Goodreads has a structural problem

The latest meltdowns at Goodreads are surprising even by the standards of that site. It seems like only yesterday when readers were remarking that 2012 was getting off to a nasty start, kerfuffle-wise. I don’t think anyone could have predicted July.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that these recurring and escalating problems are not going to stop, because Goodreads has a fundamental contradiction built into it. The name itself suggests the site is about reading and sharing the reading experience. But Goodreads also wants to attract authors. While authors and readers have a great deal in common, and while authors are also readers, the two groups have several contradictory interests. Authors want to sell books. Readers want to read good books and avoid bad books.

On a social media site that facilitates and encourages communication about the reading experience, readers are going to rave about the good ones and warn their friends away from the bad ones. The former makes all authors happy, but the latter makes some of them angry, upset, and resentful. Thinner-skinned and less professional authors often decide to argue with readers, and then we’re off and running.

Some of this is bound to happen in any environment. But Goodreads doesn’t do much, in a formal, institutional sense, to reduce potential reader-author tensions. Oh, they tell authors not to comment on reviews. But they’re fine with authors “liking” reviews of their work, which affects review rankings. Other aspects of the site also seem particularly geared to author promotion. For example, authors can have blogs but non-author readers cannot. While at first this doesn’t seem like a big deal (no one needs to have VacuousMinx mirrored at GR), it turns out to have consequences. Authors blog about reviews they don’t like and their fans can then harass the reviewer in the comment thread to the review, without ever leaving the site. This changes a reader-to-reader interaction to an author-to-reader or fan-to-reader one, with different stakes.

Second, it’s difficult to tell author groups from reader groups sometimes. At one end, you have a group like the one Josh Lanyon and Nicole Kimberling moderate, where the conversation is civilized and friendly, topics range well beyond Lanyon’s books, and people behave themselves. At the other you have author fan groups which seem to be designed to stroke the author’s ego and no criticism of any kind is allowed. And in the middle you have groups that are basically author-promotion or author-ego-stroking venues even though they at first appear to be reader-focused. The m/m group is an example of this type: the vast majority of threads are designed to serve the interests of authors or the group itself, and the reader discussions are shaped by these priorities.

Goodreads also does almost nothing to proactively stop authors from having multiple accounts. I don’t spend a lot of time on the site, yet I can think of at least two authors who have reader and author accounts under different names. One of them writes different comments and reviews under the two names (you will be shocked, shocked I tell you, to learn that the reader account gives lots of 1-star reviews and the writer account rarely dips as low as 3 stars). I discovered that the two were the same by accident, but if I can do it without privileged information, surely GR has the ability to do so more systematically? Why is this kind of fraud (and violation of the TOS) permitted?

The author dramas, which revolve primarily around certain genres (YA and to a lesser extent m/m) and involve primarily self-published authors, are making life miserable and perhaps dangerous for any number of readers, and they are adversely affecting the reputations of many blameless self-published authors. I can’t imagine GR is happy about this, but as long as they can’t even manage to have administrators available on the weekends, I don’t see the situation changing.

Finally, Goodreads allows minors to contribute and be active on the site, which I think is terrific in principle. But the administrators seem to have very few policies in place to ensure that these minors operate in a safe space. Who monitors private and secret groups in which minors and unrelated adults interact? (And why do unmonitored secret groups even exist?) Who pays attention to the types of interactions that are occurring? Over the course of this past year, one minor-turned-barely-legal-adult was harassed and pursued via emails, messages, and GR blog posts. The young person in question wound up taking almost every aspect of her GR identity private (although quirks in the GR system allow some so-called “private” information to be publicly accessed). Nothing happened to the middle-aged adult author who drove her to it until he attacked other not-young adults who fought back. I find that unconscionable.

The people who run Goodreads need to make up their minds. Is the site supposed to be about the shared reading experience, or it is just another way for authors to promote themselves regardless of how they do it? Until the people who run the site decide and then act on that decision, readers and authors will continue to be hurt by the minority who abuse the system, and GR’s success and reputation will be overshadowed and harmed by the actions of the few.

44 thoughts on “Goodreads has a structural problem

  1. I have two approaches to GR. First, as a writer, “This is what I write.” That’s it. I have to have two accounts because I write under a variation of my pen name and I can’t merge the two, so I have to juggle. With the writing account, I import blog posts and occasionally I’ll add books that I liked but otherwise I just don’t go near it. It even makes me a little nervous when authors and reviewers I’m chummy with leave positive reviews, but that’s up to them. Occasionally I’ll peek at reviews but overall having my ego stroked or crushed isn’t high on my list of priorities.

