Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

A Community of Readers

There has been some tension between romance blogs and the romance website, All About Romance. When I first read the threads over at AAR that turned from why some didn’t like the message board change to why blogs are exclusive and narcissistic, my first instinct was to reach out and say that we welcome commenters and hope that we aren’t exclusive. That’s my opinion still but I realized as I was writing this piece that there will always be some that won’t find Dear Author welcoming or interesting. That a blog, a website, or a message board cannot be all things for all people, least of all a blog.

We do have a viewpoint here at DearAuthor and because I pen most of the opinion pieces, most of the viewpoint that is espoused is mine. Jayne and I write most of the reviews for DA and our opinions vary widely and so do our writing styles so to that extent I think we have some depth but it’s not a great variety such as is provided at a place like All About Romance or Romantic Times.

I admit that when I began Dear Author over a year and a half ago that I had no idea what the mission or purpose of the blog was. To some extent, it was a personal reading journal and to some extent, it still is. I remember as the blog’s audience began to grow I began to get caught up in that. I looked around to see what other websites were doing to be popular, to be successful. I was, at times, even envious particularly of Candy and Sarah. They were so smart and so funny and so articulate. I despaired at ever being able to compete with them. Yes, compete. And when I articulated that to myself, I had an epiphany. There was absolutely no reason to be envious, to feel less than, or inadequate. Dear Author and Smart Bitches had two separate points of view and the romance community was big enough to encompass not only our collective voices but many, many other voices of the genre. I’ve learned in the course of blogging, that one can only do so without fear. And really, that’s the only way to live even outside of blogging.

The past few years, the web has seen an explosion of blogs. Reader blogs, author blogs, community blogs. Sometimes it seems like we are all talking an issue to death and other times, we aren’t even close to being on the same page. The point is that by the very existence of these web presences, we are proving to ourselves and to those outside the community that this is a thriving environment.

It’s not possible, because we are so diverse, for one place to serve all people. Sarah and Candy have a wonderful sense of humor. They are sharp and insightful. The health of their blog and the continued presence of Smart Bitches in the community is vital for the community. All About Romance was one of the first romance review sites on the internet. (I believe that The Romance Reader was the first and still provides quality reviews to this day from reviewers like Wendy, the Superlibrarian, and a reviewer that I just adore, Susan Scribner). AAR will always have a place at the romance table. As Laurie Gold stated, there are over 7000+ pages of content which includes opinion pieces, reviews, special title listings and so forth. No blog will be able to provide that level of information and thus AAR will continue to be a great resource within the community. It is remarkable that AAR has been in existence since 1999. That’s longer than any blog. I hope that Dear Author is around in 8 years, but I am not making any promises.

If I can offer anything to those readers who find DearAuthor or any blog to be inclusive, I would say that the community of a place is what you make it to be. I hope that we are meeting the needs of the readers here and that we continue to provide interesting content. If it isn’t for you, click away. But if it is and you just need some small push to post, let us start today.

One of the perks of blogging about books is getting free books ahead of their publication date. The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen These books are known within the industry as ARCs which stands for Advanced Reader Copy or Advanced Readers Edition. Even though we receive these regularly at Dear Author, each one is special. I thought that there could not be a more fun and special thing to pass on to readers than the opportunity to receive an ARC. Our first outing in that endeavor was quite well received and so I went a begging to see if other publishers would be interested. Harper Collins reached out and sent me four ARC of the The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen.

According to Ms. James, the novel arose out of a story that “Jane’s sister Cassandra confided to her niece: that the only man Jane ever truly loved, was an unnamed gentleman she once met at an unspecified seaside resort. This tantalizing anecdote is known as the mysterious “seaside romance.” Everyone wonders: who was that man? What happened to him? I decided to invent him.” The original publication date was January 2008, but is now being released in November. An excerpt is available here.

I haven’t read the book yet and was worried that I wouldn’t get to it before November so rather than have them languish in my To Be Read Pile, I am going to give all of them away and hope that I can persuade at least one of the winners of the book to write a small review for us here at DearAuthor.

As an aside, this is a really lovely ARC. It has this faux grosgrain ribbon that runs through the middle of the cover and it is slightly raised (I think that is called embossing). The cover itself is this lovely beige and has the matte cover feel instead of the slick cover feel. I have always liked the matte cover feel better. I know, this is a total non sequitur, but really, am I the only one who fondles her books?

To encourage newcomers, I am going to give away three of the four books to newcomers, to commenters who have never commented before. To those long time commenters, I will give away three $5.00 gift certificates to or You can make a comment about whether you like the idea of the ARC giveaway and would like to see more of them. You can make a comment about your favorite Jane Austen book. You can make a comment about what you would like to see improved on Dear Author. You can make a comment about how you feel excluded. You can even comment about how weird it is that I like to fondle book covers. Any comments are welcome.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Charlene Teglia
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 05:27:00

    It’s weird to fondle covers? *blink blink*

    I like D.A. and I have never felt unwelcome or excluded over here. It’s possible that somebody might hesitate to post the first time on any blog, but my experience with blogging has been that if you’re not trolling, you’re welcome. I really can’t think of any blogs that seem so exclusionary that I’d hesitate to post if I had something to say.

  2. Jayne
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:01:30

    I’m sitting here, fondling the ARC you already sent me Jane. My cat is staring at me as if I’m strange but I think he already thinks that anyway. One especially wonderful book to fondle is “French Leave” by Sheri Cobb South. I remember getting that book and stroking the cover and thinking, “Oooohhh, lovely cover.”

  3. Sarah McCarty
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:06:45

    I have to say I like the tone here. Lots of opinions are posted, not all in agreement, but it’s never out of control, it’s often funny and always interesting. I only frequent a few blogs on a daily basis and this is one. I really enjoy your reviews as they give me ample information so I can see for myself if elements I might enjoy are in the books. Pretty much you cover all the bases for me so I’m very glad you ventured into blog land.

  4. Joanna
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:11:49

    I’m fairly new to DA. I first checked you out a couple of months ago, and now I look in regularly. Here are few reasons why I like it:

    1. I like the fact that you are very much a reader-oriented site (Some sites are much more writer-oriented, and while I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, the fact that you seem to be a lot more about the reader appeals to me).

    2. I like the fact that you post new material regularly, and you’ve had some great posts like interviews with agents and “My first sale”.

    3. The content is accessible and it is easy to post comments. (Whereas on AAR, for example, the content is more difficult to locate – especially as a newcomer to the site – and the process of posting is onerous. Again, I like AAR and check it out regularly so I’m not slamming that site).

    So, as far as I’m concerned, it’s congratulations to DA. It goes without saying that I haven’t felt excluded.

