I was up in the night, excited about an interview this morning (which I aced, go me), when I caught wind of a new author’s struggles with Goodreads. It’s the classic story: Girl writes book, decides to self-publish, promotes it on Goodreads, and before it’s even out, someone’s giving a 2 star review.
To be fair, I thought I was going to read more whining about how m33n Goodreads readers are from yet another author who hasn’t figured out that Goodreads isn’t actually your one-stop marketing shop. I only read my own reviews when I’ve got on my flame retardant clothing, and I sit still because trolls’ vision is based on movement.
And look, I’ve gotten some really pointed reviews there: Some spot on that gave me food for thought and some that I roll my eyes at. I don’t get upset because, you know, I’ve been a troll as well as a reader of books. Sometimes outlandish rage is my reaction to a book that could’ve been better. And sometimes I’ve had so little going right in my life that giving someone else a hassle was the only way I could act out because I wasn’t in a position to give the middle finger to whom I really wanted.
So, you know, personally, I take it all with a grain of salt. If someone read my book and it gave them great enjoyment to tear it to shreds, that’s what it’s there for. If they didn’t read it but don’t like women who write m/m, well I’ll take that on, too. I mean, enjoy your side of enforcing the patriarchy, you little worm, but I’ll take it. With a sharky smile.
But when people cross the line into threats, someone needs to take action. And I get that they weren’t direct threats. It didn’t look like anyone was saying, “I will rape you.” But “needs to get raped”? Sodomy? I mean, that’s not even that bad, sodomy. I like sodomy. Why you gotta threaten people with it?
Letting those tags stand–not taking those things seriously–is a huge black eye for Goodreads. If their goal is to be the book readers’ 4chan, by all means. That site has been around for years and is as popular as it is notorious. And maybe that’s just a fact of life for Goodreads.
I feel bad for the new author, but getting some notoriety and a quick fanbase for her work? There are worse things. One would hope the modern age doesn’t mean that suffering triggering online traumas is the only way to get noticed, though, well, we’ve all got our row to hoe.
But can we at least take rape threats off the table?