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

Should Authors Reach Out and Touch a Reader?

I was inspired by May's Romancing the Blog article on Saturday about group blogs. Many an author participates in group blogs and many participate in more than one group blog. But you know what many authors do not do? They do not participate in reader blogs. I find that many of the group blogs do not contribute much to the blogging community. They serve as promotional vehicles and not much more primarily because these authors are not present anywhere else on the internet.

I rarely see authors step outside other author blogs to comment on reader blogs. Kristie(J) is a huge Lisa Kleypas fan and has been trying to get everyone in blogosphere to not only read Kleypas but blog about it. Yet, Kleypas has never once commented on Kristie J’s site. She guest blogs at Michelle Buonfiglio’s site. She comments on her own. But not on the one site that probably generates more positive Kleypas love than any other blog in blogdom.

It’s not fair to just point the finger at Kleypas. The fact is very few authors will ever comment on a readers’ blog or a reader’s site. (I would mention the ones that do but would probably miss some and then be an ass for not remembering so I'll just say there are about 20-25 authors that I have seen, on a regular basis, comment on blogs that are not author blogs). I've noticed in the year or so that I have read Romancing the Blog, that authors tend to comment on other authors' posts but not so much on the readers' posts. In the four weeks that Access Romance has had a Reader Gab blog, not one author, not even an Access Romance author, has commented.

Southern Fried Chicas blogger, Cece, offers up the explanation that authors feel that they are intruding on reader discussion. One commenter, Jordan Summers, stated that she felt that it was too much hassle to post on a reader blog for fear of friend bias. I have to cop to that. I was curious to see what other people had to say about Megan Hart's Dirty as I had such a meh reaction to it. Lauren Dane's amazon review gave it five stars and said it was one of the best books ever, but apparently Lauren Dane and Megan Hart are BFF so I felt like that wasn't a recommendation that I could take seriously. I probably shouldn't have said that because that puts a chill on the commentary which I hate doing. So I apologize to Ms. Dane if I made her feel like her comment wasn't worthwhile and to any author who feels that I have been dismissive of their opinions. (Of course, you have to understand my viewpoint and that is I love debating topics and so if I challenge an opinion, it doesn't mean I don't value it or the person making it).

But there are many topics in blogdom that are more expansive than specific books. I.e., how to get out of a reading slump by JMC; finding sweet without the saccharine by Wendy; appeal of European v. American historical by Karen S to name a few.

Authors say “we are readers too” but for a few exceptions I rarely see that. In fact, I think that group author blogs can have the opposite effect that they are going for. It can serve to exclude rather draw in new readers.

I have been a member of the Jennifer Crusie list for a long, long, long time. 6 years maybe? Crusie is one of my all time favorite authors. I've been Crusified x2 and Burned which in Crusie-speak was owning all the Crusie books plus the 2 reprints (at the time) and her hard to find, but much reviled (by mostly Crusie herself. I didn't think it was bad) Sizzle.

I can't remember at what point Crusie fans started calling themselves the Cherries although I believe it originated from the proliferation of cherries on the front covers of Crusie's books. Fans started picking Cherry names, buying Cherry paraphernalia to the point that now, the Crusie list is called the Cherries and everything associated with Crusie is cherry like. I found the whole Cherrification of Crusie-land to be exclusionary even though I had been a part of the group before the Cherries sprouted into existence. I think it would be quite hard for a new fan to break into the Cherry group and feel like you really belong.

I find that to be true with Nora Roberts' message board. There are acronyms (even the name of the board is an acronym) and relationships and friendships and goings on that as a new reader to the board I find bewildering.

Do I think that these message boards should be done away with or that the Cherrys should be crucified? Absolutely not. They serve the fan base that is there and the fans that have used and have formed these relationships exceptionally well. But I do think that authors, by reaching out, by going to reader blogs, and participating in reader discussions outside their own venues can touch those fans who may not be Cherries yet, but could be. If authors reached out to readers, instead of expecting readers to come to them, would the return not be just as meaningful?

Richelle Mead made a hilarious comment on Bam's blog the other day which got one reader to say that she was going to buy Mead's book, Succubus Blues, just because the comment was so witty.

There could be a whole host of reasons why authors don't comment on reader blogs. Time may be one of them. But readers have jobs and activities outside the internet and they comment. Technology? No, if you can comment on one blog, you can pretty much comment on them all. Fear of admitting that you read a controversial blogger? You could comment on Romancing the Blog, a blog that readers read, or the new Access Romance Gab. Lack of interest? There isn't one topic in a month that generates any interest for you as an author? Not one?

I know that some authors are leery of voicing an opinion because of the “ire” that is generated but not every opinion has to be confrontational. And even if it is, debate, even heated debate, can lure readers to you, instead of away. Last week, I thought Brandon Sanderson’s comments were great, even if I didn’t agree with them. I came away with a great deal of respect for him and his opinion. I may even buy one of his books. Maybe authors don’t feel welcome here. I am sorry for that. We want everyone’s opinions. But I find it hard to believe out of the many reader blogs out there, that there isn’t a even one that may interest an author.

What are more reasons? Are they good reasons? Would the rest of you like to see more of the authors comment and participate in blogdom? Would seeing their comments on blogs be meaningful to you? Or do you not care?

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

122 Comments

  1. May
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:09:58

    Something that I’ve noticed as well is that authors will comment on other author blogs, so it’s certainly not because they don’t have enough interest in blogs to comment.

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  2. Ann(ie)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:36:18

    Well, I comment on here, Smart Bitches, Bam, MTara Marie and Sybil. I think all of of those qualify as reader blogs. I sometimes post as a fellow reader, sometimes as an author, depending on what’s being discussed.

    I don’t divide blogs by author vs reader. Honestly, I just try to return comment. If someone stops by my blog and says something, I click their Blogger profile, look to see if they have a blog / website and I return the courtesy. If they have something I can add to, I say something. If not, I check back periodically until they do have a post that speaks to me. I cultivate “relationships” with people who have interesting things to say and who seem interested in what I have to say back. Those folks wind up on my blogrolling link.

    And that’s really all there is to it.

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  3. Ann(ie)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:37:33

    Oh, on Karen Scott too.

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  4. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:45:13

    I’m on my way out the door or I’d say something more but I can’t help thinking this one is going to be interesting. Don’t know why exactly I think that. Just do. ;)

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  5. Megan
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:45:25

    I comment on a few reader blogs–Kristie’s, Cindy’s, Suisan’s, Sybil’s–and I read a ton more, which I comment on every so often. I am an author, but that is not why I comment on reader blogs.

    I comment because I like talking to other people about books. In my neighborhood, there are far more Jhumpa Lahiri and Jonathan Safran Foer readers (both of whom, incidentally, live in my neighborhood, too), so my virtual reading neighborhood is a lot more fun.

    I think authors don’t comment on reader sites because they are a) busy writing b) busy promoting their writing on their own blog, so too busy to visit others c) not on the web first as a reader finding a community, but first as an author creating a presence. I am not sure how many authors think about the fact that there are a bazillion blogs out there that are fun to read; I think so many just jumped on blogging without realizing it’s a give-and-take community.

    There are a lot of authors who I’ve become aware of through the Internet, both through their own blogs (PBW, Meljean, Carolyn Jewel, the latter two are now my friends), but more than that, I’ve picked up a ton of recommendations from reader blogs: Maria Snyder, Elizabeth Hoyt, J.R. Ward (from PBW), to name just a few.

    (And full disclosure: I am *thisclose* to taking a nap–which I can’t do right now–so excuse the super-dull comment. I promise I am not nearly as dull a writer).

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  6. HelenKay Dimon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:46:31

    I read a bunch of blogs almost every single day but don’t comment often on either author or reader blogs. I used to, but don’t that much now. Basically I enjoy the conversation but don’t feel a great urge to jump in. Mostly that is due to what Cece talked about. I’m there as a reader and don’t want to barge in as an author.

    The other issue at work is what I call the Lydia Joyce Experience. I don’t mean to single her out, but her experience sticks out in my mind. I remember her commenting on some message board discussion. People didn’t like what she said (something about her SAT scores or something), then her name was everywhere, including here, and she was out there defending whatever it was she said. It was kind of exhausting. Made me wonder if being everywhere is worth it since there are so many opportunities to be misinterpreted, misconstrued and, of most concern, to waste time defending previous comments instead of writing on contracted projects.

    For the most part, I’m comfortable on my own blog. It’s my space. People get mad enough at me there where I have some control, why take it on the road where I don’t have any? The other blogs where I comment – which, again, I admit is rare – are places I either feel comfortable or where I am so incensed by the topic that I speak up…and then usually regret it.

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  7. Megan
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:47:07

    Shoot, I comment on Tara’s blog pretty regularly too. And she and I share a love for a few authors, and I’ve picked up books based on her recs, too.

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  8. Tara Marie
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:48:04

    Boy, you hit on a lot of different yet relating topic here. So, I’ll start at the top and work my way down…

    Group Author Blogs… So much depends on who their audience is, if they’re posting about the writing process–I’m not interested. If they’re using the site as a promotional tool or to boast about they’re great new deals–I’m only interested in getting book release info, and honestly they need to be careful with the “look at me I just signed another 4 book deal…”

    Kristie and Kleypas… You would think someone over the last couple of years would have pointed out to Lisa Kleypas that she’s got one major fangirl in Kristie and she might pop in occasionally to say thank you. I think poor Kristie would faint–LOL.

    Part of the problem with sites like RTB (I’m a columnist there) and Access Romance fall into the same situation as group author blogs, who are the posts geared towards–reader, writer or industry. Very few columns actually integrate all aspects of the on-line community.

    Message boards in general fuel familiarity, which is a good thing. My first foray into the on-line romance reading community was on RT’s message boards and made some very good on-line friends there. But at the same time I discovered just how much I dislike fangirl behavior there.

    I can understand an author being leery and yet after following last week’s post about Mr. Sanderson and his blog post, that could have easily been an ugly situation and yet he handled the entire thing beautifully and I too was left with a great deal of respect for him.

    Fangirls make me uncomfortable, so I have a tendency to avoid sites where they cluster. And the funny thing is fangirl behavoir goes both ways. We have readers who think their favorite authors do and write no wrong, but then there are authors who visit sites like Bam’s, Karen S’s and SB’s all lovey lovey and I’m left just as uncomfortable, wondering how they’re going to react when it’s their turn in the hot seat. And yet that uncomfortable feeling doesn’t keep me from visiting reader sites, but it does keep me from author ones, I’m going to have to think about that.

    OMG, I’m sorry this got so long–LOL

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  9. Wendy
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:50:20

    Honestly, I think it’s the “flame war” thing. I think many authors don’t comment on reader forums (be it blogs or message boards) because they’re afraid something they say will be misconsued and a big brouhaha will erupt. It’s “safer” to keep your mouth shut. More boring certainly, but it doesn’t come back to bite you in the ass.

    I know for a fact that there are several authors who “lurk” over at my blog. Every once and a great while I’ll get a comment – but other times not. I also suspect that since many reader blogs tend to feature reviews (sometimes *gasp* bad ones), some authors don’t want to comment on those because of the whole We Are All One Shiny Happy Sisterhood And Love Each Other mentality that seems to exist in Romance Novel Land.

