So I know that we all are feeling frustrated with Booklikes these days. Our posts crash. We can't comment on each other posts or reviews. We've pretty much given up trying to block the spam accounts because if you try, the site crashes. This weekend I was thinking back on how many of us found our way over here after the whole Amazon exodus and how we stayed and made this place work for us.
I keep hope alive that Booklikes wakes up and makes this place a viable site again or at least sells to someone who will do that. That said, I am going to stay here until the wheels fall off because you all are one of the highlights of my day. The first two sites I check when I wake up and get started are Booklikes and Goodreads. After making sure I don't have any comments to respond to, I take my time reading everyone's reviews. Sometimes laughing and other times making a note to buy the book in question. I honestly don't know what I will do if I lose that connection. Thinking about that I realized that I have been reviewing books in some fashion for 16 years. It's crazy to me that I have known some of you (hi Moonlight!) for that long. I was just a baby reviewer on Amazon and I found my people.
My first review was about curtains I bought on Amazon. I honestly didn't really get the whole review thing, but Amazon kept sending me emails to review my purchase so I did. And then I was surprised when someone commented on it. From there I decided it may be a good idea to review some of the books I had just bought. I sporadically posted reviews until I went to Iraq for a year assignment in 2008. Honestly there was not a lot for me to do besides work, exercise, and read. I had a lot of fun chatting with reviewers back then and getting to know some of them like Moonlight, John, Linda, and Mahala.
Most of us found each other through Amazon's reviews and then on Amazon's Reviewer Forum and other forums. I spent hours of my time on the forums and of course telling authors that no they don't get to dictate how we can post our reviews. For the most part I enjoyed just talking about books and about how to improve my reviews from other reviewers.
We all know what happened next though. A group of authors who decided that reviewers were bullying them with reviews that were less than fawning led to the rise of the STGRB with most of us becoming a target of that whole group.
Not going to lie, I just thought that the whole thing was ridiculous. Who goes around threatening people because of book reviews? Apparently a lot of people. When I found out that I was now on "the list" and that they were following my reviews and any of my posts to write what a bully I was, I was just more amused then anything.
Enter Anne Rice.
Oh geez once Anne Rice found out about the Amazon forums it was game over. The vibe of the forums changed, we had to deal with a constant onslaught of authors going around and downvoting and reporting us to Amazon. STGRB were happy because gee look here's a NYT bestselling author who apparently had nothing better to do besides harassing reviewers on Amazon.
Some of us started to move away from Amazon and even had our own place to just chat. But it wasn't the same. And then of course things happened there with me realizing that some people were not who they seemed to be upfront. You had people who were jealous if you were moving up the list on Amazon's top reviewers. Some who were angry when you got picked for Amazon Vine and then Amazon's story contest. I had one so-called friend tell me that my reviews were not that great, I had too many misspelled words and he was just a big ball of anger that others were ahead of them on the Top Reviewer's list. I was happy to finally stop interacting with him.
After I got doxxed on Amazon and the Zon decided they were not going to do a thing about it I just said that's it. The bloom was off the rose for me with dealing with the constant attacks by authors, author's street teams, and the other reviewers. I deleted all of my reviews on Amazon (cause F you that's why) and then decided from there I was going to make my social media private as much as possible. Who wants to have a conversation with their boss that you reviewed an erotic book and an author is mad that you gave it 2 stars so they know think it's okay to contact your job and try to find out your address? Once everyone jumped shipped to Goodreads and then Booklikes I happily moved on over after chatting about it with Moonlight.
Goodreads felt like a nice reset for me when I moved away from Amazon. I had control over who could read my reviews, who could follow me and who I could follow and friend. We had community forums that for the most part looked fun and I didn't see any authors showing their butts like on Amazon. Of course little things started to pop up, you couldn't half star reviews, the website was not terribly intuitive, and there's not a lot of conversation about books there which I found weird. I had signed up for Booklikes at the same time, but didn't have a lot of emotional bandwidth to set up my page the right way. However, there seemed to be more energy on Booklikes and more people emailing me to come on over and test the waters.
And yes, Booklikes was definitely the sweet spot. We could post pictures, just general comments about books or not about books, and we were able to comment and follow each other. I also got more careful about who I chose to interact with and follow. People here for the most part are what they seem upfront. Just generally nice and trying to be helpful. I always felt on Amazon and to a lesser degree on Goodreads that people had agendas and I refused to spend a lot of time on that side of things anymore.
I still am holding out hope that things can get better here. I would hate to leave it, but we have all managed to find and stay in contact through the years, so I have faith in us still chatting about books. Maybe not in the same manner we are used to, but in some form, in some other place.