What Stace had to say on Wednesday, January 11th, 2012
I’m Not a Reader

Disclaimer: Once again, this is just opinions/thinking on the page, YMMV, Devil’s Advocate, hoping for a dialogue, please don’t kill me, all that sort of thing.

Not too long ago I was involved in a discussion on an internet forum where I am a long-time member, in which I expressed an opinion about the writing process, basically. And someone responded to me to say, basically, that I obviously expected everyone to give my opinions more weight because of my publishing record, and that it seemed to this person that I expected everyone to listen to me not because I was right but because I thought being published meant I knew better than everyone else; this person felt that I was acting like my opinions were facts and relying on my credentials to make others think so too.

Now. For the record, I know some of you may have seen that discussion and I want to make it very, very clear that the person who said that is entitled to his/her opinions and feelings and that I am absolutely NOT trying to “bring the discussion here,” or berate or belittle them in any way. I’m not. Not one bit.

My reason for mentioning it here is because it so perfectly illustrates the point I want to make today and the discussion I want to have, which is that once you are published you are no longer “a reader;” not because you’ve stopped reading (hopefully), but because other people see you differently. Readers see you differently. Maybe not all of them, no; I certainly can’t speak for every reader in the world (or any of them, for that matter; they can speak for themselves, and who am I to decide I’m their champion or something?). But for many of them…you have become “an author.” A different sort of animal.

I don’t base this statement just on that one experience. I’ve seen not just evidence of this but people actively stating it for years. I’ve seen writers accused repeatedly, in all sorts of venues, of thinking their opinions should carry more weight or that they’re more important or whatever else, when they speak up in reader forums.

Now, while I can say with certainty that I’ve never expected any reader to give a flying goddamn about my opinion, and I’m willing to bet most authors don’t expect it either (although see next PP), I also don’t think I’m in any position to tell them they’re wrong for feeling that way. How do I know that I didn’t suddenly start coming across like I expected that? I don’t. And it doesn’t matter. What matters is that at least some readers feel that way; at least some of them feel frankly bullied whenever authors enter the conversation or express their point of view. What matters is that a lot of them don’t give a shit about our point of view (and why should they?). And what matters is that they are absolutely perfectly entitled to feel that way.

And to be fair, what matters is that I’ve seen more than one author act like that is indeed the case and readers should all listen and pay attention and care and see things from their POV. Well, gee, we saw it five times in the past ten days, didn’t we? What are these “What do you know, you non-constructive-review-giving-peon?” internet scandales if not authors expecting readers to care about them or what they think above what the reader cares about or thinks? Every time an author pulls the oh-so-irritating “You need to remember that’s someone’s heart and soul/baby you’re reviewing and act accordingly” whine out of their entitled asses, that author is telling readers that readers are obligated to care about them; frankly, they’re telling readers that the writers’ feelings are more important than the readers’, IMO.

(Sadly, I can’t even just say these authors tend to be the same types of amateurs who make their sisters leave them glowing reviews online, because we’ve seen some major-house authors pull this shit, which is so intensely depressing I can’t stand it. Sigh. Every time an author has a tantrum, Satan shoots a puppy. Or something like that. Please, authors, won’t you think of the puppies?!)

Anyway. The point is, I honestly don’t believe my thoughts or the way I express myself has changed since I became published. I certainly don’t think being a low-midlister at best who writes books that have inspired hate mail for their subject matter means I have any sort of special entitlement to be listened to or heard or that it makes my opinion so much more worthy of attention than anyone else’s. But I can definitely see how just the fact that I have been published means readers don’t really want me around, and it makes sense to me. Why? Because readers want readerspace. Readers want to talk to other readers who share their outlook.

And to be frank, I don’t share that outlook anymore, not entirely, no matter how much I want to or try. Neither do you, Published Person. This is why I’m no longer A Reader. Even when I read.