    Now, my reader account is a different story. It’s not a sock puppet account, but just my way of keeping my writer persona separate from the rest of my life. I have about 10 friends, and say explicitly that I won’t accept friend requests from authors if it looks like they’re trying to sell me something. I’m in and out of this account all the time, to see what friends are reading and how they like them, to update my own shelves, and to leave reviews. I don’t add books that friends have written. It’s rare that I really dislike a book enough to leave more than a starred rating, but when I do I leave a negative review I do so under what would consider the anonymity of my “other” account, but to me I’m just a reader telling other readers I didn’t like the book. Usually I’m not reading within my own genre, so it’s not a huge deal. And I never ever rate or review my own stuff, don’t even add it to my shelves under “to-read” or anything like that.

    To me, GR is a reader tool and authors in general should back off, but you’re correct — GR does need to start putting those readers first. There are more readers than writers and they’re the ones spending money. In a perfect world, authors would self-censor themselves before making an asshat move. Never going to happen, though, so author accounts should be limited in what they cannot do. Personally, I don’t think an author should be allowed to rate or review anything under an account that has titles on GR. They can run a fan group and participate in discussions, whether to encourage discussion or to make themselves feel adored, but as far as the reader experience goes, an author should be kept separate. There are other social media sites an author can use to be chummy with readers, and the author dashboard offers multiple tools for an author to use as promo on the GR site.

    As for the sock puppets, I can’t think of any way to reduce abuse other than vigilance. Rate the book, but no personal attacks against reviewers. Other social forums immediately suspend a member account if under investigation and if found to be abusing other members, terminate the account. While this definitely won’t be popular, how hard it is not to get into a pissing contest over a book and *not* get suspended?

    • AnneMarie, thanks for your thoughtful and thought-provoking comments. I see your dilemma, and from our interactions on twitter, etc., I know you act honorably.

      But from a reader’s perspective, I still have a problem with authors keeping separate reader and author accounts and not being transparent about it. I believe YOU do your best to treat readers respectfully. But not all authors do. I think that on a site that claims to be about the reading experience (not the writing or the marketing experience), authors should choose between being a reader and being an author (with all the professional responsibilities that the latter entails). I agree that it should be possible to have some kind of author presence, but not the way it works right now.

      • On the flip side, I think there’s pressure on authors to be as active on social networks as they possibly can. You see blog posts for newbies telling them to get in GR and PROMOTE! PROMOTE! PROMOTE! (something touched on in Gail’s reply below). Even if GR didn’t bill itself as a great promo tool for authors, they’d still meander over there because that’s what you’re *supposed* to do – and sadly, this is where an author would get his/her first taste of a negative review.

  2. I agree that they have structural problems, and their groups are one of them. This is why I prefer Librarything. On the other hand, it’s quite easy for readers to go over to Goodreads every day, enter their books, see what their friends and favorite reviewers are reading, and never encounter any of the drama. I tend to only hear about these things on blogs like this one, and I’d guess that the vast majority of Goodreads users are completely (and happily) unaware of it. So for them, things are working just fine. I’m not saying there aren’t problems — there obviously are. But I also think a lot of them are focused in a fairly narrow portion of the community.

    But then, I think they’re making a mistake by trying to get the authors on board and giving them the idea that Goodreads is a good place to promote themselves and their books. I think it gives them false expectations, because readers tend to be pretty resistant to people who are obviously trying to sell them something. Also, it can be very uncomfortable for everyone involved when writers insert themselves into reader spaces and reader conversations, whether it be on a social site like Goodreads or a book blog. Readers need to be able to talk to each other about their reading experiences and thoughts without having to worry that writers are going to come crashing the party.

    • You’re quite right that most of GR’s millions of members are unaware of these issues, and to the extent I get caught up in these meltdowns I can only blame myself. In this particular case, though, I was really bothered by the way minors were involved. It’s one thing for adults to go at each other. But teenagers (whether over or under 18) are a different matter. (I’m not arguing with your point so much as thinking out loud here.)

      Your point about the false expectations is also well taken; authors are invited to GR, so it’s unfair to expect them not to use it in a professional capacity. And most authors are a pleasure to engage with.