    Also, I think many authors feel that if they step into a reader’s forum, that they’ll somehow stifle the conversation. That readers should have a place where they can discuss, snark and share without fear that the author is going to rear her ugly head. I can see this point of view, but like you can’t help wishing more authors popped up on reader blogs every now and then. Even if it’s just to say “Hi.”

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  10. Alison Kent
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:52:52

    Actually, READERS GAB at Access Romance was set up for readers to have a place to chat without feeling the pressure of authors inadvertently stifling discussion. Let’s be real. It does happen. RTB has had problems getting reader bloggers because they’ve told us they felt uncomfortable blogging in the same forum as authors, not feeling their writing was up to par, not feeling they had anything the romance blogosphere at large would be interested in, so that was the purpose behind setting up READERS GAB. Giving readers another forum.

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  11. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:53:39

    Maybe tunnel vision? I know several authors who have their own blogs and don’t talk much elsewhere, but I don’t think there’s anything more to it than time constraints and not thinking about it.

    Readers and authors may be looking for different things when it comes to blogs. Many authors probably look at blogs are a promo venue. I admit they can be a wonderful promo venue, which is why I joined Vamps and Scamps But blogs are also good for just interacting with readers, plain and simple.

    I also use my personal blog just as a daily exercise in writing. Yeah, I write for a living but I’m not the most disciplined at it. PBW mentioned several times that forcing yourself to write something, daily, is a great way to train yourself to be more disciplined and I decided to give it a shot. Dunno if I’m mroe disciplined but I think I’m a little more productive since I started it. (I’m a total PBW groupie. I don’t do groupie, unless it’s her or Nora Roberts. :O>)

    I could spend a lot more time on blogs. A LOT. Especially with memes…I love Thursday 13s…but blogging is addictive and I won’t let myself spend too much time blog hopping. There are a few blogs I visit regularly, a couple I lurk on and I won’t let myself get addicted to any more.

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  12. Ann(ie)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:53:41

    I was curious to see what other people had to say about Megan Hart’s Dirty as I had such a meh reaction to it. Lauren Dane’s amazon review gave it five stars and said it was one of the best books ever, but apparently Lauren Dane and Megan Hart are BFF so I felt like that wasn’t a recommendation that I could take seriously.

    This would piss me off.

    Not because I loved Dirty so much. I’ve never read the book. But someone assuming I can’t be impartial about a friend’s work? Bollocks.

    I review for Bam’s site and I also write reviews for RRT. It doesn’t matter how much I like you, I will not spew love juice all over a steaming pile of poo. My reviews are my honest opinion of a book’s merits. Mind you, that doesn’t mean everyone will agree with my assessment — that’s the joy of diversity. But it will be, always, my honest opinion, based on the book, not my friendship with the author.

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  13. Tara Marie
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:53:58

    One more thing, like I didn’t already say enough :D

    There are a bunch of author blogs I love, Meljean Brook, Megan Frampton, HelenKay Dimon, Annie Dean, Allison Kent… but for me these sites aren’t just about promotion and writing, any more than my blog is simply about the books I read. I’m sure there are other author blogs just as wonderful yet I’ve only so much time in the day to blog hop, when I find one I like I add it to my sidebar.

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  14. Patrice Michelle
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 12:58:39

    I don’t look at a blog as an author vs a reader blog. I just hop around and read at leisure. Sometimes I’m just there soaking up posts, reviews, etc. And othertimes I’ll post if I find the discussion particularly interesting or if I feel I have something worth adding to the discussion. The other day I must’ve spent a good forty minutes on BAM’s blog. :) I bought Blood and Chocolate because she seemed to enjoy Twilight for the same reasons I did.

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  15. Ann(ie)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 13:34:46

    Tara said:

    for me these sites aren’t just about promotion and writing, any more than my blog is simply about the books I read.

    *facepalm* I suck at promotion. In fact, the whole “LOOK AT ME” aspect of being an author drives me nuts. Some author loops I belong to make me want to gouge out my left eye with a spoon (yeah, lefty, I’m watching you…) because they’re all, “OMG, SQUEE! Slippery’s Susan’s Krusty Reviews gave me FIVE WET THONGS. I’m a recommended Krusty read this week!!!! They want a pair of my soiled panties!!!!!!!!!”

    By all means, celerbate when something good happens, but c’mon. Draw a line somewhere, please. Cos the constant cheerleading is killing my brain a little at a time, and due to the incident when I was 19, I’m running short already. At this rate, by the time I’m 60, I’ll be walking around asking people if they’ve seen my 6 foot invisible monkey. Or my pants.

    I know people would say it’s my fault for belonging to these loops, but I do want the information that (occasionally) comes down the pipeline. I want to know when a new book is coming out.

    I don’t enjoy talking about my work in big groups — I could so totally have done that JD Salinger thing, except it’s way passé these days. I do, however, like talking about books. Reading. I like that a lot and I have lots of opinions. So that’s what I do when I wander around the web.

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  16. Emily
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 13:40:20

    Ah yes, those group author blogs that only promo–they are a bore. Authors seem to get told to PROMO PROMO PROMO their little hearts out. But what gets lost is that effective promotion is *communication*. It doesn’t matter how loud you talk if nobody is listening, or in the case of all the author-to-author chat you are only preaching to the choir.

    I am increasingly watching reader blogs like here, Smart Bitches, Elise Rolle’s blog and Mrs Giggles because it is a reality check. There are all sorts of places an author can go to make noise and get their ego stroked in an author gush-circle, but only readers really count. Of course as a micro-published author not many people care if I comment but I assure you any blogger who mentions me gets my attention mega-fast and I comment when they seem open to it.

    I also think that blogs for authors need to reflect reader concerns more. telling authors what they need to know rather than what they want to hear.

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  17. May
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 13:54:33

    [quote comment="23824"]The other issue at work is what I call the Lydia Joyce Experience. I don’t mean to single her out, but her experience sticks out in my mind. I remember her commenting on some message board discussion. People didn’t like what she said (something about her SAT scores or something), then her name was everywhere, including here, and she was out there defending whatever it was she said. It was kind of exhausting. Made me wonder if being everywhere is worth it since there are so many opportunities to be misinterpreted, misconstrued and, of most concern, to waste time defending previous comments instead of writing on contracted projects.[/quote]

    This happens to me as well, and I don’t have anything to protect. There are some blogs where I don’t comment (and stopped reading because I didn’t enjoy sitting on my hands) for this reason.

    So I can’t help but wonder if the blandness of some author blogs arises from this. Because they don’t want to say what they really think in case trouble starts.

    By the way, Jane, I liked Sanderson’s Elantris.

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  18. Teddy Pig
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:16:14

    I have received very nice emails in the past. Which is fine I don’t blog for the interaction so much as to just rave about something.

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  19. Charity
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:20:16

    I’m torn on this one. I like getting author comments, and was surprised when an author found a review I did for her book, and it wasn’t a favorable review, and commented saying she couldn’t really disagree with my comments. I enjoy that.

    BUT, if it’s an author I really enjoy reading, and I saw them commenting all over the place, I would probably be very annoyed, wondering why the hell they were spending so much time commenting instead of writing their next damn book.

    It really is a double edged sword for authors, and I don’t pity them that.

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  20. Estelle
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:24:22

    * I know for a fact that there are several authors who “lurk" over at my blog. Every once and a great while I’ll get a comment – but other times not. I also suspect that since many reader blogs tend to feature reviews (sometimes *gasp* bad ones), some authors don’t want to comment on those because of the whole We Are All One Shiny Happy Sisterhood And Love Each Other mentality that seems to exist in Romance Novel Land.*

    I do agree with that. I’ve *never* seen an author who agreed with a negative review on a reader’s blog and said so in a comment. They might agree silently but writing about it is another matter. I think it’s possible to talk objectively about a book’s flaws without being insulting to an author.

    I personally only visit sites and blogs that give honest reviews or observations on the romance genre in general. I want to know about the good, the bad and the ugly and I stay away from sites where there is only gushing. ‘Here be fangirls’ and all that stuff. It sure does provide a warm cocoon for authors to frequent those site and to post there.

    I’ve also seen several authors say that they never read reviews of their books. I wonder how healthy it is for them to only get the praise from their fanbase and shy away from constructive criticism. An opinion is exactly that. You can take it or leave it. But I can’t understand how you wouldn’t want to at least hear it.

    It’s been my impression that some authors seem to think that reviewers such as Mrs Giggles actually like to trash books and authors. This is something that I do not understand. People like Mrs Giggles obviously love books (romance books in particular). She’s awarded all kind of grades. One author could find herself with a 10 for her first book and a 94 for her second. If she liked it she’ll tell you why, if she didn’t like it she’ll also tell you why. And she always makes me laugh.

    So I’m not surprised that considering all this we do not see more authors online and active on readers’ blogs. I’m not saying this is the only reason but I do think it accounts for a lot of things.

    To go back to one of the original questions: Do I want authors to be more active on reader’s blogs? I’m not so sure actually. Many authors are kind enough to answer questions I ask them through emails. So far all have done so graciously and at length and I love hearing an author’s take on her characters. So I basically get what I ‘need’ already.

    I’m not sure I’d like to get too ‘chumy’ with an author on blogs. I’m very thankful for the fact that communication is very easy thanks to emails but an author will probably always stay a bit of an enigma for me–you know, a bit like you see your teachers. I prefer it that way.

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  21. Laura Florand
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:34:12

    Hmm…I do comment on other blogs, although I’m hardly the most frequent commenter out there. But that’s just a function of my busy-ness & the fact that at this point in my life, I can often look at blogs without having hands free enough to type. (Baby.)

    Since I comment more on non-author blogs (with me, it’s more my interests: France/Paris, food, reading) than author ones, I may not be qualified to comment on those who don’t comment. But I do know, besides the busy-ness, what other two things have made me hesitate and sometimes not leave a comment when I had wanted to:

    1) What Wendy said about stifling conversation. This is particularly when it’s conversation about my own book. I LIKE to pop on and say Hi and thanks…but I’ve found that whenever I do, I will be the LAST commenter to post usually. It’s like it stops everyone else dead, when they realize the author in question is reading what they’re saying.

    2) The wariness that people will think I’m contributing just to draw attention to my own book.

    3) And yes, specific to reader blogs: I will never comment on the review of another author’s book unless it’s something good I have to say about that book. I think a lot of authors feel that way. I don’t think it’s to maintain a myth that we all love each other, though; it’s just professional courtesy.

    For the author forums….that’s another interesting discussion, as Tara Marie has already pointed out. :)

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  22. Alison Kent
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:54:32

    [quote comment="23835"]
    Authors seem to get told to PROMO PROMO PROMO their little hearts out. But what gets lost is that effective promotion is *communication*.[/quote]

    IMO, blogging is the biggest bandwagon, aka, promo vehicle to drive by in ages. Except when many bloggers began, promo had nothing to do with it. Those seem to have come later, the pure promo blogs. My first blog post was in September of ’02 and I think then I was rambling about Big Brother or American Idol or something.

    I tend to talk craft because I love it, and I do talk about the writing experience. But I also just talk. About life, family, entertainment, whatever.