  5. Nora Roberts
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:12:52

    It’s all about diversity, isn’t it? Discussion, communication, fun, information.

    I don’t see how it could be said blogs are exclusive. They’re open and there, just like message boards for those who chose to comment. And any site, blog or mb will end up drawing in regulars.

    It’s important to fondle books, btw. They might get lonely otherwise.

  6. Lorri
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:18:24

    I stumbled across Dear Author a week or so ago while I was looking for a review of a book I just finished (Dream Thief, by Shana Abe). After I devoured the review and comments I started on the ‘letters of opinion’, and I was hooked. readers and authors communicating in front of my very eyeballs. I’m not worthy. This seems like a perfect opportunity for me to tell you how much I’ve enjoyed your blog and thank you for sharing…even if Jane Austen’s memoirs end up in a home other than mine.

    As far as this blog being exclusive, well, many of you know each other and use terms and reference events and other things an ‘outsider’ wouldn’t understand, but I don’t consider that exclusionary, it’s just life. If I keep coming back, I’m sure I’ll learn what all you guys are talking about (like I did this morning with ARC, what a happy surprise that was!)

    I really think the internet is a great opportunity to view other cultures, professions and ideas I never would have seen before. To expect you to hold back and conform to anyone else’s ‘comfort zone’–what a boring internet that would be! I consider your blog (and the internet) to be a great learning experience and I wouldn’t want you to hold back anything!

  7. jude
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 06:37:43

    This is the first I read about some folks dissing the conversations which happen on blogs versus discussion boards. After I got past the eye-rolling tedium of yet another example of “And today the world offends me in this manner” mindset, I was thinking if there was anything actually interesting to consider buried underneath.

    Like, discussion boards emphasize group interactions more than blogs, or something. It’s a slippery slope since there are a number of successful discussion boards which are successful due, in no small part, to active moderators. These can easily be seen as corollary roles to blog authors.

    For both boards and blogs, the conversations that happen are what gives the place dynamism. Many is the board or blog which dies an unmourned death because too few people join the conversation.

    So, is the dividing line supposed to be that blogs are branded to a person or group of people? Because on discussion boards, certain personalities and certain cliques always emerge as well, and they identify themselves very closely with that board. So much so that, apparently, some of them need to tear down other communities which form around other conversation places.

    I’m really not seeing enough real differences to see the griping as anything more than another form of the groupthink “You always suck when you enjoy different things than me.”

  8. sandy l
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:00:33

    I really enjoy DA. I don’t usually comment because someone else usually says it better than me. Thanks for the hard work.

  9. msaggie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:05:48

    I visit Dear Author site at least twice a day – the same with AAR. I think you do an excellent job of filling in the gaps AAR doesn’t cover – I especially enjoy all the insights into the publishing industry, the interviews with editors of different publishing houses, and being really practical about buying books, whether e-books or books you can hold and flip the pages physically (smell the paper and stroke and carress the covers you especially like – absolutely nothing wrong with that!). AAR has been around almost 10 years and I remember when LLB moved from Romance Reader to having her own site. Having more resources for romance readers is always a good thing – as it gives a greater platform for thought and discussion. I really hope you are still around 8-10 years from now – I think by then the paranormal frenzy will have subsided – perhaps we’ll have more sci/fi/fantasy like Sharon Shinn’s.
    Regarding how Dear Author could be improved, the only thing I can think of is the search engine – can a separate new window be created each time we do a search? Then you could have more items on it – at the moment, it’s this small box to the right hand corner of the main page. Also, if a list of book reviews (alphabetical order) to facilitate searches for particular books/authors. Maybe it’s already there – but not as user friendly? Other that that, I really enjoy your site and think it’s a marvellous resource for all of us romance readers from all over the world.

  10. Susan G
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:20:36

    Dear Author is always one of my first “stops” of the day after I get the kids off to school and sit down at the computer with my cup of coffee. I enjoy the reviews, opinions, interviews and the book discussions very much because it’s obvious you all are truly READERS. You are not trying to sell anything, there’s no hidden agenda and you are no one’s fan girl.

  11. Jorrie Spencer
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:28:52

    What I particularly enjoy doing is going back to read a review, if you’ve posted one, after I’ve read a book. I often hunt down the AAR review, too.

  12. Kristen
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:36:00

    I’m always fond of a free ARC. I especially enjoyed the last one I won here, C.L. Wilson’s Lord of the Fading Lands. What a great book! (And I’m currently enjoying an ARC of the second book in that series, Lady of Light and Shadows.)

  13. Kerry Allen
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:52:33

    We have completely different taste in books, DA and I, but I read every single review because I like your style, ladies. Same for non-review posts—you’re intelligent, informative, and rarely contentious. The day you change that, I’ll be moving on. (Well, maybe the month. Takes me a little while to reach the frustration level where I remove a site from the roster.)

    Plus, you’ve added the forum, so I think you’ve covered all the bases.

    (And I emphatically do not want an ARC. “Completely different taste in books” rears its ugly head again!)

  14. Shiloh Walker
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:55:29

    I love DA. I don’t tend follow discussions boards much~I loiter on Lora Leigh’s forum some and I lurk on JR Ward’s mb, but that’s it for me as far from forums and message boards go. Too much to keep up with and if I want to write, I have to limit my procrastinating.

    Blogs are easier…they tend to have a more focused discussion going on and I don’t have to sift thru tons of posts to find out if I’m missing something interesting.

    I’m nosy and efficient ;) I want to get as much info in the shortest time possible.

  15. Jackie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 07:57:40

    DA, Bam, Smart Bitches, and Mrs Giggles are daily reads for me — usually twice a day at DA and SB. (And I’m with Kerry: no ARC for me; I’m just leaving my comment.)

  16. Ann Aguirre
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:01:56

    You seem to have your pulse on what’s going on, which is nice. I stop here in the mornings after the kids go to school to see what’s happening in the reading world. I don’t always comment (because I don’t always have something to say), but I’m rarely bored here. Keep up the good work. :)

  17. Ann Bruce
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:13:19

    I was drawn here by the Authors Behaving Badly episodes last year (year before last?) and was quickly addicted. Now, I start my day by checking out DA (instead of being in at work at 7:30 AM, I now waltz in at 8:00 AM) and I check it throughout the day at work if there’s a hot button issue being discussed (one day, I’m going to get fired, I just know it). So, y’all must be doing something right because I have an infamously short attention span.

    You can even comment about how weird it is that I like to fondle book covers.

    With e-books, I kind of stroke the computer screen instead now. I started doing this because I pet my fish through the glass.

  18. Ann Bruce
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:13:51

    Oh, and you can leave me out of the draws.

