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As Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “It’s not the critic who counts; not the man who points how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of good deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is in the arena, whose face is covered with dust, and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly…”

One good example of that are authors.

We authors have gone from a long process, beginning with our imagination, to writing our book, to publishing, and now just about everything else we can think of to get people to buy our work. Before the digital age, big Publishers controlled it all, deciding what would sell and what would not. It was a big consideration of the funds required to get their return on investment

But today, mostly when self-published, the burden of time and money invested falls on the author. But, as if that was not enough, we have to deal with some people on book sites who now have no respect for authors, labeling them as SPAM for just marketing in the wrong place. It's as if they can't just scroll down? They don't want any author invading their conversation with a book. They have other places for that sort of thing. Also Goodreads has a rating system that is nothing more than a deception, or downright lie where they don’t even have to read the book to rate it. Yes, you read that right. They can rate the book with any star they want, even if they didn’t read the book.

The following is an example of what happened when I tried to bring what I considered a problem in search of a solution to the attention of members on Goodreads.

Below is the last post I made before they banned me from Goodreads. I thought you might be interested.

BOOKBURNINGS

 

Reminiscent of historical book burning, especially those of Nazi Germany, books were burned because some monster or monsters determined that those books were not appropriate for the Fatherland, and whose people throughout the old world, The Third Reich eventually consumed. They essentially gave it a rating of death by destroying them all. Today, in our modern digital age and especially for this post regarding Goodreads, anyone can rate any book, even if they didn’t read it. This comparison is valid especially when you consider they both have the same results. Imagine why anyone would even want to do that. Even a good rating without any explanation is in question.

 

I thought it important to write a post for member feedback regarding what I thought to be a problem in search of a solution. There were a few constructive responses, but for the most part I wasn’t satisfied with the answers given. Well, it soon became a firestorm of irate people turning what was first intended to be a civil and constructive discussion, to an attack seemingly trying to get me to go away, or censor me because they didn’t agree. But, that wasn’t enough; they then attacked my character, and trashed my book just because we couldn’t even agree to disagree? I couldn’t believe this was happening. Then I asked myself why? Why, would there be such a violent backlash of a firestorm to my post. The only answer I could come up with is preserving some egregious mentality that gives the person rating some inner power over someone else.

 

One person’s out of control emotions further proved my point, when going to my page and writing the following:

 

“I will not rate this book, because I will never read this book. I will not support an author who tells me how to review. It's none of his business.”

 

I never, ever would I tell anyone how to rate or review any book. In fact, what I wrote was just the opposite. I simply could not understand WHY a rating would NOT be accompanied WITH a review, or any explanation of WHY the reader gave the book the rating they did. If truth be known, it is everyone's business to find it. A rating when honest I can accept, whatever it is, but a bogus rating without any reason, does NOT serve the best interests of anyone.

 

Mark Twain wrote: "A lie travels half-way around the world, while the truth is still putting on its boots."

 

The above is an example of that. Notice how this person twisted my meaning into something it never was.

Go to this link to read my original post for yourself: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/17099116-authors-spam-police-r...

 

The second link below is where a disgruntled person in opposition to my post invaded my page continuing the diatribe and vindictive threats and posturing.

 

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1361848386?comment=138818050#...

 

I have NO ill feelings about those people; in fact I forgive them all. I can’t help feeling that they may be going through some personal difficulty to respond the way they did. But, one can’t help but wonder why such a vindictive and violent response even happened.

 

We authors know very well that there will always be readers that like or hate our books, and a bunch in-between. That just goes with the territory. But, for anyone to rate our books without even reading them, is nothing more than prevaricating without any meaningful reason or justification for their rating. How can Goodreads permit such a thing and even promote it, when obviously a rating, good or bad without some credibility is bogus and hurtful to the author, but also ambiguous to readers?

 

Authors and readers are usually smart enough to see through something that is disingenuous. But, any rating without a reason, explanation, expose’, or review, should never be permitted. There are plenty of other places on Goodreads for anyone to vent their feelings. But, a rating should be reserved for readers who have something they need to say, because they read the book, and not because some spurious malcontent, who has nothing better to do; who seemingly only wants to trash an author and his/her book for some flinty unsubstantiated reason.

 

Ratings determine an average rating for a book, so it’s important that it be an accurate representation, good or bad, of a reader’s true feelings, which should be reserved for those who finished reading the book. Anything less is dishonest and destructive.

 

We can never know for sure if a reader has read, or even finished reading a book. But we can at least, have some checks and balances to keep it all as clean, and honest as possible. As it is, it is NOT.

 

Then shortly after I noticed a five star rating had been mysteriously removed from my page. Since NO reason or comment for five stars was included with it, I’m glad it was removed.

 

I thought this might happen, but had no idea that a simple post would cause such frenzy, and never thought it would become vindictive to the point of burning my book just because of a post. It should make everyone suspicious about this questionable practice of hit and run ratings without actually reading the book, or without leaving a reason for the rating.

 

Here’s one possible solution. I welcome any other comments to a solution needed if Goodreads is to become a place that can be trusted with its rating rules.

 

1. All ratings would be required to have an explanation, or review, or a comment of why they rated the book as they did.

 

2. No spoilers will be allowed.

 

3. No rating is allowed without some sort of reason for the rating.

 

4. If anyone doesn’t comply, then their naked, bogus rating will be removed.

 

Don’t you think we authors have enough obstacles to overcome without having any more, especially when we’re given a rating on our book that wasn’t read, or without any reason, good or bad given for that rating?

 

And readers, wouldn’t you want as honest a rating as possible to enable you to make a valued decision based on another reader’s true feelings, instead of some meaningless hit and run influence-rating that was placed there for some helter-skelter reason only known to them?

 

What do you think? You can simply vote yes, or no.

 

Yes, if you want reform of the Goodreads rating process and rules, wherein a rating must be accompanied by some explanation or reason why they rated the way they did. At least it would be better than the way it is without any criterion for rating.

 

No, if you want to leave it the way it is, wherein a rating can be given for any reason, even if they didn’t read your book.

 

Have your voices heard. To do nothing about this is analogous to throwing water into the air without first checking where the wind is blowing. Without a reason for a rating, it becomes nothing more than a deceptive manipulation of subterfuge; an ambush from the shadows to wrongly influence the unsuspecting. I think readers are smarter than that, but to wrongly manipulate a books overall rating, without any explanation included with that rating, is nothing more than dishonest.

 

There are many good things about Goodreads. Let’s help Goodreads become a place more trusted for its integrity in ALL that it does to promote the best values of the human spirit for the truth of it all.

 

I think ratings should be reserved for a reader’s opinion of the book read, and nothing else.

 

What do you think?

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Replies to This Discussion

Mark, Thanks for sharing.  I don't comment much at Goodreads, since I found out they were purchased by Amazon. There are some lawsuits that are coming up that deal with royalty issues, and so I'm waiting along with others to see the final outcome.  Sorry for your ordeal; I hope things settle down after a while. As I said I generally don't involve myself on here much anymore.  I only stopped by when I heard the bullying word; which I detest!  Cheers, Don Greywolf Ford

Thank you Don for your reply.

Writers should know about this practice and do something about it before they have their overall rating a lie. Also, the word spam should be abolished. It's really not that hard for a reader to scroll past a writer's marketing if they don't want to read it. Writers should unite. 

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