See, for one thing, I’m aware of how publishing works, and more than that, my opinions on matters like ebook pricing and Amazon and whatever else are by necessity colored by the fact that I make a living from that industry. That doesn’t mean I automatically advocate high ebook prices or something (though it does mean I understand that printing costs saved by ebooks are eaten up in part by digital storage/transfer/etc costs), but it does mean that it’s harder for me to be objective when there are discussions about industry practice. Just as there are unpublished authors who complain about things that make perfect sense to me (like rejections without explanation), there are readers who dislike things that make perfect sense to me. Does that mean I think readers are stupid? Of course not. Does it mean I don’t think they have a right to their opinions? Of course not.

It just means our outlooks on some issues are different. That’s the way it is.

I also don’t read like I used to; I don’t read like a reader, not the way I did before I started writing. This, I believe, is a change that started the first time I picked up a book not as a fun way to spend my time, but as a guide to How It’s Done. (And note: NONE of the points I’m about to make should be taken to imply that I don’t think readers read critically or know good stories or writing or whatever else. I’m explaining how my personal process changed and making a generalization from that–and from the fact that every writer I’ve discussed it with has mentioned it, and it’s a common topic on writing forums–that most writers’ processes change; it’s not meant in any way to imply that readers don’t know good writing or whatever.)

It’s a lot harder for me to read these days. I don’t look at writing the way I did; it’s harder to get caught up in a story because I’m seeing technical faults, I’m seeing how I would have done or phrased it differently (that’s a big huge one). I rewrite sentences in my head. I’m more impressed by great sentences and far more annoyed by bad ones, and mediocre writing can and will ruin a book for me in a way it wouldn’t have ten years ago. Actually, I can’t even list all the ways that writing with an eye to publication changed my reading; there are so many of them. And while I believe that we all want the same thing–great books, easily available–I also believe that in some ways (however small) our outlooks are fundamentally different.

Not to mention that writing and reading are such deeply personal processes anyway. In what way does one’s view of books change when one is writing with an eye toward publication? Does it change again when one is published, and how? Of course every reader’s opinion is colored by their own personal viewpoints; that’s why reviews are valuable. But are the changes that happen when one starts writing for publication really beneficial to readers? (Does it matter?)

So what does this mean, in terms of my relationships as a reader to other readers? Does it make my opinion any more or less valuable (and again, does it matter)? Could I even write an effective review because of my different viewpoint (leaving out for the moment the obvious fact that I have a right to my opinion too blah blah blah, that’s not the point)?

And do readers care what I think?

As I said above, I think there are definitely readers out there who want reader-only spaces. I’ve seen countless complaints about how when readers find a good place to hang out authors start showing up, and it’s an intrusion, like how even the coolest parent is an intrusion at a teen-only event. Authors showing up in reader spaces make readers uncomfortable. We don’t belong there, at least, that’s what I’ve seen many readers say and what I personally feel to a large extent. The simple fact that we are writers colors the way readers see us and perhaps the way we express ourselves; maybe not all of us, but some of us. We can’t control entirely how others see us, frankly. We can be the most pro-reader writers in the world but we’re still writers, and there very well may be readers there who see that and just think “get the fuck off my blog, dude, I didn’t write this post for you.” And they have every right to think that.

I can only think how I would feel if I was on a forum dedicated to, say, shoes. And a bunch of shoe makers kept showing up and joining in. Yeah, in some ways they’d be welcome, but I can also see myself thinking at least part of the time that my conversation wasn’t meant for them, it wasn’t written for them, it was my attempt to relate to and discuss subjects with other consumers, not manufacturers. And I can only imagine this must be how some readers view writers who turn up on reader blogs and in reader forums.

I wonder too if this changes before or after someone is published. How do readers see unpublished vs. published writers, if there is a difference? Is the mere fact of a writer showing up seen as an indicator that they think their opinion is more important; do they seem like they’re trying to dominate the conversation? Readers, how do you really feel when writers join the discussion–does it make a difference what kind of discussion it is?