  3. Amen! Which is why I deleted my account and got the hell out of Dodge even before the witch hunts began in ernest.

    I keep saying something bad will eventually happen and someone is going to be held financially responsible.

    • I kept remembering your author kerfuffles from last year when I was writing this.

      I am also afraid something bad will eventually happen. If it hasn’t already. The jackass who hounded the young person is now threatening to reveal private information to the online world. She is worried, and there’s not much she can do, for a variety of reasons (not least of which is the help he’s getting from other online parties with axes to grind).

      • It’s just when you STOP AND REALLY THINK ABOUT IT…

        I am contributing time and effort to a public forum that allows authors to randomly attack me and my valid opinion of a book without reason or equitable recourse.

        When Goodreads allows you to click a button and simply ignore every self promoting asshole author on a rampage and maybe even publish the list so others can shame and deny the attacking authors and maybe even hire some decent people to monitor and stop the ever present fanboi readers and sock puppet attacks in the forums and comment sections then I might return.

        But why? Why waste a single moment on, as you pointed out… a highly unfocused website of half assed crap that says it is about honest reader reviews but is really more about author worship and constant author self promotion and unprofessional author divas with super sensitive fee fees crying into the night. I so do not want or need the drama.

        • Yes. Readers are assumed to want a relationship with authors, even though the site is called GoodREADS. I, for example, do not. But I can’t keep authors from liking my reviews, or commenting on them, or siccing fans on me if I write a bad one. And GR isn’t interested in helping me do so.

  4. Thank God you’re back! I missed your sanity in all this drama.

    I agree that a lot of the problems seem to be caused by Goodreads trying to be all things to all people, both a social media site for readers and a promo site for authors, with those functions not really separate. And recent events really raise concerns about protection of minors there. I don’t belong to any groups and I only become aware of drama via a couple of my friends there or when people start tweeting about it. Sometimes I wonder whether there would be less drama if the comments we “non-professionals” make about books in various places were not labelled “reviews.” But no doubt the terms of the debate would just change.

    Over the last few weeks I have tried to keep in mind that the only online behaviour I can regulate is my own. I don’t choose to use Goodreads the way some of my friends there do (I don’t have an avoid shelf, for instance) but so what? They’re entitled to use it as they see fit and TOS allow. I check out what my friends are reading–or not–and make up my own mind. I wish more of the people in an uproar over “GR bullies” understood that our friends’ opinions are not, in fact, all powerful.

    • I missed you all too! Ironically, there was a post yesterday in the New York Times’ public editor’s blog, where another editor was arguing that critics don’t have to be either “professionals” (whatever that means) or practitioners at the highest level of what they critique. You’d think if it is good enough for the NYT it would be good enough for self-pubbed authors of genre fiction.

      Like you, I’ve become a bit better at reminding myself that someone on the internet is always wrong and I don’t have to argue with each and every one of them. But the exploitation of teenagers sent me around the bend and mobilized my highest level of google-fu. It was very satisfying.

  5. I don’t know how much of GR’s income is from advertising, but that may be a significant reason why they want to keep it partly an author-promo site.

    • I’m sure that’s part of it, Ros. They need advertising, which is dependent on authors and publishers, and the more members they have the more they can charge.

  6. You are back. YAY. Honestly, as much as I want to avoid knowing about online dramas (but of course will read and read about it once I did learn about it), the latest ones made me angry as very few did. That infamous “not to be named” site and then the dolt who did not seem to have any remorse about doing what he did to teenage girl. UGH. Anyway, welcome back.

    • I can only hope you have remained ignorant about the horrible m/m faker who was recently exposed. The one who attacked women m/m writers and turned out to be far more of a fraud than anyone he was accusing.

      And thank you! It’s nice to be back.

      • Oy another one??? I mean since the scandal last year? Yes, have not heard about this one at all. YAY.

  7. *waves madly* Yay, another voice of reason! I agree that while the problem here is a few bad apples, the ambiguity of the Goodreads structure has both invited it and made it hard to nip in the bud.

    The thing is, I can see how authors could use Goodreads for some promo while still allowing it to be primarily a reader-centered site. Give-aways, for instance, are quite popular, and can be a way for lesser known authors to get their books into readers’ hands for some word of mouth. But authors should not be able to browbeat readers, personally or vicariously through their fans, whose response to the book isn’t all the author might have hoped. You’d think it would be common sense, but obviously it isn’t.

