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.