Weekly Ramble #140

Sometimes its good to get away from the grind and just spend a weekend away. That’s what I did this past weekend and my energy levels have been replenished from being alongside some good company. It might have been an action packed few days but one can always rest at work I guess, and being tired from weekend things is a different type of tired from work things…

My numbers are governed by a constant social media presence. Take that presence away even for just a day or so and it drops to near enough zero. The fun thing is that I know exactly what it takes to get those numbers back up, I’ve spent long enough figuring it out. The concept of social media algorithms being against the smaller person has always driven me to prove that we can defy them to get our message out there. The platforms might be the hosts, but our content drives them and that makes us needed just as much as we need them.

With March nearly being halfway done I’m looking towards some big plans for the next few months in terms of content and of course a book release. Watch this space!

Introducing The I’m An Author Academy

Hello friends, awesome news alert. I am proud to announce that I am going to be a Professor for the ‘I’m An Author Academy’ – an exciting new venture alongside some wonderful creatives that will guide the authors of tomorrow by sharing our wisdom and lessons learned over the years.

Together we are going to be there for those who want to evolve from from just saying they are an aspiring author to I’m An Author!

So what is the I’m An Author Academy all about and where did this come from? Well, last year and through social media I connected with fellow author and Instagram Royalty Emma Jean who approached me and two fellow authors with this incredible idea. That idea being to pass on everything we have learned on our journey and as a collective our skills range from writing, publishing, marketing, blogging, social media-ing to even podcasting.

Right now, we are working behind the scenes to put together content while Emma Jean is putting in a huge amount of work and effort to bring this academy to life. For those who frequent this blog will probably recognize her name as the author who wrote Sleeping Beauty and The Cursed Code which I reviewed last year.

And here is some more information about the fellow authors who will be joining me as Professors.

Kelsey Kupitz is the author of The Right Thing which was also reviewed on here last year. You can also catch her over on Twitter being awesome.

Emma G. Rose is a multi-published author who also hosts the brilliant Indie Book Talk Podcast which I highly recommend you listen to especially if you are a supporter of indie authors!

To be included in this wonderful group is probably one of the biggest compliments I’ve received on this writer journey and also a testament to how effective indie publishing and social media can be for connecting with others. This generation of social media creatives is incredibly important for the future of books and publishing so it’s imperative we pass on as much as we can to help it grow and evolve. Our combined efforts make us quite a team.

You can expect to hear a lot more soon as the full website for the I’m An Author Academy will be launching but here’s the landing page. Be sure to check out the Academy’s Instagram page and make sure you give it a follow – your support is very much needed and of course, appreciated.

Stay tuned for more news soon!

Dealing With Bad Reviews

Let’s face it, eventually every author is going to have to swallow the medicine that is a bad review. Whether it be a low rating without an explanation to a full on dismantling of a book someone probably should have just put down. Over many years I’ve experienced every kind of review, from the ‘abandoned’ to the snarky ‘let’s try and be funnier than the book’ to even scathing borderline abuse. I have even received constructive criticism that I’ve then used to correct a typo or potential error so its not all bad and ‘bad’ may just be a stance.

Disclaimer: I will say now first and foremost that any reviewer no matter their opinion, as long as it is not abusive, is entitled to say what they feel about a book freely. This post is not an attempt to bash anyone that has left a less than favourable review for my work or anyone else’s. This post is designed to help fellow authors cope with bad reviews. I have to include this disclaimer because this subject might be perceived as ‘spicy’ and if I don’t, my Goodreads ratings will go even lower…

Its not a nice feeling when someone leaves a bad review for our work. It can straight up hurt and that’s more than okay because our books are a labour of love, time and effort. For someone to say negative things about it can feel like a personal attack and leave an author spinning for days while also questioning themselves. Feeling bad and every other emotion that comes with a bad review is totally normal. Remember that.

Ahead are hopefully some pointers and a few truths that will help any wordsmith deal with the inevitable because for every author receiving a glowing review, there will be another receiving the opposite.