  19. Andrea
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:36:17

    I’m a book fondler, too! LOL

    This book sounds really good! I may not always agree with DA, but I respect your opinions. Every book is not always everyone’s cup of tea.

    And I have to tell you that I completely agree with your review for Jo Goodman’s If His Kiss is Wicked. You did a wonderful job of summing up the book. It’s one of my top reads of all time!

  20. Sonja Foust
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:45:50

    Hi. I think I’ve commented before. Maybe. I can’t remember. But I don’t usually because you all say everything so well and I feel like I have nothing substantial to add. :) I usually scroll down to see what grade you give the book first, and then if it’s a good one, I scroll up and read the review to decide if I want to buy the book or not. If it’s a bad review, I usually skip it. I know they’re more fun to read sometimes, but I feel guilty snickering at another author’s misfortune. ;)

  21. Jessica Inclan
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:53:51

    I found DA after being reviewed by Jayne, and even though I would have liked the review to be more glowing about all my talents, I thought the review was well written and thoughtful. And I poked around and found the whole blog to be smart and well organized and interesting. I read only one other romance blog because I have to get away from the computer periodically. But I check into DA to see the what’s going on in the romance world from mostly a reader’s perspective and it’s very useful to me as a reader and writer.


  22. Rosie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:53:57

    I started out saying “good piece”. Then I remembered this is Romancelandia and all the clever people out there would have a field day with that.

    Diversity is what makes the world go round. I love that about our community and you expressed it very well. DA is a place I come for a cogent, articulate explanation of some of the madness that can transpire out here in blogland.

  23. Helen
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:56:22

    I check out DA and AAR most days and often return at least once more to DA. They are different sites and I enjoy different things about them. At AAR I rarely visit the MB anymore ,usually just check out reviews. DA: I enjoy the blog, reviews, opinions, call them what you like.I enjoy the tone and the content of the site, and the community that has built up here. I also come here because I have found that if a book gets a good review here I will probably enjoy it myself, so in essence I come for recommendations and discussion about books I do/ will enjoy.

  24. Gennita Low
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 08:59:31

    I enjoy reading Dear Author for its many diverse voices that include both authors and readers. I never post at AAR because through the years, many of the forum’s diehard posters have specifically stated that it makes them uncomfortable when an authors intrude into their discussions. And it always seems that if one does, it always ends up as a big showdown between her and the posters there. Actually, those were the trainwrecks of previous days ;-).

    Anyway, I respected the readers’ wishes there and have only posted there once. It was in response to a reader who wondered why I made up such a horrible name for my pseudonym and I wanted to explain that Gennita was indeed my real name and Low was a Chinese surname.

    P/S Not saying that there aren’t any authors posting there regularly and are part of that forum’s community.

  25. Tracy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:02:40

    I’m not a “long time commenter” and I’m not brand new (a month or so maybe?).

    I have not found this blog to be “exclusive”. Of course there are commenters that have been around much longer than me and they know each other and will respond to each other in comments. I do not find that to be “exclusive”, just that I need to hang around awhile and people will get to know me too.

    If I’ve made a good point (it happens occasionally ;)) people will respond to that.

    And regarding ARC giveaways~whoot! who wouldn’t like to see that more often?!

  26. Larissa
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:03:27

    I love DA! I’m here quite often and I often buy the books you recommend. I realised recently that I tend to like certain people’s recommendations more than others, but never actually noticed who is making the reviews before – i tend to generalise when i get on here, like dear author is a single entity and not a few reviewers.
    I have seen possibly every jane austin big screen novel and as a consequence have never read any of her books, which is unusual for me. I’m not sure why. Maybe cos I like the kissing that’s in the movies? ha ha ha.

  27. Tracy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:03:45

    oh and Jayne~my cat looks at me like I’m strange no matter what I do. I think that’s just how cats are LOL

  28. Larissa
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:04:03

    oops i meant big screen movie!

  29. Roxanne St. Claire
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:04:14

    Before my writing day begins, I visit three sites only:  DA, SB & AAR.  I guess it’s like a stockbroker perusing the financial section of the Times right before opening bell, or an actor reading Variety on the way to an audition.  I like the insight, especially reader comments, and the daily pulse on what’s happening in the romance publishing/writing/reading industry.  About twice a week, I stop by Mrs. G, but, truthfully, that’s more for hunk perusal than reviews, and I go to The Romance Reader near the end of the month because the review updates are rare, but special.  I often visit romancenovelTV and Michelle Buonfiglio’s site, but I have to keep the blog reading to a minimum, or the books will never be written.

    Don’t change a thing – the best thing about DA is that there’s something new every day.
    About book fondling – my daughter is a smeller.  Every since she was a toddler she liked to crack a book, stick her nose in the spine and take a sniff.  She insists every book smells different – and, yeah, some stink.  That’s why we have reviewers! 

  30. Kathryn S
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:08:11

    Jane, I might not always agree with you, but having met you I gotta say I admire that you just put it out there and let it happen. I guess I’m sorta backwards. I love message boards, but I find there can be ‘so much’ there that I can’t read it all. I like blogs because there are a few topics on a page and I can read, respond and move on without feeling like I have to read the 87 other topics listed. Does that make sense? I haven’t had my coffee yet…

  31. Shannon Stacey
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:13:43

    Hell, I fondle books more often than I fondle my husband. If I could only throw him against the wall when he annoys me, I’d have a well-rounded M/F/Book menage.

    My favorite thing about DA is that sometimes I agree with you and sometimes I don’t but, even when I don’t, I find your opinion(s) accessible and thought-provoking. Interacting only with people/blogs who mirror my own opinions would be hideously boring. I also love your snappy commentaries on the lunch deals/bestseller lists.

    You lose me a bit with the technology posts, but that’s because I’m technology-challenged and only understand about one out of every hundred words. But I know when I get ready to trade my poor, obsolete iPaq in for a newer model, I’ll be pulling up your archives and studying them. Even if I don’t get it, I know it’s invaluable information.

    I certainly hope you’re still here in eight years.

    (Oh, and I’m just babbling. That one’s not really my cup of tea, either, so an ARC would be lost on me.)

  32. dionne galace
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:16:04

    Well, you guys are just the bees’ knees.

    Oh, and I’m commenting for the free stuff.

  33. Stacy S
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:17:49

    I’ve only posted a few times. But I like this site. You have great reviews & talk about interesting stuff. I’ve never felt excluded, just other people say what I was thinking alot better.

  34. Stephanie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 09:27:14

    I like to fondle book covers, too. But I’m not new, so I won’t get a copy of this one to fondle. (With my massive 2 or 3 comments before this.)

