For What It's Worth

Monday, July 1, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions: Author interactions

 

Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st Monday of every month, where book bloggers discuss topics that are unique to us. Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions.

Just keep it respectful - no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Midnyte Reader or For What It's Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.

Question: Have you ever emailed an author to tell them you loved/disliked their book? As a book reviewer, do you think we should cross that line? 

Do you mind when authors re-tweet or comment on reviews? Does that intimidate you in any way in regards to review writing, knowing that they may be reading it?


Do author interactions - both pro or con - change how you view their work?


******

~ Have you ever emailed an author to tell them you loved/disliked their book? As a book reviewer, do you think we should cross that line?

I have emailed authors about how much I loved their book. In fact that’s how I started blogging. I sent an embarrassingly gushy email to an author and she responded. I was stunned and a book blogger was born because I loved the idea of being able to interact with creative people I admired and help promote something that might not get noticed otherwise.

Since I’ve started blogging I do that less often because I think it muddies the waters a bit. I may absolutely adore one book but not the next and that gets AWKWARD when you communicate with them on a regular basis, whether that’s via email or casually on Twitter. But ya know….I can’t help fangirling when I really love something so whether it’s appropriate or not I still do sometimes. To me – I’m still being honest. Possibly annoying and obnoxious – but honest lol

I would never directly tell an author I didn’t like their book. Just as they shouldn’t try to influence how I interpret the book – I shouldn’t question how they wrote it. It’s their story to tell. My review is my own but that’s just plain rude to direct it to them in an email or tweet/facebook.

~ Do you mind when authors re-tweet or comment on reviews? Does that intimidate you in any way in regards to review writing, knowing that they may be reading it?

I know a lot of bloggers don’t want any author comments or feedback but I don’t mind a thank you for taking the time to read/review my book or maybe thank you for the honest review (which I’ve gotten once on a negative review). Obviously, I don’t think they should get into a debate about my review in the comments section and I don't want to get into a discussion but a quick comment is fine.

I do get a little nervous when I know an author googles themselves or monitors reviews before posting a negative review but hey – I have to post my honest opinion. I feel awful when it’s an author I love and talk to online regularly but it doesn’t stop me. I have waffled about wording thinking it’s too harsh but then I ask myself – would I write the same thing if I didn’t know/talk to them online? If the answer is yes, then I stick with what I’m writing. You shouldn’t have two review writing standards that are harsher to one author because you don’t know them but kind to another because you do.

It doesn’t make me angry but I do feel “monitored” – if that’s the right word – when I’m tweet reading a book and the author pops in with a comment. I’m not talking about if I specifically @ them but just a generic tweet. Then I know they’re reading both my positive…and not so positive tweets. It makes me uncomfortable.

~ Do author interactions - both pro or con - change how you view their work?

I have picked up quite a few books just based on funny author tweets or how they treat myself and other people in social media. Once I pick up the book though, it still comes down to if it’s good or not.

On the other side of the coin, if an author is rude or goes crazy on a blogger, I will avoid their books.
I think the standard should be – Talk and interact away with authors. They are awesome! But if you find yourself censoring your own review for one author over another just based on friendships or interactions then you need to stop or find some way to be more transparent about it on your blog.

Question for August 1st: Vlogging. Have you ever vlogged (video blogging)? Why or why not? What do think makes for an interesting vlog? How does a book review vlog compare to a written review in your opinion? What are few of your favorite book review/author vlogs? (Source: Amy Bookworm)

31 comments:

  1. I absolutely agree on every point you made - especially honesty. I'm sure it's not that easy for a renowned blogger with a conspicuous online presence...which I'm not, so of course I can take it easier, so to speak. I mean, I can talk about honesty and being detached or whatever in abstract, but since I haven't been in any controversy or awkward position so far, I can't really know what it's like and what I would do. So, it's kind of reassuring to learn that an established blogger like you is able to mantain her ethics and balance without having to struggle with them too much :).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right. It is easier in abstract...then you meet this awesome author who's thanked you for supporting her books and then you hate the next one. O_O lol

      I can't lie - those reviews are harder to write and hit publish for but you still have to if you want to maintain any credibility.

      The person I admire the most in this regard is Mandi from Smexy Books. She interacts all the time online with authors but her reviews are always completely 100% fair and honest. I believe the authors respect her more for it too.

