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Writer's Circle > when they join Goodreads just to give you one star

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message 1: by John (last edited May 08, 2015 10:34AM) (new)

John Khoury | 21 comments Sorry, I just had to share this. This man/woman apparently recently joined Goodreads (or just created a new account) just to crap on my 2 books: link removed.
I'm in the process of trying to get reviews and this just happened. Must have been something I said...or wrote. (Luckily) I have to laugh.
John


message 2: by Michael (last edited May 08, 2015 10:35AM) (new)

Michael Burton John wrote: "Sorry, I just had to share this. This man/woman apparently recently joined Goodreads (or just created a new account) just to crap on my 2 books: link removed

Hi John,

I just read your comment and had to add my two cents. First of all I am sorry you had to go through this. It boggles my mind why readers do this. I have had the same experience on Amazon. Some readers are just very negative people and hurtful. I have had feedback from many readers on this very subject and they take these reviews with a grain of salt...in other words pay little attention to them. Remember, you can't please everyone.


message 3: by Karl (new)

Karl Wiggins | 77 comments one reviewer gave one of my books a 1 Star rating, which is unusual for that book, not because it's that good, just that it gives exactly what it says on the tin. Nobody who reads it can be surprised at what they find between the covers. So out of interest I thought I’d read his review.

He didn’t write one! What good is that? He goes by a very grandiose name, by the way, and you’d think that such an oracle on books would have some constructive criticism, but GET THIS …..

On January 22nd last year he reviewed no fewer than 154 books, and of those he rated 143 of them with a 1 Star!!!

These, by the way, included some Harry Potter books and even a couple of Bukowski’s in there!!

He’s given seven 5 Stars, two 4 Stars, one 3 Star, one 2 Star and 143 one Stars!

The seven 5 Stars, by the way, include;

A Dr Seuss book
The Giving Tree, which is a children’s book
The Life of Pi, of all things, which is by all accounts a difficult book to read
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, again not really suitable for a child
Two space saga type books
The Hunger Games.

What kind of person would categorize that collection as the best books he’s ever read and rate Charles Bukowski a one Star?

To draw a positive, at least one person on the planet rates my writing as equal to that of Bukowski!


message 4: by Michael (last edited May 04, 2015 01:11PM) (new)

Michael Burton Karl wrote: "one reviewer gave one of my books a 1 Star rating, which is unusual for that book, not because it's that good, just that it gives exactly what it says on the tin. Nobody who reads it can be surpris..."

Hi Karl,

Giving one star and no review, amazing. I bet readers skip right by this one.


message 5: by Karl (new)

Karl Wiggins | 77 comments Michael, I like to think I'm an honest reviewer - as I'm sure we all do - and I hate to give poor reviews. However, if I feel a writer is insulting the reader, if not enough due care and attention has been paid, if the plot is just nonsense, then I will do. But I'll at least state my reasons.

I once read two books by the same author and gave them poor reviews. The author got in touch with me and said, "Boy, you're harsh! However you've given me a lot to think about. I need to pay more attention in the future."

I retired both my reviews, even though he hadn't asked me to. I felt the message had got across. My objective, after all, wasn't to ruin his life.


message 6: by S. (new)

S. Rivera (sjacksonrivera) | 28 comments So sorry. How awful. I've done all I can to mentally brace myself for when that kind of thing happens, if it is possible to not let it hurt, but so far, I've been lucky. I think the worst thing said so far is something like: I only gave this one 4 stars because the sequel isn't out yet.

Knock on wood!


message 7: by Sally (new)

Sally Burbank | 39 comments I'm told these people are call trolls! I have yet to receive a review of under three stars on my book, Patients I Will Never Forget, though I know I need to develop a thick skin, as it is only a matter of time before one of these trolls crawls out from under the bridge and gives me a one star review!


message 8: by Christie (new)

Christie Maurer | 32 comments If somebody is that much of an a*****e as to simply trash both your books, I'm sure readers will get it and ignore 'em.


message 9: by Paul (last edited May 04, 2015 05:12PM) (new)

Paul (pbuzz) | 95 comments Christie wrote: "If somebody is that much of an a*****e as to simply trash both your books, I'm sure readers will get it and ignore 'em."
I'm with you Christie.


message 10: by Christine (new)

Christine Hayton (ccmhayton) Relax people - I doubt any reader (I know I don't)pays any attention to 1 star ratings with no reviews for explanation - that a solid troll move and nothing more.


message 11: by Emma (new)

Emma Jaye | 80 comments I suggest people remember to untick the 'add to my update feed' box when commenting on a thread such as this. Otherwise, the comment appears on your author page.

