Dear Reviewers,

I love Goodreads too. I love it as a reader and as a drama-loving red-blooded twenty-year-old extroverted Aries, but I also love it as a writer.

I'm sorry that we've fucked up Goodreads.

I'm having a hard time writing this because I'm so fucking frustrated, and because I'm goddamn ashamed of how I've seen people behaving lately. I feel like this is Boy Meets World and we have to keep learning the same lessons every week and then we go back and make the same fucking mistakes.

I want to tell you that I get why there is vitriol towards YA writers.

We keep doing this shit to you, and I'm so sorry.

I'm not giving any links because this isn't an isolated incident, but in case you've missed what's been going on lately, the gist is that we invade reviewer space, whether on reviews of our own work or a friend's, and act like assholes.

While I don't support anyone's decision to act like an asshole, it's really stupid for us. I get that sometimes you want to take that writer hat off and be a real person, or be a reader. Hell, I still have internet spaces for real hannah, and they're not invisible; you can go friend me on Facebook and watch me exchange videos with my girlfriend and discuss Motion City Soundtrack with my mom and post half-naked pictures from Rocky Horror, you know? (Just drop me a note saying you're a blog reader so I know you're not a random creeper looking at my half-naked pictures from Rocky Horror, cool?)

But I don't really get to be a reader anymore, but fully, and that's just fucking reality. And maybe it's not altogether awesome, and maybe I miss it, but it's a pretty small price to pay for being a motherfucking author.

That doesn't mean I can't write reviews, even negative ones; I do sometimes, and there are some amazing combination writer/reviewers out there--Phoebe North, anyone?--but it does mean that if I go out there and comment on bad reviews with sarcasm and bitchiness and general asshole-dom, I make writer-hannah look like a fucking idiot.

What's more, I embarrass my fans, I disrespect people who support me, and I give YA writers a bad name, and that just isn't how this shit is going to go down.

I don't know why this is such a hard concept for some of us, and I'm so, so sorry that we're just not fucking getting it.

If we can't stand Goodreads, we shouldn't go there. But if we choose to anyway, it is fucking ridiculous of us to think that just because we get those sexy author profile pages Goodreads is suddenly our space to be assholes to people who are doing what Goodreads was made for: reviewing books and interacting with people who love (and hate) books as much as they do.

Don't get me wrong, I love that we have a space where we can obsessively refresh to see how many people have added our books and see what page people are on and read what quotes they've added (THIS IS MY FAVORITE THING IN THE WORLD) and cry over bad reviews and cry over good reviews and cry because this shit is stressful, damn it.

But we are guests here, and Goodreads is your space, and I'm sorry we keep being idiots about it.


P.S. to authors: I know that bad reviews can hurt. I know that sometimes bad reviews are objectively WRONG. Shut up anyway. If you're a decent person with a good book, your readers will defend the thing. And that's the dream. That's what Goodreads is for.
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Published on January 03, 2012 00:31 • 26,203 views
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message 1: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana If you're a decent person with a good book, your readers will defend the thing.

Well said, and, more importantly, it's true.

message 2: by Megan (new)

Megan Okay, I think I missed something this weekend. What the heck happened?

message 3: by Kaethe (new)

Kaethe You and me both, Megan.

message 4: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Landmark Same here. Can you enlighten the rest of us as to what prompted your open letter rant, Hannah? Did a YA author react negatively to a bad review of his/her book?

message 5: by Kaethe (new)

Kaethe Tell us, who got ranty? (By the way, every time you write something so reasonable as this you make me more eager to read your books. I hope I get them all in this year)

message 6: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Thanks, guys!!

I don't know if I should give links, though. It was kind of a shitshow and it seems to be winding down now.

message 7: by Steph (new)

Steph Sinclair Tatiana wrote: "If you're a decent person with a good book, your readers will defend the thing.

Well said, and, more importantly, it's true."

And we have more than seen that around these parts.

I love you, Hannah.

message 8: by Hannah (new)

Hannah love you BACK.

LethalLovely~I Slept in Last Night's Clothes & Tomorrow's Dreams Miss Hannah? You are my freaking Shero. Seriously. I love Goodreads. It's been my safe haven for 2 years. The place I can go to to gush about smutty reads & cry about cliffhangers in UF without people looking at me like I'm a twit for not being obsessed with GLEE or snoring every time I try to read Anna Karenina.

