This week I had a great example of how one’s perspective can influence one’s frame of mind. It was after work. I was waiting for the ride home with a colleague. A parent turned up to collect their child. The parent was driving a brand new BMW 4×4. I remarked to my colleague on the good fortune of the parent to have such a wonderful vehicle. (That’s the polite version.) I said that one day I’d like to come to work in a big German motor. He told me I already did. And I had a chauffeur. I gave him a funny look. He reminded me that the school bus is a Mercedes and that we have a driver. He was looking on the bright side. And then so was I. I felt better already.
The next day I was in class and I accidentally broke a child’s purple colouring pencil. When she’d stopped crying I tried to lift her mood by encouraging her to look on the bright side: now she didn’t have one purple pencil, she had two! OK. So you can’t encourage everyone to see the best in things. That’s her problem. After what she called me, I had a good mind to see how she liked having four purple colouring pencils.
I’m a Goodreads author. I have a profile and everything. Goodreads readers tend to be less generous than Amazon readers with their starred ratings. That’s fine. Same for everyone. I think it’s become something of an expectation over there. For instance, I’ve had a reader leave a four star comment on Amazon and then a three star comment for the same book on Goodreads. No problem. The way that it is.
A couple of days ago I noticed that two 2* ratings had appeared for He Made Me B&C#2. I was a bit gutted as, with those included, I only had eight ratings anyway. It dragged the average down considerably. And of course I was a bit sad that two readers didn’t like what could be my best book to date.
With Goodreads it can take anything up to seventy-two hours for the reader details that go with a rating to appear on the book’s page. (I know because they told me.) The reader details for these two 2* comments didn’t materialise on the book’s page in three days. I messaged Goodreads to ask about this. (I had my hate mail already drafted for when the readers’ identities were revealed.) Within ten minutes the two 2* reviews had been removed. I was shocked. There was no accompanying explanation, so I requested one. I got this:
Authors can refresh their own book ratings (right next to where you set primary/default/featured edition). Or if look really wonky, contact staff.
Mostly I’ve been told changes take 10 minutes to 72 hours to populate throughout all areas of goodreads (stats and thumbnail heavy pages seem slowest).
Readers might also just be adding, changing or deleting ratings/reviews faster than reflecting in displayed stats currently being looked at. Or goodreads could be cleaning up the Sockpuppet and spam accounts …
I’m inclined to look for the answer to my Goodreads episode in that last sentence. It makes the most sense. And, frankly, I’m quite disturbed to think that if I hadn’t just asked the question, if I’d just accepted that a couple of readers thought the book was shite then my book’s rating would be unfairly reduced by either spam or sockpuppet accounts. Needless to say my confidence in Goodreads feedback has taken a bit of a knock.
I’ve managed to contribute another sixteen thousand words to R&M#5 since the last blog-post. It now teeters on the cusp of 97000 words and there is still a little way to go. The writing is going well. I’ll have a lot of work to do when I reach the end of the story but I don’t mind that. The satisfaction/relief nay euphoria of getting to the end of a story can often support my fragile mental state for a couple of weeks.
Talking about R&M#5 – I have mentioned before my intention to call it Particular Stupidities. There are a couple of very good reasons for this, which will become evident from the reading of it. I will be most reluctant to change the title. But I’ve got a bit of a problem: with my R&M covers I like to include an effect in the title – replace a letter with an artefact relevant to the story. With the last one, A Dog’s Life, that artefact was obvious to me from quite early on. But with this one…I just can’t see it. I wonder if any of my readers might have a good idea. Not an artefact from the story in this case, but something that resonates with stupidity. Any suggestions will be gratefully received. And if I nothing crops up I suppose I’ll have to leave it to the cover design guy. It’s what I pay him for after all.
Have a great weekend everyone.