  35. Anji
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:01:07

    I’m a long-time lurker and infrequent poster, on DA as well as SB, AAR and other blogs, and I’ve seen how the discussion of romance on the Internet has evolved from the early days of the Romance Reader. What’s really important to me are honest and open discussions, a open-minded community, an accessible website (a complicated and badly website where I have to struggle to figure out how things work definitely keeps me from returning), and regularly updated content. I love that Dear Author provides daily updates, and it’s thanks to DA’s excellent descriptions of ebooks and technological issues related to them that I’ve started reading ebooks.

    I don’t often post unless I feel that I can add something new to the discussion. I may or may not agree with reviews, but what’s more important to me is the reasoning given in the reviews – that’s far more compelling to me when deciding whether to buy a book compared to comments like “This is the best book ever and if you don’t agree, you’re just hating.” I really enjoy how interactive and smart the discussions here are, and the wide range of topics they cover. And I really hope you’re around for another 8 years and longer!

  36. Anji
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:08:00

    Posted by msaggie
    Regarding how Dear Author could be improved, the only thing I can think of is the search engine – can a separate new window be created each time we do a search? Then you could have more items on it – at the moment, it's this small box to the right hand corner of the main page.

    msaggie, if you click on the “show more results” link under the search results, the search opens in a new window. If you get all the search results listed on the side, try clicking the little graphic next to “Web” at the very top of the search results. The first little icon shows only one result, the second is for a few results, and the third icon shows all results. By clicking on another icon, you can change how the search results are displayed. Hope that helps!

  37. Jill Myles
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:08:53

    I love DA. I love that the reviews are unashamed to say what worked and what did not in a book – it gives me a better idea of what I’m buying than, say, Amazon reviews that can be manipulated or just out and out wrong.

    So as a voracious reader, I love DA. As an author, I’m going to make sure you get copies of my books and DEAR GOD I hope you like them (kidding).

    I love the discussions too. I actually frequent DA more than any other messageboards because I find it easier to read than some of the ‘messier’ messageboards. The format is very easy on the eyes here.

    You can leave me out of the drawings as well. :)

  38. ilona andrews
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:15:14

    I love it here. Actually this is pretty much the only place I read every day, besides my lj friend page.

    :sits in the corner with a cup of tea, perched on the big stack of sexy books: See, all comfy.

    PS. Please leave me out of the drawings :) Unless they are actual drawings for video reviews. If you’re going to draw me for video reviews, please make sure that I have big bosoms and a small butt. Also I want to be six feet tall. And blonde.

  39. Azure
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:29:53

    I stumbled across DA because of a post on a message board about ebooks. I enjoyed the articles about ebooks and ebook readers and now it’s rare that a day goes by when I don’t check what’s new here. I’m one of those weird people who reads a book, then goes and reads every review of the book I can find to see what other people thought. I don’t throw fits when people’s opinions disagree with mine, but sometimes dissenting opinions make me wonder why I missed flaws they found. (Or they remind me that not everybody likes plucky, know-it-all heroines in Regency romances.)

    I would love to get ARCs (hint hint), and my favorite JA novel is Pride and Prejudice, followed closely by Mansfield Park.

  40. EC Sheedy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:32:22

    Someone above my post said she rarely comments because it always seems someone gets there before she does and says it better. I second that. But this time I skipped over all the posts after hers to just blurt anyway.

    Ja(y)nes, I thorougly enjoy your blog and don’t find it in any way exclusive. I don’t read a ton of blogs, but yours and Sybil’s are must reads for me. I just hope you keep on, keepin’ on!

    EC (who also fondles books . . .)

  41. EC Sheedy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:36:18

    Sorry, I also meant to add, you can leave me out of the drawings, too. I haven’t got the, uh, whatevers to review someone’s book.


  42. Emily
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:42:06

    “the romance community was big enough to encompass not only our collective voices but many, many other voices of the genre.”

    And those who think otherwise are sweeping against the tide.

  43. Gina
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 10:47:42

    I ran across DA as a “Google plug in for their new” and it has been a main staple on my homepage every since. Each time I open my browers there you are, and I devour every column.

    You turned me on to eBooks – thank you very much – my family thanks you too. I was about to put up yet another bookshelf in the last open space in the office. My mother just told me if I don’t get my bookcases out of her house she’s putting the boooks in her upcoming garage sale and my aunt just reminded me that I have two boxes of books at her house. So again, thank you for turning me onto ebooks.

    The very nature of this blog is the whole reason for blogging in the first place. To state opinions, debate points and give everyone a chance to have a voice. In this the internet is a wonderful thing. Until one assumes that their opinion is more important than anyone elses – hypocritical and childish are two words that come to mind.

    Reading is a passion, and passions are best shared so blog on Dear Ja(y)nes, blog on.

    From another cover fondler in FL

  44. Bonnie Dee
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:10:39

    Completely unrelated to the topic at hand yet not…How many people have seen the movie, “Becoming Jane”? I think Jane Austen is such an intriguing figure to us because she wrote about themes women today can still relate to. Her romances resonate despite the difference in cultural milieu between her time and ours.

  45. Zara
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:28:43

    First of all, though I read far more than I comment, I have never felt excluded here. It always seems that everyone’s opinion and comments are welcome. :)

    My favorite Jane Austen works are Emma and Pride and Prejudice.

    I admit, I too fondle books. I also look at them with the reverence normally only given to Gerard Butler and chocolate lol.

  46. TeddyPig
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:39:36

    blogs are exclusive and narcissistic

    What?! When did we start having to login to your site to read it?

    Blogs represent a specific persons opinions, experiences and interests so they do have a bias. So if that is what they meant to say then fine I can agree with that.

    If it was a gripe about you being a popular blog… There is nothing wrong with people liking a well written blog or it’s specific bias. That is just life and to whine about it says more about the maturity level of the person griping.

  47. Sarah
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:42:49

    My favorite Jane Austen book is Pride and Prejudice followed by Northanger Abbey.

    Your entry title reminds me of my library school’s motto (A community of learners.)

    I personally love this site but I think that’s because I tend to really agree with your reviews, at least reading taste wise.

  48. Wendy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:44:42

    I’ve since left TRR after almost 10 years thanks to burn-out. But prior to feeling like my brain was oozing out of my ears – it was a lot of fun.

    Knowing that DA can’t be all things to all romance readers is a healthy attitude to have. These days, I visit AAR a couple times a week – mainly for the reviews and Special Title updates. I rarely visit the message boards, let alone post to them. Message boards just aren’t my thing (but blogs are – I know that’s contrary), and that’s not AAR’s fault. Just means I don’t like message boards. But there’s other things on the site I do like, so that’s where I spend my time browsing.

