Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Writer Wednesday: Goodreads

Recently, I've seen quite a few authors comment about Goodreads, and not in a positive way. So today I want to talk about Goodreads. As authors, we tend to look at review sites as places we should be, but in actuality these sites are for readers to share their opinions. You have to remember that.

Here's how I use Goodreads. I have my blog linked to Goodreads, which means I get comments on my posts there. I happily go on and respond to those comments. I also have the "Ask the Author" section activated so readers can communicate with me. I love talking to readers this way, and it's great because Goodreads emails you to let you know you have a message. These are my favorite features on Goodreads.

Now let me tell you how I DON'T use Goodreads. I don't ever comment on negative reviews or ratings. Have you ever noticed that books tend to have more reviews on Goodreads than on Amazon or any other site? Goodreads is for reviews. But those reviews aren't there for the authors. They're for other readers. We all know there are a lot of people on Goodreads who simply rate books without reviewing them or who really slam authors. Do I like this? No, of course not. But don't engage with those readers who rate your book before it's out just to give you a low star rating. Or with those readers who hate your book with a fiery passion. Don't do it.

So this is my plea to please use Goodreads in a good way. It has some great features, but it can also be a potential setting for bad blood. Don't fall victim to the latter.

If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

32 comments:

  1. I like Goodreads, but it can be dangerous waters.

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  2. Goodreads is a strange place, and it is best for authors to stay away from it as much as possible! People can and do rate your book before it comes out. And they apply their own rating systems. A writer I know told me she was appalled when she found out how her aunt was using Goodreads: "I put one star on books I'm interested in reading some day." :D Yeah, I'm sure lots of authors appreciated her interest!

    It's good to link your blog there, accept "friend" requests, and answer questions, but other than that -- don't look!

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    1. That's how I feel. And eek on that rating system!

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  3. One of my fellow middle grade authors recently published her first young adult novel...and OMG. YA reviewers are BRUTAL. I didn't really know what people were talking about when they complained about Goodreads until I saw what they did to her. Middle grade reviewers aren't quite as bad...but you also don't get as many reviews on there. The YA reviewers seem to me to be showing off...it's as if they get a thrill out of finding creative ways to trash an author's work. I don't like that at all. If I ever publish a YA, remind me to stay away from reading Goodreads reviews!

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    1. I will, Stephanie. I don't read reviews there at all. No thank you.

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    2. Me too. I never ever read reviews there. And Stephanie is right. YA reviewers can be brutal

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  4. I only use Goodreads at the present to post links for blogs in one group, but I know it can be problematic.

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    1. It can. You have to be very smart in the way you use it.

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  5. I use Goodreads as a reader first - author second. You're absolutely right - do not engage in negativity. Readers are smart and can often tell the trolls from the genuine reviews and they quickly dismiss the trolls. That said, not everyone will like your book. A valid reviewer will say why they didn't like it without making it personal. Those reviews can actually help people to decide to read your book, so they shouldn't bother you.

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    1. Yes, I read a review of my very first book that was so nice, yet not a good review. The book simply wasn't for this person and she said that, but she also said that fans of that kind of book would like it. There's a way to get your point across without slamming an author. I appreciated that review.

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  6. What I love are the people who read a book written and advertised to a COMPLETELY different demographic, then rant about it. Seriously. If I was writing for middle aged men, I would use a cover and description that appealed to middle aged men. Not teenage girls. =)

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    1. I see this happen a lot. I still don't understand it. There are age ranges and you can go by the description, so I'm not sure why there is so much confusion about what age group a book is meant for.

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  7. I don't go onto Goodreads unless I go there to add a book or to put a book on a shelf. I also write reviews when I have the time or if I feel a book was important enough that I want to expend some wind...I mean some clatter on my keyboard.

    I use the Goodreads widget to share my shelves and ratings. :)

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    1. That's a good and safe way to use it, Diane.

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  8. I post reviews on Good Reads and really should do more there, but know that everyone will not like my work and take what they say with a grain of salt.

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  9. I've seen some pretty disastrous things go down on Goodreads! It has for sure taught me to never engage w/a review on there, for my someday authordom. :)

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    1. I've seen some pretty awful stuff too. I hate that people can get so nasty online because they think having a screen between them and the person they're talking to somehow protects them. It doesn't.

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  10. You're so right. Goodreads is for readers, first. I'm on Goodreads but I doesn't do much for my platform. I kinda wish some of those reviews would find it's way to Amazon, though. ;) I mostly use it as a reader. I heard groups are a good way of reaching readers but man are those things time consuming.

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    1. Yes, I always have more reviews on Goodreads than Amazon. I was kind of hoping that the reviews would carry to Amazon since Amazon owns Goodreads, but so far no such luck.

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  11. Perhaps one has to be more assertive than I am on Goodreads to even be acknowledged. In light of this new (to me) insight, I'm grateful to be invisible - ha!
    But you are so right; never respond to a negative review. They probably lie in wait; hoping you will. eesh.

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  12. I use Goodreads as both an author and a reader, and like you my blog feeds into Goodreads. I always answer positive comments, and only post reviews on books I enjoyed reading. I don't believe in giving negative reviews. Just because I don't like a book doesn't mean someone else has to. I have used the Giveaway feature, but I can't say it's sold books because it hasn't. However, it does get the name and information out which is a plus. In my book, Goodreads is just one more tool to reach readers for authors. We just need to use it wisely.

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    1. Yes, that's the key. You have to use it wisely.

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  13. Goodreads and Pinterest are my top two most enjoyed social media platforms. On GR, I am always firstly a reader then an author. Like you, I have my blog linked to it. Other than this, I'm there as a reader and I love posting reviews (like Sherry, I rarely post bad reviews because I don't want to hurt the author ... unless they are dead. If there's a book I didn't enjoy, I'll just not review it.) Sorry to hear about the nastiness though. I haven't witnessed too much of it but will bear in mind not to engage with any negativity. The only part I don't like there is when authors send a friend request specifically so that they can spam you about their books. That's pesky.

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    1. I haven't experienced too much nastiness. There was one incident and the reader admitted she never read my book. I'm assuming others will discredit her review since she admitted that. How do you review a book you never read?

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  14. You are so right about those who rate your book BEFORE it's out. It's so annoying..

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    1. I've heard some rate ahead of time based on cover, blurb, or how much they want to read it. That's not what the ratings are meant for though.

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  15. AMEN. the most pertinent thing for me is that reviews are for readers, not the writers who wrote the books.

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    1. Yes, they really are for other readers.

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