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How to get blackballed by a reviewer

How to get blackballed by a reviewer

Reviewers blackball authors (refuse to review authors) when authors rub reviewers up the wrong way.  Like many other reviewers, I have pet peeves around authors pushing their books.  One of mine is people who want follow-backs on twitter etc, then all they do is spam ads for their shit.  Another of my pet peeves is the personal email request to purchase an author’s book so I can review it.  More recently I developed a new pet peeve.

I received a ‘friend’ request through Goodreads.  I accept all those requests although I’m not on Goodreads enough to interact with people there.  It’s ok if they’re happy <shrug>


I’ve had authors friend me on Goodreads then send me ‘invitations’ to ‘events’ to BUY THEIR BOOKS.  Can anyone say ‘unfriend’?  After the first few times this happened, I changed my profile bio and started unfriending these people on the first offence.


Late last year I received a friend request from D. E. M. Emrys on Goodreads. I accepted.  Shortly after I accepted this friend request, I received this email on 16 October 2012:

'my debut fantasy novel, available on Amazon'

‘Check this out – it’s my debut fantasy novel, available on Amazon! I hope you enjoy.  Thanks for reading.’

I was so pissed off I unfollowed him immediately.  That should have been the end of it, but almost immediately HE SENT ME ANOTHER FRIEND REQUEST.

I declined.


By that stage I’d forgotten WhoTF he was and accepted, only to realise who he was and unfriend him again.

I set about learning how to block people on Goodreads so he will NEVER be able to send me email requests or friend requests again.  I was so outraged after the ongoing friend requests I even outed him on Twitter.  This was his response:

Not impressed.  If you fuck up, own it.  Offer a REAL apology, not one of these half-arsed pretences of an apology that actually puts the fault with the OTHER person.  I don’t THINK that he emailed me asking me to buy his book, THE EVIDENCE IS OUT THERE.

Again David is pretending to apologise while in reality his message to everyone is that he’s been a good little boy and hasn’t done anything wrong, while the big bad reviewer is being unreasonable.  How to win friends and influence people.

Well, David E. M. Emrys, I will not read your book.  As my reviewers have a wealth of  free books for review, I won’t recommend your book to them either.

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


  1. Thank you for this article. I thought it was only us poor readers who were driven to distraction by these hard-selling techniques. Like you, I have been bombarded with invitations to “events” on Goodreads (buy my book), DMs on Twitter (buy my book) and endless Facebook publicity (buy my book, of which you have already heard far too many times).

    I believe that these cause the “Go Compare” reaction with the public. Aversion sets in very quickly.

    • It gets so old, so fast.
      Thank you for your comment, and thanks also to Steven O’Connor. Maybe if we keep speaking out, authors will get the message. And maybe I’m living in La La Land, but I can live in hope!

  2. Thanks for the interesting post. I remember the first Goodreads invite you mention as it happened to me too and we both tweeted about it. You can feel a bit manipulated when you accept a Goodreads friend request, only to immediately have a sales pitch sent to you. Same thing happens way too often on twitter.

    In our enthusiasm for our books, writers can forget how we might be coming across. Balance is so important. It’s great to tell others about your beloved book and your latest promotion, but it’s certainly a dread of mine that I would ever come across as a spammer!

    Admittedly, I can at times feel lost and a little overwhelmed by the many different communication platforms available on the internet, and all the dos and don’ts that go with them. (I’m not sure if this is an age thing, or if in fact everybody feels this way. I’ve only just now worked out how to put a comment here. Don’t ask me why it took so long – it just did!)

    I am also not keen on the various automated message systems available in different social media and prefer to avoid them because I fear this could lead to inadvertent spamming. I know other authors who use automatic twitter messages so they can cover various time zones.

    Anyway, I guess I’m saying it’s important that all writers keep a balance in mind when letting others know about their various books, and of course always but always, be genuine.

  3. Apologies that it came across as insistent – the original message on Goodreads was at a time when the story in question was free. I didn’t realise that it sounded like a pressurised sales pitch. I do apologise again as that part of the message ‘string’ isn’t showing on my Goodreads system.

    And in regards to the repeat adding you as a friend on Goodreads – again down to my own poor lack of knowledge of using the Goodreads friends system. I was using ‘Find Friends’ function to add a few people I’d met on Twitter, but as I followed you on Twitter it must have been spamming you, too.

    What else can I say but sorry, and an admittance to not knowing the friend add system, or the way the original message was perceived.

    I’ll continue to read your articles and features here on DarkMatterFanzine, as I genuinely like them, but I have unfollowed on Twitter so you shouldn’t get spammed with any more friend requests on Goodreads. I hope that’s ok with you.

    Best wishes,


    • I appreciate the apology, thank you.

      Only last night someone was explaining something about Twitter to me: I think she was using an app I haven’t used and didn’t understand how it works. It’s important to figure these things out and to be responsive.

      • And then David followed up on twitter with this little gem:

        The question mark at the end implies David is asking for an apology after using Goodreads to friend me, spam me to get me to buy his book, refusing to accept ‘no’ for an answer to repeated friend requests and then attempting to claim the moral high ground AND that HIS BEHAVIOUR is not his fault. -_-


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