One Bully, Two Bullies, Three Bullies on Goodreads
I have written and rewritten this post countless times. I’m still not completely happy with this post, but I can’t grant my conscience any peace until I’ve said something on this situation. Goodreads is a war zone. I’ve been watching the drama on Goodreads rather intimately since my incident with that author nearly two months ago.
It was not a fun experience for me. I didn’t wake up one morning and say, “I’m going to piss on this author’s book today because I need some more fucking page views.” The truth was there were only 14 reviews in a 60 stop tour. Forgive me for saying 1 or 2. I didn’t LITERALLY mean one or two. But, it was my mistake for accompany that information with the review. It didn’t pertain to the book itself. I really feel guilty that it was my mistake that prompted the author to attack me. Theoretically, if I didn’t make a mistake, the whole incident never would have happened.
The tiffs between authors and reviewers is an everyday occurrence. But who is the bully in each situation isn’t as black and white as the participants want you to believe. It’s understandable if you stand up for your friends when one of them is attacked. That’s what friends are for. What’s not okay is for you and your friends to belittle and bully the other person until they never want to step foot on Goodreads again. Too many times what was originally said is blown out of proportion and what ends up happening is nothing short of childish.
It might be that many of these incidents occur because the reviewer does go slightly off topic and includes information that isn’t limited to the content of the book. It might not be a stretch to say that an author sucks at writing if several of their books have been sub-par, however, including what an author does outside of their books doesn’t have a place in a book review.
I wish that reviews would follow these two rules:
- Don’t post a review unless you read part or all of the book – Sample counts.
- Review the book and not the author – Tell me why the book sucks, not why the author sucks.
Shelving a book you’ve never read
I don’t use shelve books on my do-not-read list if the author behaves badly, but I’m not against it. I completely know why they do it. If I know that an author has gone after a reviewer previously I am much less likely to read/review the author’s books. I’m not on some moral mission to read only books by authors with good manners. Fact is that I don’t want to end up in the hot seat again because another author didn’t like what I wrote in a review. I’m not shifting the blame to the reviewer, but I really think that if WE were more proactive in not inciting drama that there would be less of it. Not only do some reviewers go outside of what should be in a book review, but some members on Goodreads actively LOOK for drama. (Screenshot taken from one of the comments on my review.)
There is an entire crew of people that search out and bait naive members of Goodreads. I don’t want to list people and I don’t need to. If you compare the comment logs of these incidents and you will see the same half dozen or so individuals making everything harder on the rest of us.
These people are trolls.
They have no purpose other than to make the rest of us fucking miserable. There will still be some drama between authors and reviewers without these trolls, but I DOUBT that it would be as severe as it is now. And it’s dangerous for bystanders too. Once you show any inclination that you think of one side favorably, you will be publicly called out and every post you make will be trolled. There is shady things going on with both sides, which is why I’ve tried to stay out of it. I’ve sent my <3 through PMs, but supporting someone that is on the current shitlist will only get YOU on the shitlist.
The Master List – Authors Behaving Badly
Something else that I’ve been pondering. How can authors that have behaved badly earn a second change? How can these people who we have blacklisted and humiliated clear their name? At the moment Goodreads works just like a sex offender list. Once an author is on that master list, there is no way for that author to step foot on that site without the label following their every post.
I think that there should be some path for retribution. Granted, there are some ‘special snowflakes’ that will be repeat offenders, but what about those that have learned from their mistakes. The reviewers shun these authors and then they’re surprised when these authors turn to the one place that offers them support and direction – STGRB. Whether or not they give rejected authors good advice, well…you can decide that for yourself.
I think people forget that authors are human beings too. We all make mistakes. What’s important is that it’s not repeated.
New Reviewers – They don’t understand that some authors care only about sales. Some authors will do ANYTHING to have only positive opinions of their book(s) available.
New Authors – They don’t understand that everything they say will be taken out of context and perceived in the worst way possible. They don’t realize that their Twitter and Facebook pages are opened to the public and therefore everything said on these sites will be screen-shot and forever associated with them.
Indie Writers – It’s implied that if an author did something wrong they were self-published. The well-known incident involving Wendy Darling and the author of The Selection was traditionally published. The author I had an incident with was from a small press publishing company. There are self-published authors that do behave badly, but avoiding books by self-published authors won’t guarantee that you will escape the drama. It’s like avoiding pregnancy. The only way to guarantee you won’t get pregnant is to not have sex. The only way to guarantee that you won’t get bullied over a review is to not write reviews.
I don’t know how to end this post anymore than I knew how to begin it. I apologize if it sounded like preaching. It’s something that I felt needed to be said. Feel free to disagree or agree with my opinions in the comments below.