    Not all authors want to put themselves out there like that but do want to take advantage of the blogging community to get the word out about their books. Look at the blogging tours so many groups do. Again, IMO, these blogs are missing the whole point, the communication, the conversation. They’re using blogs as press releases and nothing else, and truly missing out.

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  23. Megan
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:56:02

    I agree with Alison about those promo blogging tours. Don’t like them, don’t care, if I wanted to read a press release, I’d visit PR Newswire.

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  24. Jane
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 14:58:05

    Not all authors want to put themselves out there like that but do want to take advantage of the blogging community to get the word out about their books. Look at the blogging tours so many groups do. Again, IMO, these blogs are missing the whole point, the communication, the conversation. They’re using blogs as press releases and nothing else, and truly missing out.

    Ah, see, this is why you make a living writing and blogging is my hobby. This is exactly what I was trying to get at. If your only blog is a promo blog, but you want to take advantage of the blogging community, get out
    and comment and add something to the blogging community.

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  25. Michele
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:02:42

    The main reason I don’t post much on reader blogs is a fear that someone will think I’m trying to curry favor or staging a stealth ninja promo attack. After giving it some thought, I’d say I approach reader blogs and message boards more as tools for gathering bookish intel than for socializing.

    I visit only about ten reader and author blogs and, yes, my reasons are totally selfish. I cruise Dear Author, Mrs Giggles, Paperback Reader, and Redwyne so I can find new books to read, especially books that don’t get as much attention as the usual bestsellers. I might think the books discussions are fascinating, but I feel intrusive if I comment, so I don’t do it very often.

    I visit Alison Kent, Tess Gerritsen, PBW, and Anne Frasier for general writing vibes, but most the time someone’s already made the comment I would’ve made. I read Bookseller Chick for her take on books from the perspective of someone who sells them, which is always interesting.

    The only group blog I read besides DA is Romancing the Blog, and that covers all my genre blog-reading needs. I guess this is my (lazy?) way of staying informed on what’s what in the genre. This is also why I’ll sometimes wander around the boards at AAR or RT; just to see what readers are talking about.

    In all honesty, though, I’m a little blog-weary; I don’t even link to my own anymore. There’s just so many, and if I visited even a fraction of the industry/author/reader blogs out there, I’d never have time to read any actual books!

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  26. Christine Rimmer
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:08:55

    Great one, Jane.

    I do read a lot of blogs. I love BAM–just maybe the funniest single person on the internet with the possible exception of Mrs. Giggles–and Smart Bitches, but have never posted a comment on either of those.

    I read *and* comment here because…hm. Not really sure. I just finally dared to step up and post, I guess. Something about how I feel a little bit comfortable here and a little bit challenged, too. And that makes me want to jump in. And even when I don’t post a comment here, I love reading the posts and what everyone has to say about them.

    As a longtime author commenting on a reader blog, I do worry about:

    1. my deadlines, which I could meet more easily if there weren’t so many good blogs out there.
    2.the taste of my foot in my mouth
    3. stifling discussions
    4. offending someone somehow (yes, I am a big chickensh*t and I want everyone to like me.)
    5. being ignorant and showing it

    I’m kind of late to the party and I know it. I was on a group blog with four other authors, a blog that started up in 8/06. Yeah. Late, late. We didn’t last long.

    And then, so strange…I missed blogging. So I put up my own blog and I meet with a few readers there. But I do it mostly because I just like it. It’s a great addition to my writing world. Opens it up a little, gets me out of my own head, which is sometimes a very scary place to be.

    Same with the reader blogs I enjoy. I laugh. I often learn things. I comment when I feel really brave. And I get to feel a little more…conected, somehow.

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  27. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:13:22

    Would the rest of you like to see more of the authors comment and participate in blogdom?

    As an author or as another reader?

    And I’m not just being my contrary self on this topic. I have authors comment on my blog all the time. As just another reader. I keep telling everyone that the only time it matters to me that they’re an author is when I’m discussing their book. Any other time they are just another reader to me unless they make it the issue under discussion. Do I respect their knowledge of writing? Well, yeah. In the same way I would respect a lawyer’s knowledge of the law, but that doesn’t mean I can’t also talk to the lawyer as just another reader either if I set my mind to it. Or a doctor. Or a professor.

    Or even a reviewer.

    Oye.

    Would seeing their comments on blogs be meaningful to you?

    Is this a trick question? No I mean seriously. Because it sort of goes back to making me ask whether we’re talking about them commenting as authors or readers. I mean, it’s almost like which hat gives their opinions the most “valid” meaning? (Don’t answer that.)

    Of course, if it’s not a trick question, and it probably isn’t, then the answer would be, well, duh, yeah. As an author they always have something to offer about their own books one would hope, if only in controlled doses, and as another reader they definitely should join the fun.

    The trick, of course, is figuring out their own comfort zone just like everyone else has to. I suspect some of them aren’t going to be any more comfortable interacting to a great degree online than they are in real life. And push come to shove, the reader in me would much rather they write on their books than comment.

    Hey, we are readers. I’d also rather read than blog. Most of the time, anyway. ;)

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  28. LinM
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:23:09

    I’ve always assumed that author’s who periodically comment on reader blogs generally have mensa-level political instincts. It can’t be an easy balancing act.

    As a rule, I’m not drawn to author blogs. Jenny Crusie is probably the exception because the posts are insanely funny and thought-provoking. But there, I find that the Cherries are having fun with one part of the post and I’m washing the coffee out of my keyboard because of a completely different paragraph.

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  29. Natalie J. Damschroder
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:28:32

    Estelle said:

    I’ve also seen several authors say that they never read reviews of their books. I wonder how healthy it is for them to only get the praise from their fanbase and shy away from constructive criticism. An opinion is exactly that. You can take it or leave it. But I can’t understand how you wouldn’t want to at least hear it.

    Because you can easily go insane with conflicting criticism! No two readers like and dislike the same things. Just like with acting, all you can do is stay true to yourself and hope your readers also like it. That said, I *do* read my reviews and I’ve thanked reviewers who’ve given me negative, well-written, well-reasoned, professional reviews.

    As for posting on reader blogs, I do it very, very rarely, and only when someone has called my attention to a topic. I find it uncommon for me to be reading the books being talked about most of the time, for some reason, and I don’t have time to read a lot of blogs about things that don’t relate to me as a reader. If I come up as a topic, I’ll be alerted and would definitely comment then. That’s pretty rare, too. LOL

    I have my own blog because I like to hear myself talk. :) If readers want to read it, great, if they want to engage in conversation, even better, but I don’t want to insinuate myself somewhere I haven’t been invited.

    And the biggest reason not to troll for all the possible places readers might be gathering: All the time I just took away from my work in progress to read these excellent comments here. :)

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  30. Jackie
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:29:09

    I just don’t have a lot of time to read any blog regularly (and I mean ANY blog, not just reviewer blogs). Some I’ll check out between once a day and once a week — Bam’s without a doubt, and usually here, Mrs Giggles, Karen Scott and Smart Bitches — but the only one I comment on with any sense of regularity (jeez, I sound like a commercial for fiber) is Bam’s. And that came over time. Otherwise, I’ll comment only when I have something to say about a given topic.

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  31. Shannon Stacey
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:29:16

    Since being published, I’ve been told I shouldn’t comment on readers’ blogs/message boards/etc because I’ll either 1) be misunderstood and then slammed across the ‘net as an Author Behaving Badly or 2) stifle their conversation by being an author in the room. (I must hang around a different crowd because I’ve yet to see a reader stifled by an author’s presence. *g*)

    I’ve also been told I should comment on readers’ blogs/message boards/etc to get my name out there and because I’m still a reader at heart, of course. Enough to be social, but not too much or I’ll look like a spammer. Is there a pie chart for that?

    And didn’t Karen get a new blog because the authors were taking over the comments asylum? Not that it mattered. We found her anyway. *evil laugh*

    What’s a girl to do? :)

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  32. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 15:56:02

    I find it uncommon for me to be reading the books being talked about most of the time, for some reason, and I don’t have time to read a lot of blogs about things that don’t relate to me as a reader.

    But, you know, I don’t think that’s any different than it is for any of us. Or at least I hope it isn’t. Unless we’re talking about “Ward’s” books lately – and I haven’t even read any of them yet so I tend to think the rest of you are infected with something related to weird names – when do we all read one all at the same time?

    Hehehe.

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  33. Nora Roberts
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:12:58

    Many excellent points and comments. I’m going to second what Shannon just said. I’ve certainly been given the same conflicting opinions. Even in the comments here, there are different takes on whether a reader wants authors to comment on reader boards.

    I like reading certain blogs–both reader and author blogs. And I might comment on either type if I find I have something to say. I can’t say I consciously think as I do: Oh, this is a reader blog so I need to say it THIS way, or this is an author blog, so I can say it THAT way.

    For me, it’s about the topic under discussion. Lots of times while I’m reading a blog or column, I might just be nodding along. No real point in posting: Me, too! unless I have something more to add. So I don’t.

    I have no desire whatsoever to have a blog. Not only because of the time it would take but because I just don’t have that much to blog about. But I very much enjoy the chance to read what other people blog about–and to comment if something strikes me.

    I love the reader-generated mb, ADWOFF, and get a kick out of the readers who post there. It’s been around a long time, so it very well could be difficult for the newbie–and a little intimidating. But newbies break in all the time. I felt like a newbie when I first commented here, at SB and a few other sites. I’m glad I commented as I’ve found interesting discussions, varied opinions and excellent snark.

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  34. Richelle Mead
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:19:22

    I post on reader blogs (and honestly, I’ve only just crossed the line from reader to author) for a number of reasons. One is simply that there are some I enjoy reading, regardless of who they belong to. Bam’s blog is all that gets me out of bed some mornings–I’d read that even if she was a Harry Potter erotic fan-fic author. It’s brilliant.

    I commented once to MaryJanice Davidson that I thought it was cool that she participates so much on her mailing list, and she said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “Why wouldn’t I? These are my readers. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I love them.” I think that’s a fantastic attitude–particularly after meeting some authors who are, um, a little less open to talking to readers–or new authors. I can’t speak for all writers, but I don’t really think I’m in a place yet where I’m so untouchable or have such a wall between me and “the masses" that I can’t interact on a casual basis with readers or leave the self-absorbed shirine of my own blog. I actually hope I’m never in that kind of place. I love both sides of the author-reader connection, and if anything, it’s time and deadlines that’ll hold me back.

    The internet and blogosphere have redefined the boundaries between authors and readers. Pedestals are being knocked down, and while some authors are going to try to shove those pieces into a pile to stay on top and keep that distance, I say bring on the changes, baby. Bring ‘em.

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  35. Estelle
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:24:42

    Because you can easily go insane with conflicting criticism! No two readers like and dislike the same things. Just like with acting, all you can do is stay true to yourself and hope your readers also like it. That said, I *do* read my reviews and I’ve thanked reviewers who’ve given me negative, well-written, well-reasoned, professional reviews

    I’m not a published author but I used to write fanfiction–mainly to improve my english since it’s not my first language and I do cringe when re-read some of the stuff I’ve written too–and I read every comment that I ever got. Maybe it’s just me but I found it easy to ‘take it or leave’ it as I saw fit. I took notes; in fact I kept a little note book. If I heard the same thing twice or more when it came to my writing or story it caught my attention because if more than one reader remarked on the same thing they were probably on to something. If I read two opposite things, I considered each of them without feeling frustrated.

