Every few months a publishing story goes viral and sets everyone’s underwear afire. Currently it’s the story of Lauren Pippa, an author who posted her debut novel on Goodreads to be added to readers’ shelves prior to its release, only to receive a one-star rating from some Ass-hat who obviously hadn’t read it yet. When she inquired about the rating, directly with the Goodreads member, she was met with a crap-nado of verbal bullying, as well as a campaign amongst some members to consistently rate her book poorly. This led to Ms. Pippa’s recent decision to not publish her debut at all. A sad day indeed. You can read all about it here.
As a result, throngs of readers and authors alike are coordinating a grand exodus of sorts, vacating Goodreads in droves and urging others to do the same. I won’t be one of them.
Because Goodreads is one of the few places left on the internet where there are still READERS! The market is so saturated with authors hiding in trees, very still and dormant like locusts. Then a lone reader comes strolling through, and all the authors stir at once, simultaneously flapping their wings, chirping “Buy my book!” noises, and they scare the poor chap off. And that’s why we all end up marketing to each other. It’s exhausting.
I’m not trying to be an Ass-hat like the person who started the storm of bullying. I’m just trying to keep it real. If we’re being honest with ourselves, this behavior is not typical of Goodreads. At least, not to my knowledge. Perhaps there are a handful of other people who can attest to people needlessly low-balling their ratings on books they may or may not have read, but that happens on Amazon, too. Additionally, bullying, happens all across the internet, even here on good ol’ WordPress. Sure, Goodreads doesn’t have an anti-bullying policy in place and they should and that’s why I’ve signed this petition. But, again, if we’re being truly honest, isn’t one of the cardinal rules of publishing to not respond to bad reviews? Ever? Do you think all of this would have happened to the author if she just would have seen the one-star rating on her not-yet-released-book, mumbled “Ass-hat” under her breath, chugged a glass of wine, and watched an episode of Catfish on MTV? Probably not? I hate to blame the victim, but she might have stoked the flames a little. The trolls that lurk behind the curtains of Goodreads saw an easy mark and took advantage. And now the world is missing what could have been a great talent. And putting aside all of my
quite possibly unpopular reasoning and finger-pointing, a loss is still a loss.