That being said, the WTFery from authors on GR is way past ridiculous. I have backed away from writing reviews this year because I'm not trying to deal with this shit. I have enough trouble trying to pay the bills without worrying about some author verbally bitch slapping me for calling her hero a douche. So thank you. You are best.

message 11: by Hannah (new)

Hannah thank you, darlin'!

message 12: by Ceilidh (new)

Ceilidh *thumbs up* Well said.

However, I still want you, Phoebe and Kirsten to do a dance-off.

message 13: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Kirsten wins by default. I mean, she's been to burning man.

message 14: by Hannah (new)

Hannah I'll drop on the deck and flop like a fish Spongebob-style.

message 15: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Ha! I was just going to suggest you and I team up to do the Time Warp. I can handle that. But flopping works, too.

message 16: by Cory (last edited Jan 03, 2012 02:58PM) (new)

Cory ...I would pay to see that in all of its ridiculous glory.

message 17: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten Hubbard rofl. my dancing on the playa consists mostly of skipping toward the shiny. your best weapon would probably be distract kirsten.
( doing the time warp. that would work.)

message 18: by Hannah (new)

Hannah I do dance a mean Time Warp.

[image error]

message 19: by Phoebe (new)

Phoebe Hee! Awesome photographic evidence. <3

(There is no photographic evidence of me dancing. For good reason!)

message 20: by P. (new)

P. I don't know much about you, but now I love you.

message 21: by Hannah (new)

Hannah mutual!

message 22: by Has (new)

Has I <3 You!!!!! :D

message 23: by Hannah (new)

Hannah love you guys!

message 24: by BookChic (new)

BookChic Club But I can still tell people they're wrong, right? Since I'm a blogger and not an author (yet). :P

I know what you're talking about and while it was handled in the wrong way, I do still agree with the author about the review. I'm just not a fan of reviews that focus only on such a miniscule part of a whole book and forget about the rest of it. I'm also not a fan of long reviews where the reviewer hasn't read the full book, only a sampling.

I may do a post about this eventually but it'll have to be a while because my next few weeks are packed. Though I'm sure some new drama will have cropped up by then, lol.

Anyway, great post.

message 25: by Katee (new)

Katee Robert LOVE LOVE LOVE.

message 26: by Vi (new)

Vi Vi Awesome post, very well said.


message 27: by Hannah (new)


Mel (who is deeply in love with herself) Palice wrote: "I don't know much about you, but now I love you.

You took the words right out of, fingers.

message 29: by Vi (new)


message 30: by Jan (new)

Jan Geez, can't an Open Letter be written without all the F and other words. I find it hard to take someone seriously if they can't express themselves without the language. I am not a prude. I cuss like a sailor, but not when I want to influence someone.

message 31: by Hannah (new)

Hannah JUST FINISHED THE PSYCHOTIC EPISODE. "Oh, Shawn, I Mary Poppined ya!"

Jan--is cool, different strokes.

message 32: by Kinsey (new)

Kinsey Holley Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

I obsess intermittently over my Goodreads reviews and, once in a while, if a reviewer is just extra special cute or something, I'll friend them. But I would never, ever, ever, dream of contacting a negative reviewer, much less castigating them, and I'm always just fucking gobsmacked when authors do it. Maybe it's because I'm Southern, and "Be Polite" has been drilled into me since birth. I always wonder if these authors who throw tantrums on the Internet respond the same way to criticism in person. If they have day jobs, and their supervisors give them less than stellar reviews, does the whole office hear them ranting? What IS it about the Internet that makes peoples' ids explode like that?

And why do authors think readers/reviewers owe them nice reviews? A book is a product, a commodity. It's something you make and sell to other people. It's not the reader's problem, or obligation, if you poured your heart and soul and sweat and tears into it and they fail to see its beauty like you do. No one forced you to write and publish that book, and you can't force readers to be nice to you when they review it. Writing is a business. If you can't separate yourself from your books - if you insist on believing that a negative critique of your book is a negative critique of you, as a person - then you really shouldn't be an author.