    But of course if I received a comment such as : “Great story but why did you give James black hair? I prefer my heroes to be blond” (never received such a comment btw); I wouldn’t count it as useful criticism. You have to draw the line somewhere :)

    I didn’t mean that an author should read every single review/comment about her book. It was just the ‘never’ that baffled me. I would have thought such things to be extremely useful and informative for the author.

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  36. Meljean
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:46:29

    (Sorry, long-ass post ahead).

    This is a topic that has driven me quietly crazy over the last two and a half years of blogging.

    Actually, that’s not really true — when I first began blogging, I’m not sure that the reader/author divide was so … obvious? as it is now. It seemed that every blog had Alison Kent in the same blogroll as, say, Maili, and there was no separation between the links, declaring who was an author and who was a reader. I think RTB was the first site I really noticed making that distinction.

    *wipes away tear* Aw, those were the good ol’ days.

    Okay, but not really, because the same issues constantly came up: the role of readers and authors in discussions, how to comment, when not to comment, whether authors should review other books, whether they should only review books they liked, on and on.

    I agree with a lot of what Wendy posted earlier, about why authors might not comment on reader blogs (even though they are reading those posts — in fact, I’m one of those lurkers-occasional-posters at her site.) I’ve explicitly said a couple of times in my blog that I’m too weenie to mention books that I haven’t liked — part of that is because I suck at reviewing in any meaningful way, and part of it is because there is no gain for me to say that I didn’t like Book X, and a lot of pain that might come from it, because I cannot control how other authors take my words (INYIM doesn’t work for everyone).

    That isn’t to say that I’m a RAH RAH! author — but there are some places I don’t feel it is appropriate for me to discuss books I haven’t enjoyed. That is what e-mail is for for me and other readers and authors that I feel comfortable with (although I imagine that makes some people think, “Oh crap, so she’s talking about people behind their backs!” — but really, it’s just a way to keep the discussion about the books going, but not as openly … which I feel is absolutely my prerogative).

    Away from my blog, the same thing — I visit a ton of reader blogs (more so than author blogs, but that’s because the reader blogs are talking about the books, which is frankly what I want to know about) but I rarely add my comments to a negative review of another author’s work. Again, because I rarely have anything meaningful to add that hasn’t already been said, and because there’s no good reason for me to do so. I won’t be a rah rah! author, but I also won’t be a nah nah! author. I don’t think any less of those authors who do review and mention books they don’t like (I love Paperback Reader, for instance) but I just prefer not to (says the Scrivener).

    And then it all gets very complicated around book-release time. There’s balancing the need to promo with alienating readers who get sick of you mentioning your book all the time … but I find that one thing you don’t have to do if you are participating in reader blogs is mention your book. If you are posting and participating in discussions (even if it’s just about the books you like) you don’t have to add DEMON MOON, releasing June 5 from Berkley Sensation!!!! to your signature line … because if you have a link to your site on your name, chances are that people are going to go check out what you’re writing. I’ve found a billion authors and blogs to read, just by following links from people who have posted here at DA and around other reader blogs. (And it also avoids the feeling that someone is shoving that author status in my face, and seems to perpetuate that author/reader divide, when we’re all just talking about books. Everyone knows who’s a reader and who’s an author, or will after a few times posting — no need to say it every time.)

    One of the things that I’ll admit to worrying about when DEMON ANGEL was released (still on shelves, buy it now!) was that some of the readers whose blogs I frequent wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about what they didn’t like about the book — or, worse, not talk about the book at all if they didn’t like it, for fear of hurting my feelings … because they “know” me online, or because I post there. Luckily, that didn’t happen too much (that I know of).

    But commenting on reviews of my book (the positive and negative) on those sites is tricky as well; in most cases, I opted not to comment for fear of stifling any discussion, but I often sent an e-mail or a note (because I worry that NOT commenting might have been taken the wrong way, too).

    So, to sum up: it’s a balancing act, but I find it’s worth it to venture into reader blog territory, because I love reading about the books, and a lot of the posts (even the ones that aren’t about the books) are just freaking fun to read … and DEMON MOON totally releases in June.

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  37. Keishon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:52:29

    Interesting comments. Blogging is cool but like Nora Roberts said, you do run out of time and topics. I run mine alone and often don’t have time to post anything new. I don’t plan to keep doing this past another year. Hopefully, I’ll have read enough books and posted enough opinions about them to move on to something else. It’s nice but it gets tired. Unless you have partners to blog with, honestly, it is too time consuming and I’m not a fast reader. I’ve been blogging for what, since 2004?, I think. Yep, you run out of topics, out of time, out of everything, lol. Outta here. I’ll be happy just lurking and posting on DA which is the first blog I visit everyday because these girls rock. Who would have thought it would be like this? I am just impressed all over the place. Ok, long post. Sorry.

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  38. Natalie J. Damschroder
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 16:53:27

    Bev said:

    But, you know, I don’t think that’s any different than it is for any of us. Or at least I hope it isn’t. Unless we’re talking about “Ward’s” books lately – and I haven’t even read any of them yet so I tend to think the rest of you are infected with something related to weird names – when do we all read one all at the same time?

    LOL I meant “have read” rather than “be reading.”

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  39. Natalie J. Damschroder
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 17:43:51

    I should have deselected the “watch this topic” box. LOL

    The original post said:

    I rarely see authors step outside other author blogs to comment on reader blogs.

    Does this count as a reader blog? Because the authors who posted on this topic outnumber the readers about 3 to 1.

    Richelle said:

    I commented once to MaryJanice Davidson that I thought it was cool that she participates so much on her mailing list, and she said something like (I’m paraphrasing), “Why wouldn’t I? These are my readers. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be where I am. I love them." I think that’s a fantastic attitude-particularly after meeting some authors who are, um, a little less open to talking to readers-or new authors.

    The original complaint, though, was about authors who don’t go BEYOND their own realm, i.e. their message boards and their own blogs and mailing lists.

    Estelle wrote:

    I didn’t mean that an author should read every single review/comment about her book. It was just the ‘never’ that baffled me. I would have thought such things to be extremely useful and informative for the author.

    Comments ARE useful, and most authors do have people to do what you described, but BEFORE the book comes out. At minimum, they have their editor and/or agent. Many also have critique partners. Reviews are really just one person’s opinion and can’t serve to improve the book that’s already out. Like I said before, I do agree with you that they can be helpful in writing future work, but I can also understand why some people would choose not to ever read them.

    Another reason authors might not post on reader blogs is because we are a very small community and there is always consciousness of slighting someone. I couldn’t possibly post about everything.

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  40. Ro
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 18:03:06

    I have to out myself and say that I use this name for commenting as a reader and another name when commenting as a writer. Initially it was for that “protection” against possible friction caused by my words as a writer, but it gradually became a habit to switch between both simply because I can’t wear both hats(reader and writer) at the same time. My writing side tends to cancel the reader side out when commenting on books and the business so I just chuck the writer hat for the most part. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this is the method that works best for keeping myself out of the meaningless “wars” that tend to crop up online.

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  41. Kristie(J)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 18:13:32

    I think it’s pretty much a given that authors before their author careers, were readers just like us. So if an author were to post on my blog as a fellow reader, I would be tickled pink!!! I love the interaction and I’d love to interact reader to reader with an author!

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  42. Karen Scott
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 18:21:27

    And didn’t Karen get a new blog because the authors were taking over the comments asylum?

    God, yes!

    When I started my blog, it was just a place for me to say what I wanted without having the PC brigade trying to make me change my snarktastic ways.

    Then I found the readers, who, although were not quite as horrid as I, were still able to give an honest opinion, in their own individual ways.

    Then came the authors, who either wanted to blow smoke up my arse, or wanted to see me hang from the nearest tree.

    The problem with the authors hell bent on arse-licking as Bam knows very well, is that they love you and your snark, until it’s pointed at them, or somebody they know.

    I fondly recall an author who writes for Changeling Press, (amongst others) who used to think I was the vicar’s knickers, until I snarked about the hideous cover art at Changeling Press. She kinda took it personally.

    I realised that I must have pissed her off, because she de-linked, and wrote a ranty blog, without naming names, the pussy but I figured she was talking about me. When questioned, she denied that I was the bitch in question, but we both knew the score, she was just too much of a pussy lady to say it to ‘my face’.

    Since that experience, I’ve basically avoided the majority of author blogs, with a few exceptions, and it doesn’t twist my knickers too much if writers avoid my blog like the plague. (Although I must say, there are a lot of authors out there who hate my guts, but still lurk on my blog).

    Anyway, I digress… I think that authors who don’t comment very often on reader blogs are probably doing the right thing, after all, if they don’t comment, their words cannot be misconstrued can they?

    Just because an author is a fantastic story-teller, doesn’t mean that they’re able to hold their own in a debate without sounding like a dick. Look at Mary Janice Davidson. (g) *smooches honey, ya know I love you, ya crazy fool*

    Seriously, not every author is able to articulate themselves as well as La Nora. HK, I think you rock by the way.

    There are a whole host of authors who have been burned by trying to participate in reader discussions. Look at Laura Lee Ghurkin (I’m pretty sure that’s what Jaid Black called her) and Lydia Joyce. In both cases, it took just one throw-away comment for their names to be plastered all over Blogland. I could name a few more, but I wont.

    I think this is what authors are afraid of, and to be honest, they should be. They have lots more to lose than a smart-alec like yours truly, who just shoots her mouth off, and waits for the explosion, whilst she happily goes for a facial.

    (Seriously, I love MJD like a fat kid loves cake, even if she is crazy like a fox.)

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  43. Vivi Anna
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 18:28:27

    good post, but I have to say, I’ve seen it so many times, authors getting blasted for having such and such an opinion, especially on reader blogs that I too tend to stay away from commenting. I visit a bunch of different reader blogs, and sometimes am outraged, or frustrated by what is posted, but I hold my fingers from commenting. I really dont’ want to come across as a bitch, and so often comments can be taken out of context that a person does come out sounding like something they never intended in the first place. I figure we’re damned if we do…and obviously now, damned if we don’t.

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  44. Keishon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 18:30:28

    Straight up: I don’t really care that authors leave comment at my blog either even though I’ve had a handful do just that but it’s rare. I seem to dislike a lot of the popular books that most readers enjoy and I’m contrary, as usual. I think as readers, we see things just a bit differently from authors especially when it comes to discussing books. I will admit that I do feel uncomfortable leaving my thoughts on message boards or blogs that have heavy author traffic. I feel comfortable at DA but other places, er, not really. I don’t blame authors either for avoiding reader blogs. How many times have you posted something on the ‘net and have it misunderstood? Too many times to count for me. Anyway, I’m done.

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  45. Nora Roberts
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 19:04:33

    ~Seriously, not every author is able to articulate themselves as well as La Nora.~

    I do articulate myself, extremely well. But I feel this is a rather personal comment and not . . . Oh. Oooh! You meant THAT kind of articulate. Never mind.

