For What It's Worth

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Blogger Confessions #4

Welcome back to another Book Blogger Confessions!

Basically we're here to "confess" and vent about topics that are unique to bloggers. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions. Just keep it respectful - no bashing authors or other bloggers!

Check out the introductory post for more information.

If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger's All Consuming Media or For What It's Worth. Once your post is up add your link to the linky list below.

This week's question -

Social networking with authors: Do you interact on Twitter/Facebook/etc with authors? Does it affect how you review their work or do you look at their books differently because you're on friendly terms with them?
(Question suggested by Andrea The Bookish Babes)

I do - mostly on Twitter and it does muddy the waters doesn't it?

I mean it's great when you love a book and can say to author X…..OMG I LOVE you! You are the most amazing writer ever!! But when you don't love the book and they know you're reading it……awkward! There's a face associated with the book now. A friendship of sorts (not really - but it can feel like that).

One lesson I have learned is to shut my mouth until I'm at least 50 pages into a book. I used to tweet as soon as I started a book and I noticed authors would start following or tweeting me as I was reading. I love the interaction but I always feel really horrible when the reading experience starts going downhill because I know their watching me…lol

I don't mind giving my honest opinion at all but I don't enjoy striking up a conversation that starts with: Me at page 10 - "this book is so much fun!" Author "Oh thank you so much. I'm so glad you love it. This book is putting my daughter through college. - You have a great blog - Can't wait to read your review….etc" Me at page 54 - , "um….this book sucks now - sorry."

I find that most authors feel just as awkward about this situation and aren't sure where to draw the lines either. They have to interact and "meet" readers (& most enjoy it and are awesome!) but not make readers feel pressured or like they can't say what they feel, which is why most won't read reviews. Completely understandable.

I have also met a few authors socially and had the incredible opportunity to beta read a few books. These experiences have really changed how I read books. Seeing the process and struggles that authors go through opened my eyes a bit to just how much work it takes to get a book from the germ of an idea to publication. The changes a book goes through from first to final draft are amazing.

It's not that I all of a sudden won't be critical anymore. I can be friends with an author but still not enjoy their book, it happens. Hopefully not often but I think once you feel that you can't be fair & honest in writing your review, you should opt out of reviewing that author's books or at the very least disclose your relationship as part of your review.

I have to say though, the authors that I have interacted with have always understood when I had something negative to say. They get what blogging and reviews are about and as long as you keep your review on a professional/non personal/ objective level most understand and keep the friendship separate.

Upcoming BBC topics:

March 5th: Let's talk about a positive aspect of blogging! How has blogging influenced your real life in a positive way? (not related to books or reading) Have you learned to be organized or are you more social now for example?

March 19th: Everyone LOVES that book! Why don't I? How do you handle being the one reviewer who doesn't like a book that's taking the blogosphere by storm? Do you write a review? Pretend you didn't read the book?

Link your post!


  1. I love your POV on everything, due to your beta-ing and all. You see a whole different side of the world that most of us bloggers don't ever get to peer into. The authors have so much to worry about--writing, publicizing, and interacting with us!

    Though I can't do author relationships at all, really. *FOREVER ALONE*

  2. Kitt: That conversation makes me lol because it's so true - talk about awkward indeed. :-/ I'm like Tiger, I can never have that relationship. I like to keep my words to authors at the "Omg I love that book! When is the next?" level. I don't want the face with the book, because like you said, a friendship.. of sorts starts to bloom and I don't want to find myself in a position of potential influence where I'm trying to avoid that awkward moment.

  3. Being a beta reader is a real treat and honor. Kudos to you.

  4. I am not really very social. I lurk a lot on Twitter and follow a lot of authors. I very, very seldom comment.

    It is fun to get a comment on a blog post from the author though. I have only heard from authors when I liked their book. On the other hand, I rarely really dislike a book and seldom write a negative review. There is almost always something positive I can find to say.

    And it is really nice when an author sends you their second book because you wrote a great review for their first book.

  5. You are so right, it does get awkward when you have built up a bit of that 'friendship' with an author before reading their book. It's hard to go back and say... er.. by the way - love you, your writing not so much!

  6. I can see where you're coming from on the whole tweeting thing- it's quite easy to start feeling obligated to read things (which I know you hate!).

    I don't know authors really, but when I have interacted with them it has always been pleasant and we've stayed away from thoughts on the book and- if it does come up- they always say that it in a way that is non-threatening or forcing me into anything.

    Basically- you're right. Authors are real people too and act as such.

    (Sorry, I want be participating this week. I don't want to feel forced to do it and I'm still coming out of depression and into productivity. I hope you don't mind. I kind of think I don't have huge input to give on this front either so I'm not too worried!)

    1. Only participate if you feel like it or have something to say :-)

  7. Karen,

    I think it also makes it so much harder because we really do love everything about books - Book release days are like a holiday for me - and that moment when you open a much anticipated book? One by an author who is incredible both as person and as an author? So much pressure! It really is wonderful when you love the books...less so when the book fails to meet expectations. Awesome topic though, can't wait for the next one!

  8. i agree with twitter and friendships it makes it harder

  9. it happened with me once. i got to know a author a little and then didn't love the book as much. really sucked writing that review, believe me. i've never been all that social though. especially when it comes to authors. it's a line i'm weary to cross. if i really love someones work, like melina marchetta or cath crawley then i have no prob in throwing a gushing tweet here and there. but i still keep it to a minimum. just how i prefer it :) i'm a reviewer first and i don't like feeling guilty about being honest.

    1. I don't consider socializing with authors on Twitter as friendships (it feels like it sometimes but it's not the same) but it can blur the lines if they are super nice. It can feel like kicking a puppy to say something negative lol
      I have one or two author friends but not because they're authors if that makes sense. They are good people who happen to be authors. I take them as I would any other person I would meet. You have to be a good person that I can discuss other things with....not just your books.

  10. I use to the same thing and tweet when I started reading @ing the author. Now, I don't. haha I got burned the same way and even though it seems obvious, I didn't think about NOT liking a book. I also now only follow authors I know their work or come highly recommended. I still don't tweet I'm starting their book though. :D I do learn from my past.

  11. Yes, I've been lucky in that I haven't had any awful negative interactions based on a review. I think you're right that most authors understand that not everyone can like their book and take the bad with the good reviews. It's the few bad eggs that draw all of the attention, unfortunately.

  12. "Me at page 10 - "this book is so much fun!" Author "Oh thank you so much. I'm so glad you love it. This book is putting my daughter through college. - You have a great blog - Can't wait to read your review….etc" Me at page 54 - , "um….this book sucks now - sorry.""

    This made me snort:) I've learned not to say anything until I've finished a book either, it's just easier for me to wait and stew on the book for a while before I give an opinion, even if that opinion is only in tweet form. I've been out of the loop on this feature, can't wait to see what some of the other topics are!

  13. Oh yes! So true! I usually don't even tweet that I'm reading or loving a book until I am well into it, just for that reason. And I agree with Logan, it's a few bad eggs that get remembered.

  14. Great post, and well thought out.
    I do interact with authors, but its usually after I've read and reviewed.