And since we started all of this by talking about how writers need to back off and quit trying to tell readers how to review, how to look at their work, how to relate to it, how to relate to them personally, or whatever else…how do *you* see reviews written by authors? Are they more or less trustworthy? Again, does it make a difference if it’s an aspiring author or a published one, and is there a level of publishing where that changes (like, do you see someone who just sold a novel to Books of Love Startup Ehouse in the same way as someone who just sold their book to Penguin)? Do you see them as a writer or reader or both? How does that change the way you see them, or does it?

20 comments to “I’m Not a Reader”

  1. Chelsea / Vampire Book Club
    · January 11th, 2012 at 12:32 pm · Link

    Honest answer time, I suppose. 😉

    I love recommendations from authors, but more “you’d like so and so’s work.” When favorite authors suggest others, it matters to me. (I first picked up a Megan Chase book because Richelle Mead said something nice about you. So — magic.)

    However, I’m a jerk when it comes to self-pubs. I know and accept this. My TBR is too long to not have a gatekeeper vetting manuscripts for me. So, does a recommendation from a self-pubbed author count as much as someone publishing with a big six house? No. It’d treat it the same as a reader friend suggesting something. It still has value, but I wouldn’t be adding the book to my “must buy” list on their say so, whereas I might from a traditionally published author.

    • Laura
      · January 11th, 2012 at 7:56 pm · Link

      I just had to say, I found Stacia from Richelle too … couldn’t be happier! I LOVE when writers recommend other writers. I will go look up their books in a heartbeat, if I like what I had just read.

      I do think it is silly when a writer reviews his/her won work. Of course they like it … if they didn’t, I would be a little concerned, but probably more intrigued and want to read it! 😉

  2. Barb Rude
    · January 11th, 2012 at 12:51 pm · Link

    This has been a great series.

    I’m an unpublished writer-type and whenever there’s publishing news or discussions like this I always read it as a reader first. Readerspace is critically important. It’s kinda creepy to be gushing over someone’s character or speculating on a future series and have the writer show up and make a cryptic comment. Weird.

    I do recommendations occasionally on my blog and it’s neat in a *squee a favorite author just spoke to me!* kinda way, but at the same time it’s a little discomforting. Sure, they were entirely professional and they just found my post through adwords or something similar. But I wasn’t talking to them. I was talking to other readers. It makes think twice to talk about specific books though I really really want to. Who is going to notice? What authors are going to see what I’m writing… about them?

    And I guess it’s weird because in other entertainment industries we don’t have to worry about that. I really don’t think Joss Whedon is ever going to “drop by” my site and thank me for praising Firefly, you know? I can post freely knowing that only other Mal-lovers (or haters) will chime in and that knowledge shapes the conversation.

    But since authors are heavily encouraged to have a strong social media presence… and many authors take promotion to a very detailed level of tracking everything… (and yes some clearly do take it too far)… It can be hard for readers to find spaces to just be fans of books. And that’s a shame, because being a fan is downright fun.

  3. kindle-aholic
    · January 11th, 2012 at 1:01 pm · Link

    I think that there are more than a few unpublished writers on the readers forums. Some of us have those big dreams of someday getting published, some of us dabble, but there’s more than a few who enjoy writing. I don’t have problems with authors coming onto reader’s forums, so long as their contributions are more than just an infomercial for their book. To be honest, the only authors who have been combative (and used the argument “Well, since I’ve actually written a book..”) have been self-pubs. But this has just been my experience, and I know there are plenty of self-pubs who don’t do this (and cases where trad pub’d authors have done the same).

    I don’t think it’s fair to ask an author to turn the writer part “off” when they discuss books – just like I come to the table with my own experiences, authors bring a unique perspective to the discussion. I know of some posters who might feel intimidated by the thought of discussing/debating books with an author, but I don’t know how to fix that. I think it comes down to being confident in your own opinions.

    As far as reviews – I understand why most author’s don’t post negative reviews, although an author stating an opinion on a book isn’t going to turn me off the author, unless there is some questionable behavior, like denigrating someone else’s work to try to make your own sound better. I do look at recs from authors and have found more than a few good ones. Stacia, I found Stacey Jay because of one of your Tweets and I’m really glad I did. Now, do I go out and put all of my favorite authors’ recs on autobuy, no, but I usually take a look, download the sample chapter, etc. It’s been a good way to find new books.

