Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Why I broke up with Goodreads

When I first became a hardcore bookworm, I searched for a site where fellow bookworms congregated and were able to talk about the books we had in common. I stumbled across Goodreads one late night and my addiction to books only got worse. I found myself adding more books to my TBR shelf than I could possibly read in one year.
I discovered the authors that I came to know and love and also got some information that helped me become an author.
The beginning of my Goodreads relationship was fabulous. I was happy and elated to go on and review books; to keep track of my reading goal. Thinking that someday when my daughters were old enough, I'd start their own account so they too could feel this satisfaction. Reaching the reading goal and feeling proud of yourself was something to share.
Then I became an author in 2005
That's when things went south.
Trolls began to hover over my books and leave rude nasty comments and reviews in which I was told to never, ever respond to. No matter how hurtful or how rude. "Don't fall into the trap. Don't be that author."
So I listened. I never responded even if they were bashing me personally without ever knowing me that way. Hurting my very soul because they hated, and I mean hated, a book I poured a bit of myself into.
Do you know how hard it is to not stick up for yourself? To always be put down but not be able to fire back. It's like the school bully beating you up and you are not allowed to ever hit back.
Because, God forbid I do, my career could end.
So I found myself staying off Goodreads. Rarely going on to leave reviews for the books I've read; which used to be something I adored. Not finding out about the new releases by my favorite authors or able to join in conversations.
My relationship to Goodreads had officially become awful.
Reading the reviews of my own books was like watching a scary movie where you go into it covering your eyes, but wanting to see how terrible it really was.
You can't help but look, but cringe when you see the massacre on the screen. There were the few good even great reviews that kept me coming back. I needed to read those to keep up the morale.
But then you scroll just a little too far and see that one star or two star review that has nothing to do at all with your book, because they haven't even read it, but they felt like bashing the 'idea' of your book.

Are you for serious? Like really?
Who let's this go on?
Obviously Goodreads doesn't care that the authors are getting these reviews. They couldn't care less, because they have other things to do or to worry about. But I bet if I responded to a review, they'd care. Right?
So I decided that it was time to end this once and for all and break up with Goodreads. I do not go on anymore other than to add my book. I don't read reviews; not even the good ones.
I took the GR app off of my phone. And I no longer review my favorite authors books, which is such a shame. I don't update my status of my current read, which sucks royally because I can't remember what I read this year. I don't add videos or chat in the groups that I used to.
But you know what? I survived. I feel better without all the bullying and the harshness of GR. I know who my true fans are and that if they loved my book, they'll tell me and that keeps me going. I do not need to read the reviews anymore.
And as for letting my kids add an account, it's not happening. Not ever. GR has become as dangerous as any other social media site in my opinion. And if they want to talk books, they can do that at home or school.
As for Goodreads and my future with them...I have only two words;
Bye Felcia!


  1. What a terrible experience!
    My husband LOVES his GR account to track his books and review what he has read. He's so proud that he made it to his reading goal this year. I had to chuckle as he pushed to finish his last one for the year.
    I only use GR to track (I hate writing reviews!) But even then I find myself forgetting to enter what I've read.

  2. I have yet to receive a nasty review, so I can't really say I know what you went through, but I still believe there are ways to maintain that good relationship with Goodreads. You don't have to read your reviews. Heck, you don't even have to view your own profile to see how many people have left reviews. But you can still mark other author's books as "to-read" and leave reviews for them. I honestly don't do much on Goodreads besides that (I don't even do forums or things like that). So I think it can be healthy if you just use the features you want to use. I really enjoy sharing my thoughts on a book, especially when I loved the book and I'm helping out the author, but I don't really interact with anyone on Goodreads.

  3. I couldn't agree with you more Christy. While I am just a reader, not an author, it was easy to see how much hate fills GR. I have a reading journal that I got off Amazon where I can write down the books I have read and some thoughts.

  4. I think the bigger offense is GR allowing the bashing to continue. Someone should be policing that. It's one thing to get a bad review, but what's going on over there is just poor management and I can see why you wouldn't want to be a part of it. You're better than that.

  5. I am so sorry this was going on. You don't deserve that. I've been reading about this a lot lately and how there are roving bands of cyber bullies all over that site. The fact that GR does nothing to stop it is despicable. I've never really done much with my account and now I'm glad.