1. Be Aware…

This is aimed for newer authors and has a bunch of inputs, but after publishing that book, your writing is no longer just a hobby and your presence on social media is now one of a public figure. Whether you like that or not is kind of irrelevant because being published puts you in the public domain. This means that as an author you now stand in the spotlight inside a glass house. Anyone can throw stones at you, and if you give them a reason to, they will, trust me. You see that disclaimer up there, yeah I put that in to cover my ass in case someone gets precious and decides to defend anyone who has ever left a bad review – your actions online can draw unwanted negativity sometimes, even if your intentions were good.

What do I mean by this? Social media and the internet can be a volatile place and now you have a book out there, it is vulnerable also. Because of that, its time to consider your conduct online. Me; I have a pretty comfortable seat on the fence in most of my social media endeavours and I make every effort to be inclusive, decent and supportive. This will go a long way to preventing certain stones being thrown and I would even go as far as saying some negative reviews are simply a reaction to something you may have said online. That’s why I have that comfortable seat and I tend not to react to any major news subjects or any polarising political situations – these things will always be happening and providing an escape from them works for me.

Of course there are many great causes out there that authors have every right to stand for but remember social media can be a volatile place where someone might not agree with you all the time so be mindful and be aware.

2. They are Inevitable…

While being aware and conducting yourself in a certain way are great preventative measures, bad reviews unfortunately are inevitable. If your work sells enough it will be discovered by someone who doesn’t like it. Any author who has been around a while and sold a bunch of books will tell you this. So think of it as a baptism. Your writing has done enough to at least stir a reaction, even if it is not so great and you are now part of the club!

3. Is it Worth the Time?

Time for me is valuable. I can get a lot done with my time, from social media posts, blog posts, editing to even exercise so ask yourself if the review is worth your time? Those star ratings without an explanation – there isn’t really much to digest there so why spend time thinking about it?

I’m quite selective when it comes to where I read the reviews I receive. Goodreads is a place where I only focus on the statistics and not really the content of the reviews. Amazon is way more important to me so I tend to read the reviews I get on there. Even then if the review is negative with zero constructive feedback I’ll tend to just move on.

4. Is it Constructive?

Speaking of feedback, does the review help you in any way? Anyone can claim to be an editor if they spot a simple typo or even a spelling error. Even pro published books have those. US and UK spelling does differ sometimes and some reviewers won’t be aware of that. If there is something constructive you can get from the review then to me its really a positive one in disguise – remember sometimes the truth can hurt and we are all human so mistakes happen.

5. What’s the Value?

I’m going to confide in you here while also stating that I appreciate everyone who has made the effort to review my work but I can count on just one hand the amount of reviews that shaped my future works or had any real constructive feedback and for this I consider myself lucky. This is the case with positive reviews also and while we all love a compliment, what does that actually provide us with? Speaking truthfully, there is normally zero personal value in a review – good or bad they help sell future books and sometimes they need to be looked at just that way because…

6. A Rating is a Rating…

Above all, even if the review is down right insulting, a rating is a rating and proof of readership. Someone out there in that vast busy world of constant content found your book. Good or bad if they were thoughtful enough to rate it, then somewhere deep down there was something in that book which meant something to them.

Side note: If the review is abusive or even a personal attack, you might have grounds to report it and get it taken down. I’ve done this before.

If you were to purchase my self help guide book for indie authors and bloggers you’ll find there is a whole section dedicated to reviews and dealing with them.

7. Can You Spin it?

Some years ago, one of my newly released books received a low rating that kind of came out of nowhere. I forget the name of the book blogger but I confided in my social media following and managed to spin that review into a bunch of sales and positive reviews from some friends in the writing community. As long as you are decent, it’s okay to confide in your following, they might swing in to help you.

Final Thought

It will feel better tomorrow and much like that struggle for reviews you feel sometimes, the best thing to do in order to cope is to focus your energy elsewhere. Of course its okay to vent but do it with tact and confide in others because you’ll be surprised by how many bad review stories authors have. Use this post as a reference to when the inevitable happens and of course vent below if you wish because this will always be a safe space for creatives. How do you deal with bad reviews?