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  46. Charlene Teglia
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 19:19:22

    I visit many more blogs than I comment on. I tend to blog-read while holding the baby and it’s hard to type that way. And sometimes I just don’t have anything to contribute to the discussion.

    Do I read reader blogs? Sure. I was particularly interested in BAM’s recent review of Twilight, since I live in Forks. It’s a phenom here but I wondered how people elsewhere were responding to it.

    I probably visit (and comment) at this reader blog more than most others, for two reasons: because this site is such a resource for readers, with publisher and publishing news, ebook reading options and information, and because of the diversity covered here. You guys review books that nobody else is talking about, and you bring books and authors to my attention that I might have missed otherwise.

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  47. Meljean
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 19:32:17

    [quote comment="23874"]I do articulate myself, extremely well. But I feel this is a rather personal comment and not . . . Oh. Oooh! You meant THAT kind of articulate. Never mind.[/quote]

    I’m totally going to start looking for a Nora action figure with 16-point articulation now.

    Keishon said:

    How many times have you posted something on the ‘net and have it misunderstood?

    This is true. Also, my foot ends up in my mouth up to my knee, sometimes.

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  48. Kristie(J)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 19:33:18

    One author I should mention who really has it “right” when it comes to posting on reader blogs is Meljean Brooks. When she posts on my blog occasionally, I know it’s because she’s a fellow reader – even though she’s a writer too. And it wasn’t even her that pointed out to me that I had her name spelled wrong *g* for such a long time.

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  49. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 19:46:14

    I finally finished with my errands for the day and could give some time to reading through all the comments. I can understand why authors don’t want to comment on books, their own or other author’s, wherever those discussions might be placed. I can understand the need to tread carefully there both with other authors and maybe even readers.

    Topical discussions that aren’t necessarily about a specific book, though, but that are about reading are a completely different matter. I’ve never really noticed authors having problems voicing opinions within those types of discusions both as readers and even sometimes as authors when appropriate. And sometimes it is appropriate. There is that writer expertise that exist after all. That threshold that has been crossed from being a reader to being published.

    Okay, I thought I was building up to a question but I lost it somewhere. So, maybe I’m just making the observation that I’ve been on plenty of lists and message boards in years past with both readers and authors and never seen the authors have problems speaking up about topics. And I don’t see that happening now with blogs either except when the “topic” is a specific book. Is that a completely incorrect observation?

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  50. Emily
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:00:38

    I’m not sure it is completely correct. Famous authors are a small minority in relation to readers. Perhaps their participaition is proportionate. Certainly a great many bloghounds that I see aroudn the place, and on readers blogs, are small press authors like myself–and that is ony the ones I recongnize who use the same name for writing and blog-commenting.

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  51. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:15:52

    [quote comment="23882"]I’m not sure it is completely correct. Famous authors are a small minority in relation to readers. Perhaps their participaition is proportionate. Certainly a great many bloghounds that I see aroudn the place, and on readers blogs, are small press authors like myself–and that is ony the ones I recongnize who use the same name for writing and blog-commenting.[/quote]

    Ah, good point. And I think that’s what I was trying to figure out in that last rambling post. The authors that have long been active on the various forums (lists, message boards, etc.) haven’t necessarily made the transition to blogging yet. Hmmm. Interesting.

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  52. HelenKay Dimon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:32:54

    HK, I think you rock by the way.

    Karen – The feeling is mutual. Of course, with my personal insecurities if you didn’t like me, I’d have to stalk you and try to win you over. At some point you’d be forced to make the decision between befriending me and having arrested. It’s easier (on you) just to tell me you think I rock whether or not you really do.

    Back to the topic of authors commenting on blogs and off me for a second…well, sort of. My caution is a result of my past experiences. I have gotten in the middle of some blog squirmishes – quite by accident, I assure you. The problem always seemed to be a combination of my big mouth and the unbelievable ease with which words can be twisted using this forum. I can sort of control one of those problems, but not the other. As an example, back before I was published I managed to offend a Harlequin author I didn’t know and, at that point, had not heard of. My concern was with an idea she posted on her site concerning retribution for perceived wrongs by other writers. The argument took a decidedly personal turn, unrelated to the concern I discussed. Shortly thereafter, a fellow aspiring author who linked to my blog and chatted with me from time to time de-linked (is that the term??) and, I guess, wrote me off forever.

    I try to keep the entire incident in mind as evidence that you have to be a bit careful in what you put out there because it can bite you. As a reader that probably doesn’t matter except for the insecurity issue referenced above. As an author, it’s a greater concern. Since I’m both of those things, there’s a conflict. In general, I’d prefer that people get to know me as a person before hating me as a person. I also prefer not to give folks another reason not to buy my books. So, I tend to read and follow along on blogs more than I comment. Call it self-preservation, laziness or fear – all of those are fair in this instance – but weighing in on the side of caution just seems like good business. Of course, what I’m dumb enough to say in emails is a different story…

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  53. Alison Kent
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:42:38

    [quote comment="23885"] Of course, what I’m dumb enough to say in emails is a different story…[/quote]

    The very reason I am saving so many to use as blackmail down the road when you are rich and famous. ;)

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  54. seton
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:43:06

    Maybe if Lisa Kleypas did have more time to surf the net and read other blogs (besides the ones she is doing promos on) she still wouldn’t leave comments, I wouldnt know. But she does seem like one of those authors who’s genuinely busy to me.

    Last August, Eloisa James (a fellow Squawk blogger and Avon author) had Scandal In Spring for Book of the Month on her board which meant that Kleypas had agreed to stop by at some point and answer questions in the special forum made just for her book. However, Kleypas never, ever made an appearance. She never even sent an explanation for the total no-show. I thought it strange at the time but I’m sure she wouldnt have been so rude to Eloisa and the board posters if she really really did have the time to stop by

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  55. Kerry Allen
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:44:13

    “I’ve also seen several authors say that they never read reviews of their books. I wonder how healthy it is for them to only get the praise from their fanbase and shy away from constructive criticism. An opinion is exactly that. You can take it or leave it. But I can’t understand how you wouldn’t want to at least hear it.”

    Imagine going to work and receiving constructive criticism from your supervisor. You suck up your hurt feelings, make the necessary adjustments, and get on with your job.

    Imagine going to work and getting a thousand servings of “constructive criticism” that is completely subjective dumped on you by people you’ve never met before in your life. That’s the kind of thing that can crush your spirit and make you quit your job – in this case, writing.

    It’s perfectly understandable to not seek out negativity about your writing. You’re going to stumble across plenty of it when you’re not looking. Just don’t assume that authors who aren’t eager to get bitch slapped are out there lapping up reviews that only stroke their egos. A working writer is too busy writing to spend all day Googling themselves.

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  56. HelenKay Dimon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:52:26

    [quote comment="23890"]“A working writer is too busy writing to spend all day Googling themselves.[/quote]

    Well, yeah, not all day, but it’s a tough habit to break for those with OCD tendencies.*

    And, Alison, I have saved emails too. Just saying…

    *The “those” here meaning me.

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  57. Emily
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 20:59:33

    Everyone is busy whether an author, a mother, a teacher or a ditch digger. But anyone can find a few minutes if the want to. You either think a thing is worth doing, or do it for fun, or don’t.

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  58. Cece
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 21:07:28

    Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reader’s blogs as much as writers (Karen always makes me laugh!!!) and some I feel more comfortable about commenting on than others…I probably have a pretty even spread on my blogroll. I don’t have a whole lot to add except I’m so glad I’m not alone in how I feel about this :D

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  59. Jane
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 22:13:48

    Okay, I get the sense that authors are leery of being taken out of context, etc. and that they can control their own environment and that’s why they like to stick to their own blogs and message boards.

    HOWEVER, I don’t think you authors give yourself enough credit. Most comments I’ve read by all commenters, readers or authors, are thoughtful, funny, and smart. Authors, by their very professions, are wordsmiths and articulate, in the way that Karen S was talking about and not in the way that La Nora interpreted. Too much erotic romance fiction for that girl.

    I think I would be more interested in reading author blogs if there was greater interaction by them in the reader community. I know that I got started reading quite a few author blogs in that manner. But, I can respect an author’s desire for non confrontation over potentially pissing a reader off. But isn’t there some happy medium? Or are all comments subject to some type of twisted and/or hurtful replication?

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  60. HelenKay Dimon
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 22:52:27

    [quote comment="23896"]But isn’t there some happy medium? Or are all comments subject to some type of twisted and/or hurtful replication?[/quote]

    Finding that middle ground is the key, but I’m thinking the “happy medium” automatically means careful commenting. Which is a shame. The reality is that the potential to be misconstrued is always there, always going to be there and, really, there’s only so much an anyone, author or not, can do about that or so much energy you can expend worrying about it. And, to be honest, you only have to get one “fake” B&N/Amazon to see that some folks – many of whom are fellow authors or aspiriing authors – don’t mind unleashing their inner 7th grader to satisfy their warped need for revenge. Now, if you have figured out how to stop that juvenile crap (short of smacking peple, which is my solution), start talking.

    Jane, you’ve gotten stuck in a situation where you said something and someone took it and started spinning it into something else on another blog. Did it have an impact on you or your blogging ? Just curious.

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  61. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 22:58:42

    Happy middle ground to me means boundaries. I’m okay with some boundaries. Anybody who has ever been on a board or a group in the middle of flame war can understand that.

    But even if we try to set up a nice middle ground, there are going to be some people who don’t like it, who don’t understand the need for it, or those who just like to stir up trouble… There’s also always going to be people who misunderstand something or take something out of context. Which can lead to world of trouble.

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  62. TeddyPig
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 23:03:20

    Wow, all this talk of middle ground and safe havens to comment for authors makes me think there are a lot of people out there who are afraid of the public knowing what they really think.

    When did intelligent conversation become such a threat? When did selling your next book become more important than standing by your beliefs? And how much is your integrity worth? Hmmmm…

    Makes you wonder how much spin is being doctored.

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  63. Bev(BB)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 23:03:34

    [quote comment="23896"]I think I would be more interested in reading author blogs if there was greater interaction by them in the reader community. I know that I got started reading quite a few author blogs in that manner. But, I can respect an author’s desire for non confrontation over potentially pissing a reader off. But isn’t there some happy medium? Or are all comments subject to some type of twisted and/or hurtful replication?[/quote]

    Something else occured to me as I was doing some family things this evening. Most reader blogs are truly reading/life journals mixes, i.e. a combination of what we’re reading and what’s happening in our lives to greater and lesser extents. We’re also always told that romance authors are so close to their readers.

    Only a lot of the comments here don’t sound that way. So, I’m kind of like Jane here, where’s the middle ground here?

    Don’t get me wrong. Like I said, I’ve been involved in a lot of forums where authors were quite active. It just seems like there is a difference related to blogs and I’m not sure I understand why exactly.

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  64. HelenKay
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 23:31:16

    [quote comment="23899"]When did intelligent conversation become such a threat? When did selling your next book become more important than standing by your beliefs? And how much is your integrity worth? [/quote]

    Oh, please. You’re kidding with this, right? This isn’t a matter of being afraid of intelligent conversation or lacking integrity. It’s about being smart enough to pick the right forum and the right time. About being provocative on your own blog versus pissing in someone else’s pool.

