Monday, August 12, 2013

The Huffington Post Sells Out: Penny C. Sansevieri

A distressful post has made its way on The Huffington Post in recent days. It was written by Penny C. Sansevieri. It is distressful in two major ways. First, it speaks a lot of misleading information and perhaps, some outright lies. Secondly, comments speaking out against this post and attempts to set the record straight in regards to her lies, have been and are being, deleted.

Something smells!

I decided since she (or Huffington Post) are refusing "certain" comments from appearing, that I would go ahead and address some of the key issues of her article. The truth needs to be heard and since that truth is forbidden on her comment section, I'll post the truth here. 

Are we ready?

In this first shot, we see her lead off explaining how Goodreads has become a front and center social network for authors this "past" year. Check it out. 

Sorry Penny, but nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, Goodreads has become a place where authors are being attacked by bullies and getting their accounts banned because of it. And it hasn't just been going on for the past year, but for at least a year and a half maybe two years - maybe more. The truth is, Goodreads has become an author graveyard. And worse, the Goodreads staff, most notably, community manager Patrick Brown, has been not only allowing this bullying to go on, but has assisted in it. 

As for their new relationship with Amazon, you also failed to mention in your article that this kind of behavior by the bullies also goes on over at Amazon Kindle Forum Boards, and has been for even longer than what it has been going on - on Goodreads. Now, either Penny has been paid some big bucks for her article or, she has failed to do her homework/research. (It's a coin flip folks) 

She did get one thing right, and she hustles her little butt off to sugar coat it too, in that many authors and publishers have indeed vowed to close their accounts because of the merger. She sugar coats it by mentioning prior that Gooodreads has over 20 million members. Didn't I just post an article explaining that number? I do believe I did. Anyhow, I'll touch base with it once more. Yes, Goodreads has over 20 million accounts  but that's because Goodreads refuses to delete all the "dead" accounts. (Mine included) The truth is - only about 3% percent of their "members" are remotely active. Maybe 2% percent. This explains why Goodreads is falling in the Alexa rankings. (And why Amazon has fallen over 190,000 spots in the Alexa rankings just this past year alone.)

There has been some success stories, yes, but not as many in the past few years as in previous years because Goodreads has opened the door to allow their staff, their librarians, and their friends to bully, and attack authors. And to libel them in "book reviews". So yes, while there may have been some success stories in the past, there has been far more "failure stories" in recent years and it all begins with Patrick Brown and the rest of the Gooodreads staff allowing attacks on authors. (And banning them for no reason at all or for false reasons.)

She also mentions how authors can mingle with readers. And she boasts of all the reviews a new author can get from these readers, but she fails to mention that some of these readers can and will stalk you, and post fake reviews attacking THE AUTHOR with libelous statements. I mean, I was attacked when my personal stalker got angry with me. Ultimately, I got banned because of it. It doesn't sound too author friendly to me, Penny. And I'm not the only one. Not by a long shot. And again, as for those reviews she mentions, how about we take a peek at one of them now, shall we?

So you see, new authors, and oldies alike, these are the amazing reviews you could be getting too. Especially if you mingle with the crowd. If you need more screenshots of all these fabulous reviews of other authors, just go to STGRB. They have a stockpile of great reviews just like that one. And as for the mingling part, who wants to risk mingling with the bullies? Since we know that Goodreads isn't going to do anything about them, why take a chance? Trust me, if you cross one of these bullies, don't expect the GR staff to help you. I know Penny wants to tell everyone that Goodreads is a "fun" place to be if you're an author, but the truth is, it is anti-author. You have a bigger chance of getting banned these days than you do of becoming another success story. Patrick Brown has made it perfectly clear that Goodreads is not the place for authors. It should, however, be a place for both authors and readers on a 50/50 split. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Authors have no say whatsoever about how they are treated by the Goodreads bullies. NONE! And if you do, BABAM! You're banned. 

