Sunday, September 22, 2013

Not sure how to feel regarding this new Goodreads policy...seeking Goodreads Alternatives

So anyone who isn't familiar with Goodreads updating their review policy, read up on it here.
For those of you who just want a gist of what exactly it is that they are changing, they are taking down reviews that have to do with authors behaving badly, negative feelings about the author or reviews that mention more about how the author behaves.

Libby and I have really mixed reviews about them changing their policies. While we both agree that some reviewers like to personally attack authors and take it way too far sometimes, we don't think that SILENCING reviewers is the problem. Because let's face it, that is exactly what Goodreads is doing, SILENCING THE REVIEWERS.

With the new wave of Indie authors choosing self publishing over traditional, there is one thing Indie authors aren't used to dealing with, and that is REJECTION.

Think about it. Traditionally published authors have stacks upon stacks of rejection letters piled up before someone finally takes a chance on them . Many of them(i'm not saying all) know how to deal with and handle people not being in love with their books.

Plus I'm pretty sure some of them have lots of resources(aka budgets to pay for reviews)to help build their reputations in a positive light. So even if they have 100 bad reviews, perhaps they have 500 good ones. So why sweat the bad ones, right?

On the other hand many Indie authors may bypass the whole querying agents, publishers and editor process altogether diving head first into the self publishing community. No one has probably seen their books outside of family and friends, but from their peers they've gotten nothing but positive feedback. Those close to them loved it, so they believe other will love it too. They spend the next weeks, probably months researching book bloggers and reviewers that they think will also love their book. Maybe even 75% will, but then comes that one bad review, or two, or three.......I'm sure this could drive one mad. I know bad reviews look like bad coverage, especially if you sought the reviewers out yourself. But how you handle the bad reviews is all up to you. They don't have to turn out bad. Learn from them! Don't make it a negative altercation!

As aspiring authors ourselves, we get it! You've hard on your story and it's not easy to write a book. It sucks for people to leave you a bad review but read the bad review and MOVE ON! The reason why a lot of these reviewer/author situations get escalated is because some authors instead of ignoring a not so glowing review(large concentration being Indie)will go on the troll, stalk and personally attack reviewers and in some cases enlist friends to do the same! This is where the "Authors behaving badly" comes in to work!

Reviews are important, they're what brings buzz to a book.But it seems as though Goodreads wants tear down the reviewers who are honest and open with their reviews!

In a sense this is a little bit of censorship at it's finest!While authors are benefiting from this new policy, we reviewers are being punished for being honest about calling trolling authors out on their b*lls&Yt and poor online social etiquette. I for one think it's somewhat important for reviewers to know that the authors they end up dealing with, may be a pain in the butt to deal with!

Sometimes you post your review innocently thinking "I can't be the only one who didn't connect with this, hopefully my review goes unnoticed". *~*

Days circulate and you get an unhappy email from the author that is not only mean spirited but unappreciative. You took the time out to read their book and they're ripping you a new one because outside of you, their book has gotten nothing but 5 stars reviews, so clearly you're not sophisticated enough to understand true art........Yea, Right? ^o^

Let's talk about the Airbender movie, HATED IT! But lots of people went to go see it and it surely hasn't stopped M.Night Shyamalan from making movies, perhaps he chooses to ignore the negative backlash because at the end of the day it would weigh heavy on his career as a filmmaker. Authors should see that a few bad reviews are worth ignoring.

Not to be blunt but Authors need us. We work hard too and often don't see a royalties check for blogging about the books we review. We do because we love books! In fact my sister and I spend a lot of our free nights trying to bang books out of our TBR list, just to get them done when an author needs them. We both work full time, go to school part time and the little time we have left to ourselves is dedicated to reading, the gym and just maybe contributing to our own book we plan on publishing in the next few months. So the fact that many authors are going against some reviewer full throttle by censoring our opinions is what is making some reviewers not even want to accept books from Indie authors. Ultimately I see paying for reviews to be a common practice for Indie authors because sooner or later, reviewers are going to feel so alienated, no one is going to want to read an Indie book for free!