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  65. Ann(ie)
    Feb 27, 2007 @ 23:35:10

    Maybe I’m hopelessly naive with this attitude, but I never speak my mind with the intent to provoke. People may get riled up about my opinions if they disagree, but I don’t intend to poke anybody until they hiss back at me. They’re just my opinions.

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  66. Karen Scott
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 01:41:17

    I do articulate myself, extremely well. But I feel this is a rather personal comment and not . . . Oh. Oooh! You meant THAT kind of articulate. Never mind.

    Lol, oh dear, I probably should have re-read that paragraph before going off to bed last night.

    Hmmm…. I’m thinking you may have just started a trend. “Go and articulate yourself” is so much more ladylike than go ‘f’ yourself, dontcha think?

    HK, you can stalk me to your hearts content as long as you don’t do an MJD *G*

    I also meant to add, I’m thoroughly disgusted that Lisa Kleypas has never once bothered to acknowledge Kristie’s promo of her books. The only excuse that I can think of, is that perhaps she’s not aware of her efforts, but I’m not so sure about that. I know how Blogland works, and somebody somewhere would have alerted her to Kristie’s mission.

    In my opinion, that’s worse authorly behaviour than many people on my ABB list have exhibited.

    On the off-chance that she’s reading this, the best way to redeem yourself Kleypas, is to send Kristie an ARC of your next book so that she can sell it on Ebay and then send one to me, because you also deeply wounded me by your refusal to acknowledge my fellow blogger’s herculean efforts to pimp your book to all and sundry. *wipes a tear from the eye*

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  67. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 05:18:03

    “About being provocative on your own blog versus pissing in someone else’s pool.”

    So insightful confrontation is a lost art with no place in your little world?

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  68. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 05:26:36

    The point I am trying to make is there is a difference between a “flame war” and a well reasoned disagreement. The later might just change my mind or get me to see something I did not see before. I think too many people are afraid of such discussions for fearing to be called provocative something I have never had an issue with obviously.

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  69. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 06:14:55

    The point I am trying to make is there is a difference between a “flame war" and a well reasoned disagreement.

    The thing is, Teddy, is that no matter how innocent an author’s comment may be, if it’s an opinion that somebody else doesn’t like… Ie: I didn’t really care for this book… if there’s a reader out there that just loved and adored the book, the reader might decide to make a mountain out of a mole hill by starting a flame war just over that simple comment. Most of us have seen that sort of thing happen. It’s even worse if it’s a *big* author with a very active, sometimes excessively so, following.

    An example of just that was on Bam’s board a week or so ago when she posted her review of Lover Revealed. It was a good review. Shoot, for Bam, it was almost diamond. But several people got up in arms over it. I can easily see that if a similiar review was posted on a pubbed, lesser known author, a hundred readers would flock to to attack the reader.

    So well reasoned disagreements only work if both sides work at it. Since there is no guarantee of that, I can see very well why a lot of authors simply avoid the possibility altogether.

    When did selling your next book become more important than standing by your beliefs? -

    I have no problem stating my opinions, never have, never wiill, but I do know that some of my opinions would likely cause more trouble than it’s worth just to see them posted on a blog. Not posting it doesn’t make it any less my opinion.

    And how much is your integrity worth? Hmmmm

    The decision not to post things in the negative vein doesn’t show a lack of integrity. For most authors, it actually shows common sense. How many authors would have been labeled as author behaving badly if they’d just decided to suck up it and not complain over the sale of ARCs, less than stellar reviews, reader opinion that their work is heading in the wrong direction…etcetcetc

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  70. Kristie(J)
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 06:26:58

    Just for the record on Lisa Kleypas not posting on my blog. I never expected her too. While I would have been thrilled to pieces if she ever had, it never occurred to me that she would. I don’t post on Squawk Radio – in fact I very rarely read it *G*. And I don’t visit her web site very often either. But from what I have seen of her on-line presence she seems to be a very real sweetheart of a person. What I wanted to do was have fun promoting what I will always think of is a damn fine book. I loved that Derek was just an ordinary kind of guy – not a member of the way over done ton. He’s the cherry on the top of my all time favourite hero sundae. And the fact that so many readers took up the challenge and discovered this book as well as others was the real thrill. And also – for me – it was a wonderful diversion in what was (and still is) an incredibly painful and heartbreaking time in my life. It allowed me to smile and laugh when I didn’t think I could.
    Having said that, should she ever want to send me an ARC copy of -oh say Cam’s story when it’s ready, that would be nifty keen indeed – but totally not expected. And as well, she should send one to Karen S who bought her ENTIRE BACKLIST and loved ‘em cause she took up the cravin’ Craven challenge :-) Karen did a great job of promotion herself *g* ’cause she wasn’t going to read Lisa Kleypas but did ’cause of me *batting eyelids*.

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  71. The Good, The Bad, The Unread » Blog Archive » it’s not yet the finely detailed insanity that you’ve come to expect from me
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 06:28:47

    [...] and finish ours. ohhh see maybe this is just preping ya sasha . I have five authors here if you wanna reach out and touch one. But I have no clue if they bite or [...]

  72. Shannon
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 06:33:33

    There was a blog not too long ago (and I don’t remember whose because it’s 7am and I am not a morning person) that put forth the sentiment to writers that we should “shut up, bitches and write” and I seem to recall a lot of cheering and “you go, girl” in response.

    We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t, and sometimes it’s a lot easier to stick to commenting on our fellow authors’ blogs than to walk through the minefield.

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  73. Nora Roberts
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 07:03:00

    I don’t see how choosing not to give an opinion in a public forum relates to intergrity. Giving a false opinion in one, yes. Zipping it is just a personal choice. Authors aren’t required to blog or comment, only to write books. That’s the job. Some may see participating on mb’s, having a blog, commenting on blogs as other aspects of the job, or as part of their marketing plans, or just as part of their interest and entertainment.

    Whatever, it remains a choice. Just as readers have the choice.

    And, I don’t think anyone can argue that comments are often misconstrued, or–haha–inarticulately written. And when the comment or comments garner negative responses up to flames, the consequences for an author are much more weighty and long-lived than they are for a reader.

    The ‘write, bitches, write’ diatribe certainly illustrates some readers’ take on this. Many commentors there enthusiastically agreed with the opinion we should just shut up and found comparing writers to dogs hilarious. I didn’t comment there–what was the point? There are sites on the internet I don’t travel and certainly don’t comment. I don’t choose to wander into areas where I know I’d suddenly find a big target on my back. Particularly since I never comment without using my name.

    Fortunately, there are many, many other areas where, for me–for my choice–I find it enjoyable and stimulating to take part in discussions.

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  74. Sybil
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 07:26:18

    [quote comment="23890"]“A working writer is too busy writing to spend all day Googling themselves.[/quote]

    I don’t think you can honestly name one author who has NEVER googled their own name. Work to get beyond it, sure. Not done it because they are oh so busy writing? Very doubtful.

    I should so start asking this of ever author I ever have a chance to email with cuz finding one would be cool. Hey Karen! Can you send out a survey :).

    On the topic, I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments and such. Next time dear jane, do a really nifty topic thing when I have more time. Damn it.

    I adore authors. They create the books I love to read or amuse me by providing books to hate. Along with whatever is in between. I like readers but I love romance readers. I think it was wendy? who said we are more likely to read other genres and such because we are not so hung up on what is ‘okay’ to read or not. And that has nothing to do with what we expect in a ‘romance’ novel.

    I like authors who comment on blogs and have one or two stop by mine. I can understand why they don’t comment on some subjects but there is a difference in being misunderstood and being a dick. I don’t think Lydia Joyce was anymore beloved when she was just a reader posting than she is now with her ‘read hat’ on. Some people just shouldn’t be allowed out in public.

    And if they are, I think they tend to expect the reaction they get. MJD love her or hate her, seems to impress her own personality for what it is. It is what it is…

    Oh and really no one, I don’t care who the hell they are, is ever too busy to drop a note and say sorry – x happened – thank you for reading the book or whatever. And if they are they have friends or people who could do it for them. That reeks of bad behavior and not giving a fuck about others. If I had been James I would have been pissed. Of course I would also have a fab house and spend half my time in Italy so maybe that helps. ;)

    Should it worry me that Helenk knows where I live?

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  75. Sybil
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 07:34:35

    [quote comment="23916"]And if they are, I think they tend to expect the reaction they get. MJD love her or hate her, seems to impress her own personality for what it is. It is what it is…[/quote]

    embrace, even

    fuck note to self don’t post until completely awake and somewhat coherent… hmmm well atleast awake I can’t recall the last time I could be called coherent

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  76. Jaci Burton
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 07:40:40

    I tend to visit blogs where the atmosphere is welcoming, like here. I read all the time, I post when I have something to say. I visit both reader and author blogs and don’t distinguish between the two. I go to the places that interest me. My blogroll isn’t split up between readers and authors…it just lists people whose blogs I’ve been to and found interesting.

    I do tend to spend a lot of time at my own blog, mainly because I am busy writing and don’t have the time to spend the day blog hopping. (sadly)

    Fortunately, readers do visit my blog, and we often talk about books. We don’t talk only about me and my books. I’m not all that interesting and I am a reader (sorry for those who think I shouldn’t say that because I”m an author, but I was a reader long before I was an author, and I will be a reader when I’m no longer an author, so that’s the way it is.). I like to talk about what I’ve been reading and what others have been reading. Because it really is all about the books.

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  77. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:14:13

    “An example of just that was on Bam’s board a week or so ago when she posted her review of Lover Revealed. It was a good review. Shoot, for Bam, it was almost diamond. But several people got up in arms over it. I can easily see that if a similiar review was posted on a pubbed, lesser known author, a hundred readers would flock to to attack the reader.”

    I read BAM and love her!

    That was a great review and I totally got where it was coming from. Loving a book despite apparent flaws. It rocked and I saw the reaction. The bad behaviour of the people coming into to troll did not take away my respect for BAM, she stuck to her guns and more power to her.

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  78. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:20:12

    That was a great review and I totally got where it was coming from. Loving a book despite apparent flaws. It rocked and I saw the reaction. The bad behaviour of the people coming into to troll did not take away my respect for BAM, she stuck to her guns and more power to her.

    That’s the whole thing, though… some people think that you should absolutely love everything about some books and if you don’t, they’ll hate you for life. If you’re an author…that’s can hang over your head with almost every word you write, because you don’t want to alienate readers.

    Bam’s funnier than I don’t know what and I check out her blog pretty regularly. I don’t always agree with her opinions and I don’t always care for some things she posts, but you know she’s got some people out there who’d paint a target on her back for daring to not appropriately adoring a book.

    It’s that bad behavior I’ve seen that has kept me quiet on certain blogs. I’m not going put myself out there and let readers paint targets on my back.

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  79. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:34:19

    Winston Churchill said…You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

    Something I live by.

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  80. Shiloh Walker
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:49:43

    Winston Churchill said-You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.

    Lol… okay, I think you’re putting a lot more meaning to this entire topic than it needs.