Then she boasts at how Goodreads can give you a leg up on promotion. Yeah, but what she doesn't tell you is that most of that promotion comes from the bullies when they go around posting how much of a racist you are. Or pedophile. Or rapist. There's your promotion right there. 

Then she harps about the "GR growth" again, and even gets a comment from Otis Chandler on the subject - who cites three primary reasons for growth - "A critical mass of book reviews, explosive mobile growth, and international expansion." 

But why, with all of this growth, Otis Chandler, are you getting 3% percent or less of activity on your "massive" site? Why are you dropping in the Alexa rankings?  (I would love to hear that answer. Put on your waders before hand though, cuz shit will be getting deep.)

In this next screenshot of Penny's article, we get to see the "One Main Focus On Goodreads" - Check it out. 

She says your one main focus on GR should be getting reviews. Yeah, we saw that in a previous screenshot, didn't we? But she talks about the possibility of your book "getting slammed" by reviewers. I wish. What she fails to mention is the possibility of YOU getting slammed in book reviews.  You know, "This author is a rapist, pedophile ...." kind of slammed.

She does mention that if you get into it with a reviewer that some of that reviewer's "friends" may get into it with you. Of course, she mentions if you, the author, complain about a review, this could happen. However, what she fails to mention is that these reviewers "and their friends" don't just get into it with you about reviews, that most of, if not all of, these "battles" start because of what these reviewers say about the authors on a personal basis, I.E., calling them rapists, pedophiles, etc. Or because of something you write on your blog. (Or because you become a friend, or fan, or someone they have placed on their "author shit-list".)

Need more evidence of it? Fine, take a look at this next screenshot. This is the Goodreads bullies "promoting" authors. It's a list of STGRB supporters. And their books. Take a look.

Is this the kind of "promoting" you're referring to, Penny? ... I think so. Can you see now how wrong you are? And can you see now how Patrick Brown supports this kind of thing by not deleting this horse shit? This is one of the reasons why authors need to stay away from Goodreads. (And why they are staying away) It's not about authors complaining about reviews, it's bully bullshit like this. All an author has to do is show public support for anyone and anything these people are against and BABAM! you're toast. You're targeted. You're attacked. And it has absolutely nothing at all to do with book reviews. 

In short, these 'reviewers" that Penny is actually speaking of are the "Goodreads Bullies". And or trolls. But hey, let's give her props for "sugar coating" it. 

She also mentions about adding GR widgets to your author profile. Or even connecting your blog directly to your GR blog. I wouldn't recommend that one bit. I'll tell you why after this screenshot.

The reason is, authors do not get free speech on Goodreads. If you link your personal blog to your GR blog, and you write something that GR doesn't approve of, it will show up on your GR blog and .... Gooodreads, or should I say, Patrick Brown, will ban you. It has happened plenty of times before. STGRB has a lot of articles relating to this phenomenon. In this next screenshot, she hypes up the groups opportunities. Check it out.

What she fails to mention is that many groups are also anti author. And if you participate in them, and step "out of line" in the slightest, as according to the groups mods, you get attacked. You see, there is a risk of getting people pissed off if you make one simple mistake or even if you just say something that somebody else doesn't like. When this happens, these people attack you and your books. They call you a "badly behaving author" and they run you off of Goodreads. Don't think that by apologizing or trying to be nice will save you, because it won't. It makes it worse. 

And she did forget to mention that there are "hate groups" on Goodreads specifically designed to label authors as "badly behaving" and these people do nothing but look for authors they can attack. Many of these people are Goodreads librarians and or staff members. You really don't have to do anything wrong to be attacked. Sometimes, all it takes is one person who doesn't like you for whatever stupid reason and they go to their hate group, tell everyone a bunch of lies and then those people go after the author through their books. And you didn't even do anything! 

Funny how you failed to mention this, Penny. 

Then she gets onto how an author should be active. Check it out.

