Confession time. I rediscovered my love for books during a really dark time in my life and after getting through that, I found blogging to counteract another dark time in my life a few years later. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon Goodreads. All I know is that once I found it I was hooked. I loved the fact that it was a site for readers to keep track of what they read and what they want to read. I loved that via others I was able to discover books I had never known about. I loved the connection I made with others via the groups. I’m still a lurker for the most part but I value everyone’s input and love reading what everyone has to say. Pretty much everything about this site is helpful in trying to figure out anything related to books. So yeah, indirectly Goodreads helped me get to a happy place.
For a while now, it hasn’t been a happy place. I haven’t mentioned anything in my posts nor do I talk about it on Twitter or on Goodreads where I find fellow book lovers. I think it’s because I’m trying to avoid drama, acknowledging it enough to know it exists but not enough to truly get involved in all of it. When I say there is drama there is LOADS of drama...
Basically, there are readers who leave really snarky reviews. I think you’ve all seen them. They use gifs throughout their review and some are positive but many are not. There are other reviews that are not as animated but are negative nonetheless. Most of the time it has to do with the book itself but sometimes you come upon the occasional personal attack on the writer. Some authors have taken to reading reviews and commenting on them and one thing leads to another and there’s an all out cyber war that’s broken out not only on Goodreads but all media venues.
All of this brought on a site where authors have banded together to list names of readers and authors alike, who have left negative reviews or associate themselves with those who have left negative reviews and who they feel have been practicing the art of bullying via their reviews.
Apparently these folks have made a loud enough ruckus because Goodreads has decided to update a policy where they will delete any bookshelves created where it is perceived to be author bashing and they will hide or delete any reviews that are perceived to be author bashing. If this behavior persists they will and can delete your account. Well more like putting you on probation but it’s all the same because it can lead to deletion. All of this without notice because they’ve already begun to do this but have notified people that reviews and/or shelves have been deleted after the fact.
So here is the deal, folks. Did I find out about this new policy because it was emailed to me? No. Did I find out about this new policy because I belong to the group it was announced on? No. I found out about this policy because an author I follow posted a very vague post about it which prompted me to do a long search. The search lead me to the original post with the policy change, which was about a week old at the time and with at least 1000 comments already attached to it. Here it is so that you don't have to on a long crappy search--> Censored.
1. I think that Goodreads is for both the reader and the author. I think both can coexist together and for the most part it is fun. I don't believe that authors don't care about Goodreads or the reviews. If they didn't we wouldn't be seeing so much drama popping up all over the place. But, whatever.
2. Negative reviews are part of life in general! It’s what you do with them to make a positive that counts. Take it or leave it but don’t attack readers, don’t stalk them, don’t post their address and phone number online in an online rant (yeah, that has happened). Like, that is common sense, yo!
3. Don’t attack the writer personally… I do mean personally like don’t say they should kill themselves because they can’t write for crap and what not. Please! That’s not necessary. Anything else in regards to the book I think is the reader’s opinion and valid.
4. Goodreads, why all the censorship? I think it’s crazy that you would just assume people are author bashing just because a shelf reads “will not read” or anything like it. Perhaps the reason a book is on that shelf is because there is rape in that book and the reader can’t handle it. Maybe the book has been placed on that shelf because it deals with depression and perhaps the reader is dealing with depression. Maybe the reader is a history teacher and just doesn’t want any more history in their lives or in their leisure books so places historical romances in said “will not read” shelf.
5. Readers have the right to decide what they want to read and what they don’t want to read for whatever reason. I mean really they do. That should not be anyone’s business but their own.
6. Authors get a grip. I can’t even begin to mention how many negative reviews I’ve read that have actually made me want to read a book. I can’t even begin to mention how many books I’ve passed up because of all the positive reviews it had. Truth be told, reviews are personal opinions based on personal tastes. I might not like everything I read but I encourage everyone to read those books to form their own opinion and I also go as far as to gift some of these books, too. I don’t mean just gifting my copy but gifting my copy and others to people who want to give this book a chance. On the flip side there have been times where I can’t stand the author but still purchase their books and gift them to folks. Just a year ago I had a negative experience with an author and still dropped about $120 on their books! There’s another author who I feel is rude to her readers, AND I feel they’re a little winded in their writing but I still purchase their books because OVERALL I think the books are good, some great and have absolutely fallen in love with all the characters.
7. Creating a site where you put up names and links to people you think are bullies is being a bully. It’s called reverse bullying. I think you all should read this wonderful book that teaches kids about that--->Millicent Marie Is Not My Name.
8. Readers please remember that the people that write these books are people! They have feelings! They should be able to handle the bad but it’s still hard for them to be told that their life’s passion is not as great as they thought. On the flip side, please always be true to yourself and be honest in your reviews because there are authors out there that actually use that feedback to grow.
9. Readers, sometimes, not always but sometimes, the author jumps in on a conversation to clarify something that perhaps you didn't understand in hopes that you get to see where they were coming from or trying to achieve. Not always are they trying to come at you with murder in their eyes. Perhaps it's just to create discussion. We all need to be more objective and less confrontational even though I do understand why everyone is on alert due to all the drama in the last year or so. Still...CAN'T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG?!
10. Please, please just ignore ignorance. This is for everyone! Recognize what is ignorant and what is a valid opinion and keep on moving.
I think I needed to vent and if I’m going to be honest, I have sat on this post for almost a month. I don’t like drama. I’m not the one. If anything, I delete drama and those who cause it from my life.
If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve really slowed down on the blog because I’m literally afraid that one day my review will cause an author or a fan to go ballistic because they don’t like what I had to say. It’s just all so ugly. I needed to vent and to inform you in case you just didn't know what was going on with the new rules.
With all that said… I’m going to try really hard to blog and review a lot more like I once did. I’m just a bit turned off is all and I need to get out of this funk. I want to thank all of those Goodreads friends who are standing up against the censorship by placing black strips over their mouths in their profile pics. I want to thank all of the authors who have been absolutely awesome people! The ones that take negative reviews and see where their readers were coming from and use it to grow.
I’ll always be supportive of the authors and readers alike.
I’m not ready to give up on Goodreads completely but I will be changing my style of reviews that will be left there as well as Amazon. I'm monitoring who I accept as friends on there more closely because there are just too many shenanigans going on in that front too BUT that will be for another post, or not.
I’m also going to open up an account on BOOKLIKES because it seems like they have their priorities in order. You should check it for yourself here.
NOW I feel like we may return to our regularly scheduled program.
Be good. On to the next...
photo credit: unclefuz via photopin cc