      Delete
  2. I prefer not to have the authors comment on my reviews publicly but that is just me. I kind of just want to talk to other readers about it :)

    I have quit reading authors because after meeting them their personalities were just not for me. Right/Wrong, I just couldn't support them after that.

    I don't think about authors when doing my reviews (probably because of my first stance of readers first) but I also pick most books I read so I tend to like them. There is very little pressure there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I started blogging it never occurred to me that I would interact with bloggers or that they would ever bother to care what I had to say.

      It's weird but if your own blog isn't a safe place to share your hones thoughts then I don't know what it. Why bother?? At that point you should be up front and make it a promotional blog.

      I don't mind a quick comment but I don't like when authors try to interact or keep promoting with links on a review (a guest post is different) . I want people to feel free to discuss without anyone looking over their shoulders.

      Delete
  3. I can't even imagine sending an author my negative review. Wow. I don't even send them my positive reviews directly, though I have @-ed them when talking about a positive review on Twitter.

    I've had a bunch of authors comment on my reviews which gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling -- it's definitely unexpected but, as long as they're not cursing me out, I think it's all good. But I don't review for the authors, I review for other readers and myself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It happens which is mind boggling to me. Your review is your place to express your feelings - it's rude to contact the author directly through email or Twitter etc.

      Delete
  4. I in no way send an author a bad review ...but to the publisher yes. I agree with emailing and fangirling over authors. I think that its a fine line with their relationship. You remember I read/reviewed my local author friend and the mess that came from that . That was a turning point in how I deal with authors.

    I don't see too many author comment on my reviews but I I know that they might monitor my review. I think mandi is awesome too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If they want to google themselves or whatever then they should be ok with reading both good/bad reviews but I would never contact them directly.

      Delete
  5. Great questions! Before blogging reading for me was so solitary, and now that I'm on twitter and facebook, going to book signings, interacting occasionally through email, suddenly an activity that was once so private is now very public. It's both thrilling and terrifying!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "thrilling and terrifying" YES! lol

      Delete
  6. I don't see why you wouldn't want an author to thank you or retweet your review. It's not like it's substantive. Just polite. I never used to contact authors when I liked their books. But they seem more approachable now after blogging. Plus in the age of Twitter. I still don't email them, but I do tweet them and say how much I loved their book. And I'm always thrilled when one of them tweets back a thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Twitter is the thing that has made chatting with authors more common for me. I sometimes forget they're authors on there lol

      Delete
  7. Such great answers. And such a great question to ask yourself -- would you say the same thing if you didn't know them? A wonderful way to monitor yourself and stay honest. I feel more monitored on Goodreads and it's starting to drive me nuts...

    You are right though, if you find yourself censoring your posts you need to re-think things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah - I think if you approach one book/review one way for some others and another way for everyone else that might be a problem.

      Delete
  8. Yeah no censoring! See i think all the opinions so far say that they'll stay away from an author's books if they've been known to cause drama. I won't let their drama stop me from reading the book if I was already excited to read it before the junk happened. I'm in it for the books, not for the author as a person. That's like saying you won't watch a movie that Christian Bale is in just because he went all crazy on a stage hand. People are not always nice - that does not mean that what they create might not be awesome. That is my opinion on it. I'm sure there are a bunch of geniuses in the intellectual or artistic fields that weren't "nice" people. That doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy their art work any less.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do kind of avoid Christian Bale movies because of that lol I don't know why but when I see people treat other people poorly it bothers me.

      I can't say it's a written in stone kind of thing and I think people have bad days and shouldn't' be judged by one bad tweet etc but bad behavior does influence me.

      Delete
  9. I completely agree with all of your points...I've had to catch myself a few times because I know that I sometimes lean toward being less harsh with authors I "know" or with indies in general.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I used to be easier (still honest but maybe worded things less harshly) on self pub's until I caught myself doing it. In my early days I was worried about crushing their soul lol

      Delete
  10. Totally agree with this post!! It's awk when you LOVE an author personally but don't love their books. It sucks. If I tag an author's username in a tweet though, I am inviting a response. Like you, I don't mind when an author responds in the comments either as long as it's not a tirade why I am wrong and why my review destroyed their career (not that it's even possible!), y'know? Even though that hasn't happened to me, I've seen it before. Anyway. Great topic!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'll tag an author if I'm enjoying something. But I've kind of backed off that too after I would start tweeting how much I love a book - talk to the author and then end up hating it. AWKWARD! lol

      I don't like when they self promote in the comments of my review. I've had a few say - if you liked this then click here for this other book I published....I just think that's tacky.

