Sunday, September 29, 2013

Authors Beware!

This article on STGRB is very telling in showing exactly how the bully mentality on Goodreads has worked. This "reviewer" claims to love authors in comments on another website, yet spent the day yesterday randomly "carpet bombing" 100 books on Goodreads with 1-star reviews. How can one claim to respect authors, then go round deliberately leaving low ratings on books they've never read? I'm glad the problem is being addressed, but authors, be wary. Keep your interactions minimal on these sites or you'll be sucked into ridiculous drama.


Authors, don't be surprised if random 1-star ratings appear on your books, especially on Goodreads. If they do, flag it or report it, but do NOT, by any means, interact with the "reviewer".

If you notice malicious activity on any of your book ratings, record the information or take screenshots. And here are a couple of links you can use to file your complaints:


Amazon (also, you can email Jeff Bezos, CEO: & Nader Kabbani, VP of KDP:

The only way we can ensure a positive change in this situation is to be proactive. This IS our business, no matter if it's our main source of income or not, and we need to do all we can to maintain our integrity. This also applies to the fake glowing reviews. Ask everyone who reviews your books to leave an HONEST review. This means they may not like everything about it, and they may not leave you a 5-star review, and that's OK. It's honest, and that's what you need to strive for.

DO NOT, and I repeat DO NOT respond negatively to a critical review! Drown your sorrows in chocolate or cry into your pillow or indulge in some retail therapy, but do NOT engage with critics. Especially the harsh ones. Unless you know this person, there's a chance it's a dreaded "troll" who is just waiting for you to complain so they can launch their counterattack and spread venom about you to everyone who will listen.

 Readers (the REAL ones) will respect you all the more if you are open and respectful in all you do. And that's my public service message for today.

Mysti out.


  1. From author Ren Garcia:

    An author should never respond to a review, not to the good ones and not to the bad ones as well. If I read "The Shining" and left a review, I wouldn't expect Stephen King to type up a personal response to it--if he did so he would be opening himself up to attack, should I choose to be a troll. It's well known that certain bloggers looking to accumulate hits will try to pick a fight with an author to create drama. The author always loses in such a situation. Also, an author should not "befriend" a reader as the result of a review--Goodreads advises against such things in their Author Tutorial. I like to give things away, and have offered free swags to readers in the past, but I interacted with them via personal message, not as a response to a specific review.

  2. I agree with what you say Mysti. However, I do think that one star reviewers should be reported only for this behaviour if it is a common one. Some people are not going to like our work, and it sucks, but if that is how they feel about our work, that is how they feel. By all means check, and report them if they are engaging in carpet bombing. But if they aren't and it's a genuine review, I don't think they should be silenced.

    1. I totally agree with you! Fortunately, at least on Goodreads, it's been easy to tell who these carpet bombers are. The one who got me, for instance, I clicked on her profile (which was "private") but showed 0 friends, 0 reviews, and 700 + 1 star ratings. That's not just someone who didn't like over 700 books.

  3. Excellent advice in this post and in the comments. I never knew that it was a rule of thumb to not respond to reviews -- generally, I don't engage in discussion about them, but I do "like" as a general thank-you and sometimes post a polite thank-you note to the reviewer. I figure, it's good manners to acknowledge someone's thoughts especially after they've taken the time for a thoughtful review. And then they know I've seen it as well.

    1. Definitely best to minimize discussion, especially with critical reviews. With those, depending on the tone, I've either simply thanked the reviewer for reading or ignored altogether. It's never a good idea to question or argue with a reader's opinion. Real readers have the right to one, and there's always a chance you're dealing with a troll who wants nothing more than to have you respond so they can tear into you.


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