    Personally I adore the blog explosion, especially reader blogs. More voices make life more interesting. I like a lot of choices. Back in the day I only checked out 3 romance related sites – TRR, AAR and Mrs. Giggles. Now? The Internet is a horrible, horrible time-suck :)

  49. Bonnie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 11:45:47

    Every day I visit AAR, DA and SB two or more times. Each holds a special place in my heart. I love reading the conversations that take place on each site and I have learned more about reading, writing, and publishing than I thought I ever would. The only thing that holds me back from posting on any of these sites is the desire to not come off as an asshat, which is purely a personal issue and has nothing to do with the people who post here. You keep up the good work, I’ll be here in 8 years celebrating your longevity with you!

  50. Kalen Hughes
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:15:43

    DA and SB are two of the sites I LIVE on. LOL! Very different tones, but both smart and well worth my time. I get antsy if I miss my fix.

  51. Ciar Cullen
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:26:26

    I simply love your reviews. They hit just the right note for me. I can’t get through anything “too clever” so to speak, without wondering what the hell the book was about. Brava, this is a great spot!

  52. Danielle
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:30:45

    I’ve been coming to your web site and faithfully reading it everyday for a while. Because of your web site I found many new authors and even broke down and brought a Sony eReader.

    I love ARC’s….and I usually participate in author’s contest.

    I enjoy reading your reviews.

    Love this web site.

  53. Wandering Chopsticks
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:35:19

    Oh! The book is so lovely that you’ve tempted me to come out of lurkdom.

    I’ve been reading romances for nearly two decades now and have always done it alone. I stumbled upon a few forums but nothing really clicked for me. Pbbly the rabid fangirls that turned me off. I don’t remember how I originally got to DA, but I’ve become a daily reader b/c of both Ja(y)nes well-written letters. I just bought Jo Goodman’s If His Kiss is Wicked based on your review and excerpt. I also like the variety of stories that shed light on various aspects of the publishing industry from the agents to the e-publishing bankruptcy scandals. So keep on doing what you’re doing and I’ll keep reading.

    Some suggestions/thoughts. I was wondering if you could do a post about what e-pub editors do and how that varies from print publishing houses? Maybe I’m confused, but during some previous posts, I thought it sounded like they’re responsible for bringing in authors. So do they get a percentage of that? They don’t get a flat salary? So if a new author submits to the publisher in general, they just end up with the luck of the draw?

    Also, I read e-books in Adobe format on my laptop, and I wonder how many others do this? I recently bought Sarah McCarty’s spice short and Jessica Bird’s book based on your recommendation. But I absolutely abhorred the format of the Adobe digital library. So much so that after reading those books, I just don’t think I’d ever open up that digital library thing to read it again and will pbbly delete it from my laptop to make space for other stuff. And I really liked Jessica Bird’s Billionaire book too! I should have just waited and bought it in print but I wanted instant gratification at the time.

    I noticed you don’t do much coverage (any?) of New Concepts Publishing. Their website is atrocious, their books have major spelling and grammatical errors, but it’s the only place where I can get Kaitlyn O’Connor and Celeste Anwar books. Might I suggest trying The Lion’s Woman and Utter Domination? Really great world-building and tension.

  54. bookworm
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:38:50

    Hi, I’m bookworm. I fondle books, but not as often as I sniff them.

    I’m an irregular poster at AAR and SB. I’m a regular lurker at DA. This is my first time posting here – not because I’ve ever felt excluded – but because I already spend way too much time staring at my computer screen (which also includes laughing my ass off, shaking my fist, and feeling my lower jaw thud onto my keyboard). I like a bunch of different sites for different reasons. I’m a sucker for free books, and think it’s a great way to get people first-time posting. I’d be a lot more intimidated if AAR and SB hadn’t broken me in first (and none too gently, either). That, and your specific invitation to lurkers to post.
    Keep up the great blog. I’m particularly enjoying your entries on e-pubs, and all things related.

  55. Jayne
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:52:06

    Wandering Chopsticks (luv that name, BTW), I actually did an ebook site review of New Concepts about a year ago. This is before they redid their website. I’ve not actually bought any books of theirs since then b/c most of what they seem to be publishing these days is fantasy/futuristic/erotica with a rare contemporary/suspense effort once a month or so.

  56. Ann Wesley Hardin
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:55:40

    You asked over at RTB, so I’ll tell you why I keep you in my blog feeds: I love the variety of information you offer. Much of it we couldn’t get anywhere else unless we scoured the ‘net like you must do.

    You provide everything from well-thought reviews to techno-news…hmm not a bad tagline ;)

    No need to enter me in the contest. I’ve got more books than I can handle TBR. Just wanted to add my pennies.

    Please keep up the great work. You provide a wonderful, interesting, much needed service.

  57. LinM
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 12:58:23

    exclusive One of the things I like most about DA is the time that each contributor takes to respond to comments. This is true for the Ja(y)n…’s. It is also true for the featured authors/editors/publishers/artists/epub’s. The tone is definitely inclusive rather than exclusive.

    narcissistic Jane doesn’t have time!

    For me (like many others), DA is a morning ritual. Before the rest of the house is awake, I make coffee and check my favourite book blogs (DA, SB, AAR, …) some fantasy blogs, a mystery blog, some tech blogs, the news and so on. I generally wander around waiting for my brain to wake up. DA is one of the first sites I visit because I know there will be a new post. My perambulations this morning leave me wondering whether Jane will turn her iPhone into a beautiful brick applying the firmware upgrades.

  58. Jane
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 13:18:44

    Agh. So many comments and like Lin M said – so little time.

    Not all ARCs are equal and Avon really does beautiful ARCs (and expensive. This is really my only time to fondle books at my leisure although I’ve been known to run my fingers across the tables at the bookstore.

    I am glad that some of the not very frequent posters and new posters came out: Joanna, Lorri, jude, sandy I, Andrea, Sonja, Helen, Tracy, Stacy S, Anji, Azure, Gina, Zara, Bonnie, Wandering Chopsticks, bookworm!

    I am thrilled to hear that we are converting people to read ebooks because Jayne and I are big lovers of ebooks even though there is no opportunity to fondle covers when you have ebooks.

    I love it that people come here even though their reading tastes are diametrically opposed to my own.

    Wandering Chopsticks, I’ll take a look at those books you mentioned. Unlike Jayne, I am not burned out on the paranormal/fantasy books. I hate Adobe and wouldn’t use that format. I prefer to read Mobipocket if I have to read a “locked” book but I mostly buy MS Lit books and then convert to html files.

    Lin M – I’ve read that this morning and have decided that my iPhone works just fine and I won’t be updating the firmware until some hacks come out to break it again. There is a “hack” to re-lock the phone. I never did “unlock” it. rather, I “jailbroke” it and I don’t know if that makes a difference or not. But the current set up is so wonderful that there is little that Apple could do to convince me to change the system right now.

