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. 🙂