April 29, 2013

Book Blogger Confessions [#5] What do we owe authors?

Book Blogger Confessions returns... It's the second week running & if all goes smoothly on Bank Holiday Monday it'll be the third consecutively. How can this be? It's supposed to be the 1st and 3rd Monday's, right? Haven't you heard of bonuses in meme's? Well, we have an extra Monday this month and thought we’d address some hot topics in the book blogosphere.
Yeah, well book bloggers... Special Edition: Today is ventivicious (I don't even know how I got that new word) and there's no wait- get venting (offering solutions if you CAN, can I? Nope).
Pick one – or answer them all! It’s up to you. I'm counting on the vent 'n' share factor. You have that?

1) Amazon buys Goodreads   2) What do we owe authors?   3) The Death Of Google Reader

Hosted by For What It's Worth and Midnyte Reader
What are your thoughts on this? Do they have a point? Do they go too far in expecting readers to only buy their books at indie bookstores, avoid Amazon or expecting readers to go forth and publicize their book after a purchase?

Most authors aren't attacking us for following our instinct and reading books from the library, taking up offers on books & buying from Amazon. OK, I'm wearing slight rose-tinted glasses (I don't care what egotistical authors tweet so don't look) but I genuinely believe it's the publishing industry as a whole that are expecting readers to go to lengths to avoid what they may consider "stealing" from them. There is more danger for the publishing industry, especially in the indie bookstore corner. Believe me, when they've fallen you can't expect them to come back. That's indie stores, libraries, small publishers (and in time, maybe self-publishing will flourish, thanks Amazon- so are bigger publishers at risk?) & probably some other sectors. But it's not authors that will fall.
Some will not make it in the way they're hoping. There isn't room for as many J.K Rowling's or Suzanne Collin's as authors may hope. I think they should hope but not for fame or fortune. I understand they want to commit to their dream career & as I reader & book blogger I would love to support authors & hope in some way I'm helping them becoming a more successful author. But I'm not here to sell books, I'm here to recommend them. If selling is what helps the publishing industry and not libraries then that's life. It's not fair & I'm not sure if everyone can be a winner.
But here's the way for authors to be a winner (and some are- they really do believe this, they are inspirations):
Recognize readers aren't here to sell your books, not every reader anyway. They are here to spend their time on your books and enjoy them if they can. They care about reading and the community but aren't here to give you fame or fortune. You've only fallen if NOBODY has read your book. I bet friends/family have and I bet if it's up for grabs then they're shouting it from the rooftops (...or blogging, listening friends/family? Get writing!) But it's not such a fall, it's not a fail. Someone hasn't read it now? If you're waiting to let someone or nobody has got round to it yet, DON'T PANIC. Someone will. I haven't got round to books I'm dying to read. And? The author hasn't failed in my eyes. The fact I've looked at that books reviews, synopsis or sample tells you something!
The author needs to pick themselves up because I truly believe this is a world for confident authors who aren't JUST looking for fame & fortune. They are looking for readers. And that I can be. I cannot be a source for an author's wealth. If I could, I would- I'd have way more books than right now (and probably always). As I've said, we're following our instinct. We can't hate libraries or indie book stores but we can't support them as much as we'd like ALL the time. I frequent both (expensive) book stores, places with book offers (not just Amazon... but for ebooks, yes) & libraries. Not just one or the other. I've bought/borrowed books from a host of places & most of these places/sites are important to me.
Which are most important? The ones that aren't online definitely. They give us happiness & are of a huge sentimental value to many.
As Radiant Shadows said the services these places offer include...
Book clubs and author events, getting book recommendations from fellow book lovers who are as passionate about books as you are, the social aspect of getting to talk books with other book-lovers, being able to walk out the door with your new book the same day you pay for (or take out to borrow) it
I care about all of these and it's completely fair to say that both libraries and indie bookstores somehow manage to do these even in these harder times. They do inspire authors and I found out that one of my favourite authors did their first public author event in a library... Yay for... (find out)!
 I really hope they don't go away and I really hope I've addressed that the issue isn't just for authors (even if the question umm... yeah, I'm not going there). Authors can expect us to spread the word (but not extensively as 'The Care And Feeding of an author On Amazon', eh?). I mean how would their books be read otherwise? But they shouldn't want libraries/Amazon to die *cough* Deary style *cough*... That'll be a major step back for the bookish community. MAJOR. 
We need to support BOOKS in their whole existence by publicizing them- sometimes Amazon helps us to do this. If it's the easiest option, go for it. Y'know that you should check out Goodreads, Twitter & BOOK BLOGS too, don't you? Yes. Authors, just keep paddling (did I mention this post?) authors!
Don't feel the need to share books more or pick up a book that an author is asking you to read/buy if you have a massive TBR. I sure as hell don't (sorry!)
A reader picking up (and buying, sure- that's nicer) should be worth a thousand tweets. And if it's not, I'm scared I'm doing this wrong!

