Of late I’ve been receiving friend requests on Goodreads from people who have (apparently) read 0 or 1 books and have a large and growing number of friends. Where they have 1 book listed, it is invariably their own.
Look, guys, I know all the marketeers tell you to use the power of social networking to plug your products, but, for heaven’s sake, if you’re going to do it, do it subtly, or don’t bother. And don’t pervert sites like Goodreads, which is there for readers to get together to talk about books, by using it as a platform for what amounts to spam.
I have loads of friends on social networks. I follow or friend them because they seem interesting and seem to share common interests, similar views, or a similar sense of humour. I’m not going to friend you just because you ask. And, yes, when a friend of mine, someone I’m interested in, says they’ve published a book, I do often go off and buy a copy – but that’s because it was someone I like, not just some stranger.
Twitter has a very useful “block and report for spam” button for people who are simply trying to sell me things. Sadly, Goodreads does not. So I’m developing a stock response to Goodreads spammers, which goes something like this:
You’ve sent me a friend request on Goodreads. It’s nice that you’re so keen, but I have to tell you, I deliberately “ignored” it. It’s nothing personal, I’m sure you’re a great guy and you’re nice to your kids and all that, but when I see a friend request from someone who has 1 book listed and 500+ friends, all I think is that you’re using Goodreads to market your book.
And that’s OK too, but if *all* you’re doing on Goodreads is marketing your book, I can’t see why I’d want to sign up for that.
The people I have friended on Goodreads have read, rated and reviewed many books, typically hundreds. They’re into this. They like sharing their views about books. Like me, they like reading. They’re not just trying to sell me something.
So, I’m sorry, but I’m more than just grist to your marketing mill. I know how hard it is to get people to notice one’s book, and I sympathise, God knows, but this is not the way.