A Cautionary Tale: Goodreads Catfish

Status
Not open for further replies.

Katie-Ellen

Full Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2014
Location
UK
I saw that a couple of days ago. Scary stuff!! The only reason I go on Goodreads is to make sure my well-meaning fans haven't added numerous editions of the same books, over and over. I make sure my page is kept up-to-date and neat. I never talk to reviewers, I don't participate in groups, and I'm very careful who I friend. Been burned on there more times than I care to count with the drive-by oneings. Especially love the ones on the books that aren't even released yet, and where I've sent no one an ARC. Right. Those are legit. And that's where blocking people comes in very handy. :)
 
Come the happy day, the book is published. It is what it is, Some will like it, some won't. They might even hate it, and be vile about it...don't read reviews...

So is the sensible approach, to one's own published efforts, somewhat akin to what I have heard about Zen archery--once the arrow has left the bow, it is irrelevant, because it is, from that point, beyond one's control; hitting the target is secondary. All one can do is manage the process up until the release. But suppose one wants to refine one's aim in subsequent attempts; are there some categories of review, e.g. from successful authors, that are 'worth' more than others? Or would this approach risk leading us into the mire of groupthink?
 
It’s madness to respond to poor reviews. We all take it personally – very personally - but we should have the strength not to get dragged into this sort of spectacle. And in any case, what sort of nutter has sufficient time on his/her hands to post vile reviews... and what is their motivation? They simply want to provoke, imho. Don’t give them the pleasure.

On the other hand, if your readers want to get stuck in to each other... well, that’s all part of the publicity bandwagon, isn’t it? ;)
 
Sorry, didn't mean to put words into Katie-Ellen's mouth in my last post--messed up the quote business...
 
That may be one best answered by Peter. Seems to me it's not group think to listen to criticisms of one's writing: the editing process of 'The Lord Of the Flies' was something quite herculean on the part of the publisher, the story goes. On the other hand, can any great book be a camel designed by committee? I read my first 'Nicci French' novel recently, and it was competent, very readable; but arid, no real nourishment. I read it watching the mechanisms at work.

After it's gone out though, is it best to focus on the next thing...
 
Last edited:
On the other hand, if your readers want to get stuck in to each other... well, that’s all part of the publicity bandwagon, isn’t it? ;)

It depends, Peter. I've seen authors blamed for reader reaction to poor reviews. The reviewer who wrote the initial bad review accuses the author of planting the reader response, a few of her groupies jump on the bandwagon, and next thing you know the author - who had nothing to do with the review or the response to it - is dragged through social media as someone who can't handle criticism, and is accused of sending shills after the person who posted the bad review. I don't know if it happens in other genres, but this sort of thing is rampant in the erotic romance market. We always beg our readers to leave it alone. If they want to leave a great review, fine, but we ask them not to name names or bait the ones who leave horrible reviews. It ends backfiring on us, not them. :(
 
It’s madness to respond to poor reviews. We all take it personally – very personally - but we should have the strength not to get dragged into this sort of spectacle. And in any case, what sort of nutter has sufficient time on his/her hands to post vile reviews... and what is their motivation? They simply want to provoke, imho. Don’t give them the pleasure.

I totally agree. If there's something useful in the review, take it and move on. Otherwise, it's best to ignore them.
 
Yeah. And maybe that author's troll had a twisted lesbian crush on the author, or was actually a man or transgender...:confused:
 
Really interesting article.

The internet has been great in many ways but ones of its major darksides is giving people license to abuse others without having to look them in the eye and see the consequences of their vitriol. The inhumanity you can see on some message boards is amazing and I'd be interested to hear more about what pschologists make of it. Given the energy the author of the article clearly invested in tracking down her own troll I imagine she may be writing a novel about it as we speak!

If she doesn't, I'd be tempted... ;)
 
Wow. That's... Wow.

I think new authors in particular need to be very wary of engaging with reviewers. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a response on an Amazon review and winced. But even big established names can end up with egg all over their faces if they engage with negative reviewers. Anyone else witness Anne Rice having a meltdown a while back?? Yikes. And not the first time.

I have seen some author responses along the lines of "Thank you for the review, I'm sorry you didn't like the book, but appreciate the time you took to read it and write a review". I'm not certain even the mildest response or even responding to positive reviews is necessarily a good idea, but that response strikes me as being about the only one that doesn't open you up to madness happening in that scenario.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
I have seen some author responses along the lines of "Thank you for the review, I'm sorry you didn't like the book, but appreciate the time you took to read it and write a review". I'm not certain even the mildest response or even responding to positive reviews is necessarily a good idea, but that response strikes me as being about the only one that doesn't open you up to madness happening in that scenario.

Honestly? The best thing to do is not respond at all. Not even a "thank you." I thank certain reviewers ONLY because I know them from social media and have a relationship with them. But if it's someone I don't know, or the review is just downright nasty, etc., I ignore it and move on. A simple thank you may seem like the courteous thing to do, but I've seen reviewers go after authors for responding at all. They didn't write the review because they hated the book. As crazy as it sounds, they wrote it because they're baiting the author. It's what many of these "reviewers" do. They're waiting for a reaction, even an innocuous one, to let the fur fly. I don't understand it. But I also know now not to give them ANY ammunition to use.
 
Yeah, I tend to think that not responding at all is safer. I'm not in a position to have to worry about this right now, of course!

I know that the times I've seen an author respond to a negative review, the only reply that doesn't make said author look like a tool is to say thank you even if the review is really bad. A couple of times I've seen authors attempt to school their reviewers on how wrong they are, and I just cringe. Especially when the negative review is actually very reasonable/accurate. Most reviewers I've seen get responses like that have just laughed it off, rather than going on the attack, but even in that situation it's done nothing good whatsoever for the author. It just comes off as petty and defensive.

With my 'reader/reviewer' hat on, I can think offhand of two occasions when an author attempted to explain why I was wrong in my review, and on both occasions the reasoning was flawed anyway (though I didn't flip my lid at them because I am, fortunately, not the crazy stalker type :confused::p:D) and, crucially, it made the author look bad/unprofessional. Especially when you've taken the time to say exactly what made you give the bad review (say, the characters didn't engage your interest, or there was too much info dumping and it became boring, or that the author's information on a given subject was inaccurate, etc), having the author come back and say you're wrong, or that you should have kept reading, or whatever, just really doesn't make the author look good.

(My personal favourite was the book I stopped reading mainly because it was dragging on and becoming incredibly dull because it stopped on a regular basis to throw in a huge info dump of not very interesting information, presented poorly. The author told me that I should have kept reading and that the information was necessary... :rolleyes: I (politely, bien sûr!) pointed out that it was his job to keep the reader interested and engaged, not the reader's job to plough through yet another hellishly dull chapter (I was a little nicer than that ;)) in hopes it would eventually start to improve. Especially given that the book a thriller/suspense novel, not some deep story delving into the human condition. Tolstoy he was not...o_O)

In the cases where the review is clearly a personal attack rather than an actual review, I think it's even more dangerous. The person who just hates the book isn't likely to change their mind because the author tells them they're wrong, but the person who's fishing for a response is liable to explode all over the place in a rather messy way... :eek:
 
Found this which I thought was pretty good:

reviews1.jpg

;):D:cool:
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Back
Top