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GoodReads Negative….

Yes, very entertaining unless you are the author being stomped on. And yes, some works really deserve (at least internal/private) derision but…there is another person on the other side.

However, I think better to get stomped at GoodReads than Amazon, which has a wider/larger effect on sales.

And I think you get more open reviews at GoodReads because people feel that it is more removed/independent from the author, thus more impersonal.

As readers, I think many readers (I know me) assume that the author is some distant figure who will never see the review. Because traditionally, they wouldn’t have and because they generally never respond.

So this leads to the well known Internet Anonymity Say Anything You Would Never Say To Their Face syndrome. Well known to troll chasers of almost any site.

In the Fandom universe in which I grew up, authors were not people, they were essentially these divine entities that would deign to provide us entertainment and amusement while filling us with new insights and sharing their wisdom and vision, gracing us with new ideas and new ways of thinking and looking at the universe.

They were far removed from us mortals.

And it was very hard to communicate with them, you had to go through the “Priests” (publishing house) and hope your snail mail got to them, and then, because snail mail is a pain, probably almost never heard back.

Further we’ve been trained by popular culture that such creatives (authors, musicians, artists) are immune to the criticism of lesser mortals, they are all “Artists” and “auteurs”

There is thus an assumption, that authors never read reviews and never see these really nasty things.

And today that’s only true if they are dead, or very very old school.

On GoodReads, if an author’s page or reference to that author says “GoodReads Author” you can be sure that the author owns that page and is reading it and will see any and all reviews and criticism. It’s not something setup by the publisher. The author is there, they are reading.

They most likely won’t respond though. It is very well known in the author community that you NEVER respond to negative reviews, because you end up getting petty and it really looks bad and you just end up ticking off a wider audience, nothing good ever comes from it.

And you don’t respond to good reviews, because if you respond to one good review, but not another, the person you didn’t respond to may feel slighted.
And while that may not be your intention, for many authors it’s unavoidable because you don’t see the review right away, or if you are big, there are just too many to respond to and you never get writing done on the next book….

But my point is, and I find this true for all sites with author/artist feedback (e.g. you have to remember that there is another person on the other side. So constructive, helpful feedback is what they want (like what you give, Rosver–that’s great stuff) but outright trashing or “this sucks” can actually be hurtful.

So my policy as a reviewer is to never say anything that I wouldn’t say to the person if they were sitting across the table from me. If I don’t want to get punched in the face, I won’t type it on the feedback.