Thanks for reading. This post originally premiered on Patreon where all of my guides are available to Patrons first before they make their way onto here. For information on my Patreon which aims to guide and help fellow creatives click here.

Weekly Ramble #117

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while and now I feel ready to let it out because over the years of being a published author, on my own back, I have come to realise there is nothing worse than gate keeping. As my profile has grown on social media a certain portion of folks in the same industry as me have very obviously not appreciated that growth or successthere aren’t that many of them because the mute button is a wonderful thing but as a reader of tenure and a writer who knows dialogue, I can tell through those words and interactions you have on social media that your stance is of old bullshit gatekeeping. Old words as I call them and I call myself New words. This isn’t an age thing but more of a ‘I’ve been around longer than you so I am entitled’ type of deal.

Anyone who works hard and keeps going deserves success that should not be governed by anything other than that work and yes that may sound naïve to an extent but that is how I have got to this point along with wonderful support on here and across social media. I’m loud and proud about all the good things I have achieved because there have been more crap days than good. I have always tried to embrace the good and block out the bad with my ‘carry on regardless attitude’ and for it I have reached that success.

When I do share that success with an aim to help or at least inspire, there are normally two reactions.

‘That’s awesome, thanks for sharing, I’m glad to see someone doing better than they were yesterday’

Or and looking at me down their nose ‘How did you do that? I tried all the things you do and get nowhere near the success you’ve had.’

That’s because you’re an asshole and I’m not. Sometimes on here I will just lay it out plainly. This is my patch and I’ll treat it that way. My core philosophy is to support and help others on their writing journey while trying to carve my own path to some success. More importantly I am open to anyone being successful in writing regardless of who they are as long as they work hard and have manners. It sometimes isn’t what you do or say it is how you do or say it – execution.

In the arts and in many other places, gatekeeping is unfortunately rife. For some weird reason it has always been who you are that defines your success and not what you produce – something I will always try to fight. In the literary world particularly I near enough every day see some snooty literary wannabe type looking down their nose at those who might not appear to fit within their ‘standards’ or the ‘standards’ that have been around since the dinosaurs ruled the earth. Art is supposed to be interpreted by the individual so let that interpretation happen.

You can tell by my tone that this is quite an emotionally charged subject but it hasn’t been motivated by anything in particular I just see quite often folks appear to look down on me or have to question things – whether it is jealousy or the fact I am more successful than them without a single literary qualification, although I have nothing against anyone who has studied in the field of English/Literature or anyone who has been around longer than me. Perhaps it just ruffles their feathers but you cannot beat a good attitude and hard work over time – that will always always win. I don’t sit within any group or clique in particular, I’m a lone wolf just doing my own thing just comparing myself to yesterday’s version of me. You’ll find me supporting books and art that gatekeepers try to shoot down because if I can find something in that art which I enjoy, then that is enough. Those that do follow me on here and around the socials are mostly decent and none of this is aimed at you. I write one spicy ramble a year and this is that one.

I long for a day where the art and the art alone will do the talking. Being ‘someone’ should not be the sole reason why an artist has success.

Don’t take this personally but I probably won’t be approving any comments on this post, as I said, my patch.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett

Introducing author Rianne Burnett who shares an excerpt of vampire romance erotica book ‘Dating in the Shadows’.