So, you gathered I picked the second (and then adapted it to address a much wider topic)- I think a high number have discussed the third hot topic, you've probably seen lots more of it over this month... Many may be discussing the google reader DEATH so here goes my last thoughts:
I am not using bloglovin’. I’m Feedly & it bugs me how people don’t want to try Feedly just because they are happy with bloglovin’ but don’t see that it’s the same with me- I found Feedly & do I like it? Yes. I could yabber on about why it’s just as good (at least for me) but some have done it & they tend not to get far. Well, blogs, you can follow me via GFC (and therefore Feedly) or Feedburner. Please don’t ask about bloglovin’ or shove it down my throat in every new post that I can follow you via Bloglovin’. Only certain blogs (my blogger bud’s blogs) can get away with that this late after the news had been broken. I will unfollow; I have done so for this reason.
Yes, I’m a big cow but seriously... There's a choice for a reason! XD


Roberta R. said...

I do think you have a point about publishing industries. I read this great book called "Deadgirl", by B.C. Johnson (review to come), that only came out last year. Well, it is out of print already, because the editor (Cool Well) has shut up shop. I contacted the author asking if I should do the review nonetheless, and he confirmed that not only is he working on a new book deal, but he even has a sequel planned! So, if an author is talented (and has a good agent...), she/he may find a way out anyway...Of course, someone has to buy their books. But what about those readers who haven't enough money to buy all the books they would like to - shouldn't they read at all? And I do think that, if people really like a library book they have read, they are likely to buy a copy anyway, just so they can come back to said book whenever they like...
Also, it's sad, but not everyone can make it. Some are not great, or even good, or at least interesting writers. There should be a more accurate selection before would-be writers (or singers, musicians, etc.) were actually able to get their books (songs, etc.) out. Too many books, too little money. That's how it goes...
As for spreading the love - I am an instance of that. I specifically set up a blog in order to let people know about often less celebrated, but nonetheless good books (well, books that I think are good). On the other hand, as bloggers, selling books is not our job. Not to mention being supposed to follow a list of instructions about how or where to sell them...

Midnyte Reader said...

I love what you said, "I'm here to recommend books, not sell them." Bravo!

Also, you're entitled to follow blogs any way you want.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

I am doing the feedly too :) totally agree that recommending books ...not a sales machine. I will ask authors about books because if they touched me then, I will spread the word :)

Karen said...

It's definitely important to point out (as you did) that most authors don't have this attitude, especially when it comes to libraries. The ones I know are fervent supporters of them and librarians.

Those expectations from authors only turn readers off and possible put a stop to an otherwise promising career.

Pabkins said...

See I'm all about FEEDLY! I love it. I hate bloglovin and I hate that people expect or insist that you follow them thru that - its just stupid! just so they can have an easy way to track their followers and have a counter or something like GFC had. Not that I'm saying thats why some bloggers are using it but to insist that people follow you that way is stupid. I'm not going to use multiple different methods of following blogs. Its like, linky, feedly, bloglovin, bla bla bla - it all boils down to stats and they want a way they can track. You can still track subscribers without that bloglovin.

I hear you on the authors. I hope the indie stores and bigger books stores don't close - I like having a place to go...but that doesn't mean I'm going to stop buying books other places or stop using the library. everyone has budget they need to work within.