    Of course, if the topic is “Things you Really Hate in Books” then I think that authors should run as far as possible from the discussion. It just won’t end well.

  4. Anaquana
    · January 11th, 2012 at 1:11 pm · Link

    I’m not even published yet and I’ve seen that distinction.

    I’m a member of a very small book discussion forum that’s been around since about 2005. We’ve seen our share of disagreements and heated debates. Before I started down the path to publication, I could give my opinion in those debates without ruffling too many feathers. Because, you know, we were all just passionate readers voicing our opinions.

    As soon as I got an agent everything changed. When I’d try to correct misinformation I was called a diva and a bitch and I was dismissed by people simply because I was now a writer. People who I had thought were friends.

  5. Dot Hutchison
    · January 11th, 2012 at 3:28 pm · Link

    On Twitter, I’ve noticed that the people I unfollow are almost always authors who feel the need to retweet every single good thing about their book, who are always talking about their book. Twitter, like most social media, is an amazing tool for promotion of both self and product, but there has to be a balance. I don’t mind authors talking about their upcoming books- I’ve come across some fantastic books this way- but the ones who do it best are the ones who occasionally mention the specific books, and put the rest of the social media time towards events and other books and writing in general, even the general day to day stuff.

    And there is an element of distinction, I think, in trad-pub versus self-pub. I work in a bookstore so I deal with a lot of self-published authors who really don’t understand how the process works. There’s very frequently a sense of entitlement present, or maybe of defiance- “if those bastards at the publishing houses can’t recognize my talent, I’ll just do it myself and prove them wrong”. It’s hard for me to take them seriously when that’s the attitude they present, which makes it very difficult to want to read their book or trust their recs of other books. Especially those who treat self-promotion like breathing.

    I’ve found some fabulous books from authors talking about other authors’ books, but every single time, the discussions have come from a love of the book and the writer. It’s never been the “hey I blurbed this book so you should go buy it”; rarely it’s the “hey I blurbed this book because I think it’s amazing” but usually it’s the “hey I’m gushing about this book because it’s so good I can’t put it down to go write my own stuff”. When an author mentions someone else’s book as their reward for meeting a goal or a deadline, I take a look, because it seems like it’s got potential. The endless self-promotion, the constant retweeting, the countless follow up emails to tell people of every slightly positive review or comment received…it drives me crazy, and does more than anything other than poor writing to make me never want to touch the book it’s connected to.


  6. Melissa
    · January 11th, 2012 at 3:55 pm · Link

    Most of the time I’m comfortable with authors commenting on review blogs. I figure they have as much right to be there as anyone else, and it may be helpful to them too- in a market research type of way. The only times I’ve been uncomfortable is when an author responds to every. single . comment when their book is being reviewed That kinda freaks me out a little, even when they’re being tasteful/polite about it. Otherwise, I think all the different perspectives add to the discussion.

    I don’t really give any more/less weight to suggestions that come from authors than those that come from other readers. I do prefer author reviews along the lines of “I liked Whatever Book because it made me laugh” more than a 3-4 paragraph review, unless they’re reviewing on a review blog.

  7. midnightblooms
    · January 11th, 2012 at 4:30 pm · Link

    I’ve seen a small number of instances where the author left a comment and it worked out well. The Smart Bitches/Trashy Books review of PREGNESIA comes immediately to mind.

    The author left a comment on the site expressing her appreciation for the review and for people reading and enjoying the book (even though the review wasn’t definitely not positive). She clarified a couple of things the reviewer had wondered (the origin of the title, for example) and mentioned that sales of the book had taken off since the review for which she was grateful. She also mentioned her next book. It was non-aggressive, just a “hey, if you want to read another book of mine, I have this new one coming out” comment.