    I have a hell of a lot of opinions, and quite a few people that don’t like me because I had no issue voicing those opinions. HOWEVER, I voiced them in the proper arena. There are several authors would sooner spit on me than speak to me beccause I didn’t give them the butt kissing treatment they think they deserved. Several who went and told lies to people I considered friends and when I found out, I went thru the roof. But I did it in the proper arena. A private one. Even though some of it was pulled into the public forum, I didn’t discuss it there because it had no business there. It was an author being petty and spreading BS for some unknown reason and it didn’t belong on a reader forum.

    Why on earth does it matter to a reader if I read a book and absolutely hated it? Why on earth does it matter whether I think this is the greatest hero and that their opinion of the greatest hero sucks? Why does it matter if I think this popular author has a series that went down hill and that she couldn’t write her way out of a sex scene if she had the Complete Idiots Guide to Writing Love Scenes?

    It doesn’t. It doesn’t affect my ability to tell a story, anymore than it should affect the ability of a reader to read a story. But doing so can cost readers. More, considering how some authors have approached it, it can make them look the fool.

    If it all boiled down to a matter of ethics, something like I was afraid to speak up over some sort of intolerance, or afraid to voice my personal beliefs and opinions for fear of being stigmatized, that would be one thing. For the things I hold dear, my beliefs, my friends, my family, yes I’d say whatever was in my heart on the subject and if it meant making enemies, so be it. I have done so in private forums and will probably have to do so again in the future.

    But this isn’t the fate of the universe we’re talking about. It’s not a matter of ethics, or right and wrong. It’s a discussion on whether or not authors should comment on blogs and what keeps them from it.

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  81. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 08:53:33

    “HOWEVER, I voiced them in the proper arena.”

    Ok ok I agree, one should not go around playing “shock jock”.
    But I am never afraid of having an opinion, a personal bias and completely admit to not knowing everything so I tend to have a high inaccuracy rate.

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  82. Christine Rimmer
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 09:18:21

    Been thinking about this some more.

    It’s just that, an author brings a whole other load of crap to the table in this kind of forum. I mean, okay. Say you’re a reader. You’re bringing your passion here. Your honest opinions. You can be as open as you want to be, because this is probably where you come to be totally…you.

    I envy that. I do. There’s a purity to that. For an author, well, books are her job as well as her passion. She has to be aware of a certain…standard of behavior or she’s just not being responsible.

    I’m not going to put it out there if I think another author’s book is awful. For me, I would consider such a move tantamount to telling a co-worker, “Gee. Too bad your kid is ugly and fat.” It’s not something I’d do, not my personal style in my career. The repercussions could be too painful, they could interfere with my work. And I try, I honestly do, to keep my eye on the prize and protect my work above all.

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  83. Maria Duncan
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 09:39:48

    This is a fascinating topic, I can’t believe how many opposing opinions there are. I love reader blogs and I love author blogs. And at the risk of sounding 10 years old, can’t we all play together?

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  84. Jane
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 09:58:20

    But I am never afraid of having an opinion, a personal bias and completely admit to not knowing everything so I tend to have a high inaccuracy rate.

    Me too.

    I had to go back to re-read my article “Should Authors Shut Up and Write” before I responded here. Forearmed, you know. I mentioned two authors who responded to reader reviews negatively. I do think that when authors respond to reviews, unless it is dead ass funny like Daisy Dexter Dobbs’s response to Karen S’s review, it doesn’t do them any good. But I don’t think that author’s should shut up and write in general. I enjoy hearing their opinions, even if I don’t agree with them.

    I can also see where there are articles, blog topics, etc. that seem so fraught with danger for an author that they wouldn’t want to respond. I get that. What I am reading is that authors would rather avoid commenting altogether than have to pick and chose which topic to participate in. And that’s too bad. But, I guess, it is what it is.

    HelenKay – The thing that bothered me about the other blog is not the post that misrepresented me but the seeming threats of impending litigation and not for myself, but for my poor blogging partners. As a reader blog, that sort of thing doesn’t hurt us at all. Not personally or in blogdom. I mean, what is the worst thing that could happen? people stop reading us, we stop getting free books, we go back to the way it was a year ago. The worst thing that can happen for an author, I suppose is, is to lose a reader. But where those readers really reading you in the first place. Lots of readers have admitted that while ABB turns them off, they are only going to stop buying the books if the author’s books are bad.

    And negative reactions can occur even if you don’t comment. I remember the Ward scuffle a few months back over a reader from Sanctuary’s Finest (I think it was Dylan) who was banned from the JR Ward book for asking about the gay overtones in the books (which are so clearly there – I mean, many naked men in a bed, drinking, doing drugs and jacking off? Rhev and Phury kissing? – sorry, got sidetracked there.) There was a great hue and cry raised about Where is JR WARD. Why isn’t she coming out and saying something?

    I know that a couple of years ago when there was the great RWA debacle and so many noted authors came out and spoke about the mess that was made, there were some that were curiously silent. I have to admit that bothered me. Not enough for me to stop buying their books and it wasn’t enough that it intrudes upon my reading experienced, but their pedestals were a little tarnished.

    I think I have a point here and that is, if an author is damned if you and damned if you don’t, wouldn’t the author rather be damned for doing something?

    PS Helen Kay – you are free to piss in the pool here.

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  85. Fiona Glass
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 10:32:38

    As an author I would *love* to reach out and touch my readers – if not literally then certainly virtually *g*. But it can be very difficult for us authors to find out who reads and enjoys our books.

    If I like an author I can Google and find her website, read her news and comment accordingly. But if Jane Doe buys one of my books and likes it, how do I find that out, in order to track down her blog and comment on it?

    This is the only reason I rarely comment on readers’ blogs – I simply don’t know they exist. Perhaps readers could speak up on their favourite authors’ blogs so that the authors can track back and discover them?

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  86. Teddy Pig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 10:39:10

    “And, I don’t think anyone can argue that comments are often misconstrued, or-haha-inarticulately written. And when the comment or comments garner negative responses up to flames, the consequences for an author are much more weighty and long-lived than they are for a reader.”

    Nora,

    If someone did that to you and I saw it. They would pay. Oh, they would so pay. Oh, the evil that would befall them.

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  87. Tara Marie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 10:46:30

    …The bad behaviour of the people coming into to troll did not take away my respect for BAM, she stuck to her guns and more power to her.

    That’s the whole thing, though- some people think that you should absolutely love everything about some books and if you don’t, they’ll hate you for life. If you’re an author-that’s can hang over your head with almost every word you write, because you don’t want to alienate readers.

    I’m not sure I understand your point. I don’t see authors alienating readers, unless they’re fueling the flames, as much as the rabid fangirl trolls annoy other readers. They love everything the object of their obsession writes and rarely have any real perspective when it comes to less than stellar story.

    I wouldn’t hold an author responsible unless they’re using fangirls to their advantage, and to be honest I’ve seen that happen, now that completely alienated me, but then I wasn’t a fan of the author to start with.

    Do authors worry about alienating the obsessive reader that needs to love everything they read? Do fangirls turn that easily? That’s not my experience.

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  88. Alison Kent
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 10:49:01

    [quote comment="23932"]
    If I like an author I can Google and find her website, read her news and comment accordingly. But if Jane Doe buys one of my books and likes it, how do I find that out, in order to track down her blog and comment on it?
    [/quote]

    It’s not about tracking down readers to comment on her love of your book (your being all inclusive here – not just to Fiona). It’s about visiting reader blogs and participating in the discussion of the day, no matter what it is. Participating if you have something to add, that is.

    It’s what blogging has been about since the beginning of time. Conversation. Discussion. Participation. No matter the subject, the blogger’s identity, the blog’s content, etc.

    My feeds include readers and authors and agents – and TvSquad and Illicit Cultural Property (thanks to Michele) and Dooce and so many others. Blogging is a community effort, no matter the community.

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  89. Tara Marie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:03:14

    Lots of readers have admitted that while ABB turns them off, they are only going to stop buying the books if the author’s books are bad.

    I don’t understand the logic that says I have to like an author in order to like their work. A lame throw away comment that starts a tempest in a tea cup isn’t going to keep me from reading and enjoying a favorite author.

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  90. Bev(BB)
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:10:38

    [quote comment="23932"]This is the only reason I rarely comment on readers’ blogs – I simply don’t know they exist. Perhaps readers could speak up on their favourite authors’ blogs so that the authors can track back and discover them?[/quote]

    Hmm, I’m hearing a tech question buried in there somewhere. And I do believe part of the problem is just that. Yes, I believe authors should “visit” more readers blogs just to be sociable but that doesn’t mean I don’t think they shouldn’t want to search out their own readers first. The strange thing is that I’ve never noticed authors having any problems finding out I’ve mentioned their books and I don’t even review.

    ReplyReply

  91. Teddy Pig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:10:46

    “I don’t understand the logic that says I have to like an author in order to like their work. A lame throw away comment that starts a tempest in a tea cup isn’t going to keep me from reading and enjoying a favorite author.”

    Yeah, but I love having insight into their POV. I remember the Anne McCaffrey “Tent Peg” incident.

    It made me re-examine my opinion of her work.

    ReplyReply

  92. Emily
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:12:42

    I second the question about finding reader blogs. I hang out at the RT forums, here, Giggles… where else will I find readers, particularly of erotic romance?

    ReplyReply

  93. Tara Marie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:22:52

    Emily and Fiona,

    You can click on just about every name here and find a blog or website, check out their sidebars, lots of reader and author blogs will be listed.

    Or go back to Dear Author’s home page go down a little ways on the right and click on “blogroll”. Lots of interesting blogs.

    ReplyReply

  94. Tara Marie
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:29:37

    Yeah, but I love having insight into their POV.

    Very true, I will admit that some of Lydia Joyce’s thoughts and comments have left me blinking owlishly and wondering about TMI, but I still love her writing style and voice.

    ReplyReply

  95. Jane
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:34:52

    Conversely, there is more than one author whose comments around blogland have won me over to the point that I buy their books which has happened a lot more than stopping buying books because of commenting stupidity.

    ReplyReply

  96. Ann(ie)
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:36:14

    I’m with Tara, I don’t need to like an author to love their work.

    Authors have to be pretty extreme in their comments for me to write them off my buy list. If an author came along and said, “YOU readers are all stupid whores. I don’t need your money anyway, for I have legions of loyal fans who send me hundred dollar bills in the mail just as an incentive to keep writing,” then I might decide to support someone who cares. Anything short of that isn’t going to make much of an impression on me.

    ReplyReply

  97. Jaci Burton
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:41:21

    I have legions of loyal fans who send me hundred dollar bills in the mail just as an incentive to keep writing

    Note to self: Find fans like this

    ;-)

    ReplyReply

  98. Teddy Pig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:47:44

    Must cultivate rabid fangrrrl base… make sure they have good incomes.

    ReplyReply

  99. Teddy Pig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 11:48:46

    This is better than that professional writing class I took.

