I am making this post as a public service announcement. I just want to encourage all of my fellow readers and bloggers who are Goodreads members to disengage from attacking authors on the site. In the past couple of days, I have seen several Facebook posts by authors of different genres who have mentioned being attacked by readers. ‘Readers’ are one-starring pre-released books or dive bombing every book the author has ever written with one-star reviews. Why? Because these ‘readers’ feel as if the author has made some reprehensible infraction against the world of literature as a whole *eye roll*. I know…dramatic, right? But sadly, it’s true. The internet trolls have now taken up residence on Goodreads. They are pollinating the site with their vitriol against authors and fellow readers who might support the author or their book(s). At some point, we as a community of readers and authors need to just say NO! This behavior is not okay and we will not just accept that is standard operating procedure for a site as large as Goodreads. I am encouraging everyone to sign the Goodreads Policy on Abuse to Authors petition. Right now Goodreads is taking a non-existent stand on enforcing its own terms of service policy:
You agree not to post User Content that: (i) may create a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to you, to any other person, or to any animal; (ii) may create a risk of any other loss or damage to any person or property; (iii) seeks to harm or exploit children by exposing them to inappropriate content, asking for personally identifiable details or otherwise; (iv) may constitute or contribute to a crime or tort; (v) contains any information or content that we deem to be unlawful, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive,defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, harassing, humiliating to other people (publicly or otherwise), libelous, threatening, profane, or otherwise objectionable; (vi) contains any information or content that is illegal (including, without limitation, the disclosure of insider information under securities law or of another party’s trade secrets); or (vii) contains any information or content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships; or (viii) contains any information or content that you know is not correct and current.
L.B. Simmons has declined to release Running In Place (Mending Hearts, #2) because of venom unleashed upon her by members of Goodreads. [Read her cancellation statement here]. I just personally find it despicable that this type of behavior is being allowed to flourish. As an American, I am truly grateful for the First Amendment that guarantees the right to free speech. Yet, I don’t understand why the trolls seem to think that they are the only ones entitled to speak freely. If an author chooses to stand up for him or herself, they are shunned and the troll community responds by trying to systematically destroy everything the author has worked hard to achieve. Most authors choose to opt out in offering a reply to negative reviews or caustic comments. But those who choose to respond are attacked with fang and claw by the trolls.
If you read a book…
And you don’t like but want to leave a rating and review, that’s fine. However, leave a fair venom-free review. Don’t destroy an author’s chance to have other people read their book because of a hate-laced review offered as “honest.” Be honest but be considerate as well. Authors are people too and should be respected for their craft. It’s hard to put your heart and soul out for the world to see.
If you don’t read a book…
Do not…I repeat…do not leave a review or a rating for a book you’ve NOT read. I don’t care what the author “has done” that you feel is so vile that you need to one-star everything they have ever written. Not just that, you share that information with other like minded people who also engage in the same behavior. It’s toxic and it’s wrong. It only hurts us innocent readers in the end. Rise above base behavior and don’t destroy another person just because you feel like it.