The restaurant’s cosy atmosphere wasn’t enough to quell the alarm bells going off in Vynette’s head. There was something creepy about this guy. Even his hazel eyes seemed cold.
“Is everything okay?”
Timothy asked the question but not an ounce of concern creased his seamless dark skin. Vynette forced a smile and nodded.
“Sure. I just need to use the little girl’s room.”
She was out of her seat before he could budge. Her strides were slow but steady. The restroom had never felt so far away. Once she was inside a stall, she grabbed her cell phone from her handbag. Debbie answered on the first ring.
“He’s a serial killer, isn’t he? I told you not to meet up with him.”
Vynette didn’t want to humour her friend’s paranoia but Timothy was a hard sell.
“He just might be. I need an out.”
“As in an excuse or do I need to come and get you?”
She folded her bottom lip between her teeth as she thought. Timothy was good on paper but Vynette knew better than to ignore her gut.
“Come get me, now.”
Taking a deep breath, she examined her reflection in the mirror. It was hard to miss the unease shining in her eyes. She sighed.
An ex had once told her that she carried all her emotions in her eyes. It was one of the few truths he’d ever told. She fluffed her shoulder-length curls and dragged a few strands over her face. Chuckling, she flipped them back in place.
Timothy might be weird but even he would have questions if she dumped her hair over her face.
“Maybe I should give him something else to look at.”
Vynette pulled down the zipper on her blouse a bit. Her cleavage wasn’t one of her standout qualities but they got the job done. Reaching into her blouse, she adjusted her pert breasts in the push-up bra. When the rounded flesh became more visible, she appraised the results in the mirror.
“It’s worth a shot.”
Timothy looked up when she approached and his eyes brightened.
“Everything all right? I was just about to come looking for you.”
Somehow, she believed him. Vynette gave him a tight smile, slid into her seat, and placed her cell phone face down on the table. She bought time by taking a sip of her drink.
“Uhm…I think I’m coming down with something.”
He frowned and for a brief moment, his mask slipped. She looked away and stretched her shoulders in an exaggerated movement. It wasn’t her proudest moment but she wanted to keep him calm.
There were only a few other patrons in the restaurant and she doubted anyone would come to her rescue if things became physical.
Her distraction didn’t work. He still stared at her with an intensity that could bore through metal.
“Do you want me to take you home?” he asked while leaning forward.
“No!”
Her response was more abrupt than she’d planned. Timothy raised an eyebrow. Vynette swallowed and tried to smile.
“I already called my friend. She should be here at any moment.”
He slumped back in his chair. The smile was gone. She clutched the handbag in her lap. With the flap open, all she had to do was reach in and grab her pepper spray. As her hand inched toward the bag, her cell phone rang.
Vynette grabbed it from the table. The sight of Debbie’s name was an instant balm.
“Deb, I’m on my way.”
To Timothy, she said, “Sorry, she’s here. Thank you for dinner.”
She fled before he could answer.

Debbie pushed the passenger side door open and Vynette jumped in, slamming it behind her. She didn’t breathe properly until the car had pulled away. As her friend took different side roads as a precaution, Vynette kept quiet.
For once, Debbie’s paranoia was appreciated. Thank God she had met Timothy at the restaurant and he didn’t have her phone number.
“So that’s a ‘no’ on a second date?” Debbie quipped.
Vynette sucked her teeth and searched for the dating app on her phone. It had several notifications but she wasn’t interested. Clearly, her match wasn’t in this database. She quickly deleted her profile and uninstalled the app.
“It’s a ‘no’ to the entire damn app.”
“Wow. Wasn’t that the last one?”
Vynette groaned and scrunched her eyes closed.
“Yeah, I’ve officially run out of dating app options.”
“Well, not entirely.”
Looking across at Debbie, Vynette tilted her head to the side.
“What did you do?”
“Remember that exclusive dating app I told you about?”
“Yeah. Night-something? Didn’t it need a password or code?”
Debbie nodded.
“Nightgrind. There’s a code. Which I hacked. For you. You’re welcome.”
Vynette’s jaw dropped. Pulling into their assigned parking spot, Debbie hopped out of the car. She stood at the bonnet and beckoned Vynette out. Sighing, Vynette complied.
“Wasn’t it hard to get into?”
Debbie skipped up the steps effortlessly. Her waist-length braids swayed.
“Nah. The protections were pretty basic. It was like they didn’t think anyone would want to hack it.”
When they were in the safety of their apartment, Vynette plopped down on the couch and handed her phone to Debbie. She was wary after her near-miss with Timothy, but her dry spell wasn’t going to break itself.
“Fine, I’ll check it out in the morning. I guess one more dating app couldn’t hurt.”
Debbie grinned and got to work. Her dark brown eyes shone with glee.

