Goodreads is chapping my hide

No. No it’s not.

This is what it says on the Goodreads home page:

Have you ever wanted a better way to:

Get great book recommendations from people you know.
Keep track of what you’ve read and what you’d like to read.
Form a book club, answer book trivia, collect your favorite quotes.

Nowhere on there does it say, “Have you ever wanted to be pitched other people’s books?”

I joined because I thought I would be turned on to other books that people read and liked. I didn’t think I’d be a sounding board for people who’ve written books and want to sell them. Goodreads has turned into a clearing house of people pimping their goods.

Maybe those schilling their wares should learn about inbound marketing. Are these the same people on Twitter who only tweet that I should download their latest ebook now? It sure feels like it.

I’m all for those who want to self-publish and self-promote, I just don’t want them doing it on my time.  I think my biggest problem is that there is no way I can, or am willing to, sort through the tidal wave of self-published materials to find what’s up my alley. I have no way of knowing if the author’s friends and family are reviewing their books — there does seem to be a broad, supportive self-publishing community that give each other good press.

Maybe I’m biased, but I like that the books I read have been through not only the publishing gatekeepers, but also scores of reader reviews. I can’t remember the last time I bought and read a book based on marketing materials.

Yeah, I’m whining, and I’m probably making too much of it, but I can honestly say I haven’t come across a review on Goodreads that piqued  my interest in months and it’s not from lack of getting updates about what people are reading. It has more to do with the fact that the people I’m friends with don’t have the same proclivities as me.

Just wanted to vent a bit.

Comments ( 8 )

  1. ReplyShaun Duke
    I think the issue is more to do with the fact that you're being bothered on a website for socializing about books you're *reading* by people who just want you to buy their stuff. That's annoying in any situation, sure, but even more so when you've joined a place to talk to people. It's one thing to mention "I have a book out," but it's another to send ad copy and what not in formal fashion through a social webcommunity. It's sort of like getting authors adding you on Facebook only to send you links to their stuff, etc etc etc. (I had this happen to me, and I de-friended that person in seconds). There's a point at which telling someone about a project is nice (as I mentioned to you on Twitter; thanks for the donation by the way), but I think it's another thing to send ad copy and what not. I'm also writing this under the assumption that these folks didn't bother looking at your profile or trying to engage with you as a reader. I'm willing to check something out that someone wrote or made if we developed some kind of social relationship first. You know, like being on Twitter and talking to a person you follow about whatever they are talking about at the time. That shows interest in the person as a person. I'll shut up now...
    • ReplyJonathan
      You've captured the essence of it. It is more how people use goodreads rather than the site itself. Maybe I should just replace my post with your comment. There's no shortage of blog posts out there explaining how authors can connect with readers on goodreads, which is fine, but lost somewhere in translation is the conversation aspect of social media (as opposed to the megaphone-hey-look-at-me-buy-my-book-aspect. Can't say I've had too many (a handful, at best) conversations on goodreads. In the grand scheme of things, I realize it's not a big deal, but over the past week I've gotten enough marketing stuff to get me a little riled up. Thanks for stopping by.
  2. ReplyLou
    I'm so tired of getting spammed anywhere and everywhere, and you are totally right about Goodreads. It seems to have become yet another walk down a street with people hawking their goods.
    • ReplyJonathan
      Say, wanna buy my book? :) I've seen the same thing on twitter as well. I can't believe the self-publishing shill wagon is still rolling. I would have thought the wheels would have snapped off under all that weight. There's no interest in engaging in conversation, just me, my book and Irene. And so it goes.
  3. ReplyK.M. Weiland
    I hear ya. Those "personal" messages from authors recommending their books are always the first to end up in my delete folder. My reading choices are usually based on recommendations from friends I trust - which sort of eliminates recommendations from people I've never heard of. There are better ways of getting word out about your book than spamming innocent readers - and irritating the tar out of them.
    • ReplyJonathan
      No doubt. Most of these "friends" of whom don't even write in the genres I read. They'd know that if they took the time to check out my bookshelves. I signed up with GR in hopes that I would have some good discussions about books I love, read thoughtful reviews of books that are already on my radar or be turned on to new books by people who know what I like. I guess I get most of my recommendations from people I see and talk with every day and from thoughtful reviews from places like Strange Horizons, the Guardian and authors I admire. After that, the list grows thin.
  4. ReplySarah Wedgbrow
    Yeah, I signed up to Goodreads to review a book, then quickly exited. I wanted to avoid exactly what you're on about. I, too, trust the Guardian for my literary reads, and very few friends for recommendations. I've learned the hard way by buying into hype.

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