In her book Your Book, Your Brand, book publicist Dana Kaye pretty much calls Goodreads a mine field. It is a good site to meet other authors and readers, and publicize your book. It is also a good place to be flamed by trolls. The trick is how we writers treat it.
Ms. Kaye recommends that if you, the writer, leave a review for another writer’s book, simply leave five stars. If you can’t leave five stars, don’t leave anything at all. Do not leave any sort of commentary. If you leave five star commentary, you will appear to be pandering. If you leave anything remotely resembling constructive criticism (four star or three star commentary), you are asking to have your skull bashed in. Most writers can take constructive criticism. Others cannot. No need to risk leaving an invitation to that one who cannot. Ms. Kaye chronicles several writers who left honest reviews as readers for books, only for their own book to be on the receiving end of horrible retaliation by the other writer.
There is no sense in that, but that is the world in which we live.
That is good advice for any internet site, really. Two people can sit in a coffee shop, have a conversation, disagree, and still be civil and friendly. Not so on the internet. Those same two people will act like the worst of belligerents, spewing threats, and launching blistering broadsides. If you have never been flamed by a troll in a forum, lost a friend to a religious disagreement via email, or had another friend engage in verbal abuse in a chat over the 2016 election, just wait. You will. There is no point in inviting that by posting any comment that is less than stellar. If we are to be honest with ourselves, it means adopting our mothers’ old phrase, “if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.”
At the end of her review of the site, Ms. Kaye says Goodreads may be worth the effort. It may not. It is up to you. She says nothing about AuthorsDen.
Just by looking at them, it appears that Goodreads is geared to the reader, while AuthorsDen is geared to the writer. Reviews on Goodreads are by readers, while those on AuthorsDen are by other writers. Goodreads is Facebook while AuthorsDen is LinkedIn.
At the moment, I am a member of AuthorsDen, but not Goodreads. AuthorsDen has levels of membership, and each level has a subscription rate. Basic is $ 2.65 per month, and it rises up through Platinum for $ 33.32 per month. As a Free member, my name isn’t listed as a member author. Bummer! To be listed, I need to be a Basic member. To be featured (not just listed), I best shell out $ 10 per month for the Gold package. Ouch! But advertising isn’t always free, is it. As Mom said, “You have to spend money to make money.”
I may join Goodreads. It’s free. It’s also a level of book promotion I won’t have if I don’t join.
If I do join, I will follow Ms. Kaye’s advice to the letter. The same goes for AuthorsDen. I’m already anticipating some level of attack from certain segments of society. No point in adding to that by antagonizing a potential colleague through honesty, when it doesn’t benefit me in the slightest.