This is an excerpt of ‘Dating in the Shadows’ by Rianne Burnett which is available now.

You can find the author over on the Tweet machine here.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse’ by K.R.R. Lockhaven

Introducing author K.R.R. Lockhaven who shares an exclusive excerpt of ‘The Conjuring of Zoth-Avarex: The Self-Proclaimed Greatest Dragon in the Multiverse.’

The sun couldn’t have possibly cared less that its light was scattered into wondrous brushstrokes of oranges and violets across the heavens. It didn’t give a flaming shit if a deep, fiery crimson along the horizon made chests swell at its splendor. Indifferent to the majesty of its radiant brilliance, which spoke of a vast infinity of possibilities, it continued to carelessly produce heat and light through nuclear fusion. It didn’t give a floating fuck whether or not the glory of its rising made anyone come to believe that magic was real, or that life was, in fact, beautiful and worth living.
Harris Reed, unmindful of the sun’s apathy, was thoroughly impressed by the lovely sunrise as he headed to his first day at his new job.
Harris knew for a fact that magic was real.
He was headed to the Site.
The gravel road he had been instructed to take meandered through a still forest and up a gentle incline. He drove his barely running car with a song in his heart and a whistle on his lips, bursting with excitement at the prospect of finally arriving…

This title is available now in audio, ebook and paperback formats and can be found here. You can find K.R.R Lockhaven on the Tweet Machine.

Guest Post: Excerpt of ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ by S.S. Frankowska

Introducing author S.S. Frankowska who shares an excerpt of epic fantasy novel ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’.

“INDEABINITO WAS A VERY OLD WORLD. It has existed for millions of years. Over the first centuries, new races were born. After all, the kingdom was inhabited by twelve different races, one being the human race. The other eleven races were characterized by abilities which humans were unable to possess. Still, the position of people in this world was extremely privileged. They have been treated as a race that everyone else should watch out for. A race that others have to look after, with no one allowed to hurt them.
At the head of the kingdom were always human queens and kings. They held meetings in which all races took part. The king and queen were always ready to hear the voices of other races, but ultimately it was up to them to make decisions.
There came a moment in the history of this world when the last ruling couple made a mistake. Worrying about the future of their children, putting their good above the good of the kingdom, they mislaid their trust and irreversibly changed the course of Indeabinito history. With their actions, they introduced into this world something that had never been there before. Magic. A force that allowed humans to measure themselves with the abilities of other races.
Of course, at first no one dared to oppose humans. Everyone knew that their firstborn son embraced to seek the power that did not come from this world, but they remained silent. The second son of the royal couple grew into a wonderful man. Nobody doubted that he would be a worthy successor to his parents. Therefore, after the unexpected death of the king and queen, when their ship sunk because of a storm, all races were glad to welcome the nineteen-year-old king. The second son. Nobody knew what was happening to the eldest son of the royal couple. They were worried about his disappearance, but nobody was eager to find him. The whole kingdom celebrated the coronation.”

This is an excerpt of epic fantasy ‘Heroes Of the Shadow. Blue Scar Indeabinito’ (Chapter 16: Victor’s Story) by S.S. Frankowska which is available now.

You can find more information from S.S. Frankowska on Twitter and via the Heroes of the Shadow website.

Is Goodreads Any Good for Authors?

The title of this post alone will probably stir some level of reaction from those in the online publishing world and I think its time we talked about Goodreads in detail. I am very much aware that Goodreads is aimed at readers and the platform may be a polarizing topic for debate but we’re going to look through that and try to decipher whether or not its actually beneficial for the modern day author…

Disclaimer:

Much like it says in the title I will state here that this post is aimed at authors, and yes I am aware readers use Goodreads much like I do as a reader. This post is also my opinion from experience of many years as both an author and reader. Those who wish to defend Goodreads as a reader, take it elsewhere because this one is for authors and I have nothing against any reader who uses Goodreads. This post is also just my opinion which doesn’t need to be taken seriously if it upsets you in anyway. I cannot and do not wish to control how you feel so my advice is if you feel so strongly about defending Goodreads then like most things on the Internet, then scroll on by and don’t read this post.

