Goodreads makes authors nervous.
I know it. I’ve heard it time and again. I’ve said it myself and decided to stay far away. But then I joined Goodreads as a reader, since I’m not yet published, and it has been a boon to my reading. It’s changed my understanding about the disparity between star ratings.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read some pretty disheartening reviews that were coarse and mean and unnecessary. But most often I read reviews that are attentive to detail and well thought out. They are not meant to be unkind and hurtful. They are a representation of that person’s subjective opinion. We all have them.
I agree there are some reviewers who enjoy giving bad reviews. They read books they will obviously hate and then spend a day writing stuff and nonsense. Boo to that. Let's give readers a break because the Savvy readers are smarter than that, they disregard these reviews. In fact, I would hazard a guess that 3 star reviews get the most traffic and the most trial, and one stars are generally thrown out, as are 5 stars, sometimes.
I wish I’d joined this community long ago. I’m having great fun just being a reader and conversing with readers who read what I like. There’s nothing like a discussion about a book that a dozen people are reading together. The differences of opinion are at times great. The divide can be as much as “I didn’t finish it” and “I loved it!”. How can you blame anyone for that? You can’t.
So, as a future author I’ve been afraid of Goodreads because I failed to cast my own judgment and no doubt I might feel differently once I’m subjected to one star reviews and nasty remarks. I’ve failed enough contests and been criticized enough to know how much it hurts. AND IT HURTS! But it would hurt more not to try.
I would not be fair in guessing that every review and star rating that comes in will be personal, or even objective. Most will subjective. Writing can be good and the book awful. Or, the book may be good and the writing awful. The difference between the stars will depend on how much or little people appreciate a good story versus good writing. Our goal as writers is to be both. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
One day I’ll be a debut author. It won’t be the best book I’ve ever written, but it will be the best book I can write today. Being better than yesterday is all I need to be. I’m just hopeful for a chance to do what I love and share characters that live inside me.
Who knows what propels an author, a writer, a poet. Who can understand this? No one. It just is.
And with this comes a chance that there will be those who hate it.
But there will also be those who love it.
I can learn from both.