Troll tend to travel in packs, and moaning about a one star review can bring them out from under their bridges....


message 12: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Karl wrote: "He didn’t write one! What good is that? He goes by a very grandiose name, by the way, and you’d think that such an oracle on books would have some constructive criticism, but GET THIS …..

On January 22nd last year he reviewed no fewer than 154 books, and of those he rated 143 of them with a 1 Star!!! "


GR users can rate, review, shelf however they want. I really don't think it's wise to call out a reader because you don't like how they use Goodreads. As an author, you shouldn't even be looking at how users are rating/reviewing your book.


message 13: by Emma (new)

Emma Jaye | 80 comments I have come across people who use the rating system to determine whether that want to read a book or not, judging it on its cover, blurb or genre.
That is their prerogative.
However, I think reading reviews of your work is a valuable exercise. it helps you find out if you are reaching your target audience.


message 14: by Karl (new)

Karl Wiggins | 77 comments A.W. wrote: "Karl wrote: "He didn’t write one! What good is that? He goes by a very grandiose name, by the way, and you’d think that such an oracle on books would have some constructive criticism, but GET THIS ..."

AW, of course an author should look at how users are reviewing their books. Often the review is the only feedback we back. I've even retired a book because I could see it wasn't working. I used the content elsewhere. Reviews are vital feedback for authors. Why do you feel authors shouldn't look at them?


message 15: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 05, 2015 07:04AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) When no review accompanies a rating -- doesn't do any good to look at them. Discouraging what low star ratings can do to a book's average even if reader isn't using stars to rate the book, but also not very convincing to other readers without comments, reviews, discussions,updates, stuff around the blogosphere that might explain it ...

Professional reviews are more likely to provide author good feedback than the customer product opinions here.

I don't know anyone on goodreads who writes their review for the author (not even if a free for review offer) except in author review exchanges. But, I don't subscribe to the "authors shouldn't read their reviews" notion—so long as they keep in mind reviews were not written for them and may not contain any useful feedback, are very subjective, and that in fact some element not to one reader's taste can actually sell your book to another reader with different taste.

The more reviews, the more readers can judge—based on if they have tastes in common with other reviewers or reviews strike a chord or are helpful to them at all—if your book is for them. If it is = sales. If not = you may have avoided another negative review because they avoided your book.

It's less that authors shouldn't read their reviews than that authors who get publicly upset in a way that sounds like they want to control their customers, get privately so sick they need medical help or publicly go all whack-ado over reviews should not read them. (Yes, I know the toddler-temper-tantrum drama marketing theories that no attention is worse than bad attention so drama equals discoverability but —despite the buzz and even sales it generates — it sure causes even more consumer boycotts and drives away the potential readers who would become longtime [even preordering and fan group and book-of-the-month reading] fans versus the few that jump in on one side or the other of the drama).

Thanks to the whackados, it's really bad marketing for an author to be "seen" to be reading their reviews.

It's just a touchy subject because of all the complaints and attacks about goodreads not requiring reviews with ratings (or how to use the ratings), attacks on individual reviewers for same, angry "but you have to justify it" "you have to write your review this way" "prove it -- gimme the line edits" "I am suing you for bull[y]ing and for slander because your opinion cannot possibly be your opinion" "that's not what I paid you to write" ... comments. There are a bunch of BBA Bingo cards running around with some of the most common comments authors make when bashing at reviewers. I have friends here so sensitive they even get upset (which I don't agree with) over a "thank you for your feedback" type of comment from an author.

There seems to be a whole generation of new authors who feel it's okay to self-publish a book then expect to be able to take feedback (and funding) from their customers to revise it and republish a new edition to repeat the cycle with new unsuspecting customers. Unlike other authors, they feel they don't need to go through beta readers and editors before publishing. They feel like reviews are owed them but must be useful and book promotional or there is something wrong that they can and will control because they will "standup for themselves" even if they have to attack every last rating and review and pay/write plenty of reviews to offset and how dare anyone tell them that's consumer fraud ...

These authors are ruining it for the rest of you and making everyone oversensitive to even a simple comment about a star rating. And their uploads are making it hard to get your books discovered and to encourage customers to actually write more thoughtful reviews.

And another generation that feels that because amazon.com says star rating scale is one thing, that goodreads must comply. That if Amazon.com says ratings require reviews then by golly the reviewers on goodreads who have not had that prohibition ever should suddenly be made to comply with another site's rules.

Because of all the crap that goes on—and getting upset about a star rating or a star rating without a review is a very common occurrence that drives your customers up the wall—usually better to vent privately to friends.