  59. Susan Helene Gottfried
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 13:39:06

    I usually lurk, mostly because I don’t write romance, nor read a lot of it. But I look forward to your letters to authors; you guys really know how to write a neat review. And your industry talk is dead-on good stuff.

    To me, you’ve got your own thing going and it works. But giving away books — especially books that otherwise aren’t getting a lot of press or notice — just makes this place better. If we can’t expose ourselves to new writers, an awful lot of deserving people are going to find themselves without a career.

    Kudos, ladies! And if I’m ever at a conference with you, you’ll never hear me say, “I don’t want to meet those Dear Author ladies.” I’m still saddened by that one.

  60. RfP
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 13:43:32

    If each site had to be “all things for all people“, that would be the whoppingest-gigantious mother of all websites. Who would be able to find anything? And even if it could be supremely well organized… how boring. Which explains a lot of government websites. All things for all people = large, hard to navigate, dull, bureaucratic… and contentious.

    I’m sure the size of the site has something to do with people’s expectations. No one would expect a tiny site to have vast amounts of info or diverse perspectives, but when a site gets to be Dear Author-sized I can see why one might get the impression it represents the romance reader community in a larger sense. But it’s not a forum, it’s a blog. And as Jude said, even forums aren’t entirely populist.

  61. Bev Stephans
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 13:59:36

    What’s not to like about your blog. You offer diversity and that counts for a lot. As for fondling books, I’ve fondled a few in my time and will probably do so again.

    Getting back to your blog: Where else could I read some of my favorite author’s opinions. It’s nice to know how their minds work outside a book.

    I don’t think you should change anything.

  62. Jana J. Hanson
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 14:11:05

    Love DA. Visit at least twice a day. Thanks for your dedication and wonderfully informative blog!!

    (No need to enter my name in your drawing. Thank you anyway!)

  63. DS
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 14:17:44

    I have message boards I visit and blogs. I used to spend more time on AAR but when Laurie changed the format I found it wasn’t an intuitive design– I have to sit and think about how to find the reviews or the discussion boards although it generally comes back to me after a while.

    I’m afraid I just dived right into a discussion when I first found this site– same thing at SB– But its been a long time since I was accused of lacking self confidence.

  64. Sara, Ms. Adventures in Italy
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 14:18:20

    I think you are doing a great job. Being a blogger myself, I know how hard it is to keep producing material on a regular basis.

    Things I love about your site:
    – ebook information (I love love this as I am out of the country)
    – You get ARCs and give us heads-up about upcoming books
    – Multiple opinions
    – Book deals (some of us would never have access to this info)

    I look to you for new trends, and for a summary of what else is bouncing around the romance world. This would be my first choice of blog to follow if I could choose only one! :)

  65. Kalen Hughes
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 14:30:09

    I love the fact that even when you don’t like a book, the review doesn’t make me cringe (and yes, I’m a hypocrite, cause I love a good cringe worthy review SB’s style). Many of the other review sites can be downright nasty when they don't like something.

  66. vanessa jaye
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 14:47:13

    A couple of things,

    There has been some tension between romance blogs and the romance website, All About Romance.

    This is a bit misleading, it makes it sound like there’s active animosity(?) between the sites, when really, there’s been some grumbling by a couple of posters on a thread over on AAR.

    While I don’t find DA exclusive, I do find that blogs, loops and messageboards, over time, develop a certain core group of peeps who regularly post and to an extent dominate/shape the culture of exchange. A short hand of communication develops, ‘in jokes’ and a certain of humour prevails, etc. Sometimes it goes further whereby there’s a closing of ranks and any dissenting opinion is met with a thorough scolding, and things can become too precious by far. Quite. Some folks need a reply to their post or they feel ignored/slighted, rather than assuming that just maybe others have read their reply and are nodding in lurkdom.

    Obviously, in my opinion, and for everyone who’s posted in this thread, DA does not fall into this category; but *maybe* for those ladies who don’t feel comfortable here, enough to post online about their discomfort, they might have picked up a whiff of any one of the issues mentioned, and/or others that don’t come readily to mind. ::shrug:: Who knows? Maybe they simple don’t care for the ‘direct address’ format of the reviews and from that stance view every post over here through a certain bias. Who knows? ::another shrug:: Maybe they feel that us vs them competition and feel AAR is threatened by the newcomers. Again, who knows? But thank goodness that the community is big enough that folks can find a place they feel wholly comfortable.

    Keep doing what you’re doing. I like the diversity of topics and that that folks can discuss, agree and disagree like adults.

    Regarding fondling books. Ain’t nuthin wrong with it. And lets not forget that lovely pulpy scent of the pages.

  67. Rebecca
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 15:20:47

    Fondling book covers isn’t illegal-yet.


    *furtively looking over shoulder.*

    If you want to fondle the inside of a cover, there’s a new book about Lincoln’s tomb-strange yes- that has black satin/mourning cloth type inside the cover. Very victorian feel. Creepy.

    Book is about the great Lincoln Tomb robbery..but the inside cover is truly unusual.

    And I still think fondling is kinder than cracking the spine!


  68. Angela
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 16:13:18

    Blogs are fun because prior to them, we just had AAR and Mrs. Giggles to deliver the truth in reviews. With Bam, DA, Sybil,Karen,etc, there are many more blogger-reviewers for disgruntled readers and authors to target. Mwuahaha!

  69. TessaD
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 16:43:17

    Oh, I have been lurking on DA (and SB and AAR and Bam and MrsG and others) for at least a year now, and you have picked the ONE thing that would entice me out of the woodwork to comment – an Austen-related ARC. With embossing, no less.

    So here I reveal myself to be a Janeite, a Ja(y)neite, and a book fondler.

    I enjoy the diversity of opinions available on the various blogs and forums. I also (a bit shamefully) admit to enjoying watching the tension amongst them flare up on occasion. Please don’t change DA, and please don’t feel like everyone must get along. That would spoil half the fun!

    With regards to DA, I especially enjoy the dueling reviews and the first-sale stories. And the fact that you review e-books and the relevant technology. And the nifty way you hide spoilers in reviews. Oh, and the links to news items. Okay, I ardently admire and love it all. Do I win yet, lol?

  70. Nalini Singh
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 16:45:38

    Another book fondler and mad fan of DA here. Don’t change!

    Personally, I love how the romance community has grown – there’s so much more out there to choose from. And I think the exclusivity issue can arise anywhere. When you’re new to something and looking in, it might seem like everyone already knows each other. But most of the time, that’s just a false impression that fades if you hang around a little while.

    p.s. Don’t enter me in the contest – my tbr pile is already in danger of tipping over.