    In that instance, the author’s comment allowed her to make a good impression on the people most likely to buy her books. Her comment was professional, polite, and positive. And if I remember, she wasn’t even self-deprecating. She was just open and honest about the book’s many flaws and how glad she was that people enjoyed the book — even if it was to make fun of it.

    I feel that was the absolute best way to reach out to potential readers she couldn’t have reached otherwise. It was the best way to approach a negative review: with grace, a positive attitude, and a smile.

    Sadly, this seems to be the exception. I don’t think most authors would be able to respond as cheerfully and as she did. I know I couldn’t, which is why I agree with the “don’t comment on your reviews” statement.

  8. Dolly
    · January 11th, 2012 at 5:38 pm · Link

    I’m so very glad you did this discussion. I just recently “found” Goodreads (I know, I’m slow) and was ecstatic to find a place where readers gathered to discuss books. It didn’t take me long to find all the heated discussions and a bit of pandering.

    I read for enjoyment and I read a lot. Whenever you get a varied group of people together, you get many different opinions. I guess the thing is to be respectful of others OPINIONS. Every one has one and since they’re opinions, no one’s right or wrong.

    I do find it a bit awkward to see writers rate their own work on Goodreads. Of course, they’re gonna like it, they wrote it and are trying to sell it. I just skip over those reviews. I gave up on the Amazon reviews because some of them “felt” false to me. Usually if I find a book I think I might like, I go to Goodreads to check out some of the good or the bad reviews. It gives me a better insight on whether I really will like the book.

    I actually went back and changed some of my Stars on Goodreads because I felt I was being too lenient. I thought someone is going to see this and might buy a book based on what I did. With the economy being what it is, I felt guilty recommending a book that could be better read down the road when things get easier financially.

    I recently bought a book based on all the 5 Star reviews and boy was I disappointed. No one found anything wrong with the book and just gushed and gushed. I got 1/3 of the way into it and felt stupid. I really didn’t care for it all. It was okay and someday I will probably finish it but not right now. Finally someone else on Goodreads posted a 3 Star rating but didn’t give any info as to why. I wouldn’t rate it at this time because I’ve not finished it. And that’s another story.

    How can a reader give a rating good or bad without finishing the book? Okay, some are just not your cup of tea but express that in the review. Shouldn’t you tell the other readers why you didn’t finish it? I’ve also found that I have to be in the mood for a particular type of book. I’ve started books by authors I love and for some reason the book just didn’t grab me. Three months down the road, I pick up the same book and, Wow, it’s better than sliced bread, why haven’t I read this before now?

    I really hope your blogs settle things down a bit. Thanks again for tackling a sensitive subject.

  9. Cathy
    · January 11th, 2012 at 11:08 pm · Link

    Loved your blog. I guess my feeling at this point is out of interest and reflection. Living in Seattle I’ve had a lot of exposure to the internet and RL contact with authors. What you see at an event is not what you get on the net. However, the net is also a place of convinience and I hate lazy poster/reviewers as much as lazy authors. If you have something to say, articulate with meaning!

    Sadly, I see two things happening. Internet bullying from authors who promote and criticize reviewers AND readers’ emotional responses. Not to mention my extreme hatred of writer pushers who love to push their STUFF on a shared chat room or discussion site. To those writers…I say DESPERATE?

    I’m always open to different opinions whether they be reader or writer. I feel I’m intelligent enough to make my OWN choices in what I think is good. Yes, I see Lit vs. Genre snobs. PNR vs. UF. Anti-Tolkien vs. Traditional Fantasy or whatever…

    I love opinions, because if you are strong and stand on principle there is no need to justify your response. End of story.

  10. Seeley deBorn
    · January 12th, 2012 at 2:16 pm · Link

    I don’t know how many times I’ve seen forum posts offering other members the poster’s book for review. Those reviews were never anything other than glowing and 5 stars. And I think more often than not they were done in the hopes that the other would reciprocate.