    I think the folks who run Goodreads need to take a good hard look at the proper role of authors in a social networking site focused on reading. As paid advertisers? Sure. To have a page showing how to contact them via Twitter or their blog. which also lists their books and upcoming books/projects? Fine. But keep them out of the conversations, and let us flag them for abuse if they start gaming the system or egging their fans on to do so.

    • Welcome back to you too! I look forward to seeing your vacation pics. ;)

      Yes, definitely. I think authors absolutely deserve to use Goodreads in a professional capacity, and giveaways are a great example. There are so many authors who use the site well, and from whom I seek information and enjoy talking to. I have authors in my friend list that I’d hate to lose.

      But when it stops being my choice, and when I feel that authors are being privileged over readers, that gets my hackles up.

      • Yes, exactly. Like the hiding reviews thing today — shouldn’t I be able to read everything that everyone has to say about a book, and make up my own mind what’s relevant? It definitely smacks of catering to the authors more than the readers, and (as when FB caters to advertisers over users), I hate it. Too much, and I won’t go back.

  8. Wow. I’m chilled by this. I was unaware of some of these kurfuffles, because I don’t frequent Goodreads and only review books in the canon or in knitting (though, to be honest, since I started publishing I haven’t reviewed because I don’t consider myself a “Reader” anymore). But I had no idea, for example, about the issue with minors and of private groups that are unmonitored, which is deeply disturbing since my books have adult content and I assumed (wrongly, I see now) that would not be something I’d have to worry about in this context.

    You’ve given me much to think about, as usual. I appreciate your posts and the effort you put into your essays; I always find something of value when I read your blog. Thank you.

    • Thanks! I don’t think you need to worry too much, because most of the problems occur when authors are intrusive, and many of the private groups are carefully moderated. My complaint is that without better policies in place, GR is relying on the good behavior of its members, and that’s not enough when it comes to minors in a 9-million-member space.

  9. I totally agree with everything you said. I use GR primarily as a way to track books I have read, want to read, etc. I also (try to remember to) post my blog reviews there after they go live on my blog. So I use GR fairly often, but don’t get too engrossed in the chats and ratings stuff. But I think the biggest issue that sort of sums it all up is that no one is really monitoring or controlling the bad behavior.

    You have pointed out a lot of the problems that I totally agree with. I also go a bit crazy when I see 1 star reviews for books that haven’t come out yet (or 5 star reviews for that matter). I know sometimes as reviewers we get books prepublication, but I think it would be worth having reviewers wait until books go live if it would save us from these folks who for whatever reason give bad (or great) reviews to a book that they clearly haven’t read.

    This is the sort of thing, along with the issues you pointed out, that GR could do something about if they really wanted to, but for whatever reason they aren’t making an effort to clean things up.

  10. I have an author account on GR, but I’m there primarily as a reader. I try to keep a low profile: I don’t do a lot of promo, and I don’t review books in my genre, for the most part. I like GR because it allows me to keep track of what I’m reading (which is lovely–it’s been a couple of years now since I bought a second copy of a book because I didn’t keep track of what was in the TBR pile), which book is next in a series, etc. I don’t read reviews of my books, and there’s no way I would ever “like” or comment on one of them. I try to behave the way I want authors to behave toward me.

    If I were forced by GR to choose a role, it would definitely be reader. I’m not there for social networking, or to try to generate sales.

  11. My personal experience on GoodReads has been only positive. I use it to track my books (I’m much less likely to buy multiple copies now – note I didn’t say it never happens :D) and to get recommendations from what my friends have enjoyed. It’s also my go to place for most book covers when I’m doing a blog post. I’m in a couple of groups but don’t spend much time there at all. No time!

    I saw the kerfuffle over the weekend. I kept away from the discussion because that dude was teh crazy and I did not want to engage him. It seems like SonomaLass has some good suggestions and I think at the very least getting administrators to work weekends would be a good start.

    Welcome back – you have been missed! Hope you had a great holiday. :)

    (and Welcome back to SonomaLass too!)

  12. Welcome back and thanks for this great post. Apart from the sheer scary craziness of the CB guy I was most disturbed that GoodReads didn’t have moderators or admin working on the weekends which is when the site is likely to be heavily trafficked – especially because there are minors involved. I am now further disturbed by the hiding of reviews which circles us back to the issues you raise about the structure of GoodReads and the question of who it is for?

