Bad-Reads — why I no longer review

where goodreads goes bad

As a published children’s book author and illustrator I feel qualified to offer fair warning on the advantages and pitfalls of our beloved Goodreads.

As a vast vat of valuable information? Wonderful!

As an online organiser offering an orgy of authors, books and resources? Superb!

Where I feel it fails, is in it’s groups, specifically peer review groups (which, interestingly, are outlawed by Amazon. Specifically, they do not allow:

An author posts a positive review about a peer’s book in exchange for receiving a positive review from the peer.

Yet they do say that:

Book authors and publishers may continue to provide free or discounted copies of their books to readers, as long as the author or publisher does not require a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review.

And so, in short, no peer exchange book reviews. Yes to free copies but you can’t force a review, positive or otherwise.

Goodreads are clever! In their groups of authors, they have found a circular way around this. Each author in the group will review another’s book without any direct exchange between authors.

I have participated in 3 such groups and will never ever in my life participate again. Why?

  1. The quality of books is bottom of the barrel. I don’t say that narkily! I honestly genuinely want to love them! But I have been continually disappointed. Basic stories. No attempts at rhyme. All these ‘teaching kids a lesson’ ‘how to deal with death’ ‘where does your poo go’ kind of real life lacking imagination lacking creativity lacking fun type of books. And all the illustrations look like they have been done in a ‘cartoon generator’ type of software. Just… so…. boring.
  2. The authors all know each other. They are long time writers, no success, continuing to push dung up a hill. And they are fiercely protective of their own. Don’t say a bad word or they will lynch you.
  3. They never forget. Give them a bad or mediocre review in a past group and they will annihilate you in the next group. Literally had one reviewer refer to my chocolate planet as a ‘swirl of faeces’. This, also, is against one of Amazon’s rules and they will remove your review and blacklist you. So beware.
  4. You feel obliged to give a good review. But that is not honest. You have received something for free. It’s a piece of someone’s heart and soul. Part of their life. And a huge chunk of their time. You feel that you must be positive and kind. But if their book is terrible… what do you do? It’s a sincere moral dilemma. Book bloggers work on a basis where if they don’t like your book they will to review it. This is vastly better and honest.

In short, Amazon outlaws this for a reason, don’t get sucked into Goodreads peer review groups, it’s a waste of your time and positive energy. Put your time instead into connecting with authors. Into your own author page. Try to gain and engage fans with competitions. This is time well spent.

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