56-40 21- 12 Challenges with Goodreads

Goodreads is this great online community about books and reading. If you are interested in finding something new to read, find information about an author, or want to share thoughts and ideas with people of a like mind, they are on Goodreads.com.

As great as those things are, it is still a marketing tool for Amazon to generate revenue. The books at the top, that you see frequently, the large images that cover a huge percentage of the page, interviews, listings, are all paid ads. It is no longer the community of like-minded people.

“Meh, what’s new Peters? We saw that coming when Amazon purchased the rights.” One might say.

Here is the thing, with all that corporate investment, you would think that the machine would work better.

To promote my books, marketing, I can follow a path for a Giveaway. Perfect: I write and want readers. Readers want to read new writing. I send out the paperback to the winners.

New process on the way – I pay over $100 to Amazon (called goodreads.com here) and they will do that same drawing for an eBook. I am supposed to be thankful for this, as it will mean I don’t have to deal with the paperback, and the mailing, and the process.

This changes the deal, in your dear writers humble opinion, as this moves from an opportunity to connect with the reader (I always include a note with the signed copy) to a profit play. In the original drawing, Amazon didn’t see a dollar, but both clients, the reader and writer, were able to get value from participating in the community. The new model, Amazon takes more money from the writer, to reach readers. I say more money as the services of publishing, promotion, listings, and formatting, are already chargeable to the author (or through the publisher which cuts into the authors profits).

I get it. It’s a business. I am pro-business. I am pro-Amazon.com. Still, I was hoping that if you were going to take a cut at every step in the process, the big publishing machine would work better.

You see, there are these things call ratings and reviews. People tend to point to this as the result of those dollars spent as an indicator of more organic growth in readership. So it is an important metric to have for writers wanting to grown the base.

If you go to my Author Dashboard, or any of the books I’ve listed there, you will see that several of my works are misrepresented. The stats are off. There are double the number of ratings and reviews listed in the summary than there actually are.

Yes, I am complaining that there are too many reviews and ratings….

People write the worst things about my work. They write the nicest, kindest things there too. What you should expect is an honest representation of what you thought. What Amazon and Goodreads should do, is strive to be accurate in accounting for the metrics provided.

One day I hope that Mr. Memory and Other Stories of Wonder will have 40 great reviews, but I want to earn that number. Insensible Loss will have 12 honest reviews, some day, when they are written. The numbers should be accurate.

Yes, I write to the librarian, to the contact team, and I do refresh the stat’s engine. If this were the first time, you would not be reading this blog post. I am writing this because it has become a standard practice of publishing bad information at Goodreads.com, and I have other things to write, more uplifting things to publish.

You have my money. You have my loyalty. Could you please just start doing what you agreed to do? Represent my work in the community honestly?

Paul PetersComment