The break-up: why I won’t be posting to Goodreads anymore

We’ve all had them, those relationships you try so hard to make work again and again, but finally, you just have to say, “I’m sorry, this isn’t working anymore.” Right now, that’s my relationship with the Goodreads.

As much as I’ve tried to make it work, the relationship just isn’t going anywhere. I wish I could say to Goodreads, “It’s not you, it’s me,” but that would be a lie. It is you, Goodreads.

Officially: Goodreads claims to be a place for readers to connect with other readers and discuss books they love or hate. (Kind of like a less-pretty Tumblr, in many ways.)

Unofficially: Goodreads claims to be a place for authors to connect with readers. Beware, indie authors, this is a falsehood.

On one hand, Goodreads encourages authors to:

  • Create a special author profile,
  • Add current works to the site,
  • Launch book giveaways,
  • Collect followers,
  • Connect your blog to the site,
  • And, promote your work.

This last one is the biggest falsehood of all, because there are very few places were promotional posts are allowed. Also, pay-per-click ads you create are always below the fold, unless your budget is $5000 or more.

Additionally, you cannot:

  • Message anyone (Friends and Followers included) to suggest they might like one of your own books,
  • Message anyone who signed up for a book giveaway for ANY reason.

I’ve seen authors get banned from discussions for complaining about GoodReads’s author-related policies. And, if someone flags one of your discussion posts as promotional material in a prohibited location, expect to see the email equivalent of a smack down from “Goodreads Support” in your inbox.

I received my first smack down email last week, which was my breaking point. I hadn’t read anything on the site in months, because honestly, I got tired of one uninspiring discussion after another. But, I had a newsletter launch and a new short story out, so I thought, what the heck, I’ll make a couple posts mentioning those things on some groups I belong to.

Yes, I verified beforehand that promotional posts were allowed on those discussions on which I posted. And yet, a couple days later, I got the smack down email, only they didn’t say WHICH post was flagged, so I emailed them and asked so that I know where not to post next time. I was met with radio silence. I followed up a couple days later. Still nothing.

So, this is the good-bye, so long, not really nice to know you, Goodreads. I will keep my author page, but I won’t be posting to discussions, rating books, or making updates of any kind. After this post, I am disconnecting “Writing in a dark room” from the site. If you follow me on Goodreads, and you want to continue to get new posts from my blog, sign-up for the RSS feed or my newsletter.

A.M.