GOODREADS HORROR STORY: Writers, Listen Up!

Consider this a public service announcement for authors.  I can’t believe it, but it happened. And it happened to me.

Two days ago I simply changed my GR password and email –for security reasons –and my whole account, five years of activity, blogging, book reviewing, book listing and GR Author’s Program member activities (I had over 1000 followers, many fans) was ….

WIPED OUT!

Poof, everything disappeared, all gone,  all the good reviews and endorsements of my books, others’ books etc. vaporized.

They don’t know how to fix it–or the rep assigned to the problem doesn’t.  She suggested I change my email back to my old email and reset my password.  Problem is, I closed that email account.  She can’t seem to comprehend why her suggestion is nonsensical.  I tried it anyway and it bombed. No go.

Irony and odd twist, one of my books, Marlin, Darlin, was one of the top ten Goodreads mysteries when it was published in July, 2010.

Trying to fix an online disaster is like talking to a single AAA battery robot.  A cat or bird could do a better job.

Life cannot be automated, Goodreads. Nor can writing, book reviews or books.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger.
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19 Responses to GOODREADS HORROR STORY: Writers, Listen Up!

  1. lahowlett says:

    I’m SO sorry to hear about this, Margaret! There should be a way to change your email without having the system wipe out everything about you. 😦 Not good.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, frustrating, for sure, but not the end of the world. I just writhe over all the lost work and the lack of help fixing it. Maybe back to pen and paper? Very little is safe online now, especially if you have a public profile as an author does. My Facebook was hacked twice (shut it down), my bank account…I write checks now! Thanks for commiserating, sweet thing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. bowmanauthor says:

    How horrific! I can’t even begin to imagine losing my blog, which is on GR as well as WP. Some of my poetry and editing articles I don’t even copy at all. I write it fresh, do a quick proof and off it goes. Thanks so much for the warning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, big risks involved. I guess we should always keep a back up on our own computers of what we post online. That’s a lot of data though–and trouble!

      Liked by 1 person

      • bowmanauthor says:

        Drop box was recommended to me after a computer disaster (virus) a little over a year ago where I lost everything on my hard drive. I thought I had backed everything up on a flash drive, but it didn’t copy and save either because of the virus. I lost 3 original manuscripts for my own published novellas. I’d planned to re-release (is that even a word, the editor in me cries!) as a hardcopy Trilogy in one book.I keep planning to tear them apart and scan, but time gets away. BUT! It could have been a complete financial/ethical disaster. You know I’m an editor/ghostwriter/designer. I did 6 full-length books that year for clients…one monstrous nonfiction which I researched, wrote, designed (110 pictures!), wraparound cover, the works AND a heavy edit and rewrite of a 100,000-word novel for a protege of mine. I had finished them just a few weeks before and sent deliverables in files and print masters to both clients. I still have nightmares about losing someone else’s work that I’ve spent over a year preparing. A part of your soul goes into everything you write…whether I has your byline or not.

        Like

        • I know what you mean. I have chronic low level anxiety over losing client’s work. I stay so busy, the volume of projects leaves me little free time to worry about the next cunning virus, breach of encryption. It all can be stolen today, infected with viruses (destroyed, corrupted). The crooks and trolls have figured it out All of this has become incredibly more widespread in the last few years. Just do everything you can to back it up. I PRINT OUT EVERYTHING now, I have a Carbonite subscription which is supposed to back up all files, software on my computer–they work great except for graphics and photos, I’ve found. I have Vipre security software, supposedly one of the best. I also sometimes email to myself files of completed client work, just to have it on another independent location. You have to stay on your toes (my toes are tired!). Somehow we all muddle through. Authors losing original manuscripts is nothing new, even before the internet.

          A purist’s alternative would be to have one sacrosanct computer NEVER used for anything online, no internet service, and do all your work on that, then send it when ready.

          Liked by 1 person

          • bowmanauthor says:

            We’re so much in agreement, even an off-line computer can supposedly be hacked. Sometimes I wonder when the world starting destroying itself … probably right after creation and somehow it escalates in severity, faster and faster, as our abstract system, which we call time, generates more energy and force.

            Like

  3. Dave Lynch says:

    Wow! That seems like a big flaw in their system. That really sucks. I like your attitude but though life online is uncertain, it’s still a heartbreaking experience when something like this happens.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It may work out. They told me my old account is still there, but they can’t tell me how to log into it. They keep saying to use my old defunct email address. When I did a few months ago, they sent me canned messages that it was not a valid email address and they needed my current one! Anyway, their “fix” they gave me to do doesn’t work. Going to keep after them and see what happens. Try not to lose sleep over this. Thanks for your kind words, Dave.

