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?