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

In re: the Moderation of Posts and the Endorsement of Comments

We’ve had a bit of a firestorm here at Dear Author and many new readers (hello new visitors). I thought it might be worthwhile to do a bit of post mortem on the recent brou ha ha.

For new visitors, let me give you a bit of a history. I started Dear Author in April of 2006 with my friend, Jayne. Initially it was the two of us sharing our reviews of books with the open internet world as opposed to the private email list we had belonged to for several years prior (6 maybe?). The Two Ja(y)nes seemed pretty clever to me. I foolishly got caught up in the “Jane-ness” and now everyone who blogs with us has a Jan-like psuedonym. What seemed clever two years ago is a bit silly now, but it’s like an inescapable brand. I should have been more prescient.

I give that background because Dear Author is composed of six different individuals, three who contribute regular reviews: myself, Jayne and Jia. Three others who provide semi-regular reviews: Janine, Janet (aka Robin), and Jan. We are adding another thoughtful voice, Jennie, who will contribute the occasional review as well. Robin and I also chat about various opinion topics because Robin blogs regularly for two other romance oriented blogs and I find her a valuable sounding board. We seven individuals rarely agree on one thing from books (look at the Meredith Duran book, for example), to opinions on tropes, to the color of the sky on any given day. It is the individuality of our opinions that makes this blog so vibrant because I see the same thing in the commenters here.

It is a rare event when we, bloggers and commenters, are of one voice. One of the things for which I am most proud of the community that we have here is the fierceness and quality of our debates. We are passionate in our opinions yet I find that we respect each other in spite of, or perhaps because of, the wide range of positions. I’ve often found you learn the most from people with whom you disagree.

But the Dear Author blog is not represented by one statement of its commenters or even one statement of its bloggers. Even though the names of the individual bloggers all stem from the same root, we flower and express ourselves much differently.

I remember when Nora Roberts first came and started posting. It was common for readers to refer to authors as one big borg acting in concert with each other. She reminded us that authors were like readers, each having individual opinions. I’ve made an effort since then to not label all authors with one same brush. And I’ve definitely observed, over the past two years of running Dear Author, that the positions of authors vary wildly, confirming Roberts’ claim that they are not the borg. (I think we readers doubted this when she first posited the opinion).

Similarly readers and bloggers do not operate with one hive mind, as evidenced in the thread that discussed Gerritsen’s post about the Deborah Anne MacGillivray’s actions of harassment toward a reader. There were plenty of individuals who said her statements didn’t bother them and conversely there were other individuals who were bothered. There were strong opinions expressed on both sides of the aisle.

We don’t like to censor comments nor do we endorse the comments of any poster. We do reserve the right to moderate comments but most of the time will not, believing, as Justice Brandeis did, that the greater good is in “more speech, not enforced silence.”

In essence, ascribe my comments to me and I’ll ascribe your comments to you. We’ll be adults and take responsibilities for our own words and actions and this community of romance readers and authors will be stronger for it.

Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She 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

44 Comments

  1. katiebabs
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:12:16

    I felt like Dear Author has been around for more than 2 years! Kudos to you ladies. At first I was just a lurker but now I enjoying stopping by and allowing my voice to be heard :D

    ReplyReply

  2. Janine
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:13:26

    Hear, hear! Great post, Jane.

    I agree that the diversity of opinions expressed here is a lot of what makes the site vibrant. It’s so true that opinions differ, sometimes greatly, even among us Ja(y)nes. And while I realize that the similar J-names make it easy to confuse us with one another, I hope that readers will make the effort to tell us apart.

    ReplyReply

  3. Keishon
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 11:19:08

    Agreed.

    It is rather obtuse to assume that a blog/website condones the actions/thoughts/opinions of it’s visitors. Many sites put up disclaimers just for that reason. ETA, the community here is nice and I enjoy posting here and contrary to what other people may think, it is very civil here despite how passionate and spirited visitors can be.

    ReplyReply

  4. Lorelie
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:10:16

    I had to learn to tell y’all apart the hard way — ’cause my reading tastes don’t match up at all with a certain J and I kept picking up books that left me with a “This was a what grade?” taste in the mouth. :D

    ReplyReply

  5. Aemelia
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:15:03

    I love the various views and opinions that are expressed here, it has definately broadened my horizons!

    ReplyReply

  6. Gail Faulkner
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:17:36

    Authors are not the Borg? Very disappointing, I really want to look just like Seven-of-Nine! Dang it.