      Like

  4. dgkaye says:

    Sheesh Margaret! I hit ‘like’ here but I don’t like it! How awful. I can’t even imagine. Technology may be handy but surely it’s the ruination of the world to come. Everything is bloody automated to a point that when there’s a glitch there never seems to be a point of return. And funny how your info is still all with GR, yet they can’t help you sort it out. I feel for you my friend.

    It seems you have a lot of back up and security, I can’t help but wonder did you have all this in place before you got hacked? It doesn’t give anyone a sense of security.
    I read your dialogue here with Deborah Bowman, my good friend. I told her about Dropbox last year when she had all that trouble. I have an external back up device, but I rely on Dropbox for every important document, manuscripts, photos, etc. I send there. The bonus of having this cloud back up is it’s easily accessible anywhere from any computer if you need to bring up a file.
    It’s also free and if you find you need more storage space you can sign up for more. I haven’t had to.
    They also have a program if you refer a friend by email they give you another 250 megs free added on your storage account. Really so easy to use. I will send you the link through email if you like. It really saved my bacon, because I too went through computer horror 2 years ago. One week before I lost EVERYTHING, I sent my almost finished MS to dropbox, along with every document and photo in my computer. I’m still counting my blessings. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • This is all good, helpful info! Thanks! I’ll use it! And yes I had all that security and back up and still got hacked. So swamped with editing work right now, I’ve very little time to drop everything and sort GR mess out. Stressful and frustrating!

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye says:

        I’ll send you the link. You can drop all your files there and at least have peace of mind that they’ll be obtainable whenever and wherever you need them. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks! Hey, listen tto this latest transpaent coinky dink: 15 min ago I got a phone call on my cell from a 4 digit number from a guy w/ very bad, broken English saying he was from Dell and they had been receiving reports my laptop was badly infected with several viruses, but he/they would “walk me through” the necessary steps to safely remove them. I don’t do any of this stuff my self, I have a wizard computer guru who handles all that stuff–if it’s real. Told the guy that, gave him my guru’s ph # and name, said to call him about this. Oh, no, he would ONLY work with no tech moronic me! Said he had to do it with me (who knows NOTHING about his stuff). I hung up on him, called my beloved guru, he said man was from outside US (his number was a giveaway) and trying to inject bad code to take over my computer, steal personal info, banking info etc. Good grief. They are ramping up and coming fast and furious. NEVER make any such changes on your computer directed by such a source. You could lose everything.

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            Holy crap Margaret, you seem like a prime target lately! I’ve been getting some weird messages on my cell phone lately too. I don’t even respond to them, delete, delete, delete. The other day I got an instant message with instruction to email the contact because I’ve just inherited money, LOL, seriously? I’ve nowhere to inherit from, and if I did, I’m sure the proper authorities would be notifying me.
            PS. I went to send you by email, the link to Dropbox, and apparently you’ve already joined?

            Liked by 1 person

            • I think going public with it attracts more attacks (as in moi). So big what? I will survive. Those freaks are limited to cyberspace and the tiny bit of their empathy for their fellow human beings. For many years Twain, Whitman and Thoreau sold their books (later lauded as works of genius) out of boxes, door to door, anD at talks they gave in public to various groups, clubs, organizations. The practice continues to this day. Zig Ziglar, the stupendously successful motivational speaker, did the same thing (I SHOULD KNOW; I WROTE HIS AUTOBIOGRAPHY–ZIG! THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY, Doubleday/Random House). DON’T CREDIT LOWLIFES LIKE HACKERS AND CYBER THIEVES with much imagination or expertise. They are clods who simply keep throwing things at the wall until something sticks. No real exec earning capability. They won’t stop authors fm writing good books or be able to filch all their $.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Glynis Jolly says:

    Does Goodreads have the capability to change your email without it deleting your account. I know most places online won’t let you do that. They will let you add an email address and allow you to make it your primary though.

    Even with this thought out there, I would think the techs managing Goodreads would have a way to retrieve in a situation like this. I so sorry this happened to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the pertinent comment and questions, Glynis, and your kind expression of sympathy. It’ll work out. I’m just so busy with my editorial an writing consultancy business at the moment that I can’t just drop everything and spend 48-72 hours getting GR straightened out!
      Aggravating! But eventually will do!

      Liked by 1 person

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