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Got My Mojo Shrinking

Got My Mojo Shrinking

Sunday, April 7, 2013
Posted in: willaful



About two weeks ago, GoodReads announced they had been swallowed bought by Amazon, and I’ve haven’t written anything worth calling a review since. Even an exceptionally good book (Big Boy by Ruthie Knox) just got a short paragraph out of me. I’ve dried up.

My feelings are confused, not particularly logical, and definitely hypocritical. I buy stuff from Amazon, more than I want to, because it’s so freakin’ convenient and their customer service is so good. I don’t usually buy ebooks from them, because I prefer to support the standard epub format, but I’ll give in to a good sale. I’ve even left the occasional review.

But — and it’s a big but — I use a different name there, and I don’t usually review books. And I couldn’t even tell you why, exactly, except that I don’t like their reviewing culture, and I don’t like their untrustworthy reviews, and I just don’t want to be a part of it.

And now I’m a part of it whether I like it or not. Unless I give up all the benefits GoodReads has brought into my life.

I’m just depressed as hell, and who can write reviews when they’re depressed? I can’t even get up the energy to make corrections on GoodReads anymore. So there are typos and spelling errors, who cares… it’s not my home anymore, I don’t need to keep it tidy. (I suspect I’m not the only person feeling this way, since I seem to see more errors than I used to. And though only one of my friends has officially left the site, my updates feed has slowed down, too.)

GoodReads had a unique spirit. People could say what they wanted to say, rate how they wanted to rate. It was all about the users and how they wanted to use the site. That’s spirit has been eroding for quite a while now, and there’s little doubt it will erode further.

But I can’t say this is about just one thing. It’s partially rage that unpaid librarians did so much work for nothing. It’s partially fear of change. It’s partially not wanting words that I’ve poured my heart and soul into to be out there for Amazon to use as they will in their quest for world domination.  I recognize that I get something from GoodReads in return for the content I provide, and that it should be a fair exchange. But it doesn’t feel like a fair exchange any more.

Really, there’s no point in even trying to find the right words, the right reason. I just don’t have it in me to review books right now. And maybe it’ll come back, and maybe it won’t.

I actually initially posted about the topic below this post on Goodreads yesterday, and the “writer” who’s comment I copied and pasted, came along to take umbrage with me.

Arch wrote:

“Karen, I’m the one that wrote the above statement and I stand on what I have said. I’m not an author – I’m only a writer. I don’t desire to be published and if I did desire to be published, I would still write for myself and no one else. A lot of people feel they should tell a writer what they should write and not write and they are in the wrong. I don’t and will never let people move me. I write the stories that I want to tell and I’m fine with people hating my work, but yet, I haven’t written the story for them”.

Do you guys really believe that she’d be fine with people hating her work? I think not.

Anyway, this was part of my rather diplomatic response:

“I guess that’s the difference then Arch. I think as somebody who doesn’t particularly want to be published, it’s easy to say that you would only ever write the stories of your heart. I think if you relied on writing as a career, you’d end up treating it as a business rather than as a hobby.” (more…)