My reasoning behind this post?

Over the many years I have spent active on social media there have been only a few occasions where I got myself into an argument that led to a toxic situation. One of them funnily enough started with me venting about Goodreads and then someone had to use capital letters in a reply to inform me Goodreads was for READERS and not authors. Arguments went back and fourth. People got unfollowed and notifications were turned off in result. I think at one point I was accused of being aggressive – Twitter right? I’m also pretty sure somebody even gave one of my books a one star rating over on Goodreads because of this argument. So of course these days I tend to stay right in the middle and don’t really tweet about anything polarising – I often see folks complain about getting into arguments on the Twitter. My advice: try not to tweet about stuff that will spark heavy debate or passionate opinion…

Very recently I saw on another platform a rather high profile indie author said they no longer look at Goodreads for the sake of their mental health and so it got me thinking. Then my bloggy sense started tingling because we need to talk about it. Truthfully, there are so many authors who live in fear of being ‘review bombed’ on Goodreads I think it’s worth addressing. What is review bombing? Well it’s a term that comes from an angry mob forming online who band together and give an author’s works low ratings on Goodreads – yes this happens and it sometimes goes unnoticed by the platform, or so I have heard. When you publish a book, you essentially build yourself a glass house that will forever be vulnerable. For some this might be a revelation but it is something I now live with, it’s common knowledge that some folks will stoop to responding to me by just rating my book with a single star. This happens to many authors all the time.

What is Goodreads?

I always like to include those of the beginner persuasion in these things and well if you are new to authoring and the online book world you’ll eventually come across Goodreads which is basically the Facebook for books online. To me, it’s a little clunkier and outdated but you can compare it to FB in essence. Authors can list their works, create profiles and even join some groups which over the years I have found quite useful – especially the indie author ones and this is probably the most social part of the platform.

For the reader side of things and probably what the site is more suitable for, you can leave reviews and probably the most important tool for me as a reader/reviewer is the ability to create a ‘to be read’ list (TBR). This way I can track what I have said I would read and review – now this falls down if a newbie author hasn’t listed their work. Top Tip: Even if you never use Goodreads again, list your works so readers and reviewers like me can find them and then remember to read them.

Slipping from my control: My Goodreads Experience

Another disclaimer:

As mentioned above, this account contains my opinion. I’ll happily admit it might not be ‘right’.

Apart from using Goodreads to track my reading/reviewing endeavours a once bright eyed indie author (me) jumped into the foray of the platform and listed his books. Now for a beginner author, Goodreads feels good. You’ve listed your books and maybe a few folks have even reviewed them. Because its normally close friends and supporters the ratings of your works will probably be quite high, to begin with. Happy days. But then things will start to slip away…

I suppose all books go through this, but after some time a book’s rating will start to go down as it picks up more reviews. And so sometimes after a big book promo I’ll see the rating of my book tank along with my mental health. Now who’s leaving all of these low ratings? Well they are not always low but the way the rating system works always seems to be against good ratings. After some years my books ratings slipped from my control even though after publication they aren’t really mine anyway. Recently I made a pact with myself to not really care about the overall rating of my book’s on Goodreads. This was a mental health driven decision. And yes I know that reviews are going to happen, I have no problem with that.

There appears to be a culture beneath the surface of Goodreads where readers can just torpedo a book with one star, even without explanation. These ratings don’t require proof of purchase and normally aren’t even moderated by the site, not to mention they help nobody. Many times I have seen authors campaign to have an abusive review taken down – you’d think they would automatically be flagged these days – as I said, outdated and also a hot bed for potential toxicity in my opinion. Let the dumpster fire burn…

This isn’t just me venting about receiving low ratings or taking shots at Goodreads because in all honesty I don’t have that many, but from my experience the whole one star torpedoing is real and I can even correlate some I’ve received to every time I have shared my honest opinion online… joke, or is it? If you really want some heavy opinion on Goodreads then all you have to do is Google it and you’ll see.

