigued, some were shocked, while others were not so pleasant with their reactions.  I did acquire a small, loyal fan base and have received several positive posts/emails pertaining to my books which has made me feel more confident that publishing Broken was the right choice.

It’s been a long, winding road getting my books out there. I never wanted to become famous.  In fact, I’m horribly shy and don’t like the limelight.  I would have used a pen name for my books, but I would like to be recognized for my accomplishments by my given name.  I can only hope that I can continue writing in the future and as my genres grow, I hope I can entertain more and more readers with my tales.

Thank you for stopping by.

Catching Up

Hello everyone,

I’ve gotten a little behind on blogging.  I recently finished the rough draft of Cursed and I’m about to begin the edits and rewrites which will get me another step closer to releasing the 3rd book in the Bellwood family trilogy.

I’ve decided to release a book of short stories based upon the tiny town of Oak Grove, North Carolina.  These tales will have a spin of horror and mystery as well as span several different decades.  One story, entitled, “Turner House Massacre”, will recount what really happened at the old house on the edge of town.  Another story, entitled “Goatman” will tell what happens when two teenage girls spend a night locked in Oak Grove Memorial Cemetery.  The anthology of tales will be a short story, ten chapter book.

And as foretold, the next book after these two books will be a comedy book entitled “Serviced” which will follow the exploits and horrors of working in customer service.

I will keep everyone updated as I go along.

Thanks for stopping by!

Keeping On

Hello everyone,

I know it’s been quite some time since I last made an entry here.  I’ve been busy with work and other projects (I recently bought a game called Planet Coaster and I’ve been devoting some time to playing, being the computer nerd I am).  I have decided to possibly make book 3 somewhat shorter than the first 2 books as of right now.

Why?  In true sequel form, I don’t like for an idea to become stagnant.  Too often, we see good ideas go incredibly bad.  Take any franchise movie out there such as Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, etc. and after a few sequels, the plots grow thin, the acting ridiculous, the characters seemingly over-the-top.

I loved the original Nightmare on Elm Street.  It’s one of my all time favorite movies.  But by the time we got to Freddy’s Dead, the franchise was becoming trying, even downright ludicrous.  I don’t want this to happen with my characters or their story.

With Broken, I felt like I did something fresh and somewhat unusual.  I took the idea even further in Tainted and elaborated upon that idea, probably shocking my readers.  With Cursed, I seek to wrap up Patrick’s story.  His family fell apart before his very eyes.  Patrick’s father killed himself, essentially leaving all three children orphans.  Growing into young adults has been a rather rocky, tough transition for Patrick, Logan, and Lillian Bellwood.

Patrick’s journey was never meant to be never ending.  Hopefully, the tragedies of the past, warped and horrid as they were to these children, aren’t a repeated occurrence.  I can’t say exactly what is to come with the Bellwood story, but I can tell my readers that I have just landed on the 13th chapter of Cursed.  The series is in the year 2000 now.  And what is coming towards the end of the book will go off…with a real…bang….

Thanks for dropping by.  Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

Progress makes Perfect

Hello everyone,

I have made some headway on the 3rd book, Cursed.  I have progressed to the beginning of Chapter 9 on the third entry into the sordid, dark lives of the Bellwood family.  I’m only a 100 pages into the book right now and I still have to go back and do editing, additions, etc.  But I am confident with the progress that I have made.

For a long time, Cursed, was stalled on Chapter 3 as I put this project off to finalize Broken and Tainted.  And again, Cursed stalled out on Chapter 5 due to my illness.  After several months of rest, I have once again started writing more often, much like I used to.

Needless to say, I hope that Cursed will be able to be released by late summer/early fall of this year.  Here’s hoping to progress!

Thank you for visiting my blog.  Take care and have a good day!

New Year, New Progress

Hello everyone!

I hope everyone is having a good New Year so far.  I just wanted to update you on the progress of Cursed, the 3rd book in the Bellwood Family Series.  I have written the beginning of Chapter 7 of the 3rd book.  Progress is much slower because I work a day shift job (which I love my computer technician job, don’t get me wrong) and I am most creative later at night for some reason.  Unfortunately, I have to be in bed by 11pm at latest now if I’m to function correctly in the mornings, so I don’t get to write late at night like I used to.

I know everyone that was punched in the gut with the cliffhanger that Tainted had.  I will say that there are new twists and turns.  Patrick, Lillian, and Logan are in for even more shocking revelations about their unconventional family in this 3rd book.  Of course, the circumstances and consequences of actions in both Broken and Tainted will be reverberated in Cursed.  Certain relationships, friendships, and choices will really be put to the test in the 3rd book.

I will continue to keep everyone updated as progress continues with Cursed.  I’m excited to have it out to the fans but I would really like to not rush this book and make sure that it’s well worth waiting for.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  Take care everyone and have a great New Year!