    Seriously, that comment surprised me. It never occurred to me that authors could be seen as uniform. I enjoy this blog and find the variety of opinion very healthy. Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    ReplyReply

  7. Janine
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 12:35:35

    I had to learn to tell y'all apart the hard way -’ 'cause my reading tastes don't match up at all with a certain J and I kept picking up books that left me with a “This was a what grade?” taste in the mouth. :D

    LOL. I think Jayne would agree with me that she and I have pretty different tastes. Even when we occasionally like the same book (it happened with Janet Mullany’s The Rules of Gentility and Loretta Chase’s Not Quite a Lady) our responses to that book may still be different.

    Jane and I have a bit more overlap (for example, we both loved Sharon Shinn’s Dark Moon Defender) but not a tremendous amount.

    Jan and Janet/Robin’s tastes are closer to mine, and if they like a romance I often like it too. But not always.

    Jennie, who will be coming on board soon, is probably closest to me in her tastes. We don’t always agree but we often do.

    I haven’t read almost any of the books Jia has reviewed or commented on, so I still don’t know how my tastes align with hers.

    ReplyReply

  8. Stephanie
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 13:08:07

    Authors are not the Borg? Very disappointing, I really want to look just like Seven-of-Nine! Dang it.

    I know! That was my main reason for trying to write things. *sigh*

    More importantly, good points, and I will draw little pictures of you six or seven in my head to keep you distinct.

    ReplyReply

  9. Harry~DayDream
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 13:16:03

    Hey I have been lurking for several months too and well finally conquering my sloth episode I am saying howdy. At first I thought this blog only had one contributer. I am bad with names and Jane, Jayne, Jen sound awefully too close. I am sorry for that by the way. I am glad for this post and now I know more. The best thing out of the whole is that I am so book-starved that I read almost anything.

    ReplyReply

  10. stephanie feagan
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 13:29:33

    Jane, that was just lovely. My sincerest thanks to you and all the Jan…(s) for the hard work you put into this blog. I’ve found new authors because of youse guys – thanks!

    (Can I touch your bosoms?)

    ReplyReply

  11. Jane
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 13:33:40

    You are welcome to, Steph, if you locate them. You’d find a chestier example on a teenage boy on steroids.

    Janine is right about the taste issue. I most closely identify with Jayne. If she likes a book, I think I’ll like it and vice versa. I have fairly overlapping tastes with Robin although we tend to disagree on degrees.

    Janine, Jan, and Jennie F have all provided me with great recommendations, but you kind of learn what to look for in their reviews to determine whether that is going to be a book for you.

    ReplyReply

  12. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 14:05:16

    Main reason I come here is for the wide variety of opinions. :)

    I tried to the ‘borg thing but I was told I had to think like others, not make them all think like me.

    What’s the fun in that? ;)

    ReplyReply

  13. Keishon
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 14:18:59

    I started to say so-so is my favorite reviewer but I restrained myself. I’m teasing as I like you all. The key is knowing whose tastes align well with your own and that’s always worked for me. There are reviewers from AAR that I miss and from TRR that I miss as well. Sigh.

    ReplyReply

  14. Bev Stephans
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 14:23:37

    Great Blog!!! I have enjoyed posting and reading the other comments. I have found some great books and some not so great books, but hey, that’s what diversity is all about.

    ReplyReply

  15. (Jān)
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 14:33:54

    Same here. I’m set apart by the manga and the MxM fixation to begin with.

    But when it comes to standard MxF romances and the others’ tastes, I generally like what Jayne and Janine do, which is strange because they have very different tastes. Or maybe not, since Jayne likes the kinds of historical I do, and Janine likes a kind of prose and skill storytelling that I love, but I don’t have to have either to enjoy a book. And I like what Jane does in paranormals and sf but not always what she does in contemporaries (she likes those goofy sports-related books ;D).

    Once people read a few reviews, their tastes will probably start to align with one or other of us. Between the 7 of us we like most kinds of romance.

    Nice post Jane. :)

    ReplyReply

  16. azteclady
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:17:17

    Dear Author is only two?

    Rats, talk about your precocious overachieving toddler!

    :grin:

    I love this place.

    ReplyReply

  17. Tracy
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:23:31

    *scratching my head* I don’t understand how people could assume all authors were the “same”. Everyone is different. That’s something we figure out fairly early in life. So, I’m not understanding why rational adults would think that just because you author a book **BAM** you automatically turn into a carbon copy of all other authors? What a boring world that would be.

    I love all the different reviews and opinions. Sometimes I’ll read a review for the content of what the book is about b/c quite frankly, what the reviewer is bothered by isn’t even something that I would think to notice while reading. Negative reviews have convinced me to buy books in the past~just as much as a positive review.