    In thinking about the fallout from the STGRB and my recent interesting engagement with an author on the San Francisco Book Review blog it seems to me that there have been lots of feelings festering underneath the relationship and discourse between reviewers and authors that seemingly have permission now to emerge. I have been as surprised as anyone to find out that there is a power struggle in this for who controls the discourse. this is about power who has it and who feels they don’t. The push to ‘be nice’ is a desire to define limits for the emerging power of reviewers it seems to me. There are many arguments to be had as to the true nature and extant of this power – we need research in this space and I recommend reading Foz Meadow’s latest HuffPo piece which reminds us that it is early days still in this internet enabled world and we are stormin’ and normin’ like crazy.

    Also thanks for putting me on to Charlotte Lamb – I have found 14 titles in an op shop this week :)

    • I think this idea of “power” is right on. I’m a big fan of Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way and other books in that line and have facilitated workshops and stuff, (it’s centered around creative unblocking if you’re not already familiar). She talks quite a bit about the “fame drug” and how we as creatives can become attached to our works’ reception, and confuse that with what our focus should be, which is doing our creative work. To me, the kerfuffles around reviews are, for the writers involved anyway, distraction from the work. That’s why, in my personal language, they’re called “drama” – because their point, ultimately, is to be dramatic and emotional rather than thoughtful and rational.

      I think that it’s a natural thing to want to express our emotions, and it’s very easy on the internet to get tied into others’ emotional ups-and-downs. When I see authors behaving badly by directly attacking reviewers, I think that’s what’s happening. Conversely, when I see readers attacking authors, I think that’s also what’s happening. Short of handing everyone a journal and saying let’s do some kind of collective kumbaya session together, I don’t think that’s going to go away. THAT is a major reason why I don’t interact with GR as a reader much anymore, because I have zero interest in getting pulled into that drama. Like Annmarie stated above, the phrase was “I don’t need my ego stroked or crushed” and I thought that was aptly put.

      The internet provides an anonymous forum and it’s like people when we drive. When we’re on the road, and in heavy traffic, we might honk and shout and flip people off – behavior we’d never exhibit in person, in the office, or with our family or friends. The internet is the same way – it’s like a giant place where folks can have road rage or act trashy without seeming consequence.

      Which brings me to GR. I think what will hurt them, in the long run, is the misunderstanding that what they’ve created is, in effect, a forum. Good forums need moderators or they get inundated by trolls and others who want to have road rage and not actually discuss the topics at hand like reasonable people. As you mention int he post, that’s the most unsettling part here because GR’s community is, most likely, too large now to reign in and put moderators in place. It’s a shame, really, because I understand the urge to want to allow readers and authors to connect. I still remember the first time I received a letter from an author, and it was Leon Uris. Mr. Uris typed it and hand-signed it. I still have it and it’s from when I was in college (which was only two years ago – wink). GR could, in a perfect world, allow that sort of interaction – but the internet is not a perfect world.

    • Merrian, I can’t believe how rudely Duffy responded to you at that blog. She was either determined to take everything you said and twist it, or she is fundamentally stupid. Or both.

      The struggle over who controls the discourse has been going on for a while. These few self- and small-pubbed authors who are causing all the trouble are just using more unpleasant methods.

      Yay Charlotte Lamb! Do report back.

  13. Such great comments, thanks! I didn’t want the discussion about the latest hiding-the-review policy to get buried, so I wrote a separate post.

  14. Hey VacuousMinx I found your blog by RT it from someone who had tweeted it and decided to take a look at it. I can appreciate your point-of-view very well yes readers and writers do have different objectives and things get complicated bc there are so many readers who are authors and vice versa. I for one have actually stopped interacting on sites such as goodreads, mobile, etc.

    I made an innocent mistake and it seems like I’ve been suffering the backlash from it every since. Now, I only do twitter and have begun to use FB. I figure if anyone wants to truly let me be my expressive self then they will engage me on those two sites. Yes as an author I want to sell books, but more importantly I want the freedom to read, listen and take in the opinions of my readers and be able to ask questions back that will give me insight into writing a better book. However the problem with that is, often times when I thought I was only asking to get more clarity, it was interpreted as being argumentative or taking criticism with a bad attitude. So I’ve learned to let my readers voice their opinion and keep my mouth shut. However I would like for people to consider that even in a classroom with a teacher the students are allowed to ask questions, beg the differ and even offer alternative points-of-views. Isn’t that where true education begins?