Personally and my own conclusion is that Goodreads shouldn’t be taken that seriously for authors if it stays how it is. How can we if it isn’t basically made to be troll free or at least effort is put in to do that? It is linked to Amazon so I don’t think the whole verified purchase eligibility to leave a review concept would be that hard to set up. That kind of falls down with books that are inherited or gifted so options are thin. Its become a little bit like the wild west in that respect and so if its going to be like that then I can’t take it seriously. For the sake of my mental health, I hardly look into detail at my book’s reviews on the platform, that’s what Amazon is for. (yes I know Amazon are involved with GR’s ownership)

There is however a silver lining to this because I do use Goodreads in a social capacity. The groups can be very helpful for both authors and readers. I tend to lurk mainly in the ‘Support for Indie Authors’ group which boasts several thousand members and is a message board that covers so much from basic book formatting to book promotion. There are other like minded authors out there and the groups are a good way to find them. The support level in these groups is beyond fantastic and really a credit to the platform.

Asking the wider community…

Seeing as I have an engaged responsive Twitter following full of authors I decided to take the plunge and just ask them what they think of Goodreads as a platform for Authors. The response I got was actually a little unexpected because at first nobody said anything…

Now my tweets always stir some responses but when it came to the subject of Goodreads, nothing. This is an immediate red flag because although some authors did eventually respond it says way more than I needed to know – authors are most likely hesitant to give their opinion of Goodreads in fear there will be repercussions that will negatively effect their work’s rating. Is this the modern book world we live in? Its kind of worrying and sobering but probably the true reality of how potentially toxic things can get on social media. (Remember this blog post is an exploration and my opinion, I’m not taking shots at Goodreads in any capacity).

I did however receive a number of private messages from fellow authors requesting not to be named. Their experiences were all similar and all of them mentioned the one star review thing so they would rather talk to me privately which I respect. We are all trying to maintain an image online after all. Some authors mentioned bullying, tactical reviewing so a reviewer can climb the ratings, books receiving bad reviews before release and even abuse. A major point that all of these authors mentioned also was the lack of response or action Goodreads took on certain issues. The site in my opinion appears rather unregulated and in the 21st century something that probably needs looking at.

So my tweeting efforts weren’t a success but that didn’t stop me from using the search bar to find some more author related experiences. I have opted not to include twitter handles to protect authors from any potential repercussions.

As you can see it’s polarising and of course mentions the reading experience side of things which the platform is aimed at but you can see the whole troll review thing is a problem.

Conclusion

From everything laid out I think we can at least try and put together some concluding points that authors tend to have in common. Is Goodreads any good for authors? Well here are my findings in bullet points.

  • It’s a good idea for authors to list their books on the Goodreads even if you don’t actively use it. At least that way readers can put them on their lists.
  • Goodreads would be a much better place for authors and readers if everyone was transparent about the review bomb thing – these one star review bombs help nobody and yes I know readers are entitled to their opinion but manners comes to mind.
  • That one star review bomb thing is a glaring problem but partly a mob culture that is external to Goodreads so they are not fully responsible but should at least acknowledge it.
  • Furthermore, Goodreads would benefit from introducing a review system where people have to write a sentence or two as opposed to ‘hitting and running’ because these type of empty ratings help nobody.
  • Some of the author groups contain some real value and resources that can’t be found anywhere else.
  • Goodreads can just be used as a reader only platform which I tend to do these days.
  • If you are going to use it as an author be prepared for ratings to slip potentially.

My humble opinion doesn’t really matter but it’s obvious to see authors mentioning the same issues so perhaps a little modernisation of the platform is required. As I’m writing this, today is the first day I’ve decided to no longer check my book’s ratings on the platform. They only seem to get lower – that’s my experience anyway. As a reader I will continue using the platform to post reviews and list books I want to read. My primary take away is for authors to just remove themselves from something if isn’t beneficial but if you do enjoy the platform as an author then go for it.