    On the other hand a gushing review will sometimes convince me NOT to read something b/c what the reviewer LOVES about the book would make me want to throw it at the wall. That’s why I love reviews that give a lot of detail. I’m a spoiler slut, so any plot devices given away don’t bother me LOL

    ReplyReply

  18. Liviania
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:28:45

    Haha, discovering how tastes line up is one of the best parts of discovering a new reviewer. (Archives are very handy for this.) One of my favorite movie reviewers thinks almost exactly the opposite of me – I know if he hates a movie I’ll love it and if he hates it I’ll love it. That’s just as useful to me as an opinion that agrees with my own.

    I think Jan’s taste is pretty close to my own.

    Thanks to all of you for Dear Author – it’s a wonderful site.

    ReplyReply

  19. ilona andrews
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 15:41:30

    Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.

    ReplyReply

  20. Gail Faulkner
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 16:21:11

    LMAO…good one Ilona

    ReplyReply

  21. Meriam
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 16:52:10

    I usually find my tastes somewhere between Jane, Janet’s and Janine’s. Sometimes I get this spooky feeling when I read one of their reviews and the response is so similar to my own. Other times (as with Janet and the Sookie Stackhouse series) I can only frown and shake my head in befuddlement. I look forward to reading Jennie’s reviews.

    Aside from the enjoyment I derive simply from reading the articles and the lively discussions, it’s a really valuable resource in terms of choosing what books to buy, and which ones to avoid.

    Two years old and you get 56,000 unique visits a month? Not bad at all.

    ReplyReply

  22. Diana Castilleja
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 17:12:08

    Cute Azteclady. I was kind of thinking the same thing. :)

    ReplyReply

  23. Robin
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 17:26:36

    How can anyone not love Sookie? *sigh* So much for resistance being futile . . .

    ReplyReply

  24. Meriam
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 17:36:39

    Seriously! You’re the only other person I know who loves My Reckless Heart, you were right about Kresley Cole, I read Black Silk and Sunshine and Shadow thanks to you and loved them – but Sookie Stackhouse?

    I. Just. Don’t. Get. It.

    ReplyReply

  25. Keishon
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 17:40:20

    How can anyone not love Sookie? *sigh*

    Robin, did you review Charlaine Harris’s Sookie books? I did a quick search and didn’t see them. I just discovered them and am on book #3 and am trying to read them all. I like Sookie and Bill.

    ReplyReply

  26. Karen Scott
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 17:59:51

    Have I told you how much I like your ‘subscribe without commenting’ plugin?

    As for the above post, yeah what you said.

    ReplyReply

  27. Shannon C.
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:05:55

    I love it over here. There’s always something going on every day, which is awesome.

    Thus far, Jane and Jia seem to read the sorts of things I like. Jayne’s tastes tend to run toward the kinds of books I probably wouldn’t be tempted to try, and manga is something that baffles me, so I haven’t paid a whole lot of attention to Jan’s reviews.

    And I never thought authors were the borg, although now that you’re telling me looking like Seven of Nine won’t happen when I get a book contract, my poor dreams are shattering! Shattering I tell you!

    ReplyReply

  28. DS
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:06:02

    New Sookie novel May 6.

    ReplyReply

  29. Janet
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:12:32

    Keishon, I’ve waxed rhapsodic about the books elsewhere, but my only formal review is of the one releasing next week, which Jane has scheduled for then, I think. What can I say — I love the series and think Harris is a genius for all the social commentary she packs into those books without making them preachy or even simple in their analogies. And I, too, have a soft spot for Bill. Oh, you have much ahead of you in the series. Book 4 is actually my favorite, I think. It’s where Harris reveals the bittersweet turn in Sookie’s life and character most poignantly, IMO.

    Meriam, Someday, you will believe . . .

    ReplyReply

  30. Keishon
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:37:44

    Thanks, looking forward to reading your review on her new one.

    ReplyReply

  31. Tabitha
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:45:38

    I’ve been a frequent reader for awhile now but don’t post as much (as much=twice/three times before. lol). Mainly, I read and follow books by my favorite authors with the occasional recommendations I read about so I don’t have much by way of contribution on the books reviewed. Nonetheless, I enjoy reading the reviews here and slowly learning to differentiate between the Jan(s).

    ReplyReply

  32. Ann Bruce
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 18:53:37

    Like a few others, DA feels like it’s been around for much longer than 2 years.

    Have I told you how much I like your 'subscribe without commenting' plugin?

    Karen, you so need this plugin on your blog.

    ReplyReply

  33. Julia Sullivan
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 19:05:31

    As a writer, I am exactly the same as Danielle Steel. Except for the international fame. And the bank account. And the husband. And the children. And the genre. And the authorial voice.

    Also, I’m taller. But really, we’re absolutely the same otherwise.

    ReplyReply

  34. Jennifer McKenzie
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 19:18:21

    There are many, many times I read and don’t comment because the passion of commenters is so intense.
    Oh, and I read the reviews. It fascinates me that you review such a variety. I had no idea you were SIX people. For some reason, I got stuck on two. LOL.