Again, what she fails to mention is that the more active you are, the more you run the risk of pissing off someone from one of the Goodreads bully groups, or hate groups, and the better your chance of being attacked by them. 

She talks about writing reviews and she mentions how you can do this on Amazon Forum Boards too. But what she doesn't tell you is that Amazon deletes legitimate reviews and don't allow authors to review books. Well, you aren't allowed to review another "Amazon" author's books or "Goodreads" authors books. If you do, the review will be deleted. And what she also fails to mention, especially on Amazon, is that some authors you are not allowed to rate or review poorly. (Below three stars) It will be deleted also. I mean, seriously, what person, author or not, is going to want to spend time writing a well written review only to watch Amazon/Goodreads delete it? Think about it.

And again, she goes on about how you should participate if you're an author, not mentioning the dangers of running into the bullies. They have already come out and said that their attacks aren't always about the reviews. And as for Penny's "Goodreads is great for authors" campaign? Well, maybe this will awaken your senses. These next two screenshots shows a GR member by the name of Alan who questions Goodreads review policy. The one after that shows a response by someone named Kevis, who clearly states that Goodreads is not about authors, but for the readers. And this challenges Penny's claim that Goodreads is great for authors. The cold hard truth of the matter is this: It's not! Take a look.

Now for Kevis' response.

Please, authors, do not feed off of Penny's lies. Everything she says in her article may have been true at one time, but it's not like that anymore and I think all of you who follow this blog and or STGRB knows this. Today's Goodreads is a far cry from Penny's article. And she never even mentions the sexual role playing between adults and minors taking place on the site.  How coincidental is that? And again, if you do go to Goodreads, do not connect your personal blog to your Goodreads blog. That's a good way to get yourself banned. 

We all know what Penny is trying to do here. Hell, for all we know, she is in cahoots with Amazon/Goodreads or maybe she was even financially reimbursed for the article. Who knows? But the fact is that Goodreads and even Amazon Forum Boards, for the time being, is no place for an author right now. Hell, it's iffy for regular readers and reviewers at this point as some of them have been getting banned for poorly rating/reviewing authors books who belong to "Bully Nation" on Goodreads. 

Maybe the banning of Angela Horn is a step in the right direction, but there is so much more that needs to be done if Goodreads is going to become everything that Penny says it is. For instance, these hate groups against authors need to be deleted. Other bullies need to be banned. All the authors who were banned because of these bullies need to be reinstated. Goodreads needs to start protecting authors more from these vicious attacks from the bullies. (Instead of banning them for defending themselves) 

The point is, there is still a lot of change that needs to occur before anyone will feel safe to go back onto Goodreads. And these people can harp all they want about their 20 million members, but when you're participation numbers are 3% percent or less, is it any wonder that Goodreads and Amazon are sinking like stones? And the reason they are sinking is because of the lies like the ones Penny mentions in her article. And because of the bullies and Goodreads failures to protect people from them.

As for the Huffing Post, I see them now as nothing more than sell outs. How are we to trust what Huffington Post says if what they say is nothing but a bunch of lies? Congratulations Huffington Post, now you're a tabloid. So much for honest reporting. 

Nice try Penny, but not good enough. People know when their intelligence is being insulted, and you madame, are insulting everyone's intelligence. Your failure to tell it like it really is is just another reason why Goodreads will continue to be "Badreads". (And represents well why Huffington Post is now turning into a joke.) Until Goodreads right their past wrongs and get rid of these bullies, Goodreads shall continue to be perhaps the worst place on the internet for authors to be. It will continue to be a career killer, instead of a career enhancer. 

We're not fooled!