  71. MadisonRose
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 16:47:52

    I’ve only been reading this site for the last few weeks, but I love it! I enjoy the honesty of the reviewers, and I really wouldn’t change anything here. I wouldn’t mind some more first-sale stories…Keep up the good work!

  72. BevL(QB)
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 18:06:17

    I love the online Romance community, and it really does have a strong sense of community, doesn’t it? Where/how else could we come into daily contact with such a large group of people that share our same passionate interest- reading, and reading Romance books in particular.

    One of the community’s strengths is that it is NOT homogenous. Can you imagine blog hopping only to find the same opinions on the same books posted on every blog? *shudders at the thought* Yes, sometimes the juicy controversies are so irresistable that we can’t help but get drawn into them. Sometimes they are only a tempest in a teapot, important only to a few members of the Romance community.

    I think the key to this community is that each of us maintain our own individual voice. And each of us must decide for ourself the degree to which we want to interact and participate in each discussion.

  73. Lurker
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 18:11:19

    I check all the various romance sites and the bigger blogs daily, mostly because my job is boring, and I have to say that none of them is perfect, but by reading all of them I generally am able to keep up with what’s going on in the genre. For instance, I seldom read the reviews on DA, just because I don’t particularly care for the format. “Dear author, I’m going to launch into a summary of your book, which makes no sense because you wrote it and should know what it is about, but this review really isn’t for you, which makes this format a ridiculous affectation.” Plus most of them seem to be positive–it seems like 85%+ of them are Bs–so it hardly seems worth taking a recommendation. On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting things about the romance novel industry and upcoming books that I like just fine. I generally read AAR’s reviews, even though I only agree with them half the time, but stay off the message boards because I find some of the posters there spectacularly annoying. I check Smart Bitches, but skip a lot of their cover mockery and posts that are barely related to romance novels, none of which I care about. There are some reader blogs I’ll read because I enjoy their style, even if my tastes don’t match theirs. And so on.

    But I have to say, I like the conciliatory tone of this post and wish the people who like the respective sites and don’t like the other would stick to them instead of whining about the other–or at least stay silent as I usually do and will from now on, I promise. I don’t know why AAR’s reader have to complain about blogs. Don’t like them? Fine, don’t go there. Problem solved! I’ve felt the same way the few times I have ventured onto AAR’s boards and seen posts saying, “I don’t read AAR reviews. I only read reader blogs!” Which is fine, so why aren’t you there instead of whining over here? Plus, blogs aren’t perfect either. There’s more than a few that crow over how their reviews are sooooo impartial and fair, and then the next thing you know they’re turning their blog over to an author for a day to shill for their book. Like how partial and fair are your reviews if you’re that cozy with authors? But whatever. No site is perfect or will please everyone, but all of the ones I visit seem to be doing just fine and serving the needs of their fanbase. If only some of their posters could refrain about whining about the others.

    Sorry to vent. Just a few things I’ve wanted to say for a long time and bit my tongue over instead. Maybe I should have this time as well.

  74. Michelle
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 18:12:43

    I really enjoy DA, I also enjoy getting to recognize some of the frequent posters. ( I will even forgive you for not giving Megan Whalen Turner’s The Thief an A-just wait till you get to The Queen of Attolia, and The King of Attolia-they are even better-the King of Attolia is one of the most romantic books I have ever read). Anyway I do think on message boards there is always a small subset that enjoys stirring the pot, or creating conflict.

    I think it is tacky when members of one website are quite rude/insulting about another. I think they try to make themselves feel superior/pat themselves on the back, and it is a major turn off. I don’t see why the different sites have to be in competition, but instead can complement each other.

  75. bookworm
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 18:29:07

    Hey Lurker – I’m glad you vented. That was very entertaining. It’s a shame you don’t post at AAR – they’ve been complaining that they’re bored. I think you’d cure them of that, lol.

  76. Kristie(J)
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 18:46:24

    Well, I’ve loved DA from the very beginning and after getting to know and share a room with Jane – my day doesn’t really start until I’ve visited to see what’s going on. I often check at work and then naturally when I get home from work again!

  77. Jane
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 19:05:12

    Lurker, it is true that the majority of our reviews are positive but the reason isn’t because we only believe in giving a good opinion but because we only read books we hope to like. I.e., Jayne right now is totally burned out on paranormals. I think she’d throw a vampire book at the wall if I sent her one without even opening it up. So she’s not reading those. Right now I am kind of chick litted out and so I don’t feel like reading those or those cute contemporaries.

    We aren’t reading alot of authors that we might give bad grades to if we had read them. I would also say that I personally start alot of books but never end up finishing them so I feel like I can’t blog about them.

    This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t feel the way you do about the reviews here, but just a way to explain the reason for the greater percentage of positive reviews.

  78. anu439
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 19:57:43

    One thing that puts me off from blogs sometimes is the cult of personality that can develop. These are intimate places from, as you said Jane, usually one person’s perspective. Posters are generally limited to fans of the blog, which means that the comments sometimes veer heavily to the “OMG You’re so awesome SQUEE!” Rinse and repeat 40x. Not talking about the comments to this post, btw, as they make sense in context. Sometimes tho, whether it’s here or the SBs or a political blog or wherever, the self-congratulatory exchanges between bloggers and their posters can have lurkers staying away.

    It’s got nothing to do with ADMIN, but the site’s commenters. It’s the fangirl syndrome, and it can be as icky when directed at blogs as it is when it’s directed at authors. I think that’s what some of the comments at AAR were getting at. While I disagree with a lot of those comments, as someone who limits her gushing to books, it can definitely make me click away to somewhere else—likely to a book review/discussion.

  79. Jackie L.
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 20:32:21

    Love the site, visit daily. Don’t much care about the reviews, because for reading the only opinion that matters to me is mine. (Now who’s narcissistic?) But I adore the side bar stuff, the techie stuff, the first sale stuff, the occasional snark and that’s why I keep coming back.

    I posted this because I really enjoy the site and can’t imagine the amount of work that must go into maintaining it. Thank you for doing all you do. Please do not enter me in the contest, however.

  80. Jennifer McKenzie
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 21:10:13

    I started dropping by Dear Author when an author I knew online was reviewed. I checked back and then got hooked on the “First Sales” Friday and the editorials. The comments here are interesting and filled with useful tools.
    And you were the ONLY place that had posts on ebook readers. You understood that ebook readers wanted to buy the technology that went with that. You are the only one who did.
    I love what you’re doing. I’m hooked.