Honestly, I didn't take the original post as an author going whackado or attacking anyone. Frustrated, sure. Another author boringly complaining about one-star ratings, sure. Cause me to boycott their book — no. Could it? Well, yes but only if commenting on the rating to attack the reviewer (or if posting out on social media for everyone to go attack the reviewer here and on Amazon, down vote the Amazon review, etc.).

Of course, if the original poster has any reason to suspect the one-star rating isn't just from a reader or a random internet troll — like retaliation from another author for how this author reviewed their book or refused to review, someone with sockpupoet accounts who rates your book multiple times from multiple fake accounts, a real life someone who has been stalking/attacking you, someone with a grudge like an argument over money owed, or a competitor-paid rating from something like fivver — that can be reported to goodreads.


message 16: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 05, 2015 07:13AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Michael wrote: "...Some readers are just very negative people and hurtful. I h..."

More likely some internet troll than someone who read the book. Readers tend to either not review, to rave about a book or to rant about a book.

Trolls don't read much. Not that never reading the book stops them from reviewing; trolls love an audience and sites like goodreads offer a huge audience.


message 17: by Mellie (last edited May 05, 2015 12:42PM) (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Karl wrote: "AW, of course an author should look at how users are reviewing their books. Often the review is the only feedback we back."

No. In fact that really concerns me if reader reviews are the only feedback you have. What about your critique partners? Beta readers? Editor? That is the ONLY feedback an author should seek and listen to.

Reviews are for readers NOT authors. Let me repeat that again, they are for readers.

As an author you seek feedback before you publish, not after. Once a book is out in the world you should be working on the next one, not hovering over readers waiting to see how they rate/review/shelf. This is also one of the reasons why many readers & bloggers will no longer review SPA books, authors haven't sought appropriate feedback before they publish and then expect the paying public to act as critique partners and editors.


message 18: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (normalgirl) | 398 comments SPA books?


message 19: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Hannah wrote: "SPA books?"

Self Published Author

There are a number of review blogs who will no longer touch them due to special snowflakes having meltdowns over reviews and ratings.


message 20: by Karl (new)

Karl Wiggins | 77 comments A.W. wrote: "Karl wrote: "AW, of course an author should look at how users are reviewing their books. Often the review is the only feedback we back."

No. In fact that really concerns me if reader reviews are t..."


AW, do you honestly think that an author shouldn't listen to the readers?

I'm not falling out with you over this because I half agree with what you're saying. A friend is getting ready to publish her 4th book and has had me read the first couple of chapters, which I don't think work, so she's making the alterations. I agree that's the way to do it.

But a business - be it restaurant, hair salon, bar, scuba diving school - must listen to it's customers, a musician must here what the public are saying about his music, and an author should show readers the respect they deserve by paying attention to what they think of their book / writing style / plot etc.


message 21: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments Karl wrote: "AW, do you honestly think that an author shouldn't listen to the readers?"

There's a difference between listening to readers and stalking their reviews for feedback.

If readers want to interact with me, I let them come to me. We engage on other social media sites and discuss mine (and other) books. Do I listen to them? Sure, that's why I write novellas about secondary characters readers like, because they have asked for them.

Do I read reviews and change my books? No. Here's the thing that SPAs don't seem to understand - you seek feedback about plot, pacing, characterisation and style before you publish. Not after.

Once a book is published, it's done. Move on to the next one. Reading is subjective, one reader might love your writing style, another may loathe it. Same with the plot, one reader might find it fast paced and engaging, another convoluted and flat. If you start relying on reviews for feedback, you will end up writing by committee.

If you don't seek feedback from CPs, betas and an editor before you publish that is your choice. It's not a business decision I would make. I do find it ironic you talk about showing readers respect and yet you have called out a reader and made fun of both their intellect and their use of Goodreads. Perhaps you should be "listening" to the reader who has 1-starred your books, what are they trying to tell you?


message 22: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 05, 2015 03:15PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Feedback from customer reviews, well, with a grain of salt (and completely keeping in mind that's just one readers opinion and that even if others say the same that's still just feedback from readers who choose to review online) and being careful not to lose your "voice" — consider how much attention you want to pay it when writing your next book.

But, like A.W. said that's just already too late for a published book.

"SPA" is a neutral/polite reference to self and independently publishing authors as opposed to traditionally published mainstream authors.

"Speshul snowflake" refers to someone who has apparently been so carefully preserved in nothing but praise with participation trophies and stars awarded—as if they were truly so speshul they transcend all rules of common behavior and should just bask in worship— that the least lack of raving praises, even something as indecipherable as an unexplained 1-star rating, causes an outright meltdown with various actions resulting (none pretty and usually offensive to the reviewer and many potential reviewers).