    ReplyReply

  35. Jessica Barksdale Inclan
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 20:55:27

    I don’t feel like I make much of an impact here nor do I want to, but I have always enjoyed the honesty, the news, the reviews, and the updates. I’ve sent many of person here, and I feel it’s a great place to test the romance waters–to see what readers and writers of are up to.

    Jessica

    ReplyReply

  36. Lynne
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 21:16:53

    I don’t always comment, either, but I do read DA at least once a day. I think keeping comments open and allowing civility to be enforced by the community is a healthy approach.

    ReplyReply

  37. Liviania
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 22:24:57

    RE: Sookie Stackhouse

    I tried this series because I liked vampires and I like Southern setting, since I’m a Southern girl.

    They’re okay, but I don’t get the big deal. I read about three of ‘em and decided I wasn’t interested enough to buy the fourth.

    ReplyReply

  38. Angela
    Apr 23, 2008 @ 23:11:07

    Great job Janes’s’s’s (lol). I’ve been visiting this site for a little over a year, and can’t get enough of it. I have no clue whose reading tastes are similar to mine since I don’t read as many new books as you all, but I appreciate all opinions.

    ReplyReply

  39. Janie H
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 07:32:05

    Well, it’s good to read this post. I am going to go out on a limb publicly and say that though I like the reviews and such, I am much more ambivalent about the opinion sections and their comment threads. Let it be noted that I am one of those people who do not like conflict. I start to feel that some kind of damage may be done to people, even though we are speaking truth and desiring good. Words are powerful. I hestitated posting this comment, but Dear Author is my favorite place for reviews, and one of the few places I ever leave a comment. I feel a sense of community here as a reader and writer of romance. I do appreciate Jane’s frankness, always.

    Another Jane (Janie). LOL! If you need another reviewer, email me. I could be the stoic, cold old Lady who writes about skills and techniques. OMG!

    ReplyReply

  40. Keri M
    Apr 25, 2008 @ 15:46:45

    Hello all, I am extremely new to the site, but started lurking on Friday. I never even knew it existed until another author mentioned the DAM debacle on her blog on Amazon and I googled her and the DAM situation popped up in Dear Author and I clicked the link and here I was. I have really enjoyed the letters and postings that have gone on. I am a voracious reader, but only average about 1 romance a week vs 3 suspense. So I will come here to check out what is new and improved and who has done what to whom. :-)

    Love the site and will continue to come back. FYI, if someone is looking for a awesome read, just finished Amy Fetzer’s Naked Truth, omgosh that was the best book, I didn’t want it to end and I am going to buy the second in the series tonight….that is if I can distract my husband from my already huge TBR pile. Keri

    ReplyReply

  41. Jess
    Apr 26, 2008 @ 15:08:34

    I have enjoyed reading the content on Dear Author since the site started. I’ll confess that I am much more of a lurker than a commenter. I know that I will see informed and thoughtful reviews and discussion here (which is complementary to the conversations on the Smart Bitches site, another favorite). Thanks to Jane and other Janes for your time and effort. I look forward to many more years of Dear Author and its community.

    ReplyReply

  42. W.R.
    Oct 01, 2008 @ 11:36:52

    Hello,

    Do you accept books for review?

    If so, please give me an address where a book may be sent and/or an email address for further contact.

    ReplyReply

  43. Mark Alhuns
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 13:00:58

    MORE LAWSUITS TRIP UP BLOGGERS ON INTERNET. Dan Margolies. The Kansas City Star. 2008/10/12. Page N/A. A growing number of Internet bloggers are being sued for their online postings. The Citizens Media Law Project has recorded 280 legal actions against bloggers and other online publishers countrywide, up from only four in 1997 and 89 last year. While only a few cases have resulted in verdicts or settlements, a few have been large enough to cause concern. The largest award was $11.3 million in a Florida case involving a woman who, on various Internet bulletin boards, called the head of an organization she hired to remove her son from a Costa Rican boarding school “a crook, con artist and fraud.” In September Kansas City-based Media/Professional Insurance, which calls itself the world's largest underwriter of media liability insurance, launched BlogInsure, which may be the first liability insurance for bloggers. It covers costs and damages for claims of defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement. The annual cost of the blog coverage ranges from $540 to $3,370, based on bloggers' risk profiles and whether they quality for a discount. The standard coverage is $100,000 per incident with a limit of $300,000 and carries a $2,500 deductible.

    ReplyReply

  44. azteclady
    Oct 17, 2008 @ 13:07:09

    Oh that’s priceless….

    ReplyReply

Leave a Reply


3 + = 8

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.

%d bloggers like this: