I hadn't planned this post.
However, this week I checked the Goodreads page for my yet-to-be-released book The Stand-In (releases Feb. 9) and found a 1-star rating.
Now, I did offer ARC copies to a couple of trusted bloggers who have kindly written thoughtful reviews. I know for a fact who got those ARCs and this person did not. In my mind, this is clearly a case of Goodreads trolling.
I posted a couple of thoughts on Facebook and was met with tremendous support from the reader/author/blogger community.
I sent an email to Goodreads and was told they could do nothing. However, they said they had contacted the reviewer to see if he/she had posted the rating "in error." Of course, this is not the case. And now I sit, wondering if this reader will retaliate in some way.
Now don't get me wrong. Goodreads has been a helpful community in many ways. They have always answered my questions and helped me display my books. The readers I've met there have become devoted supporters and friends.
And then there are the other folks. The ones who really enjoy messing with an author's head.
I'm not saying a person can't give me a legitimate bad rating. If you don't like my book, you don't like my book. But when it's obvious a "reader" has based a rating or review on a blurb of an unreleased story, we have a problem.
In response to my Facebook posts, several fine authors told me they have deleted their author profiles at Goodreads. That they are happier without a presence there. I confess, I am tempted to do the same. It would sadden me because I love maintaining contact with my readers.
However, I cannot afford to use more expensive options like Netgalley and I don't have time to look into numerous other promotional venues. Will I leave Goodreads as an author? I'm still not sure, but my finger is hovering over the "cancel" button.
If this were a case of bullying in a school, the bully would be reprimanded. For some reason, on Goodreads, bullies are tolerated. We, as authors, are told to "develop a thick skin." Believe me. I've written close to 20 books. My skin is fine as it is. It's as thick as it will ever be. I have developed myself to the best of my ability.
Maybe it's time for Goodreads to develop. The bullies won't.