How the Internet Allows Others to Damage to Your Reputation

I’m not someone who thinks Facebook is my personal diary. Even in the days of AIM, my status message didn’t tell you if I was in the shower. Despite my restraint (often brought on by my husband)

Alachia GoodReads
Alachia GoodReads (Photo credit: alachia)

I can still be affected by the way Internet and a user’s ability to destroy your reputation.
Because how people perceive online (as in real life) isn’t entirely in your control. I was taught this sharp reminder this week on the site Goodreads, a website for book lovers. I’ve been on Goodreads for about a year, since starting my exploration of the indie publishing world. All six of my ebooks are up on the site; you can see covers, reviews, YouTube trailers, and my bio, website, on my author page.

Imagine my dismay when I saw my latest release, Love Comes Later, had a one star next to it. One, out of five. As in, the entire three years I put into this book made it less than average for a reader. Now authors are constantly cautioned about bad reviews, how to handle them, not to harass bloggers. Fair enough. I wasn’t going to go howler monkey on the person, I wanted to know more.

When I clicked, another reader had the same question.

She said: I’m looking forward to reading it. So, it was just ok? Do you think it would make a good book club selection?

Here’s the kicker, the person hadn’t even read it.

Turns out a glitch in the system tagged it with a one star. The original tagger wrote: i didn’t read it yet; probably just added to my list with wrong designation. i’m reading 11/22/63 now.

What followed was me politely asking the person to rectify this error. An error that can sink a new book like mine.
This is where we ended up: your book is either good or isn’t and readers will read or not.

I’m not going into the ironies of someone on a book review site stating that reviews have no bearing on how readers select books. Hopefully that point is clear enough. The book is about to do a blog tour and soon will have many other posts on this page, good and maybe some equally bad.

What I am reminding myself, and those of you on this wild bronco called the Internet, is the importance of being nice.


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Reader Comments

  1. Kimberly, The Fur Mom

    For me, I’ve finding that the internet is allowing me to learn to handle conflict in a very respectful and patient way even though I sometimes want to scream.

    I get “harassed” by PR people and pet companies occasionally. Someone wants me to host a blog post or review a product that goes against my beliefs (e.g. I won’t host anything to do with shock collars). ‘no thank you’ is never enough for some, but I’ve learned to take a deep breath and stand my ground respectfully.

    I do this, because the internet has the power to build you up or tear you down in a matter of moments, because of a negative review. And I always want to remember that I may want to work with this person in the future.

    I think the way you handled it was beautifully and it just amazes me how a glitch could impact your book sales. I completely relate to wanted to go all howler monkey on someone, though.


    • Mohana

      Thanks Kimberly! Totally helps to know it’s not personal and happens to everyone in their own way. Sigh. At least those of us who play nice can set some kind of standard… Hopefully!

  2. Diane

    People are morons plain and simple. Most wouldn’t harass others in a real life, face to face interaction but the anonymity makes it so easy to do so. I don’t get why the person couldn’t fix the review if it was just a glitch? And why even comment if you haven’t read the book yet? Reviews are for REVIEWS. So sorry this happened to you!

    • Mohana

      I’m with you Diane… but this made me realize that sometimes you have to shake things off and move. The good thing about being a writer — everything is material! :).

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