In the end, this may make a lot of reviewers leave Goodreads. Perhaps not us altogether, because we've invested a lot into Goodreads; but we're definitely looking into some other online book communities that haven't been tainted by some huge corporation like Amazon. Here are some ones we've found along the way. Be sure to check them out below....

Booklikes (we're already on here, follow Libertad and follow Guinevere)
Shelfari ( on here too, if anyonenis interested in following find Libertad and Guinevere)
Library thing

Just to name a few.....

Some other bloggers feelings about Goodreads new policy:

Bookistry-Way to effin go Goodreads

Book Reviews with the Blog Monstar-Incase you've missed my latest GR status

BookishTreasures-So Goodreads finally tightened their review guidelines

Informative link on how some authors can throw some things way out of proportion:

How not telling the truth can hurt us as reviewers!

photo credit: bark via photopin cc photo credit: yuri__lima via photopin cc


  1. My Favorite twins! I love reading your blog posts. Reviews are hard all the way around. I usually don't read them and I very seldom respond to them. Just too taxing. Some of my best work has some of the worst reviews. LOL! When I read my reviews, I did appreciate honest feedback about my work, even if people didn't like it. Sometimes those 1 star reviews that are detailed and honest are helpful. It's the one's that are mean spirited and troll like that made no sense. Also, the one's where there's no reason just a low ranking because... A thoughtful review no matter what the rating is always warmly appreciated but some reviewers get together in packs and go on the attack against authors that they don't like personally. They've even encouraged their readership to go to distributor sites and put low rating, regardless of if the work is good.

    I think that's what GoodReads is trying to combat and it's a hard decision for them. I have had author friends who were personally attacked on GoodReads. The reviews had nothing to do with the books and everything to do with them as an individual. I believe that several authors who were personally attacked on GoodReads went to court because GoodReads would not remove these nasty comments about the author. It would seem that troll-like behavior goes both ways. It's sad to say. What I believe will happen is that authors and reviewers who mean well, will not post on GoodReads for fear of retribution. That is sad for everyone. It puts up a brick wall between the author and the reviewers. I'd say keep writing your thoughtful reviews and doing what you love to do. You're doing a service to the reading community.

  2. I wasn't aware of the new policy, because of's not like the folks at GR made any kind of public announcement about it, is it? Now, personally I don't have any authors-I-hate-for-whatever-reason shelf, and I do agree that some people can be nasty just for the sake of it. But I can see that bad behaviour from authors will only be rewarded, thanks to this turn of events. Though, on the other hand, the blog community won't let their crimes go unpunished ;). Also, I'm too much of a free spirit to validate what is - essentially - censorship.
    I agree that this must be the first outcome of the Amazon affiliation (if you don't coun't the recent "Readers Also Enjoyed" feature at the side of every book you peruse). I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop, then I'm off to BookLikes (thank you for the link) or Shelfari. The only thing that holds me back is all the time and hard work I have put into my GR account over the course of a year...

  3. Oops...I've just noticed...Shelfari is another Amazon product!

  4. @Roberta
    I jsut noticed Shefari is too an amazon company....darnit!

  5. The sad thing is I've grown too attached to Goodreads to leave it completely (-_-)
    It's such a poor decision, and poorly implemented to, to delete users' content without prior notification/time to fix their reviews.

    I think attacking an author and commenting on an author's behaviour are two very different things, but this new goodreads policy doesn't leave room for anything. Poor form, goodreads.

