There was another very strange thing I saw on the internet last week, but this deserves a post of its own, as I think it will interest one of my friends and indeed every author out there who actively agonizes over the reviews and ratings of their work on Goodreads.com.
I took this screenshot of a page at Goodreads showing a sampling of the ratings given to three of my works:
What I'd like you to note is the rating for Forget-Me-Knot, the listing indicated by the pink arrow. I scheduled this story to release last October as a freebie novella to promote my new series. To tell you the truth, I was unhappy with how it turned out. Evidently this reviewer was, too, when she read it on March 24th, 2014.
Now I know that authors aren't supposed to make a fuss over this kind of thing, but stay with me on this. I don't have a problem with what the reviewer thought of the story. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Nor do I care that I got a three-star rating for it. I don't count or care about stars. The only problem I have with this three-star rating, in fact, is that I didn't release Forget-Me-Knot in October as planned.
What I actually did with it was delete it after writing the first draft. I know, that's pretty radical, but I want my free stories to be as good as my published works. Sometimes things don't work out, and often I've found it's better to trash a bad draft and start over versus patching and fixing. I did want to think about it a bit, too, and because I've been so busy with the launch of the back-to-back series print editions I haven't yet got back to the project.
Still don't get it?
To date I have not released the story because there is no story yet. There is no Forget-Me-Knot.
So how can someone give a story that doesn't exist three stars? I have no idea. Perhaps this lady did find a way to read the first draft before I trashed it. She could have surreptitiously dug through my garbage cans, for example, to retrieve the original manuscript. Oh, wait, I didn't actually print out that story, so it existed only as a file on my laptop. That laptop is never hooked up to the internet, so she couldn't have hacked into it, either.
Hmmmm, that makes the three-star rating a bit tougher to explain. Before I deleted the only copy of the file, she might have broken into the house to read the story on my laptop in the middle of the night while we were sleeping, I suppose. If she could bypass Casa PBW's security system, sneak past the dogs without waking them and then figure out my password, that could be the answer. Seems like an awful lot of effort to read a free story I never published . . .
Hey. Could she be psychic and have read the story by directly tapping into my thoughts? Is that how she did it?
What? It's possible.
This is getting kind of exciting -- I mean, I may have proof here of a genuine psychic reviewer! How cool would that be? I wonder what she thinks of the next novel I'm planning to write. I should e-mail her and ask. This kind of reviewing could really save me a lot of grief. I may never again waste my time producing a bad story; all I have to do is check Goodreads to see what everyone thinks of it before I actually write it.
How can I agonize over such an amazing discovery? Right, this is supposed to be depressing. Tell you what, I will try to work up the proper amount of devastation to merit a meltdown or something. Check back with me next week, okay?
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On the upside, you have 86 people who have it marked as 'Want to Read'. I can look into deleting the book's listing for you... If you want me to. I've never done that before, but I became a Goodreads Librarian a couple years ago and there's got to be a way. Let me know.ReplyDelete
Thanks, B, that's sweet of you to offer, but if you take down the listing then no one will be able to see this reviewer's rating, and I think that would be mean. I really do want everyone to see it. :)Delete
Is that part of the Goodreads system that allows for reviews before a book is released (or in your case, not). I've never understood that.ReplyDelete
I really can't say, Bill, as I'm not a member of Goodreads. I did contact them a couple of years ago to request they stop stealing my blog content and publishing it on their site, which they agreed to take down, and then never did.Delete
I enjoy GoodReads most of the time, although I've had a few issues with the site myself lately. Still...your very own psychic reviewer. I'm jealous... ;DReplyDelete
Yes, I'm the envy of all the other writers now. :)Delete
If it's not a psychic thing I vote for time travel.ReplyDelete
I didn't think of time travel. Wow. A reviewer from the future! How awesome is that?Delete
Second the time travel possibility...ReplyDelete
We should work up a list of questions to ask her about other books, Robin. Like does Lisa Valdez ever publish that third book, or will Laura London ever write a sequel to The Windflower, or . . . I know, the #1 question has to be does Stephanie Plum ever choose between Ranger and Morelli?Delete
For one giddy moment I thought there was a Disenchanted & Co tale i hadn't read yet. Now I am sad. You are not alone in having psychic reviewers, this is happening to books without even an ARC out frequently.ReplyDelete
Maybe we've stumbled upon a secret society of psychic reviewers! I should call Dan Brown and see if he wants to write a novel about them. No, they'd find out before he started it and hire a psychic attorney to sue him before it comes out. Unless he has a psychic editor who could . . . nevermind. My head hurts now.Delete
I was going to leave a sarcastic little comment...ReplyDelete
It's too perfect.
Just think it and be done! Ha.Delete
I'm like Charlene - I thought a book had slipped through my net. Thank goodness I didn't miss out on something awesome. Oh and I love the time travel idea.ReplyDelete
Well, with the three-star review maybe not that awesome, but you know, I really like the time traveling reviewer idea, too. Such excellent and honest feedback from the future could motivate authors to work harder on their stories when we actually DO write them. Unless that creates a literary temporal paradox and the reviewer vanishes from existence and the universe collapses. Then that would be bad. :)Delete
I think it must have been an alternate you in an alternate universe that decided to release the story. But there was a problem with the timestreams. Yup. That's surely what happened.ReplyDelete
Maybe she was a reviewer from *my* alternate universe. A magical Torian reviewer, that would be pretty interesting. But that would mean I would have written her before she reviewed the story I haven't written yet. If she is I should trademark her before some other author steals her for the stories they haven't written yet. Or maybe I should write my story first and see if she shows up. Wait a sec -- which came first again?Delete
I'm coming into this way late (the day after). I got such a laugh from your reviewer I had to comment. While not as time traveling fun as yours, I got a 3 star review at Goodreads that proves some reviewers are definitely from a different planet.ReplyDelete
My ebook is in Amazon's "quick read" 90 minutes category of 45 to 60 pages (the book is 47 pages). While the reviewer said the book was a good, fun, fast read, she could only give it 3 stars because it was so short. She said she got it at a discount and would never pay full price for it because of it's length. The book is a 99 cent flash fiction short story collection and hasn't been in any of Amazon's free/discounted programs, so it's always been the same price there.
I never respond to reviews anywhere, but this one made me sit back and laugh.
They might have different currency on that other planet, you know -- maybe .99 here is a $1,483, 657.99 over there. In which case your next royalty check is going to be a doozy.Delete
Unless you can't get royalties from books published on another planet. Or reviewed on another planet. Either way, would that be like an import thing? Hmmm. We should check into this. . .