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Saturday, December 5, 2015

When GoodReads Hates The Book You Never Wrote

Everyone remember JANE'S SHADOW? For a hot minute that was the working title of CONVERGENCE POINT. The preview went up on GoodReads the same time that THE DAY BEFORE was published and was never removed. I've been told it can't be removed, although I've sent a note to GoodReads to see the Ghost of Titles Past can be exorcised.

In the meantime, it's fun to note that someone is either furious that JANE'S SHADOW is not a real title, or they enjoy maliciously leaving reviews on GoodReads. Either way, a user named L went so far as to review a book that doesn't exist and leave one star for my nonexistent novel.

*sad trombone noises*

One-star reviews on GoodReads are usually notable for their hilarity ("The book is short!" on a free book labeled microfiction). This one is no exception.

I'm dying of curiosity here.

Did L read the rough draft and hate the book?

Is L angry that the book wasn't published under this title?

Does L hate the title?

It's laughable to suggest that L hates me, except that L has been storming around GoodReads leaving 1-star reviews for other authors. So maybe L just hates books?

Is L mad at me for sharing an initial?

The world may never know.

Soon the listing for The Book That Never Was will vanish along with L and the Curious Incident of the L Reviews. If it doesn't, who knows, maybe I'll try to write a story to L's demanding standards. Something that with mixed up tenses, head hopping, and name changing characters. Something worthy of the 1-star review.

I don't know, it kind of sounds like a fun project for a rainy day. To write the worst book in the English language, to garner nothing but 1-star reviews, to aim to be horribly, irretrievably bad!

Although there is Clippy the Word Helper erotica (save yourself! Don't google this!), so the bar for bad is set pretty low.


  1. Sad news; it seems the one-star review may have come from a bot not a person. That takes all the fun out of reviews of non-existent books!

    It also begs the question: WHY???

    Why spend the time writing a program that leaves bad reviews?

  2. And the plot thickens for your story on the 1-star reviews. Curiouser and curiouser.

    1. The same reviewer also managed to review another 1000 books this weekend alone. It is a strange and curious reviewer, this L.

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  4. So I decided to actually write goodreads about this "mass reviewer". I wrote: "A reviewer by the name of "L" has given 17,000+ one star reviews in the past month. Clearly a bot. Is there anyway to block this person-bot from creating false reviews?" ... The response was "We've looked at this user's activity on the admin side, but the profile does not appear to raise any of our standard red flags. ... Given this, we aren't able to remove ratings for being one-star alone, and we also aren't able to remove accounts simply because of their low ratings. As the member hasn't broken any rules and seems to be legitimate, we can't remove any of the ratings." ... I wrote back that my problem wasn't with the level of the review, but the amount. And the response was "In addition, unfortunately we can’t remove reviews on the grounds that someone might not have finished the book. It would be difficult to verify whether this member or anyone else on the site has finished reading anything they claim to have read. ... We really appreciate your feedback, and we are always open to looking into any other content that you feel is abusive of the site" ... So you don't have to read anything and can just post 25 reviews an hour and that is not abusive. Okay, my respect for goodreads has dropped considerably.

    1. So I went looking for what constitutes as abuse by bots, and so long as the bot acts within what a human is capable of, it is fine. Since a human could post 25 one-star reviews in an hour, "L" meets the requirement. Sigh.