    I once wrote reviews for a site that required that all reviews have 3/5 or higher ratings. I started out giving books I marginally liked 3s but after a while, I just started sending them back. And then I’d see books I’d returned because they had obvious plot holes, historical inaccuracies and inconsistent characters getting rated 4 and 5 by other reviewers for the site. All of the reviewers were aspiring writers.

    I see all reviews by authors as having some kind of underlying motivation.

    I see most review sites as having similar motivation. At least in the genre I’m most familiar with.

  11. BernardL
    · January 12th, 2012 at 4:49 pm · Link

    If I ever garnered a reading forum discussing my writing, I’d probably lurk there to the point I wouldn’t have time to write. :)

  12. Jo
    · January 15th, 2012 at 1:43 pm · Link

    Over say the past six months on my two book blogs (one’s for YA, the other for fantasy), among the others, I’ve had two new regular commenters. Not every new post would get a comment, but there would be comments on most. One would go through past reviews and comment. Both were what I would call interested commenters; their comments were more than “great review, I’ll check it out”, they would make comments on some of my points, agree or disagree, sometimes ask questions to clarify meaning, etc – just like commenters I’ve had for god knows how long. I enjoyed receiving comments from these people, because there would be chance for discussion. As I said, these comments came in roughly over six months. Then I get emails from these commenters telling me that they’re debut authors being published in the next few months, and would I be interested in reviewing their books. (I’d like to point out that they are unrelated commenters, one on each blog. Just a coincidence I happened to get two)

    Until the emails, I had no idea they were authors. It was never mentioned in their comments, and their comments never said anything that would make me think they were authors. They were just other readers. Having been emailed by them about their books, has my opinion of their comments changed? No. We are discussing other people’s books, whether we agree or disagree, and though I can agree with you that they may read things differently to me as they are writers, it’s just a discussion of a book. I still look forward to their comments now. I have to say, most of the time, they haven’t read the books their commenting on, so the discussion is mainly about on my opinion of the book. But when they have read the book, it’s just interesting to see various view points.

    Sometimes I have discussions on my blog, not so much on a specific book, but on, for example, sex or swearing in YA. When having such discussions, I welcome comments from both readers and authors. I like to hear readers opinions, but also authors thinking behind such things, I suppose, when they write them. I can’t explain myself properly without making this comment extremely long, but I do like it when authors get involved in topic discussions. I don’t feel authors try and dominate such discussions, they’re encouraged to take part, their view is wanted, and I’ve never had experience of authors seeming to get annoyed with someone because reader/author opinion differed.

    When it comes to author reviews, I’m a big fan of author blogs, and I like when authors happen to mention that they’re really enjoying XYZ book that they’re currently reading, or that they just read a book which was really good. I won’t necessarily buy the book or even check it out, but I find authors opinions in books interesting anyway.

    There’s a group YA book blog that I read sometimes. When that blog originally started, all reviewers were unpublished. Some are now published authors. They still review. when I came acrss the blog originally, it was after two of the reviewers were published. It never occured to me to trust the review more or less because the reviewer is an author. It’s not something I tend to think about, I think.

    I think for me, even though authors read differently to me because of the fact that they write, when they’re talking about books that aren’t their own, I do think of them as just someone who’s read a book and has an opinion I’m interested in. I may sometimes think that if an author is praising a book it must be quite good because an author is going to notice flaws more than I may do, but, as I said, their opinion doesn’t automatically mean I’ll read that book. I just like hearing what other people – reader or author – think generally.

    Sorry, I might have rambled a bit.

  13. Ljilja
    · January 16th, 2012 at 1:05 pm · Link

    Well said, Stacia.

  14. Randi Rousseau
    · January 17th, 2012 at 1:58 pm · Link

    I’m sorry you got/get blasted for your opinions, advice, writing. My attitude is and has always been “if it bothers you, then don’t read it.” I also look at advice that way “if I don’t like it, I don’t have to take it!”