Lauren said...

Great thoughts on authors, I didn't think of a lot of points you made :D I 100% agree with Feedly, I think it's wonderful and I have no idea why more people haven't jumped on the Feedly wagon. I despise bloglovin'. :P

Alexia561 said...

Well said! I'm flabbergasted that some authors expect so much from their readers! Thankfully, it seems to be a small minority that feel this way.

Megan McCooey said...

Hey ladies! I am both an author as well as a book review blogger. As a writer I simply want people, like you and me, to like my stories and my characters so I have the motivation and inspiration to keep writing. When I began writing my first novel I honestly had no idea if it would ever be seen by anyone beyond my friends and family.. but thanks to the self publishing world I was able to put myself out there. I have several friends who have sucessfully gotten their libraries to carry copies of my first book and I'm elated about it! I'd love more libraries to carry it. I just held a free promotion and had my book downloaded hundreds of times, when asked why I would let so many people have it for free, I simply smiled and said "because getting it into people's hands is reslly what matters to me most."

as as reader/blogger- I love to read and while I've just started this blogging thing, I've really enjoyed it. I've focused my blog specifically on indie/self-published authors, like myself, to help recommend their work. I guess I feel naive to some of the issues I read on other blogs.... maybe because most of my reviews have been books/ authors I have sought out. Or maybe because I really am just that naive. I can say, while we all have dreams of "making it big" the reality of it is far fetched and we would save ourselves a lot of heartache to set more realistic goals and bask in the glow if we supersede them. Word of mouth, blogs, reviews.... They are powerful catalysts for our writing, but authors (me included) can't forget that it's our job to sell and promote our work, not the reader... The reader is there to enjoy it, blog about it, and recommend it to others- if this leads to more sales, well then we've done our part well!

AwesomeAmy said...

Thank you all for wonderful comments- thanks to all who've reassured me I'm not the only Feedlier! Just more specific replies to some :P...
You’re all lovely; looks like more than I thought are pro-Feedly. I feel so happy (thanks Pam, Julie, Lauren & Alexia).
@Karen: Good authors <3

@Roberta: I think reviews are mandatory in some cases, or just plain polite (ie. when you've been telling an author you liked their book & you read it recently- if I was doing this I would take it as a sign that I should review it, I must be able to remember it if I read it recently XD
Library books I may like to buy but am not planning on re-reading in the near future definitely aren't wasted borrows- it's just sad I can't buy them straight away to have to re-read... Maybe it's me subconsciously telling myself I re-read very little now... Yeah.

@Pabkins: I think getting Bloglovin' is a way of them huffing at Google & showing how dependent on that follower stat they are/were. Surely publishers & authors should think about blog views (and their rise/fall) AND comments. They do, right (total lack of experience here)? Some "big" bloggers (not the majority, mainly those who tend to Follow 4 Follow 24/7) haven't received two comments/views from most of their followers. If followers aren't genuinely interested it defeats the purpose- it might look like they have lots of "interest" but it's deceiving. They are just people who clicked a button! How many people can I get to click this button? Is that really the game? It's a stat trap. Nasty!

@Megan: I want your book in my library now! I'll check it out & recommend it if I get another Summer job there! I might as well mention that this discussion topic isn't so much first-hand (for me), I just see it & take off my rose-tinted glasses. Most authors are lovely (You know this, you're indie focused so... adore it)! I love my author buddies & I happily took some promo cards of one of them & put them in the library but, I’m not sure if it’s lead to increased sales (or at least noticeably so), that’s because I know it’d make me feel happy & it wasn't forced UPON me. Was I told I couldn't be a happy blogger unless I did that? No.
I would love to say I can sell books & I know as a whole book bloggers have but there's like to be way more reviews put out there than books bought as a result. It won't always have been that way but I don’t see it flipping!

Trish Hannon said...

Great points Amy, I wish I could buy more books too but money & time are limiting factors. Hopefully by blogging honest reviews I'm helping to spread the word about books I consider worth reading. I think we do our part to increase reading and every time someone reads an authors words that is a win regardless of where the book came from.

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