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Comments 15

Goodreads Trolls getting you down? my personal story, but also a solution!

So, I have a self-published book, well two actually. A friend and I wrote them together, self-published them, and eagerly frequented the Goodreads page to see what people thought. To our surprise, we received mainly 5-star reviews. We weren’t expecting them, as I really don’t think our book is perfect. There is a lot I would change and I think the sequel is a huge improvement (and yeah I’m pretty proud of that improvement). But anyway, I digress…

One day while checking how our book was going I saw one review that just said something along the lines of “What a crock. These reviews are obviously paid for.” I was shocked by this, as firstly, I didn’t know that paying people for reviews was actually a thing people did, or that someone would make such a damning claim without any evidence what-so-ever, besides the fact that we self-published our book.

Anyway, understandably upset, I did the stupidest thing you can do. I defended myself (although very politely). Bad Idea. Very bad idea. This Goodreads user (and her army of troll minions) descended upon me. She then decided to read the preview of the book, decided she didn’t like it, and informed Goodreads that all our reviews must be fake. This was devastating. We contacted Goodreads to protest, and they informed us that although they investigated and found nothing suspicious, the word of one of their librarians meant more than the 18 other people who liked and reviewed our book, who then had their reviews and accounts deleted.  This was based on the opinion of one person, who is notorious for attacking self-published authors, who admitted in her review that she didn’t actually read beyond the preview of our book. It also didn’t matter to Goodreads that one of their top librarians also read and rated our book 5 stars (luckily they didn’t delete this review). I almost never mention my own book now because I am too afraid of these people. I am too afraid to promote my own book because I know if people like it, they will be attacked. We even cancelled all our Goodreads advertisements out of fear. And we had done nothing wrong. Keeping this particular Troll (who causes Goodreads frequent trouble with their vocal objections to Goodreads policies on preventing threats to authors) happy was more important to them. They took the side of a notorious troll (who also lists rape and beastiality as things she likes reading about on her profile page. This is how evil these people are!) without even caring that in her review she admits that she only read the preview.

That’s when I learned something important things about Goodreads.

  • All Goodreads users are not created equal.
  • Goodreads actually loves the drama and nastiness of these Trolls.
  • Goodreads Trolls come with a bucket-load of minions and they are trained attack on cue. In fact, they love it. Their master treats them with nastiness and hate and it whips them into a joyous frenzy that makes me want to vomit. 

Since all this happened I’ve had people message me to say that they loved our book, but are too afraid to leave a review in case their account gets deleted as well. I tell them not to worry about it and that if they really loved it, they are welcome to leave a review on Amazon instead. But I really find it infuriating that these trolls have moved from just attacking authors to frightening other users as well, to the point where people are too scared to review a book because they think they will be attacked.

These people are terrible human beings. They think that destroying an authors career is a game and that attacking and terrifying reviewers in fun. One of the worst ones I’ve encountered is actually an author themselves and seeks out other (often self-published) authors to destroy. Just this morning I spoke to a young reviewer who had been viciously harassed by one of these Trolls, and when she tried to ignore them, the minions descended.  These people are awful and they do not stop once they have a target. I’ve seen the same person who attacked me attacking so many others. Over and over again. AND I’M FREAKING SICK OF IT.

I get that some people do put up fake reviews. I’ve found people doing it before. But people are generally smart enough to realise when a review is fake. All five stars, all posted within a short period of time, all from profiles that have only reviewed the one book. Clear signs. If you want to flag these reviews for Goodreads to investigate, fine. But attacking authors or other reviewers for ANY reason is unacceptable. Especially when your only reason is that someone liked a book when you didn’t. This DOES NOT mean that a reviewer was paid for their review, or that the review is fake. All it means is that people have different tastes. And you want to know what really bothers me? That it’s really obvious from many of these trolls reviews that they are reviewing books they haven’t actually read. Their reviews are actually the fake ones! It makes me want to scream and burn Goodreads to the ground (as much as one can physically destroy an electronic, virtual entity anyway).

So what can you do? 

Well, I do actually have some solutions for you.

If you’re a reader/reviewer: 

  • Learn to spot them.
    • They review billions of books and a simple calculation will inform you that this kind of book consumption is actually impossible.
    • They like putting in quotes that they then make fun of, rather than quotes they like – this is to try and prove they’ve read the book. They will always be from the start (usually the preview because they don’t actually read the whole book) of the book. Sometimes there are page numbers that will help you detect this.
    • They have an army of minions, which means their reviews are usually at the top of the book’s review page due to all the hate-frenzy.
    • They will often tell you upfront in their profile that they are an asshole.
  •  Ignore them. Before I realised this happened, I was put off from reading some really great books. Don’t let them put you off. You might be missing out on something you will love.
  • For the love of all things holy do not follow them just because everyone else seems to be. Don’t give them more power.
  • And finally:

THERE IS A BLOCK USER BUTTON!!!!

