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JessLynnBabblin'

  • Writer's pictureJessica Nacovsky

133: My Goodreads Experience

Updated: Jan 22

Howdy! I received a Kindle as a gift forever ago. While I found it too wide to comfortably hold, and there is much about their library & reader app that I find unintuitive, it came with the Goodreads app pre-installed, hence my initial adoption of, what I've often heard called Facebook For Readers.


For my reading purposes, Goodreads had been a boon. I always wanted an accessible list of every book I've ever read and now I have it on a virtual shelf. Better yet, I possess a searchable list of every book I intend to read, on another shelf. I was even able to add a shelf for books I started and put down, and another for books I've read multiple times. The ability to set reading goals is cool. I like being able to see what my friends are reading.


The rating and review tools function well, though I've heard many reports of the system being abused without the abusers facing any consequences. It's fairly obvious that if an account is giving hundred of books one star reviews, and every one of those negatively-perceived books features LGBT content, that the "reviewer" is acting with malice, as opposed to reading and sharing their genuine impression of the work. An argument for the allowance of review-bombing is that the "reviewer" would've had that same impression had they genuinely read the book, likewise had they begun it and put it down upon reaching said content. So, I can see why Goodreads doesn't remove review-bombers from their app. Every reader has their bias, and arguably has the right to share their opinion, however extreme (barring flagrant hate speech).


That being said, there is a history of review-bombers leaving negative reviews for books that haven't been released to the public yet. In those cases, it is a failure of Goodreads not to remove such obviously malicious reviews.


One feature of Goodreads that I've utilized a great deal, are their lists. These a searchable, votable compilations of related books. These can have hyper-specific headings which is great, as the officially recognized genre list, going by Goodreads' award system, is woefully lacking. Both creating and voting on the content of lists appears intuitive on desktop. Unfortunately the Listopia zone is not accessible on mobile.


Recently, I've taken to jotting down notable quotes from books I'm reading. This is very easy on the desktop site, whereas it's nearly impossible to write, let alone read, Goodreads quotes on mobile.


A major critique of Goodreads is that users frequently report glitches that go unfixed, and request quality-of-life updates that go unimplemented. Amazon created this app early after releasing the Kindle and have barely tweaked it since. Which is a shame, since until recently, there wasn't really an alternative app for keeping track of one's reading. Now, StoryGraph is out and, unlike Goodreads, their management is actively working to improve their app based off of user feedback.


As a writer, my experience with Goodreads has been somewhat more frustrating that that as a reader. My debut novel, Stem & Stone, was released on September 19, 2023. The day of, I reached out to my publisher, Tea With Coffee Media, regarding adding my book to the Goodreads database. I'd searched for it in the weeks prior, via title, and was unable to pull the book up. I figured, once the book populated to Amazon, it would appear on the app. I didn't realize the author is supposed to make their own official author profile, and add their own book, but once I was informed that was the process, I applied for an author account. My application was rejected on September 20, 2023. The email, notifying me of the rejection, was a form response listing probable causes, but not specifying which one negated the attempt. I re-applied, crossed my fingers, and was accepted ten days later. Why the delay? I don't know. What possible change in my form got me accepted? No clue.


Now, Light Step will be released on January 16, 2024. This blog post will populate on January 15, 2024, but I'm actually writing this on January 8, 2024, for reference. This past Friday, I searched Goodreads for the ISBN of the paperback and ebook editions of Light Step, assuming neither would exist, but wanting to cover my bases before uploading that data manually from my now-official author profile. While the ebook was absent, I found the paperback not only listed, but already featuring a single review. Great! Except, upon further observation, the author listed, while being my name, actually links to a different, unclaimed, author profile. No big deal right? Well. The webpage has a handy tool for claiming the work, as an author, except that tool is useless if you're trying to claim an unclaimed author profile from an official author profile. Cool, cool, cool.


In addition to my novel being linked to an unclaimed author profile I can't claim, there is a second unrelated DIY book linked to that profile. While uploading data for an unlisted book is a simple process on Goodreads, for authors with a profile, there is no obvious means for correcting a wrongfully attributed author. Stumped, I messaged support. I supplied all of the relevant details for the ebook and paperback versions of Light Step, as well as the actual issue at hand. I asked them to tell me how to fix this, or to resolve the issue on their end. Sunday, yesterday, so two days later, I received a form response about how to add a book to Goodreads as an author. Frustrated, I filled out the form for the ebook edition of Light Step, so readers can at least add that to their To-Be-Read list, but I remain unable to migrate the existing page for the paperback edition, to my author profile.


Since Goodreads is essentially manned by unpaid volunteers, dubbed Librarians, and they can actually remedy this issue, I looked into how one becomes a Librarian. Not that I wanted that sort of responsibility, but I figured with their capabilities, I could also avoid this happening in the future. Unfortunately, authors are barred from the Librarian position. Hitting a wall, I submitted another help request, being careful to include all of the relevant details, including the name of the Goodreads Expert who failed to resolve it before, and the number of that case.


I don't now how to make Goodreads better other than their hiring more actual customer support and expanding the app to include all of the features found in the desktop version of the site. I am currently in the process of importing my Goodreads content to StoryGraph. The fact that they are actively improving their website is the motivating factor. I suppose I'll maintain an account on both.


Anywho, that's my Goodreads take. Light Step drops tomorrow! Of all of the books I've written, Light Step is absolutely my favorite. Here's the blurb: Hugo Atmen is an ordinary guy, thirty-five years old, a mortgage loan officer who just got out of a serious relationship, when he puts down the book that changes his life. Haunted by flashes of a dancer, a character therein, he believes the woman imaginary, and works to forget her. His attempts fail but with medical help, he’s able to feign normalcy. Then, in full flesh and blood, she crosses his path. Suddenly his obsession is justified. What he took as delusion, was a foretelling. So knowing, he pursues his dream woman, trusting in fate to see them together.  Thanks for stopping by! I drop a new blog post every Monday! Toodles!


Update: As of 01/14/2024, so two days before Light Step is set to drop, Light Step is accurately represented on Goodreads as being my work. There was no email update notifying me of the change and perhaps was already in progress, as a result of my having filled out that initial form? I still wish Goodreads had better communication with users but the turn-around time wasn't too bad for resolving this issue.


Newsletter:

Light Step drops tomorrow so I've been busying promoting it on my various social media accounts and on here. Now that I know TikTok lets me save a bunch of drafts, I have many meme videos ready to go, so I can post one per day. Ideally, the paperback edition of Light Step will be correctly attributed on Goodreads by then. I'm also casually working on a contemporary zombie apocalypse story featuring a European royal family, loosely based off of the Windsors. Mostly, I'm in the outlining and researching phase. I'm still reading Princess Diana's updated (post-demise) pseudo-autobiography, Diana: Her True Story--in Her Own Words and plan to read Spare, by Prince Harry, next. Then I plan to read Soulmates: A Metaphysical Love Story, by Sarah Faeth Sanders, who was, coincidentally, the editor for Stem & Stone and Light Step.



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