Some reviewers can be very, very cruel. Some reviewers can totally miss the point of a book, and I've read reviews of mine and friends' books where it's obvious that the reviewer didn't read the whole thing, or else had serious reading comprehension issues. So what. It doesn't matter. I am not my book, and my book is not me, and once it's out there I cannot control how people respond to it. All I control is how I respond to their response, and sometimes that requires a bottle of wine and a desperate plea for validation to one of my co-bloggers or other author buddies. But there's no excuse for involving the reader in it.

message 33: by Hannah (new)

Hannah WORD.

message 34: by Amanda (new)

Amanda Griggs Fantastic. And now you've just convinced one reader to seek out your books, because clearly any author who is this awesome will have books that are equally as awesome. Plus, you love Boy Meets World, which is one of my litmus tests for cool peeps.

Thanks. Honestly. Thank you.

message 35: by Julianna (new)

Julianna Helms Kinsey wrote: "Yes. Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.

I obsess intermittently over my Goodreads reviews and, once in a while, if a reviewer is just extra special cute or something, I'll friend them. But I would ne..."


Also, Hannah, I already responded to you via your blog post, but YOU. ROCK.

And BookChic, "miniscule part"? The whole corroboration of a misrepresented stereotype that influences the future generation? Miniscule?

I don't want to argue with you, or anyone, anymore, so I'll just leave it at that.

message 36: by Hannah (new)

Hannah thank YOU. and me and the books are toootally separate entities, just like Kinsey said, so if you don't like them we can still be buddies, cool?

message 37: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Witte As an author who also reviews books, I say: DITTO.

So everyone pay attention: Authors, readers & reviewers are not the enemy. Goodreads denizens, authors are not the enemy. We all love reading. We're fighting for the same team here. Can't we all just get along? *sacharine quote intentional*

But seriously, DITTO.

message 38: by Lee (new)

Lee I have no idea as to the mess that occurred but I feel the need to toss in my two cents (just because I'm in that mood). I've heard - and read - similar situations on Amazon (woah, and some authors really take offense to negative reviews over there).

I don't review very often, but when I do I also try to remember that some author spent a great deal of time writing what I might think of as typed trash. I need to give some time to think through my own writing so as to respectfully point out what I didn't like. If I really didn't like it, I need to just say a word or two and then move on. I've given really bad reviews before, but I like to think that I remembered my manners and made my review constructive.

I've only had one author contact me about a negative review and we both politely agreed that it's a good thing we live in a world where people can freely choose what they enjoy. She thanked me for my input and I agreed to try another of her novels (didn't like the second one, though).

I admire you, Hannah, you've said what I think needed saying in a way that showed respect and honesty.

message 39: by BookChic (new)

BookChic Club Julianna- Yes, miniscule. It's 2 pages out of a 260 page book and in the beginning. Characters change throughout a book. Not only that, but teens are not as impressionable as that reviewer (and some of her fans) seems to think. No one is going to read that and be like "All feminists are angry, bitter lesbians. I shouldn't be a feminist. Why are people always trying to get me to be a feminist if they're like that?" Readers know that feminists are not like that. We don't need a 5 paragraph dissertation about how wrong it is because that's obvious (and the book never says this stance is right) and also because it doesn't discuss the book as a whole which a review should do. The reviewer didn't even read the whole book instead relying on sample chapters. A legit reviewer should never do that.

Jessica (Step Into Fiction) I don't think there's anything wrong with a negative review as long as the person isn't directly taking aim at the author. I have read one review when the reader was saying how the author sucked a life, should probably die, etc...and my mouth was literally on the floor. OK, so if you don't like the author or the book, for that matter...tell us (and them) why. Constructive criticism. I mean, weren't we all taught this in school? At least...I know I was. Everyone has their own opinion and everyone has a right to voice that...but its just how they voice it, I think.

But Hannah, I've already told you on twitter how I agree with EVERYTHING you've said. It's part of an authors job, to get negative reviews. It's going to happen and you either have to ignore it or have big enough balls to handle what is said. It's that simple.

If you're a dick to readers, not even your own readers, you are losing readers and potential readers. No matter how good your writing might be, you treat book fans with disrespect and you've just about ended your career.

Hannah, you seriously make me smile. Not only are you so uberly talented but you are seriously the most chill person, ever. I'm so glad I found your work and I'm so proud to say we're from the same state lol. You kick much ass and if any of you reading this post and the comments have NOT read her books, get on that. :)

message 41: by Hannah (new)

Hannah you make meee smile <3

message 42: by Julianna (last edited Jan 03, 2012 05:53PM) (new)

Julianna Helms BookChic wrote: "Julianna- Yes, miniscule. It's 2 pages out of a 260 page book and in the beginning. Characters change throughout a book. Not only that, but teens are not as impressionable as that reviewer (and som..."