  6. Just meant to tell you that I wrote a blog post about this controversy myself, and I linked to your article :).

  7. I was just going to say that Shelfari is an Amazon company as well, but someone already mentioned it. :) I don't know, I saw the news come out last week, and I'm a bit upset over it, but it probably wouldn't force me to quit Goodreads all together. I certainly don't have any shelves or reviews that talk about author's behavior or such, in fact I don't really concentrate on authors most of the time, unless they are active in social networks and interact with the readers directly. So my personal experience with authors has only been positive.
    Although I don't agree with this new "silencing" policy altogether, I think at times it is necessary to remove or prohibit some reviews, that are more bullying than anything else. I don't mind giving a bad review, but going after the author personally and berating them, it's just bad form imho. I don't know, we'll see what happens, but I'm sure Goodreads will see some users turn off their accounts as well.

  8. I only found out about this today thanks to browsing blogs on bloglovin. Would have liked an email about such an important change. A lot of my friends are really upset at what they see as a big step towards review censorship. Bullying should be stamped out, yes, but free speech is needed in social networking, as long as you're not being offensive. I personally want to know which authors and their fans abuse poor reviewers who don't enjoy their book so I can avoid them. I don't want waste time reviewing or promotimg people who abuse those of us who write reasonable polite reviews that happen to be 2 star. My first big concern is where the line is between what GR sees as offensive or acceptable and how much that line will keep moving. Who decides? And secondly, my content should not just be removed without giving me a chance to move it elsewhere or back it up. These are MY words and hard work and I should be given notice and a chance to do something about it before it is just deleted. I would describe myself as 'concerned' about the changes.

  9. The policy doesn't bother me. The reviews should be about the BOOKS, not the authors

  10. The policy doesn't bother me either, as I agree the posts should be about the books itself and that it always how I review. I will never judge an author personally as a lot of hard work goes into writing a novel, however I do believe they should contact the reviewer about something they don't agree with rather then just delete it.

    Ps- A new GFC follower and Facebook Follower

    Sarah from the Ultimate Bookworms :)

  11. Awesome comments. To everyone! There are definitely pros and cons to the situation. I do agree that reviews should be about books, I just wonder how I'd really feel about a book if it were written by an open homophobe or racist.

    I may not buy it if I knew, but I'm wondering how I might feel if I bought a book, and then discovered this afterwards or between reading. Not sure whether I'd ignore it in my review :/

  12. Guinevere,
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. Speaking as an author, one of the things that differentiates a professional is knowing that not everyone will like my writing. It's a given that reading is subjective.

    Book bloggers can be a writer's best friend so there's no point in alienating them. I've received crushing reviews on one of my books, but it has also opened up my writing to new readers. I've learned to take the good and bad reviews and move on.

  13. Hi there! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I haven't heard of this new policy but I don't think it should be a problem. I've written some book reviews and they were always meant to give objective feedback about the book, not the author. Writers, I think, should be mature enough to expect that not everyone will like what they write. No one's perfect after all.

  14. Interesting, I didn't know they changed their guidlines. This seems unfair and bias. New Follower from the hop!

  15. Very interesting post - and I mean that sincerely.

    As a non-published author, but a former print journalist, I probably won't read many reviews of my books when that day comes along (positive thinking.)

    Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, I believe positive/negative feedback is in the words of the reviewer :)

  16. I have mixed feelings about gr new policy too. I don't like censorship but I don't like bullies of any kind either. And like you, there are certain authors I wouldn't want to support, especially ones that promote hate and intolerance of any kind. But, I'm not sure gr should be the place to get that kind of information. I should remain a site about the books. If people wish to gather additional information about the author, then they should research it on other sites/blogs or simply do a google search.

    I think another problem with this policy is gr removing shelves and/or reviews without warning. People spend a lot of time writing reviews and they should have the option to save their work before it gets pulled from the site. Lynda R Young wrote a really good post about why bad reviews shouldn't bother us and one of the things she mentioned is "Bad reviews validate good reviews."

    Anyway, like you said, there are pros and cons to this new policy. It’ll be interesting to see how this affects readership/reviews over the course of the next 6 months. And thank you for stopping by my blog! I'm more than happy to follow you back, you've got a great blog over here and it's nice to meet you. (:


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