      Delete
  11. I agree with everything you have said here.

    I have talked to an author about there book mostly in the tidbits that resonated with me (like a villan who had the same last name as me or who wrote about my hometown). It was fun and they got some fun feedback. :D I think we both got a good laugh out of it.

    I don't mind when an author comments on a review. I don't even mind when they share why they did something I was unsure of or was confused. It often brings another perspective to my reading of the book I wouldn't have considered. I don't feel intimidated and actually assume that I get read by an author more than I realize. Not vanity, but their curiosity. In any art endeavor, you want honest feedback even if it isn't good. Although I know that everyone wants it to be positive, the negative (honestly w/o trolling) can be invaluable.

    Now I've seen authors go off and troll on a review. That does change me opinion of their work. I usually will not read an author who goes off like that. It is unprofessional. There is a way to disagree without becoming a troll. Disagreement is fine, not trolling.

    Great topic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ignore the writing errors. I think I need more sleep! LOL

      Delete
    2. You have nothing on me with comment typos! lol

      I don't mind an author explaining something either. I guess it depends on how they do it.

      I think the problem comes if your followers feel that the author is checking out their comments. I've had it happen to me with other blogs and then I'm leery of leaving a comment if I want to say something negative about a book.

      Delete
  12. I completely agree w/everything you've said, Karen. I think new bloggers get so excited when we receive a response from am author, and if the interactions continue a lot, it can muddy the waters. I have authors that have become friends to me, and it's always hard to walk that line, b/c I don't want people to think I'm giving a positive review b/c of the friendship. I've also had an author friend get their feelings hurt b/c I have her 4 stars, which is crazy. On the other hand, I have a friend that thanked me for my 3star review.

    I just don't know. I do the best I can. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I always learn a lot from you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You do a great job Andrea. I know you're friends with quite a few authors but you've always been fair with your reviews and even promotions for them - letting people know that the book didn't work for you but might for them.

      Delete
  13. I have never done it cos yes like you says it muddies the waters. But once I just had to, I read this awesome graphic novel and I was just in awe and had to tell him. And if I know the author I bit I do tend to tweet them telling they are evil ;) Cos I know they can take it

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I rarely contact authors. I think there have only been two and both before I started blogging.

      I talk to them now but usually through twitter or if I enjoyed their book after a review request - we may chat a bit about it. Most have been really great letting me know I could contact or not contact them after. They don't want me to feel like they're looking over my shoulder which is nice.

      Delete
  14. This is such a good discussion topic! I love hearing from an author whose book I loved either by Tweet or commenting on my review. At the same time, I strongly believe that reviews are primarily for readers and it is not my job to give an author feedback on their writing, that is not what I am doing. When writing a review, I do so without considering the author at all, only how I felt about a book and why.

    As I said on another "Confessions" post today, authors that respond badly to a negative review are acting unprofessionally, this then damages their "brand." I question the intelligence of anyone who would do this kind of damage to their public image therefore I question their ability to write something I would enjoy so I refuse to read these authors.

    When I write a negative review, I usually try to link to a 4 or 5 star review on another blog so the reader can get another perspective. This has nothing to do with sparing author feelings though, it is more about giving the potential reader more than one viewpoint.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I agree! If you can't write an honest review of a book because the author is your friend, then don't review the book. You're allowed to read books that friends write, but don't jeopardize your integrity because you're afraid to hurt someone's feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I also think that it's rude to email/tweet an author when you didn't like their book. I never really thought about authors googling themselves before but I guess they must, though if it were me I think I would be too afraid.

    Author interactions can have good and bad effects, but I'm thankful that I've only had good interactions so far!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I love interacting with authors! Especially when they're releasing sneak peeks of their WIPs. I don't usually write to an author unless the book I was reading was my all time favorite and I had to tell them, besides asking multiple questions a long with it. I love that you mentioned reading books by friends. I'm not sure if I can call myself a friend of some of my authors but I do find myself being honest in my reviews, which I found was helpful for my authors even if we interact a lot on social networks.
    Authors with bad interactions.....they do make me feel different about them afterwards.

    ReplyDelete