I don't think the OP was exactly being a speshul snowflake (nowhere near the level of meltdowns I've seen) . I do think A.W. is a good example of a fairly common readers-who-might-review-your-book reaction to still yet another author complaining about star ratings and reviews.

Like I said, I can understood an author eager to see reviews/ratings (and frustrated over lack of or inexplicable ones) or even upset over what they get — just not always the best idea to be "seen" doing so. Vent privately, to friends, to your editor, beta readers, writer groups ... There's some really dramatic and even violent examples out there of both author and of reviewer overreactions where readers are getting touchy, cautious, and even questioning if it's worth it to review.


message 23: by Karl (new)

Karl Wiggins | 77 comments Well, AW, I imagine what he's trying to tell me is very similar to what he's trying to tell the authors of the other 142 1 Stars he gave out on that very same day, that he only likes 7% of the books he reads .... for whatever reason we'll never know.

But I haven't 'called him out' as you say, I haven't mentioned him by name and I haven't attempted any dialogue with him. I very rarely do that, and if I do it's always with respect. I just mentioned the situation here because I felt it had relevance to the original posting.

Personally, poor reviews don't bother me that much because I'm a comedy writer - a humourist if you like - and I'm well aware that I have an inappropriate sense of humour. If I don't get the odd poor review then I'm not being controversial enough.


message 24: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 05, 2015 03:13PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) D.A wrote: "...not always the best idea to be "seen" doing so. ..."

Ooh, that reminds me of an out-there example of an overreaction: instead of saying "not always the best idea" someone told an author "that's self destructive" — author then went all over book sites and social media claiming variously that they received a death threat and that they were told to commit suicide.

Another author with several dozen 5 star ratings went ballistic on the blogosphere when a reviewer star rated their book as "I liked it" on goodreads (4 stars on Amazon). Going ballistic to where they actually claimed the single goodreads star rating was gang raping plus bullying them and they were going to sue amazon and goodreads out of business because of it ... at least that one did spell bullying correctly (I was getting sick of authors concurrently moaning who were saying their books were being bulled ).

So, for me, this thread and the original comment is just a mild expression of frustration less about getting a one-star rating than about frustration that someone would join goodreads just to rate their one book. No biggie. The comments about how else authors are supposed to get feedback are annoying and frustrating to me where I want to overreact and go run screaming "get feedback before publishing; customer product opinions are for us customers." I want to overreact even more when authors demand that all star ratings be explained with a review how dare goodreads not do it that way plus all reviews should be justified by providing authors with constructive feedback, with book promotional content for them to quote in their marketing efforts ... again, not what I think original poster was doing but why authors saying anything about ratings can trigger negative reactions in the book communities.


message 25: by Christa (new)

Christa (christaw) Karl wrote: "Well, AW, I imagine what he's trying to tell me is very similar to what he's trying to tell the authors of the other 142 1 Stars he gave out on that very same day, that he only likes 7% of the book..."

The issue is that, despite your impressions of his profile, you didn't note that the individual in question joined Goodreads that day, and rated a boatload of books as GR asks you to do the moment you join, hunted down other books he may have read in his life, and maybe he gave them one star with the intention of sorting them out later - in other words, to shelve them.

We don't know, and we'll never know. You see, he never came back. His only activity is that day. Jan 22 2014.

And you gave enough info for me to figure out who it was in about a minute.


message 26: by John (new)

John Khoury | 21 comments D.A wrote: So, for me, this thread and the original comment is just a mild expression of frustration less about getting a one-star rating than about frustration that someone would join goodreads just to rate their one book. No biggie. "

Yes, this is all I was saying. I thought it was an "interesting" move on the reviewer's part. And I'm curious what triggered it - because of course they didn't read them.


message 27: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 618 comments There is nothing suspicious in a person uploading a substantial number of books all on one day. Goodreads has the ability to import (and export) lists of books. Many readers maintain lists or may have exported their data from elsewhere and then uploaded to Goodreads, which is why some profiles have hundreds of books marked all on the same day.

You are attributing suspicious or nefarious intent where people are simply using Goodreads as the site allows.


message 28: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 248 comments D.A wrote: "It's less that authors shouldn't read their reviews than that authors who get publicly upset in a way that sounds like they want to control their customers, get privately so sick they need medical help or publicly go all whack-ado over reviews should not read them. (Yes, I know the toddler-temper-tantrum drama marketing theories that no attention is worse than bad attention so drama equals discoverability but —despite the buzz and even sales it generates — it sure causes even more consumer boycotts and drives away the potential readers who would become longtime [even preordering and fan group and book-of-the-month reading] fans versus the few that jump in on one side or the other of the drama)..."

I agree - if you can't keep a professional distance about what people write about you or your work, it's best to avoid reading reviews altogether.

I encourage people to send me feedback by email, not because I want to improve the book they give me feedback about, but to improve my writing in general.

Also, the private feedback can be of importance when you try to market your work - I once found that a female reader found my work because her husband read an interesting comment I wrote on cracked.com, and another reader found my work because they liked my responses on quora.com in an unrelated field to my suspense fiction.

I read reviews like the book isn't mine, just gleaning what the reviewer enjoyed and disliked. I know it's meant for readers, which is why it's my policy not to respond to reviews. My author email is easy to find, so if a reader wants my response, they will know how to send me their feedback/queries.


message 29: by Philip (new)

Philip (phenweb) | 258 comments Martyn V. (aka Baron Sang-Froid) wrote: "D.A wrote: "It's less that authors shouldn't read their reviews than that authors who get publicly upset in a way that sounds like they want to control their customers, get privately so sick they n..."

Excellent advice and policy

On the main point about the loading of one-stars I think it far more likely to be a loading of shelves than a troll-like attack on writers. If as previously stated the account has not been active since perhaps the new GR user did not like what they found. Authors getting mad at reviewers won't help that potential impression.


message 30: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 06, 2015 08:14AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Doesn't sound like what was happening with original post.

My own shelves had a nasty random 2-starring and book adding bug. Drove me nuts and came after all the 2013 censorship and more recent deletions lost me a lot of friends here — I actually deleted all my books here and considered closing goodreads account if just three more friends and four more groups would have moved elsewhere with me.

When I went to reimport (when a staff member on another thread said that bug did no longer existed) my untouched Goodreads export file -- goodreads would not take it without timing out. I had to waste time parsing the durn thing which I had sorted by star rating (to make sure my faves at least made it here first and to avoid the nastiness if Imhad imported one star ratings first). Breaking the file up into smaller and smaller pieces and waiting on the durn goodreads import wasn't fun and was so slow I still expect I would have gotten nastiness over mass one-starring if I had sorted 1 to 5 star instead of 5 to 1 star.

Oddly the worst, nastiest, vilest, angriest interaction I ever had with an author was when I 4-starred their book. Go figure.

I still haven't imported any book activity since the Amazon takeover and may not until I'm sure bug is gone and Amazon has abandoned messing with our ratings/shelves in their efforts to turn goodreads feed into one giant book promotional billboard where you only see what they want posted instead of your friend activities/posts -- whole separate issue except that preAmazon in reader vs. author the reader was always the winner unless violating TOS so some major author drama got shut down quickly which meant few reviewers got touchy or worried about it. Now, the book community is understandably touchy.

Goodreads doesn't seem to be taking mass data imports the same day; gotta split 'me and it may take several days to import where it can look like someone is mass rating even if not.


message 31: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton Karl wrote: "Michael, I like to think I'm an honest reviewer - as I'm sure we all do - and I hate to give poor reviews. However, if I feel a writer is insulting the reader, if not enough due care and attention ..."

Hi Karl,

When a reviewer give a book one star and no review, that is what I meant when I wrote readers will probably skip over it.

I personally have given a one star and my reasoning behind it. The constructive criticism is valuable for authors and can make them become a better author.


message 32: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton Martyn V. (aka Baron Sang-Froid) wrote: "D.A wrote: "It's less that authors shouldn't read their reviews than that authors who get publicly upset in a way that sounds like they want to control their customers, get privately so sick they n..."

I agree with you, an author shouldn't respond to reviews. I have seen to many authors respond to the negative reviews. Authors take it very personally and I can certainly understand that. As authors it is best not to dignify the negative review.


message 33: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 06, 2015 12:42PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Michael wrote: "..I personally have given a one star and my reasoning behind it..."

I personally don't read a lot of one-star books. Partly because I usually ditch way too quickly to feel I've read enough to rate/review (that threshold, of course, will vary among other readers who review). Partly because if I did read it or attempt to read a good portion of it and was so bad it warranted a 1-star — I'm not willing to expend still yet more of my valuable-to-me time writing a review. Sucked enough hours away from customer as it was and certainly did not deserve a thoughtful review with constructive criticism or useful feedback.

I'll make an exception to note something that I think might just be "me" that other readers might actually enjoy if I can easily and quickly pinpoint that something without having to think too hard about it. If not my cup of tea but pushed into it by friends saying I'd like it, I don't star rate although I might comment that book should appeal to readers who like x but should be avoided by readers who like y. An exception makes itself if something so bad I feel I need to rant — but, the rant won't be useful to anyone (my worst read ever turned out to be one where an editor was suing author — who later got a lot of five stars from Facebook fans sympathizing with how he couldn't afford editing until he got more book sales — so only first third of book had been edited then the rest was pure word spew rambling crap bearing no resemblance to rest of book). That made me furious because I am careful to checkout sample before trying new authors (even though sometimes you can return a book it doesn't get your time back).

Not really on topic for this thread, but I know that authors doing giveaways often rant upset that the giveaways didn't result in reviews. In my experience from what other readers tell me that's sometimes because they (a) don't review much (b) haven't read the book yet or (c) read it or tried to and hated the thing but weren't about to go one-starring a "gift" from the author.

ETA: I doubt many of my reviews give feedback to authors or constructive criticism. The most likely to are ones where on a site without half stars I wavered on how to rate and explained some of those considerations. Most of my reads, by the goodreads suggested scale, are usually 3-1/2 to 4-1/2 reads so rounding down to a 3-star or up to a 4-star can be a process for me. (Not difficult for goodreads, they round up when importing data with half stars.). It took me a while before I started reviewing here (before all the gaming, down voting and self-publishing invasion on Amazon leading to MOA, I was a top reviewer there) and has mostly been what group challenges required of a review or because a group BOTM, buddy read, or plentiful update statuses made it easy for me to frame my thoughts. With a wee bit of guilt because if I so enjoyed everyone else's reviews I should review more and — while I refuse to treat a published book any differently for how it's published — being in book sites made it apparent that many SPA seemed almost to depend on reviews where if I did read an SPA work I wrote and posted that review quicker than I would for traditionally published works.


message 34: by Martyn (last edited May 06, 2015 03:33PM) (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 248 comments Michael wrote: "I agree with you, an author shouldn't respond to reviews. I have seen to many authors respond to the negative reviews. Authors take it very personally and I can certainly understand that. As authors it is best not to dignify the negative review."

There's already 'danger' in just liking reviews, as the reviewer often gets an email when someone likes their review. And negative reviewers can get irate when you like the positive reviews and not the negative ones. Or if you do like the negative reviews, but just forgot to like theirs.

In another thread, a reviewer felt violated when the author thanked her for writing the review (not sarcastically or antagonistically, just 'Thanks for taking the time to write a review'). When I told that reviewer that she was exaggerating, I was called out as being insensitive and 'supporters' of that reviewer 1-starred all my books.

So it's best not to respond to any review, negative or positive. Reviews are for readers, not for authors. I'm always happy to have a conversation with readers, but only if they initiate the conversation by sending me feedback.


Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Yeah; I saw one reviewer get upset and go all whackado because a rather well known author usually responded with a thanks-for-feedback statement but because was busy traveling for a book tour was too slow to respond to their review ...

It's both sides of the issue, not just authors. But, usually is the SPAs. And whatever "side" or "opinion" of what's going on anyone takes — it gets bad. Which makes a lot of folk touchy about author comments on ratings or reviews—even if they used to merrily review without thinking of anything beyond what their reading experience with book was.


message 36: by June (new)

June Ahern (juneahern) | 78 comments Once I read from a successful author, of which I can't remember her name, "when your book is given a bad review (my thought: not based on grammatical errors?) your story in some way has touched the readers so much at a deep core level, they had a reaction (sic) to it. Be glad you story did that." I wonder, should I really feel that way? I rarely give 2 or 1 star reviews, rather I move on and seek a book I enjoy to share with my fellow readers.I do wish instead of only rating, there would be some words so I can learn why my story was disliked by some and how I can improve my writing skills. The Skye in June


message 37: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 07, 2015 12:31PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) HoneysuckleP wrote: "Hopefully people who like my work, 3 stars or better, will add a review to the appropriate website. I am hoping that people who find fault in my work will send me an email telling me what they didn't like.

I know that is optimistic but that is how I like it. I guess I am hoping for too much because, so far, no one has bothered to make the effort. ..."


That works for most paid review services (in fact you can often buy the exact star rating you want). And professional review services will usually email/contact you before publicizing reviews (good or bad) at least so you can brace yourself if need be. When submitting to either, check the agreement/contract to see if that's a policy or if contract could be altered to include. Goodreads allows neither paid nor professional reviews; other sites allow only in "editorial description" "praises" or "paid reviews" sections; all U.S. sites allowing have to disclose all payments, conditions, and connections; other sites may or may not allow depending on their respective terms of service/use.

But, the reviews here on goodreads are just consumer/customer/reader ones that would have to disclose any review conditions, like only 3 stars and above, behind their reviews.

Frankly, asking for 3 stars and above on goodreads is extremely optimistic. Many books are average (on goodreads scale, that's a 2 star review).

Of course, on amazon.com, 3 stars means a book is average so you may have more luck on that site. Plus amazon.com is in my experience slow to remove 3-5 star reviews even if any consumer fraud is reported (act much quicker to get the 1 and 2 star ones removed, particularly if came from a competing author's paying someone to rate badly); so, the 3-star ones likely to stay around for at least long enough to help a book launch or other promotion.

One good thing is that most readers don't deliberately choose books they have no hopes of liking. So at least an average/okay ratings and above will be the most common ratings for books that were ready to publish and remotely resembling their synopses.


message 38: by Sophie (new)

Sophie (notemily) | 22 comments I hardly ever give a book one star because if I dislike the book that much, I probably won't finish it.


message 39: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 07, 2015 01:33PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) HoneysuckleP wrote: "...it not unreasonable for an author to encourage some form of feedback. ..."

Nope, not unreasonable at all. Even helpful for readers/reviewers if you link to the book's page on assorted sites you'd like to see a review (goodreads, amazon, booklikes, LibraryThing, Leafmarks, etc.).

Of course it's good business to provide contact info for yourself and/or publisher. I don't know any reviewers that use that for reviews (other than some of them emailing a link to their review of your book after it's been posted publicly). Some blog tours want to know the link to reviews by the participants and may or may not notify authors.

Goodreads does notify goodreads authors when their books have activity here (including reviews).

Conditions (like only above a star certain star rating or emailing instead if below a certain star rating) are just unreasonable to expect for volunteer reader/consumer reviews. Expecting all book sites to use the exact same star rating scale (or requiring a review in order to rate) or any other features/conditions isn't always going to pan out either.


message 40: by Belle (new)

Belle Blackburn | 55 comments I have never gotten a notice when I get a new review. I asked GR support and they said it was a good idea for consideration, which I'm sure probably never was. How do you get review notifications?


message 41: by Emily (new)

Emily D.A wrote: "Goodreads does notify goodreads authors when their books have activity here (including reviews)."

This is not true. We don't notify authors when activity has been posted on their works.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to post them.


message 42: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 07, 2015 04:07PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Emily wrote: "This is not true. We don't notify authors when activity has been posted on their works..."

Huh. I;ve had authors contact me over various book activities before saying they had been emailed. Usually over an "add book/author" use in a group discussion or a librarian edit.

Is it something they can see from their dashboards and maybe they just said "goodreads emailed/notified me" by habit?

(Not bad-need-to-be-reported contacts. A lot of the librarian edit ones were along the lines of could-you-do-this-book too.)


message 43: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton Paul wrote: "Christie wrote: "If somebody is that much of an a*****e as to simply trash both your books, I'm sure readers will get it and ignore 'em."
I'm with you Christie."


You are preaching to the choir.


message 44: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton HoneysuckleP wrote: "HoneysucklePD.A wrote: "HoneysuckleP wrote: "Hopefully people who like my work, 3 stars or better, will add a review to the appropriate website. I am hoping that people who find fa..."

The best review is an unbiased review. Not influenced by money.


message 45: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton Sophie wrote: "I hardly ever give a book one star because if I dislike the book that much, I probably won't finish it."

How true.


message 46: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton A.W. wrote: "Karl wrote: "AW, of course an author should look at how users are reviewing their books. Often the review is the only feedback we back."

No. In fact that really concerns me if reader reviews are t..."


A.W. wrote: "Karl wrote: "He didn’t write one! What good is that? He goes by a very grandiose name, by the way, and you’d think that such an oracle on books would have some constructive criticism, but GET THIS ..."

A.W. with all respect, I have to disagree with you. An unbiased review from a reader can offer a plethora of information for an author to aid in developing his craft, making their current book(s) better and of course future projects.

Reviews tells the author what is working and what is not. Remember they are the ones buying your books, not the editor and beta readers.


message 47: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 07, 2015 07:09PM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Michael wrote: "...making their current book(s) better ..."

How can the current book(s) be made better if already published?

If not already published (or given out as an Advanced Readers Copy) -- those aren't reviews. Those are beta reader comments and if any of those reviews of your in progress works/drafts get posted as reviews most sites will remove for you when reported. That's something to make very clear when asking someone to beta read for you -- that it's a draft and you are asking for their opinions not for them to review it as if the published book or ARC version.


message 48: by Michael (new)

Michael Burton That is very easy to do if you are self-published. I have seen many indie authors pull their book off Amazon, for example, and make corrections found by the readers.

I don't know of any author, including myself, that have asked a beta reader to post their opinions disguised as reviews. I agree with you that an author has to make it very clear when you ask a beta reader for their opinion, it is only their opinion. I also agree that a review should be reserved only for already published work or ARC.


message 49: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 08, 2015 08:49AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) @Honeysuckle, if you want beta readers there are groups on goodreads that have threads for that. (Not plugging a particular one or a particular beta reader and I don't myself beta read). And you didn't offend me.

@Michael, authors publishing books on Amazon then pulling them to continually edit, publish, pull, edit, publish offends many readers (myself included) and makes us leery of taking a chance on self-publishing authors. A book published for sale is supposed to be the final version—not a draft your customers pay (even if only in time spent downloading and reading) to revise for you.

Not something you see with traditionally published fiction unless a "special" edition reissue as a movie tie-in or anniversary type of edition.

Not every kindle user has theirs set to automatically update editions before reading. And no author should expect a reader to review anything other than the edition they read. I have no problem editing my reviews just to note "Review was of an older edition" but I have frequently been offended by an author (none posting on this thread so far) insisting I had to read and review the newer edition instead. Like if I didn't like it the first time I somehow signed up to keep reading and reviewing the thing no matter how many times revisions got uploaded.

Please don't forget that reviewers on both goodreads and amazon are your customers. (If it's not a review from a customer and doesn't disclose something acceptable to site's guidelines—like book received "free for honest review"—flag/report the review.)

Customers expect to get the finished product. Period. The published work should be your final product, not your kickstarter campaign to raise funds and not your way of getting test subjects for the product. Certainly not your way of getting unpaid line edits.

(Exception for technical difficulties; of course I understand an author pulling a book and re-formatting/converting because the kindle file didn't read correctly—that's different from rewriting or revising the text.)


message 50: by Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) (last edited May 08, 2015 09:24AM) (new)

Debbie's Spurts (D.A.) Oops, sorry to go so off-topic from the original post. But, it pushed a button.

Published books are supposed to be published books. I don't want to unknowingly get someone's draft or uncorrected proof when I think I'm getting a book to read. And if I do, I will likely rate it a ½-star.

Any review I do write (assuming I was willing to spend more time on something that wasted my time and money and that I'd read enough to have something to say about it) will be scathing. Because goodreads treats even negative reviews and ratings as making the book more popular and getting it featured higher on some lists and areas of the site -- no rating or review here just comments on book page, status updates and group discussions making that clear to other readers.

One good thing, getting back on track with original post, about a one star rating is that it moves your book up in several goodreads displays. Including "popular" anything, new releases in genre, exploring by genre, shelves, author page positions ... each star rating on goodreads = increased book popularity (even the one-stars). Some sites touted as effective at marketing indie books even require a certain number of ratings or a certain number of followers (without paying attention to if ratings were negative and followers were following to avoid new books and activities by that author).

For example, if an author had a romance book released in March with nine 1-star and two 3-star ratings(11 ratings) it would show pages ahead of an NYT bestselling author's March release of a book with two 5-star ratings and a 3- star rating (3 ratings total) to readers exploring genres, exploring new releases, etc. Many groups choose their book of the month read from books on a certain month's popular releases. Possibly might even make it into the March new releases email goodreads sends out. Group challenges using bookshelves will also see a book with most ratings ahead of books with fewer ratings.

Months ago,, goodreads did finally change their recommendations algorithm to not be based on books reader 1-starred (bloggers used to have a field day posting some of the more hilarious goodreads recommendations they'd get.). So the 1-star rating not good for that anymore.

The new sponsored book ads on the updates feed will supposedly show books as being shown because one of your friends/followed shelved or rated it -- doesn't say your friend rated it ★☆☆☆☆ or shelved it as "cannot believe I read this garbage" -- just that the book had activity by your friend.

Bad ratings and notice usually better on goodreads than no notice. Many authors not beloved of reviewers post activity statistics "proving" it in their minds and keep going all whackado to create their drama marketing that keeps their book pushed up in results and the "# of ratings" areas .— completely ignoring that most of the activities equal consumer boycotts rather than book sales because, truthfully, that author knows that book discoverability is so very necessary to any sales they do get.

Sometimes a 1-star ratting is better than no rating or review at all.


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