Seriously! There is. This button not only stops people viewing your profile, it also means that when you go to a book that they have reviewed, their review (and any comments they have made) will be hidden. They will also not be able to send you messages.

Sounds great doesn’t it? It is, but it’s kinda hard to find though. I’ll talk you through it.

  1. Go to the monster’s profile pageblock user
  2. Scroll all the way to the bottom
  3. Try not to vomit as you pass their posts
  4. Click the ‘Block User Button’
  5. Confirm via the pop up
  6. Rejoice at your new-found freedom!

If you’re an author:

  • Just don’t check your reviews.
  • If you must, absolutely don’t respond to them. UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES! Even if they are good reviews and you want to say thank you. Just don’t.
  • Also block trolls so you wont see their bad reviews and thus your sanity and/or self-esteem may remain in tact.

So there you go.

These trolls and their army of minions cannot be fought or reasoned with, and Goodreads is dedicated to supporting them, but they can be recognised and simply ignored.

So there is some hope yet. Hooray!

15 Comments

  1. A great post! And thank you for telling us about the block button. I’ve been pretty lucky so far, but this info is good to know. The best advice in the whole piece was to ignore the trolls. Thank you for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m sorry you had to deal with trolls; I was having a conversation the other day about how the book blogging/reviewing community is 99% nice, but it just takes that 1% of people to ruin it for something. It’s really horrible

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is terrible! I had no idea there were such horrible people on Goodreads! Thanks for the warning and tips and I’m sorry that happened to you and your friend 😦

    Like

  4. I’m so sorry this happened to you. I don’t understand the allure of attacking an author. You are not a book lover if you can do that. And not a good human being, at that. :/

    Like

  5. Cait @ Paper Fury says

    Omg I am OUTRAGED at this. How…how could goodreads delete people’s reviews just because their troll-attack-dog said they were fake?!??! That’s rubbish. That’s horrible. GOODREADS I AM ASHAMED OF YOU RIGHT NOW. *growls in the corner* I am not an author, obviously, but yeah, the hate just keeps coming. I’m going to block from now on though (I didn’t know about that feature) because I think people are write to leave detailed long comments about their opposing opinions. I do NOT think it’s okay for people to say “you’re so f***king stupid and didn’t even read the book” and leave it at that. *deletes and spins away to dance in cake crumbs* I don’t have time for those losers. I’m learning not to take it personally, but it’s hard.
    *hugs* I didn’t know you’d self-published a book and I think it is utterly unfair that you have to be scared of promoting it because there are such horrible haters out there wanting to make your life miserable. YOUR ARE FAB, TINA. ❤

    Like

  6. hoodedman1 says

    I just got trolled. I knew I often got more vicious and personal reviews on Goodreads than anywhere else but this morning I found one book had accumulated nine 2 star ratings. As most of my books don’t have more than a dozen reviews anyway, this is obviously a concerted attack. The bad part is the names of the people who left these low stars have NOT been revealed as they usually are! I can only see a couple of five star ratings on the page! Maybe they have been removed but if so, the overall rating has still remained. It is really bad if they have hidden these people’s identity but let their ratings stand.

    Like

  7. Good article.

    I had a horrible experience with a reviewer not so long ago. She gave me a 2 star review, which is fair enough, but said review was chockful of nasty shelves and listed every sex act in the book (why?) I’m not exaggerating when I say she added to the review every day for a week. The last thing she added was a downright lie.

    Since sales had dried up since she started her review marathon, I asked my authors group on Goodreads for advice. Perhaps this was naive, but I thought that as long as I didn’t name my book or the reviewer, I’d be safe.

    Wrong! Literally a day later, I received a message from a woman claiming to be the reviewer’s friend, saying I was behaving unprofessionally, it was my fault if the reviewer misunderstood and my book was rubbish. She gave me a one star review attaching my behaviour and put the book under shelves such as ‘author stalker’ and ‘bully author.’

    My friends advised me to let it go and reply to the reviewer’s friend explaining my actions. Although she accepted my apology, she still wrote a 1 star review when the original was deleted for violating Goodread’s guidelines.

    The whole experience left a bitter taste in my mouth; I’m looking for alternative sites to use. I still don’t understand how this woman would have even found my comments if she or the reviewer hadn’t been keeping tabs on me – yet I’m the one who’s been labelled as a stalker and bully! I used to feel safe discussing problems with the group, but now worry that readers with a grudge will turn up. I’d understand if I’d personally attacked the reviewer but did nothing of the kind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • dariogattolin says

      You did nothing on the wrong end, seems to be the fashion of that website, it doesn’t matter what they say, you know who you are beyond what any of them label you as, cheers.

      Like

  8. dariogattolin says

    I never used this site until days ago when i noticed by being self-pubbed on KDP it auto-listed my books and is very interesting to know what the site is really about as a whole, i quickly got downvoted by raters ”rating 100 books per day” (it was dauntingly hilarious) but straight to the point; feel free to link your book to me and i will gladly read it, 5-star rate it and leave a review, the fact you made such a post tells me your book must be equally good, god bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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