My Journey Through Goodreads (Part 1)

Hello my darlings,

Wow! Three blog posts in one day? I’m getting good at this. Anyway, this has been in no real way affected by the mood instilled by my previous post. But I have been meaning to write a little bit about how I am dealing with Goodreads and I figured today would be as good a day as any to do so.

So here are a few things that I believe are the merits of Goodreads, plus a few things that are not so savory and lessons I am learning along the way.

1) The Customer Service

I am sure you have heard me say this before, but Goodreads customer service is the most horrible thing in the world. They must really encourage independent problem solving, because that is what they seem to promote. I have had several problems in the past that, after hours of trying to solve it on my own, finally lead me to resort to emailing them (which is never fun, I assure you. Try grinding your teeth and admitting to being an idiot to when you usually pride yourself on being really good at the internet). I will receive a reply a 1 – 2 weeks later. Sometimes it takes even longer than that. My question is usually summed up within a paragraph that usually says the “so sorry! we can’t help” and offering an alternative solution that is not ideal but will have to do. I appreciate the whole “real people” aspect of this job but … they really need to do something about this. 2 weeks into a project I don’t even CARE about my previous problem anymore, as I have more than likely already come up with some alternative means of fixing it. They are grossly understaffed for the magnitude of their users.

2) Promotional Value

I will give Goodreads this – it is a valuable tool for my book promotion. Whenever a copy of one of my books gets bought I usually see that someone has marked it as “to-read” or “Currently reading”, which gives me the satisfaction of knowing that people care enough to take the time to look it up and mark it on their personal shelves, share it with their friends, post reviews, etc. Even if the reviews are not always what I want to hear, it is publicity – and any publicity is good publicity (right, right??). Readers on Goodreads seem to be more inclined to leave reviews there than people who just buy from Amazon. Plus, with all the giveaway and affordable ad opportunities, I think in this respect the Goodreads service is the author’s friend.

3) Misguided Good Intentions (of individuals)

Ok, so this might be a bit unfair to land in the Goodreads post. I probably should make another blog post altogether entitled “My journey as an author” or some such rot. But the majority of this I have dealt with on Goodreads so I am posting it under this topic. Don’t like my sense of justice? Forgive me I’m sure. But there are a lot of good intentions that go awry in some groups on Goodreads, particularly groups that offer a review for a review. Even though they may spend countless hours working out any possible kink that may arise in the system, there is always some sort of flaw, and I find it to be this: an author can post a book to the “read my book please” (not actual thread title) thread, but only IF they will pick up and review the book of the person who posted before them. This leads to many authors (not excluding myself) picking up books that are not in their genre and not even in their remote area of interest in order to promote their own work. And while reading outside of your comfort zone is sometimes a good thing, it has been known to leaving me bored and then guilty, and then I will look for something good to say about the book because I am convinced it is my fault that I even picked up a book I had convinced myself sounded interesting. And you don’t want to leave a bad review just because you didn’t like the book’s genre (if it deserves a bad review because of other X amount of flaws, that is a different story). But then, some people do leave bad or low reviews because the book really wasn’t their style, but they will mask it as something else (not being able to relate to the characters, it wasn’t fast-paced, there weren’t enough vampires). MY POINT IS, is that one must use this tool with caution. Trading book reviews (I have come to learn through several bad experiences) is a great idea in theory but it must be practiced with extra caution. I have had spiteful authors leave bad reviews for my book just because I left one for theirs (which is why I don’t do review swaps anymore).

4) THEY NEVER DELETE ANYTHING.

Seriously. Goodreads never deletes anything. Never, ever, ever register a book in their library if you don’t want it to stick around FOREVER.

I think that is enough for right now. Have any other authors had experiences like this? Do you agree/disagree with any of these points? Let it be known in the comments!

Your most adored,

C.N.F.

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2 thoughts on “My Journey Through Goodreads (Part 1)

  1. I think review swapping is a bad idea, mainly because I’ve come across too many independently published books on Amazon riddled with typos, poor pacing, and flat characters that somehow garner 4 and 5 star reviews. I suspect because of review swapping. Of course maybe that’s not the case. Or maybe the person paid for good reviews. Who knows?
    The idea of review swapping just leaves a bad taste.

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