    ReplyReply

  100. Jaci Burton’s Muse » Blog Archive » Authors and Readers - Blogging in the Same Sandpile
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 12:31:50

    [...] Dear Author has a great topic going about authors blogging at reader blogs. I posted my .02 but wanted to bring some dialogue over here, where I could expand my thought process a bit (i.e. foam at the mouth more, because this is my blog and I can ramble nonsensically here.) Okay, so I ramble other places too. Whatever. [...]

  101. Fiona Glass
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 12:51:33

    Thanks for the suggestions on where to find readers’ blogs – I’m off, bloodhound-like, to do some hunting now. :)

    On the subject of authors being nervous of posting the ‘wrong thing’, there is also the issue that many publishers are distinctly unamused if their authors accidentally pee off a bunch of readers. Worst case scenario is that this can lead to the publisher refusing to take any more of said author’s books, which could be why some prefer to tread very carefully…

    ReplyReply

  102. EC Sheedy
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 13:08:34

    [quote comment="23943"]I’m with Tara, I don’t need to like an author to love their work.[/quote]

    And a good thing, too . . .

    I think the idea of this like/dislike thing getting personal instead of being about the *book* might be what makes some authors hesitate before commenting on reader blogs. I mean if a few wrong words can set you up for a fall from grace with readers, it’s pretty damn scary.

    But I really enjoy reader blogs, and I do comment from time to time if the discussion is friendly . . . But if I see a Bic in the Barnyard, I’m gone. I get enough fights at home–live with twin twelve-year olds–I don’t need them on the net.

    EC

    ReplyReply

  103. Kristie(J)
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 13:26:10

    One thing that should be noted about authors posting on readers blogs – I don’t know if it has or not – I’m at work and I have this pretty small so I may have missed something – I have had a few authors post on mine on an unrelated topic. I was kind of thrilled and when their newest release came out I made a point of buying it. Now should I read it (haven’t yet) and like it, you can be sure I will recommend it.
    So it doesn’t necessarily have to be a comment on a review. It could be on a related subject or something else entirely. Just the fact that the fact that they are paying attention to readers can be enough to do some good PR.

    ReplyReply

  104. Nora Roberts
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 13:54:14

    I might comment favorably on a blog or mb over a book I particularly enjoyed. I’d be very, very unlikely to comment unfavorably on one I didn’t. It’s just sticky. This would be a case–for me–where I keep the writer hat firmly on, and keep my reader’s opinion to myself. My choice.

    Quite often I’ve seen comments after a dust-up, a miscue, involving a writer from some readers stating outright they would never by that author again due to her on-line comments and/or behavior. Their choice.

    But the reality exists. Commentary can have consequences. I believe I made my first comment here after a reader referred to me behaving badly (and I had) years before on a mb. Long-lived, indeed. The reader neglected to give the circumstances–only that I behaved badly. And also didn’t mention (or know, apparently) that I had copped to the mistake and apologized for it on that mb, and privately to its owner. I’m talking years ago, and that incident still pops out to slap at me–even though I took responsibility and apologized in the same forum.

    It’s not hard to see why some authors elect not to comment or participate in the blogging community. Not every reader will separate the author’s on-line personality from the books she writes.

    One of the common threads of the sites I enjoy visiting and commenting on is the intelligent back and forth discussion, the humor, the sharing of opinions between writers and readers. Another common thread would be I’ve always felt welcome on these sites.

    ReplyReply

  105. I Didn’t Start It, Honest! « Milady Insanity
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 18:03:27

    [...] by miladyinsanity on February 28th, 2007 So Jane took off and running from my RTB [...]

  106. Shelly Laurenston
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 19:52:40

    I’ve only posted to one blog (this one), ever. And this is only my second time. Why? Time is part of it. Full time job as a managing editor with a boss I hate so much it drains me (right now I’m home sick). The rest of the time I write or market or relax by watching one of the Law & Order shows. The other reason is, I can start a knife fight in a convent. It’s a Long Island thing. I don’t mean to. I make what I think is a completely innocuous statement and wake up to all out war that I have to apologize for starting. I hate apologizing. To anybody. So, like a serial killer, I lurk. Read blogs when I can and focus on the one that make me laugh (Bam’s, Karen S’).

    I don’t have my own blog and don’t want one. Tragically, I’m just not that interesting. And I rarely read author blogs for pretty much the same reason. Oh, wait. See? That was rude.

    Anyway, it took me 39 years, but I finally learned to follow my father’s advice. A former Marine, he was a straight shooter and simply said, with that powerful knowledge that only comes with age, “Maybe you should shut the hell up. Ever think about that?”

    *sigh* Some days I really miss that old bastard.

    ReplyReply

  107. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 21:28:01

    “I can start a knife fight in a convent. It’s a Long Island thing. I don’t mean to.”

    Shelly,

    As one of your old sailor gay fan boys waiting patiently for your werewolf sequel “Go Fetch!” after that delicious “Pack Challenge”. I’ll take your back in the next bar fight. OK?

    ReplyReply

  108. Jane
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 21:37:44

    Don’t you know, Teddy, that Laurentson is big time now? Here’s her publication schedule:

    Go Fetch!—Available from Samhain March ’07
    Sun, Sand, Sex—Avaailable from Brava June ’07
    Here Kitty, Kitty—Available from Samhain July ’07
    The Mane Event—Available from Brava October ’07

    Here Kitty Kitty used to be a Triskelion release but I remember that Pack Challenge was revised. Woot. Not too long until her Brava release.

    ReplyReply

  109. TeddyPig
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 21:48:38

    Hey, any provocative knife fightin girl I back in a bar better have a mouth on her that won’t quit.

    ReplyReply

  110. Shelly Laurenston
    Feb 28, 2007 @ 22:58:13

    [quote comment="23967"]Hey, any provocative knife fightin girl I back in a bar better have a mouth on her that won’t quit.[/quote]

    Well, Teddy Pig, I do talk a lot and my ex had told me I had a mouth that wouldn’t quit. Twice. The first time in the early years of our marriage and then just before the divorce. I’m relatively certain, however, that he meant it differently that last time. :-D

    And geez, Jane, you know my schedule better than I do. I keep mixing up the months and trying not to have panic attacks. ;-)

    ReplyReply

  111. Karen Scott
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 01:49:16

    I’ve read most of Shelly Laurenston’s books, they are laugh out loud funny, Here Kitty, Kitty and G’Fetch was hilarious.

    I guess she counts as an auto-buy for me, who knew…

    OK, enough of the mutual appreciation society, I’ve a got a motorway to navigate!

    ReplyReply

  112. TeddyPig
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 06:46:03

    Ok I’m taking notes…

    How does one go about cultivating a rabid fan grrrl base?

    I’m thinking I need to work on this before demanding they buy hard covers to support my impending jet set writer life style.

    ReplyReply

  113. Larissa Ione
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 11:14:11

    I am a huge lurker. I’ll comment at friends’ blogs, but I generally don’t comment anywhere else…though I do read several reader blogs. I think the main reason I don’t comment at reader blogs is that I don’t want to look like, “Hey, I’m an author! Read me!” And I’m afraid that’s how I’ll come across…like the only reason I’m commenting is to get my name out there.

    Maybe someday I’ll get over it, but for now, I’m a comfortable lurker!

    ReplyReply

  114. HelenKay Dimon » Blog Archive » When Life Intrudes
    Mar 01, 2007 @ 11:35:20

    [...] all that crap – yes, I said crap – going on, I decided it was a good time to jump over to Dear Author and engage in a chit chat. Damn that Jane! How am I supposed to lurk when she asks questions like, [...]

  115. The Good, The Bad, The Unread » Blog Archive » Dear Bloggers….
    Mar 02, 2007 @ 16:15:11

    [...] “Self, if I am gonna make S _ _ _ _ do stupid human tricks… sybil would sooooooooo want to be here.” [...]

  116. Michele
    Mar 03, 2007 @ 19:01:56

    My feeds include readers and authors and agents – and TvSquad and Illicit Cultural Property (thanks to Michele)

    And when we come up with the same plots, we’ll know how that happened!

    I personally find blogs more useful for information than for socializing, but that’s just my personality. Some people — readers as well as authors — are quiet rather than chatty, and lurking is the default setting.

    ReplyReply

  117. Don’t Undo Someone Else’s Work at LauraFlorand.com
    Mar 09, 2007 @ 07:26:47

    [...] another related moot point*** is why authors don’t review. It comes up, you know. Readers say: “Oh, they’re just hypocrites, wanting everyone to think it’s all [...]

  118. Carla
    Mar 09, 2007 @ 15:47:19

    Coming in way late on the discussion, but it intrigued me. I’m not a writer (well, not a book writer), but a publicist, and a former reviewer and article writer for eight-ish years; most especially active as a Community Leader on ye olde AOL message boards until they did away with the position (got free AOL, don’t ya know, when you couldn’t get it for free. *grin*). I also much preferred the old version of the AOL boards than the newer on-the-web ones.

    Personally, I don’t “get” blog land. The only reason I know about this Dear Author blog is because one of “my” authors directed me to it after Janine reviewed her latest release. That’s how I usually come across them – only if directed toward any in particular.

    But, I’m old. Like 50. *smile* I’m not very tech savvy, but I do love to gab. Wayyyyyy too much. I’m currently addicted to MySpace and have been a Yahoo groups addict since…well, it seems like forever.

    I need a Blog directory or something, I guess; however, it also looks like something else I could become much too addicted to!

    I’m wondering if it’s plain old vanilla ignorance on the part of some people, like me? Unless we’re steered in the right direction, we just don’t know it’s there?

    ReplyReply

  119. Robert Mitchell
    Mar 18, 2007 @ 05:23:40

    I can see I’m going to have to start reading some of these blogs! After reading this one and the comments my curiosity is aroused.

    Up this point I’ve read very few blogs and most of them were military oriented, like Micheal Yon’s. The rest of the time I go to Baen’s Bar and visit the different conferences there which, since I try to read most of them, can take quite a while. But I don’t think it’s quite the same as a blog, is it?

    Many of the conferences are Author related and the Authors do hang out there and talk to the fans while others are set up to discuss various subjects like the Tech Manual for research, or Truth vs Pravda for religion related topics, Slush Pile and Slush Comments for aspiring writers to post their latest piece of work and get critiques and comments, Publishers Podium for the publisher to keep in touch with the readers and get feedback on, Feelings for the “Need to get it off my chest” stuff, and a whole bunch more.

    I find that I enjoy being able to interact with the authors, editors, and publishers. Hopefully they find it fun and invigorating as well.

    ReplyReply

  120. The Good, The Bad and The Unread » Blog Archive » Things that make you go WTF
    Mar 23, 2007 @ 11:36:11

    [...] got me thinking. Yes a strange and scary thing in and of itself. You may recall Jane talked about authors needing to reach out and touch a reader. I sort of went ‘uh, no thanks’ on that [...]

  121. Rocky Pacley
    Feb 01, 2008 @ 12:15:02

    I know that the authors interest is necessary for them to leave comments, I guess long as they are getting the group satisfaction they are happy with that. It would seem quality should matter especially when a comment is warrented.

    ReplyReply

  122. Vochud
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 11:54:01

    There’s value in your article and purpose will tell
    you have passion. In order to have effective skills
    writing you need to develop a purpose for providing
    content and then comes the passion to reach out and
    touch.

    ReplyReply

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