Be forewarned...this post is a mix between "woe is me" with some frustration on the side while trying to remain positive throughout. It is not my intention to offend anyone with my words, but I just needed an outlet today to get some things in the book reviewing world off my chest.
As a book blogger and reviewer, I love to share my love of reading Christian fiction. Until 2008, my only outlet for sharing about books was word of mouth because I didn't have a blog, I wasn't on Facebook yet, and I didn't know the first thing about writing reviews. Now, 3 years later, I have met a whole slew of new friends and authors, and books are such a treasure for me to experience now!
Lately, I've been wanting to take it to the next level. I want to direct readers to authors. I want people to realize that Christian fiction is an evolving genre, and there really is something for everyone now. For so long now, some readers have had the misconception that all Christian novels are tame, sweet sappy love stories with characters that are oh-so-perfect. Sure, there are still a handful of books like that still being published, but things are moving forward...and the boundaries are being pushed...and the future looks so bright for more than just gushy romance (which I do like in small doses...a la Julie Lessman)!
In an effort to maximize the exposure for some of these great books, I do my very best to promote Christian books on different websites including Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and many others. My goal in this has been two-fold--1) to direct readers to the authors and 2) to let the authors know that people are out there actually reading and reviewing their books, and have positive things to say! So, to make this work, I've been employing the tag technique: putting an @ with the author's name on FB and Twitter every time I have a weekly promo/interview for an author or a positive review of a book on this blog.
And you know what...it's free publicity! Who would not want that? :o)
But seriously, I wonder if there are some authors who don't care. Some authors are hugely popular, and there really is no question at all that their books will sell simply because of their name (ex. Karen Kingsbury, Beverly Lewis, Ted Dekker, etc.). Those authors I don't focus on very much. Instead, I want to help newer authors, as well as authors that don't have as much of a presence as someone like Karen Kingsbury, get more exposure for themselves and their books through this blog.
So, you know what's frustrating? To have those tags and mentions go unnoticed. To not get a single "thank you" or acknowledgement. To have a tag for a positive review removed by the author. Now, I realize that my blog isn't the fanciest or the most well-spoken, but it's like my home. A lot of time and effort has gone into it. I enjoy taking the time to read, staying up past midnight to get to end of the story, and finding out if boy got the girl...or if the bad guy was caught or if he got away...or if a family was reunited. :o) Then, I can't wait to write up a review to let others know just how much that book entertained me, made me laugh, or sent me on the good kind of crying jag.
And after all that...getting a personal thank you from the author is like the icing on the cake. But I am so surprised at how many don't give one. (Don't get me wrong...there are TONS of authors that so appreciate the extra publicity and word-of-mouth mentions of their books to all of our friends. That's not who this is directed at.) I realize it takes authors loads and loads of time, sweat, and tears for every single book, but it also takes time as a book blogger and reviewer to read these books and promote them. I (and lots of other bloggers, too) could just close up shop, go home, and keep our thoughts to ourselves. Instead, so many of us are passionate about reading that we can't help but talk about and recommend the latest book!
So, what's my final point after this rant? Authors, we just want a thank you. A thank you that our work as book reviewers has not gone unnoticed. It doesn't take that much time, and it lets us know that we're appreciated. It doesn't even have to be on our blogs; it can be in response to a post on Twitter or Facebook. Something is better than nothing at all. And I bet for most of us...we'll just be giddy from the excitement that an author took notice! I know that's how I always feel. :o)
For any authors out there that have taken the time to read all that, here's what I'm trying to find out--
1) Do you liked to be tagged by readers/reviewers on social networks?
2) Do you try to send a response to a reader after they've read/commented/reviewed one of your books?
3) Do you avoid posting comments directly to a book blog for a certain reason? (I've heard that some do.)
4) Are there just not enough hours in the day to interact with readers/reviewers?