Brinda Berry · writing advice

The Perils of Goodreads

Goodreads iconIt feels so good to get a reader review that is positive.  Last month, someone posted a review of my  YA, The Waiting Booth and the review went like this:

“The Waiting Booth was enjoyable in every sense, very different from any book I have read…Brinda Berry definitely captivated me with this paranormal twist involving synesthesia, a medical condition where senses overlap. Different and awesome, right? See what I mean?…”

This reader rated it 4/5 stars.  Although I’ve not posted her entire review, the rest was just as flattering and made me want to smile, dance, and write until my hands fall off.

Basking in this review is one of the best things about being an author.

WARNING: Don’t let it go to your head.  Inevitably, all authors will experience the flip side of this coin.  Do not think that you are immune.  I’ve had some reviews that didn’t make me want to dance. I’ve even had The Waiting Booth receive the “1” rating that made me do this:

  1. Question what the reader didn’t like since there was no review to accompany the star
  2. Get angry because how bad can my book be to receive a freaking “1”
  3. Calm down because maybe I should be grateful that the reader didn’t exound on what he/she didn’t like
  4. Move on and accept because this is part of being an author
  5. Go eat a cookie

I love this video by Lauren DeStefano (author of Wither) on the perils of Goodreads.

BIO: Brinda lives in the southern US with her family and two spunky cairn terriers. She’s terribly fond of chocolate, coffee, and books that take her away from reality.
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50 thoughts on “The Perils of Goodreads

  1. This video cracked me up. She did a good job with it. I have quite a few friends that obsess on the negative reviews. Some dream up horrendous scenarios for those reviewers, lol!

    I review books. I remind people that reviews are merely a readers opinion of your story. Very subjective. Unfortunately, some reviewers take delight in snark.

    But, seriously, the video says it well at the end. A professional thought the story it good enough that they said, “want the world to see this.” There’s your focus.

    Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

  2. I like to give a reason for my ratings when I do a review.
    The opinions are of the reader and we all have a different take on a book.
    I say Dance when you have a good review. Encouragement is always a good feeling.
    Leona

  3. Sometimes I read them, sometimes I don’t. A bad one doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would, although I haven’t one that really said, “You Suck!” 🙂 But you have to realize that even popular classics get 1’s for a rating. Books I totally HATED others loved. One book I couldn’t finish (I hated so much) went on to win the RITA for best book in it’s category!

    BUT I’ll will confess that when I see a 1 or 2 rating with no written review, I always wonder what I could have done better or what it was about the story that didn’t ring with that reader. However, I don’t loss any sleep over a low rating.

  4. Not everyone will laugh at our jokes, and not everyone will bask in the glow of our prose. I’ve read books that I’ve thought are absolutely fantastic in craft and content, and have seen those same books receive a measly 3-stars when, if possible, I’d have handed out ten. And I’ve seen the opposite happen. I say eat a cookie and dance a jig, no matter the review.

  5. What a wonderful and timely post for me, Brinda, since I’m venturing into Goodreads territory right now. It’s been interesting and all part of the published author learning curve. I always remind myself I didn’t set down this path because I thought it would be easy. On the contrary, I was looking for a new life challenge!

    Lauren’s video was fantastic and hilarious. Geesh, forget about trying to improve my novel writing skills. Watching YouTube clips like hers makes me wish I had the wit, creativity, and tech know-how to generate equally inspiring messages of encouragement and tenacity for my fellow writers. THANK YOU FOR POSTING THIS.

    1. You are going to love moving into this next stage. Goodreads is a lot of fun for me as a reader. I think it’s good for authors as well. Enjoy it and be prepared to smile and move on if you ever get a less than stellar review. Where else can you find so many book lovers online talking books?

    1. I’m lucky that readers (who like paranormal YA) have picked up my books and given some great reviews. Yes, that one rating didn’t really get me down. A cookie has magical healing powers.

  6. Oh, the wonders of will, diversity and opinion. We all have them and they’re all different because we were raised differently and have different DNA. This is a good thing, until someone rains on your parade. And as I move forward I’ll have to reminder the whole different people aspect.

    You rock, BB!! Thanks for the heads-up!!

  7. Brinda, I know your books (from this reader’s/fan’s) perspective did not deserve a one. You eat your cookie. While you do that, I’ll concoct an improbable scenario in which Sherry’s typing cat (Tucker) romped on the keyboard while she was away from her desk. I’ve been the happy recipient of Tucker-grams in the chat window. Delusional? Nah. Works for me.

  8. I would be happy just to HAVE a GR review! LOL. When my first book came out, no one was on there. Hopefully the second and third books will have a few good GR reviews. I hope to weather the “1s” with as much class as you, Brinda.

  9. Love your philosophy, Brinda. Love the video! I’ve only been published for a whole month now, and I’ve already decided not to look at the Amazon ratings. Up and down. Up and down. Up Up Up and down. (Down being good) I don’t want to tempt the fates by saying I’ve not yet had a bad review because they will come soon enough. Stocking up on cookies.

  10. Like everyone else, I loved the video. I am trying to not think about reviews yet. Only getting the novel written. Then I will have to find a gluten-free cookie recipe that suits my discerning tastes so I can prepare for those reivews that I shouldn’t be obsessing over anyway.

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