Everything laid out stands as a lesson for anyone potentially looking to get themselves on Goodreads and most of what I’ve said is based upon my own experience and some opinion. But what’s next, can authors go to another similar platform that might feel a little easier to use and feel fresher on the whole?

Going elsewhere

The wonderful thing about the internet is variety and even in the book world which is seemingly monopolised by Goodreads. There is another awesome platform I use. BookBub, they have own site that’s fresh and personally I think its a decent space for authors. You can review books and connect with others. Check out my profile and if you are an author get yourself a profile and list your books on there. At least that way if they are listed on the site you can then apply for a featured deal – the book promotion holy grail – more on that here.

Final Thought

Overall Goodreads is a subject many authors tend to tread lightly on and I might be risking some incoming hatred but remember this post is just my opinion and not an attempt to shutdown the site or anyone who has left a low rating for a book. Goodreads does have a place in online authoring and probably will for a long time. If you do leave a comment reminding me that Goodreads is for readers then I will probably just ignore it.

I know reviews are just opinions and there isn’t much I can do about that. If you do have any grievances then do please leave them in the comments and not through rating my books on Goodreads.

So finally, what do you think of Goodreads for Authors? (and don’t tell me the site is for readers because I know that seriously…)

Thanks for stopping by.

Weekly Ramble #88

Crossing the 600 follower mark is truly a noteworthy achievement. From every part of my heart, not just the bottom, thank you for following this blog so it could get to this moment.

When I was much younger, we’re going back to the very early years of when I used to just be a kid staying up and reading past bedtime, I only really wanted to be one thing when I was older; someone. The day in day outer’s who like the post’s on this blog; many who blog nearly daily themselves with pictures, stories, reviews, current events, book tag stuff, craft stuff and even a few political pieces – I feel like I’m someone to them.

Those day in day outers combined with followers who supported this blog from the very start over 6 years ago combined with those just showing up and those who I’ve connected with on the way through all the years – that’s you, loyal cultured reader. It means so much to feel like my words are being read. This blog has become my number 1 platform because of that support. Long may it continue, and those who see something in me, I don’t know what, thank you, wholeheartedly. I’ll keep chasing the words if you help me catch them in moments like this.

Lockdown Equals Opportunity

What a week this is shaping up to be. I mean is this the run up to the final episode of 2020? We’ve got lockdowns announced left right and centre along with an election across the pond. It’s felt like one hell of a long slog to get here with March literally being three years ago, or so it seems…

While in an ideal world it’s fun to compare this present reality to one of our favourite or not so favourite shows (Game of Thrones, cough, cough…), in real life there isn’t the luxury of fading to black and rolling to the credits, or blaming the writers who secured a gig with Star Wars just before they started production of the final season…

Over here in the UK – or specifically England, we’re about to face a second lockdown. Having been there before and because so many of this blog’s followers are facing similar circumstances in other countries I can wholeheartedly say that with a lockdown comes opportunity. Now I’m not talking about the business shark antics that take advantage of someone else’s misfortunate – what do you think this is the 80’s? But when the first lockdown hit back in March I eventually realised people need content for a distraction. Because I had the time to focus more on producing content, the numbers, follows, book sales and pretty much everything went up. This blog has faced more success this year than ever before!

If you have something to offer in this world that will serve other people, offer it, especially now…

Those who can produce content, right now this is your opportunity, not only does it express the importance of you personally carrying on, but someone somewhere will appreciate your efforts. It’s a circle of well-being because for me expression through words makes me feel good and my hope is that those good feels are passed on to readers. The world is in a state of flux right now but those who can remain doing what they did before without endangering themselves are serving to preserve what will be left after this era has gone. We as humans have always looked to escapism to survive the crap that is happening out the window, be that escape for someone. You’ll find purpose in creativity and content trust me.

Carry on, write that blog post, produce that video, put out that tweet, review that book because you’ve probably got the time now, seize it because lockdown equals opportunity!