I'm Carroll Bryant ... and this is The Looking Glass

Things We Learned Today:

* Penny C. Sansevieri was either paid for that article, or failed to do her research

* Penny's article may have been true 5 years ago, but not anymore

* Amazon doesn't allow authors to review books

* The more an author "participates" the more likely they'll get attacked by the Goodreads bullies

* Goodreads has a long way to go to making their site safe for authors or for anyone

* The Goodreads hate groups have got to go

* Reviews should be about books, not authors

* As long as Patrick Brown is running the show, Goodreads will never be a fun place to go

* The Huffington Post deletes comments

* The Huffington Post are sell outs

* The Huffington Post is now a tabloid

* You can always count on Carroll to "tell it like it is" - No bullshit here


  1. I think that "Put on your waders, the shit is getting pretty deep" says it all.

  2. People who bastardize the term "bullying" by using it to describe petty differences of opinion between adults should be ashamed of themselves. Shame on you Carroll Bryant and your STGRB hacks. Children in our country attempt, and succeed, at taking their lives because of bullying - suck it up, get off your soapbox, and move on.

    1. This isn't a matter of "difference of opinion" Jessica. Shame on you for belittling other people's emotional pain. Being libeled, stalked and harassed by any method is still bullying. Age be damned. People put a lot of time into their work only to watch as others maliciously take it away from them, their dreams. And for no other reason other than to just be cruel and mean.

      I suggest you stop supporting bullies, Jessica DeBrule, and do something constructive with your life. Besides, how long before we hear a bullied author takes their own life? How petty would your comment look then?

    2. Jessica will never understand until some Anonymous user responds to her and then starts a blog about her. Posting all of her online information so that maybe some deranged reader may attempt to go after her. Teasing and making fun of her and deliberately attempt to sabotage her career with lies just because they didn't like her comment. Oh but wait, let's add a dozen more strangers in the mix who then all do the same thing to her. I guess that wouldn't bother her...

    3. I find your comment extremely disturbing, Jessica. You are the perfect example of what is wrong with this country. For you to think that calling someone a pedophile in a book review is merely a difference of opinion clearly punctuates the lack of emotional ineptitude you carry inside your heart, and the bulk of ignorance inside your head. Carroll, like others, have been victimized online by cyber bullies and all you can think of saying is, "Suck it up."? Maybe if you get attacked online by hundreds of people you would then come to understand what Carroll and STGRB is fighting for, and the type of people they are fighting. Somehow I think you do understand this. Your comment is proof of what side of the fence you stand on. You're the kind of person Carroll is fighting against.

  3. Hi Carroll, Interesting article. I'm a Goodreads reader user and I love the site! It's fun and I can see different sides to everything, but as a reader on there it is great and it is definitely partly why I will check out new authors - based on recommendations, or even sometimes if a friend doesn't like a book, I'm interested myself to see what the book is about.

    I was wondering though - you said "The truth is - only about 3% percent of their "members" are remotely active. Maybe 2% percent." - This is mind blowing! I know every user I am connected with on there actually uses their account often. Do you have reference for this number? I'd love to see back up to this claim.

    1. Sorry, but I deleted your last comment. I don't debate "anons". As for your questions, address them to Amazon. Ask them for the "official" numbers. A dollar says they won't answer.

  4. If you want to see back-up to this claim, look at Goodreads Alexa numbers. That should be more than enough evidence.

    I don't work at Goodreads so obviously, I don't have access to those numbers. However, perhaps you should contact Amazon and ask if they would release those numbers to the public. I'm sure if they haven't anything to hide, they would gladly make those numbers public.

    Meanwhile, as I stated, the only barometer you need to look at is Alexa rankings. How else can you go from a top 150 website with 10 million members to not even a top 300 website with 20 million members? How do you drop over 150 spots in a year like that when your membership is growing? It doesn't make any sense.

    1. Allow me to also add that 3 percent of 20 million is 600,000. That is a lot of people, no doubt. While you may be experiencing a lot of activity in your groups, amongst your friends, I have been told by at least a dozen other people that their groups mostly remain "dead". Many of the people I know from GR have said they don't go on as much anymore. They point to what happened to me and what continues to take place there as the reason for it.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.