Sidekick and “The Five Stages of Goodreads Grief”

GUEST POST – Auralee Wallace


Scheduled Post: Guest Blog – The Five Stages of Goodreads Grief

By Auralee Wallace, author of Sidekick

My debut novel, SIDEKICK, was released June 1st of this year. Coming up to the date, I thought I was prepared for all that is Goodreads. Much like when I boasted about my ability to handle natural childbirth because I was “pretty good with pain,” I naively reasoned that I could manage bad reviews because, logically speaking, not everyone was going to love my book – different tastes and what not, yadda yadda. Then it happened, and again, much like my experience with natural childbirth, the day I received my first one star review was filled with agony, despair, and may or may not have involved lots of screaming.
Now that a month or two has passed, I feel like I am able to reflect on my thought processes at the time with some clarity and share them with other authors. Not to prepare them. Nothing can do that. But for them to have something to look back on when their first one star rears its ugly head. Then maybe they’ll remember they’re not alone.
So here’s how it happened…blow by ugly blow.
(On a side note, this is my first time using .gifs. I’ve been a holdout partially because, as a writer, I feel I should be able to express myself more than adequately with words…but then it occurred to me that perhaps I was being a bit of a snot because I was intimidated by all this newfangled technology. So I’ve decided to give them a try. I hope you enjoy them…but if you don’t, please don’t feel obligated to tell me so on Goodreads.)
1. Denial
One star? ONE STAR?
Maybe Goodreads got it wrong. Sometimes the numbers don’t match up. I’ve read that happens. Or…or maybe that reviewer hit the wrong star. It’s an honest mistake. It happens. I’m sure he or she (or other of your choosing – I know that’s a Goodreads hot button) will fix that just as soon as he or she realizes the horrible, HORRIBLE mistake that has been made. After all, there are at least six other people on here that LOVE my book. I mean, really LOVE it…and only one of them is related to me. Surely, this is all just a silly mistake.
2. Anger
Wait…wait…wait. It’s still there…and now there is a review! And they said WHAT?????
Anger (1)
I was being SATIRICAL! Ever heard of satire Oh-my-opinion-is-better-than-everyone-else’s-stupid-face? Son of a b…!!!! The character didn’t even say that! Why I oughta…!!!!
3. Bargaining
Maybe if I just explain to the reviewer why he or she is so very, very wrong, he or she will change his or her mind? (You can nail me for the discriminatory pronoun use. I got nothing) We’re all reasonable people here. There’s no reason why we can’t work this out. In fact, have I told you ColdheartedCat67 how much I love your name? I’m thinking of using it in my next book. Maybe we can work something out…
That’s right. When I’m through with you, Reviewer, you’ll be putty in my hands.
(Disclaimer: I’m joking here. I’ve read the warnings. I would never, NEVER – no matter how tempted – contact a reviewer. I realize that’s about as wise as sticking my hand in a blender.)
4. Depression
Nobody…nobody likes my superhero chick lit. (Well, statistically, according to Goodreads, most readers do, but not this one star reviewer. Nooo.  I will never write again. In fact, I shall now retreat under my bed where my children can visit me after school (That’s right, Reviewer. You’re picking on somebody’s mom! I hope you’re proud of yourself.) because I’m hated…HATED! by all readers, everywhere.
5. Acceptance
Not all readers are going to like my book, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to his or her opinion…even if it’s stupid. (Whoops, I may have slipped back into some kind of passive-aggressive anger-type thing there. That happens with stages. They’re fluid.) It’s cool. Goodreads is a site for readers to express honest opinions…everybody says so. Besides, bad reviews add legitimacy. That’s right. It’s all part of the bigger picture. So you do your thing, Reviewer, and I’ll do mine, and maybe we can both have our HEA, or at least HFN…but so help me, if you give me one more review like that…whoops, there I go again back to anger. As I said, the stages, they’re fluid.
We’re all good.
Acceptance (1)

ABOUT Auralee

photo (1)Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Books and Reviews She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in English literature and has worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level.

Auralee has always been fascinated by the power of stereotypes in terms of race, gender, and disability and how those beliefs colour our understanding of the world and of each other.

When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog



10 thoughts on “Sidekick and “The Five Stages of Goodreads Grief””

    1. Yeah, but it’s their opinion. And just because it’s a fiction book does not automatically mean that since it’s fiction you have to forgive its faults.

      1. I agree completely Jenna. Goodreads is a “reader’s space”, and it should remain so. Reviewers should be allowed to express their opinions however they like.
        My only point in writing this is to have a laugh at how authors, such as myself, can make ourselves crazy by looking at it.
        Long live Goodreads!

      2. It makes me really happy to know that there are authors out there that understand that. 95% of the time reviewers aren’t trying to attack the writer or their book, they’re just expressing their opinion. There are some cases where reviewers are purposefully trying to be hurtful, but those are obviously distinguishable from the ones that aren’t. I hope your book (and future publications) has plenty of success. 🙂

  1. Auralee you continue to flex some amazing writing muscles – even your writing about your emotional response to an “obviously” misguided reviewer was hilarious.
    Keep writing because there are those of us who enjoy your brand of fiction.

  2. I must admit that I hate having to give books star ratings and don’t do so on my blog. I try and make the tone of the piece be enough. But, for Goodreads you do use the rating system – one thing with that – I wish we could rate out of 10 which would make it much easier to add a half point but…. Anyway, personally, I hate giving negative reviews, maybe not as much as an author hates to receive them, but I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel good at all. To be honest because of that I tend to veer away from writing reviews where I didn’t enjoy the book but then that feels a little bit dishonest and almost like I’m always writing glowing reviews – which would be okay if I only ever read books that I love (but that’s not really possible). It’s definitely a dilemma. Just recently I gave one of only a few two star reviews and I felt so mean but, in fairness, I had to give an honest review, plus, I gave my reasons for the criticisms and I also didn’t (or at least I hope I didn’t) do this in a snarky way. That book just wasn’t for me and it’s as simple as that. I do always say to others though that it’s personal and they might love it.
    Thanks for your piece – it’s really good – just like your book.
    Lynn 😀

    1. Thanks Lynn! While I’m only two months into this I have noticed a huge difference between the reviewers who are simply giving their honest criticism and the reviewers who are out to DESTROY as performance art. I DO believe Goodreads is the place for both. I tend to be a fan of your reviewing philosophy, but live and let live. I will even admit, once I got past the first week, one or two of the “stinging” reviewers did manage to make me laugh…I was, of course, stitching together some voodoo dolls meant for the one or two of them while I laughed, but I still laughed…

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