    • Hi, LeeLee, thanks for commenting. I’ve been dealing with students for quite a while, so I find your analogy very helpful. Here’s how I would think of it: when a student decides to take my course (or is forced to by requirements), she knows she is walking into an environment that I control. Yes, she can ask questions, but the range of those questions is circumscribed by me.

      But suppose a group of students in my class gets together to go over course notes and study for a test. They want to talk to each other about the material, either instead of listening to me or in addition to it. If I showed up and told them that they were studying wrong, or that they should listen to me, that would be out of line. I’ve already done my best to teach the material. But if they’re not getting it, maybe talking among themselves, without my participation, will be more helpful than listening to me again.

      You are always welcome to set up contexts (like a blog, or a discussion board) where readers can come to you. But if they haven’t come to you, they may not want to talk to you. They may only want to talk to each other after reading the book. That’s their choice and I think authors need to respect that.

    • I think you raise an interesting point about education and questions. The difference, here, is that books aren’t education, they’re a product. The reader buys the book and only the book; the book doesn’t come with the author. As such, it has to stand on its own and on its own merits. If an author has to justify, explain, clarify, or respond to comments about it, those are things that must take place during the editing process and NOT after it’s a product. After that, the book needs to stand on its own. That’s the reasoning behind advising authors not to interact with readers who review their books.

      It is difficult for authors to allow that to happen. I see it frequently in critique groups (I am cofounder of the Evanston Writers Workshop, for example) where the author doesn’t want to be silent as the critiques occur. It happens in classes I’ve taken as well – and, as a recipient, I’m compassionate to that urge to justify and explain. We, as authors, cannot give in to that urge. It’s unprofessional, on the one hand, but it also means we’re not taking in the information. Readers have the right to read and have any opinion they like – positive or negative. That’s just the way it is – after all, if I bought a book, no one can tell me to like it or not like it, to have one opinion or another on it. I have the right to make up my own mind about it – and as an author, my readers have that same right (or even the right to not buy my book, though I hope that doesn’t happen – grin).

      Where I try to focus is on helping my writing friends survive bad and ineffective critiques. Rather than saying to ourselves, gee, this isn’t helpful, our emotions get involved. That’s one of the reasons I’m always quoting or referring to Julia Cameron’s Artist’s Way, because a lot of time is spent learning tools for how to handle it when we get negative reactions to our creative efforts.

  15. I’m started to get very jaded about the way every site that comes along has to be turned into yet another venue for promotion, even if it was never intended for that. I’m starting to feel as if we authors end up hijacking every site we can find to use as free advertising space. And that we just end up making it unusable for its original purpose and for everyone else, while we sit there and promo our books – all too often mostly at each other…

    Sorry, ranty and incoherent, this is something I’m still thinking about and figuring out where I’m going with it it.

    • Hi Becky! It is very disheartening, I agree. But a lot of authors don’t behave at all like this, in fact the majority do not. We don’t need to demolish the system, just tweak it so that the bad apples don’t get to run the show (oy, sorry about the mixed metaphor).

      I do think that m/m is something of a special case, because so many readers are also aspiring writers, and you really see it on GR in some groups.

      • I also think it’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how to use social media. It’s not just “media,” it’s “social”. Which means, simply put, its function is to socialize – NOT market. Just like if we have a friend who got into a direct selling company and who might only talk to us about their new venture, authors on the internet who only talk about “buy my book” “I have a book” “did you see my new book” aren’t very fun to talk to. It turns readers off. Hell, it turns me off AS a reader AND as an author. I’m much more likely to follow and talk to people who, well, talk. (Like VM, say.) ~grin~

        • Exactly yes. I use Twitter a lot but barely do any direct promo tweets. Most of my followers are other writers, or are friends who aren’t necessarily readers of my books, so promo is mostly wasted on them. Twitter is for networking and fun for me, not advertising, because my target audience is mostly never going to see that!

      • I think m/m also suffers with the hangover from fandom, since lots of us came to m/m via that route. I recognise plenty of the behaviour from that culture and some people haven’t moved on from what was, if not acceptable, at least more usual there. Of course it didn’t have the same consequences. I’d say it’s an evolving situation. Hopefully things will change over time.

        • You know, Becky, you raise a good point. I hadn’t thought of that.

          On balance, I’m thankful that MORE of that fandom culture (trolls and stuff) hasn’t followed into m/m. As a new m/m author, I’ve been very grateful for the support and following we’ve received so far. I hope that means that things are changing.

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