Wow, um, I don't know what to say to you. I totally see where you're coming from, and I'm totally raising my eyebrows right now. The media already influences youths today in one of the most unhealthiest ways possible. "Readers know that feminists are not like that." ding ding ding, assumption. Articles such as this and this clearly prove otherwise. Please understand that I am not arguing with you here. I am, instead, attempting to make clear of a stereotype so widely acknowledged, it's not even categorized as a "stereotype" anymore. "the reviewer didn't even read the whole book." You're right. But if you read through the comments, they said they were going to finish it and see if their opinion changes. They even marked it as "to-read" again. This reviewer is willing to be offended for the chance of giving the book an honest, overall review.

Again, I am not trying to attack you or your beliefs, and I completely see your point. I just wanted to clarify things, that's all.

message 43: by Annika (new)

Annika Hannah, you are completely awesome and I love you for this post!

(And now I've finally ordered your books, yay! Because you are the kind of author I really, really want to support.)

message 44: by Hannah (new)

Hannah oh, wow, thank you SO much.

message 45: by Janelle (new)

Janelle i love you in all your awesomeness, hannah moskowitz.

and i must add...


message 46: by Hannah (new)


message 47: by Meredith (new)

Meredith Oh wow, I didn't know this had happened but I'm glad I do now.

When I review I always try to balance out the negative with the positive, but if I did write a negative review I would be upset if someone (especially the author) contacted me saying I was wrong! I understand that every author has put their life and soul into their books! And there's hardly anything better in the world than an author tweeting me saying "Hey, thanks for the awesome review!" But when it's a negative review, of course the author feels bad, but don't take it out on the reviewer! They're just giving their opion! That would be yucking on their yum! We're all entitled to our opinions and that's our right.

I can also understand you being like "dudes, you are giving YA authors a bad rap." That's got to be annoying!

Thank you so much for posting this Hannah! (by the way- I really adore your last name) I think you're insanely awesome and I'm actually reading Invincible Summer right now. ;)

Lets keep goodreads clean! :)

- Meredith

message 48: by Hannah (new)

Hannah thank you so much! I actually have a cousin named Meredith, but her last name isn't Moskowitz. That would have been really cool.

message 49: by Summer (new)

Summer Amanda wrote: "Fantastic. And now you've just convinced one reader to seek out your books, because clearly any author who is this awesome will have books that are equally as awesome.

I'm with Amanda! I already had one of your books on my to-read shelf by chance, but now it's going to be a higher priority to get to it.

I personally don't write reviews. I use the star rating system, and I'm happy to discuss books until I'm blue in the face, but I have no desire to summarize how I feel about a particular title - it's just too personal to me. So I don't do it.

message 50: by Wendy Darling (last edited Jan 03, 2012 09:14PM) (new)

Wendy Darling Hannah, awesome post. Thanks for appreciating the role that readers play in this whole dynamic, and trusting that we will stick up for writers we believe in.

Bookchic, I hear this criticism again and again about "oh she didn't even finish the book" and I have to say that I strongly disagree with that sentiment when it comes to GoodReads reviews. What readers can and should expect from a professional reviewer/paid book critic is that he or she has finished the book, has done the necessary fact-checking, and that it's fairly politely stated. Otherwise you lose readers and therefore advertisers.

There are no guidelines or requirements for using this site as a member of the public, just so long as a review does not violate the GoodReads terms of service. Few of us are professional critics, we are not paid for our opinions, and we take the time to post reviews because we love books and we want to share them with fellow bibliophiles. Posting a DNF review is perfectly valid, as is writing a short essay about why you choose to read or not read a book. Now whether readers choose to weigh that into their decisions about reading the book, that's up to them. But I don't believe anyone has the right to say to her what she can or cannot do on her review space.

I read Tempest, btw, and I wasn't bothered by the feminist issue. But if someone else is bothered by it, I support her right to say so. Because the very best reviews are colored by your own experiences and emotions, aren't they? I appreciate reading different points of view, even if I don't necessarily agree with them.

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