Friday, August 23, 2013

Goodreads isn't Goliath

And you're not David.

Well, you might be David. That's not my point.

Recently there has been much talk about Goodreads and getting poor ratings there. Although I never ever ever (10x ever) condone internet bullying, the truth is...

The ratings aren't sales and a poor Goodreads rating does not equal a poor seller any more than a fantastic five star will equal a bestseller.

Case in point: I have a book that released late January/early February kind of area. It has sat almost consistently on at least one, sometimes three, Amazon bestseller lists since it released. It's now AUGUST.

I've sold a decent number of that book. I'm happy. I call it the Little Book that Could.

For the longest time, it had one rating on Amazon. ONE. And that rating was a two star because it was 'to short.'

It has, to the moment of this posting, ONE Goodreads rating. That rating is a TWO STAR. (Although, I suppose if the bully folks don't like this may get a bunch more bad reviews. Who knows?)

Other books I've authored have TONS of ratings. TONS. (Thank you, folks who've read my books!) Most of those ratings are really good. I average ABOUT four stars or better on Goodreads for most of my books. Ditto for Amazon. (I suck at math, but it looks like most have about four. Mathematicians who disagree with my averaging system...sorry.)

The one that consistently outsells and outshines the rest? The one with the worst lowly two star only book on Goodreads.

Basically...if someone gives you a poor rating/bad review, I posted this same topic the other day on Facebook and I stand by my sentiment. (Although you people attacking the authors themselves should stop's mean and why you wanna be mean? Seriously...stop that shit.)

Here's what I said about reviews:

A lot of my writer pals have been celebrating their debut novels recently. Since I just fired of an email on this topic to one of my authors, I will share here since I really don't think I can say it enough.

Don't let the reviews feel like a grade. It's not school, so if one gives you an A--you're not guaranteed to be a bestseller. On the same token, if one gives you the literary equivalent to a failing grade (or completely slams you to the mats, leaving you bleeding and sweating and way too close to the smell of gym socks) it doesn't mean you're a hack or that readers won't adore your work.

Those who leave reviews do so because they love books as much as we do. They take the time out of their day to give their honest opinions on stories that moved them--whether in a great way or a really squicky, oops I just touched a stranger's boob in the grocery store way. Some of them are going to get you. Some of them are going to wonder why in the heck you got a contract on a book.

Storytellers tell stories and some resonate, some fall flat. Education comes from the Latin to bring up or to bring into the light. We get to do that once in awhile--we bring readers into the light, or as Kristan Higgins said in her awesome luncheon speech at RWA, "Each of us lives through a time when darkness surrounds us...but our books--the books we've written and struggle to write still--are a lantern in that darkness."
Write the book you have to write. Write the story of your heart, the one that no one else has ever told or ever could tell because you're the only one who lived it, felt it, laughed about it, or cried about it...

And understand the reviews aren't judgments on you, the storyteller. They're readers who took the time to look at your words, to soak them up and think about them, whether they loved it or hated it. Just like the people around you every day, not every one is going to adore you.

But all of them? They chose to spend time with you. And, really, that's the part you should remember. They could have been with their kids, their spouses, doing the dishes, working, whatever.

Instead, they were with YOU. Reading your story.

Hope this helps some of you struggling with those bad reviews.
Oh, and reviewers?  I love you guys. Seriously, big squishy wet kisses and hugs--even if you gave me the failing grade.

*steps off soapbox*

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