  81. Robin
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 21:31:40

    Re. low grade reviews, I’m working on one right now, and I can tell you that they are no pleasure to write. First of all, while it often feels easier to complain about a book you don’t like, writing intelligently and coherently about a book that didn’t work for me is a much more difficult process. With some books, I am so frustrated by certain things that i have to really figure out what DID work, and then communicate that without making it seem like an afterthought. And then there is the distinction between what didn’t work for me in terms of craft, and what just didn’t appeal to me, and making that all come together in a clear-sighted review takes more time for me to write than a review about a book I loved. And beyond that, I don’t have the excitement in writing the low grade review that I do when I am sharing a book I really enjoyed. I haven’t gotten to the point where I give up on a book I’m not enjoying and move on, as some of the others here do, but that may happen when and if I ever get the point where I feel I am missing out on books I really want to read because I’m struggling to finish a book I feel like I’ve committed to read and review.

  82. Roslyn
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 21:41:06

    I usually come here at least once a day. Not so much for the reviews as our taste is different, but for the news about the industry. I also like the author interviews (first sales especially), and interviews with other industry pros. The techie stuff is great. I’m quite tech phobic, but will probably get an iPhone because even I could understand how to hack it into an e-reader. You also turned me on to e-books, and now I actually prefer them. You can’t beat the immediacy of the e-book, though my credit card is in serious pain.

    Don’t read AAR or RTB all that often, but you guys are always interesting, them, not so much.

  83. MaryK
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 22:17:21

    “Blogs are easier…they tend to have a more focused discussion going on and I don't have to sift thru tons of posts to find out if I'm missing something interesting.”

    This could be the reason for the exclusive feeling some people get from blogs: focused discussion by regulars. Blogs are a more intimate setting, and if you’re a lurker by temperament it can be wrenching to insert yourself into the group’s conversation. The tons of message board posts give a more anonymous feeling.

    Definitely continue with the ebook technology updates. I’m about 80% convinced it’s time to get an ebook reader and stop reading off my laptop.

  84. Ann Aguirre
    Sep 25, 2007 @ 22:43:25

    I tend to come back to blogs where my contribution is acknowledged in some way. Because honestly, I like the interaction with authors and readers, but if I wind up on a blog where people always ignore whatever I have to say, as if I haven’t said it, then I may as well not post there, because there’s no intellectual exchange. And so I don’t go back.

  85. Tara Marie
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 04:40:01

    Since I haven’t been around much in the last 2 months, I wonder can I qualify as a newbie, I really want this book, it fits quite nicely with the Austen TBR pile sitting on my nightstand :)

    I’m adding this one to my wish list.

  86. Jenyfer Matthews
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 08:04:10

    Sad that it takes the chance to win an ARC of the Jane Austen memoir to draw me out of my lurk mode. I’m a relatively new visitor but I can already tell that I’ll be dropping by regularly.

  87. Bev(BB)
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 13:01:43

    Hmmm, does no one else see many overlapping smaller communities instead of one large one?

  88. Jennifer
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 16:34:04

    I love a good cover. Matte ones always seem to grab me more than shiny.

    I love blogs with authors who actually respond to your comments. It doesn’t even have to be each time, but to see that someone actually reads the content of their own blog is a nice gesture.

  89. Meanne
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 16:54:58

    Can international readers join in too for the free stuff? I know I'm a day late, but life got in the way yesterday…Anyway, I've been reading DA almost since it began sometime in April 2006. Living in Holland and not knowing a single soul who also shares my love for romance books can be very isolating. I started out reading Mrs. Giggles' website faithfully several years ago and got a kick out of finding out we shared the same race and ethnicity. Then I discovered DA and slowly developed an addiction for it, which led me to the blogs of SB, Bam, Karen Scott and others. Sometimes I feel that reading the blogs get in the way of my actual reading of books!! But still I continue to visit almost daily and spend hours reading what's available in romance blogland because it really helps me breathe to know that I share a love of books that all you wonderful, smart, eloquent, funny and feisty women also love… It makes me feel less alone…Since I am basically a shy person, this is only the second time I've delurked and left a comment here. My first ever comment was on Part 1 of that one-of -a-kind lego review of The Courtesan's Daughter…

  90. Ann Aguirre
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 22:43:22

    I love blogs with authors who actually respond to your comments. It doesn't even have to be each time, but to see that someone actually reads the content of their own blog is a nice gesture.

    Yep. Well-said.

  91. Gwendy
    Sep 26, 2007 @ 23:07:34

    I’m a long time lurker who hasn’t posted before. I check out DA, SB and AAR pretty regularly but after reading as much of the blogs and posts as I can, there isn’t always time to add my pearls of wisdom. And really, by that time so many people have said it much better than I ever could.
    This is definately a friendly and welcoming site and the writing is first class. Very enjoyable. I think it must be usual for lurkers to feel shy about testing the waters. No matter what site is involved. I know I’ve only posted once at SB. Those ladies can bring it at the speed of light! My brain has slowed down quite a bit in the last few years!

  92. Catherine
    Sep 27, 2007 @ 13:36:18

    I personally love this site. I really like the layout and how user friendly it is. I’ve lurked here for about a year but only started posting a little while ago. It did feel like a tightly knit group while I read the comments on various posts. It wasn’t intimidating to me though. It just made it seem even friendlier. I was a little put off by all the abbreviations when discussing books though. I didn’t really enjoy having to research to find out what was being said. After I figured it out I was good.

    I was in the military and moved away from all my friends back home. I suddenly had no one to discuss books with. I tried talking with my husband, but he just gave me the look that I give him when he talks about modifying his Jeep even more. I finally hit the web looking for reviews. I found a few blogs but Bam’s was the first one I loved and kept with. I casually browsed the links she had to other sites on her page and found you guys. After Bam got busy and stopped posting reviews that often and totally stopped the cover snarks I ended up hitting you guys up at least twice a day.

    That is one of my favorite things about this post. Even though you will lend the blog to Author’s posts or talk about different things going on in the industry you still post reviews. Maybe it’s because there’s more than one person running the site? But I love your content and the frequency with which you post. I especially love the ARCs because it exposes people to authors they might not ever pick up on their own.

  93. Jane
    Sep 28, 2007 @ 12:50:53

    Thanks for the comments, particularly the suggestions for improvement.

    The winners of the ARC is/are:

    Lorri, Zara, Tessa D and bookworm. Please email me with your snail mail address.

    The winners of the $5 GC is/are:

    Tracy, Joanna, Gina.

    Please email me with your email address and choice of GC – either amazon or fictionwise.

    jane @

  94. Zara
    Sep 30, 2007 @ 14:49:59

    Wow, thanks so very much for the ARC! I’m excited about it because I love anything and everything Jane Austen. I will email you with my address. Thanks again!

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