Approximately a week ago, one of my favorite authors answered a reader’s question on Goodreads regarding why she’d deleted all of her many (spot-on and often hysterical but always honest) reviews. She replied and confirmed that she would no longer be writing reviews as it has led to stalking, trolling, deliberate low ratings on her own books, and in truth, full-on harassment.
I’m going to pause here and say that NO, once again I won’t be providing links for this. If you know who I’m talking about, you know, if you don’t I’m not going to provide a giant neon arrow pointing toward an author who has unfortunately been targeted to the point where it was impacting her professionally and personally.
This author also made the good point that has been brewing in the back of my mind as well…I don’t remember the last time I left a review for a book on Amazon since it became book-eBay. About the only time you see a genuinely thoughtful review was when it was cross-posted from a blog and/or Goodreads. And so years ago, many migrated to Goodreads, where the reviews were more honest (and funny, with sparklepony GIFs), a community where the authors were free to interact without fear of reprisal.
I don’t know and I can’t say if Amazon now basically OWNING Goodreads has changed that atmosphere, or if it was just a matter of time, but Goodreads is slowly turning into Amazon. Bullying, selective moderation, and yes, retaliation has been creeping in for a while now.
It makes me sad that the author I mentioned before has decided to stop reviewing in light of it, but I can’t say I blame her. To be honest, it’s crossed MY mind more than once. I’m brutally honest in my reviews, but if a book is hideous, I don’t Tweet my review or blog it. I’ll leave a review, yes, because THAT’S THE POINT, but I’m not going to use social media to get people to read my often-snarky reviews, because at that point it becomes about ME and MY FUNNY MEAN REVIEW GO READ NAOW.
At the same time, though, I’ve wondered if it paints a giant target on your own back as an author. Right now TTB and Pistils are small potatoes compared to other indie authors, but it takes one pissed-off fangirl to start a riot. I’ve read multiple books from one author who is notorious for targeting what she considers to be bad reviews/reviewers and basically throwing them onto her social media with a go get ’em! attitude. Have I ever reviewed one of her books? Nope nope nope, not with a ten foot pole.
If you’re an author, do you ever self-censor when it comes to reviews or worry about retaliation? And as a reader, what do you think about authors who leave thoughtful but negative reviews…is it integrity or detrimental to a community?
And lastly, to the author I write about…you go girl. Just keep writing cuz you love it and cashing the checks cuz it pays the bills. Take that load off your shoulders, as authors I think we all understand.