    I got your first book as an e-version through LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers. I enjoyed it so much I bought a paper copy, and everything else since then. Can’t wait for the next book. Can I identify with your main character personally? Not really. Would I be her friend? Maybe not. But I think that’s part of what I like – I can’t identify with her, and she’s fascinating. Her world is fascinating. The people she interacts with are fascinating. I think maybe it takes more to write a character people don’t really like, but kind of do like despite themselves, if that makes sense.

    In terms of why I might weigh your comments on another’s book over some others, is because I like YOUR work, so I might also like something you liked. Publishers aren’t apt to send you dissimilar materials from your own, after all, to review. And besides, you strike me as a Hot Ticket, which has to count for something!

    Lastly, so VERY glad you sound like you’re feeling better! What a horror story

  15. Jo
    · January 17th, 2012 at 11:27 pm · Link

    I think the author in a readerspace thing depends on the situation and how it’s handled.

    I have a small blog, mostly for myself but also a way to connect with other readers. I have 1 very regular follower who was a major blogger, but has turned to writing (unpublished), and I look forward to hearing her thoughts. Another occasional commenter is a writer who has books that are either self-pub or published by very small publishers (I’m not sure which?). I consider her comments like another reader’s. I don’t know if that would change if I read any of her books (and I will … eventually). I do know that if an author I have already read or at least consider established comments I feel a little thrilled and a little intimidated at the same time.

    I’m also a member of a bookswapping site. I know there are a couple authors on there taht became published after being members, but in general, I think it’d be startling to “run into” an author on that site. It’s definiely a readerspace.

    Like I said, it all depends.

    • Jo
      · January 17th, 2012 at 11:30 pm · Link

      Forgot to say, half my “friends” on FB are authors, the other half readers. It’s a very different atmosphere.

  16. helen
    · January 20th, 2012 at 11:03 pm · Link

    I think reviews by authors are fine (and welcome really), particularly if they have a blog where they do regular reviews. Whether or not they impact me depends on whether or not I tend to agree with a majority of the reviews. If an author (or blogger) recommends a book and I like it, I’ll read more reviews by that author or blogger. If I detest what the author/reviewer/blogger has recommended I just stop reading their reviews. I don’t care whether someone is an author, blogger, reviewer, or joe schmoe. If their opinions coincide with mine more often than not than I will read their reviews to attempt to find more books and authors I might like. I have found tons of good books that way. I recently read Fracture by Megan Miranda and loved it so much I looked the author up online, found her blog and read all the back entries. I found at least 15 entries for books she had reviewed that looked very interesting to me so I bought them (ebooks for the nook). I’ve read three so far and have loved all three. I do this all the time, in fact, it is one main ways I find more books to feed my habit!

  17. Lana Baker
    · January 24th, 2012 at 10:02 pm · Link

    My local book discussion group is made up of about half published writers (or those aspiring to be published) and half strictly readers. In that small forum, I have found the discussions to be really enjoyable and educational, with information shared by both writers and readers.

    I am a reader, one with zero aspirations to be a writer. However, my mother was an English teacher and my love of words and the English language is in my DNA. I use my mental red pencil and I rewrite sentences in my head when reading. The best books, to me, are the ones where if I pick up my mental red pencil, I only notice pages later that I’m holding it, and wonder why I did that.

    As for whether or not to trust a writer’s review of a book…for me, it depends on a “personal” connection of some kind. EV knew my mother and seems like a nice person, so I would trust her opinion if she gave one. Blogs make this type of personal connection easier for me. An author who shares pieces of her genuine self is an author whose recommendation I’m more likely to trust than one who only posts superficial “Hey, I’m an author. Look at me.” posts. Not that I bother staying subscribed to the latter kind long.

  18. Karen
    · January 25th, 2012 at 2:41 am · Link

    What if you’re stuck in the middle? I am a proofreader/copyeditor and find it difficult to be a reader too. I have had to train myself to take off the proofing hat when I am doing recreational reading. I can do that, to a degree. However, I think being in the book business does change the way we approach any book, and I still find myself thinking “bad page make-up”, “typo”, “rewrite that sentence!” Not a lot with your books though. And I have to have fun sometimes. :)


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