Thursday, October 13, 2011

To Tag or Not To Tag...That is the Question.

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'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?


  1. I really appreciated your post, Christy. It's something I'm struggling with as a new author. What is the expected response to a book review on a blog? Should I comment? Say thank you? What if I comment on one and not on another? Will I hurt someone's feelings? It's one thing when you are invited on, then you know you are expected to show up. It's another when you "happen" upon a review or when you find it way after the fact because you didn't get a google alert or you missed a tweet or a facebook tag or it got lost among many. It's been a very perplexing thing to know what to do. At least for me. So I figured I'd been less likely to flub up anything if I kept my mouth shut where I wasn't invited in. I love responding to those who contact me, and if someone contacts me and tells me they reviewed my book, I usually leave a thank you comment. I don't think it's apathy toward the reviewer (at least speaking for myself). Sometimes it is just awkwardness, not knowing what to say and thank you often feels so trite.

  2. Anne, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. I didn't realize it was such a conundrum for y'all, but I can understand where you're coming from.

    I guess figuring out the learning curve is the same for this as with anything else...we get the hang of things eventually. In my opinion, a positive review should get a thank you at the very least, and any other comments are an added bonus. I've had authors not notice a review until months after it was written and love that they've found it (and left a comment here saying as was a huge pick-me-up for her).

    My main point was that a "thank you" is better than nothing at all, because getting no comments in return from an author can be so discouraging. Just with the ordinary things in life, we want to be noticed and appreciated for our efforts and know that they haven't been in vain. It's no different in the review least for me.

    Thanks again for stopping by. :o)

  3. I've been reviewing Christian fiction just over 4 years now but I haven't really thought about this very much. I guess I've just been so appreciative of the complimentary books. I do feel honored when an author comments on their review. And last year I received a small Starbucks gift card from one of my very favorite authors. That was so unexpected but so special. It let me know that what I was doing was noticed and appreciated.

  4. Hugs, hugs, hugs sweet-tea Christy. I, for one, truly appreciate everything you and all book bloggers do. Even when it's fun, it's work to read a book! I'm guessing that most of the lack of comments comes from either not knowing when something is posted (google alerts is so inaccurate) or just not knowing what to say. I have held back on commenting on a blog from time to time that was discussing my book so I didn't make any of the other posters feel inhibited from expressing their true feelings. As for untagging, I don't know but maybe the author might have felt like there were many tags on her page and her friends were getting tired of the PR? It's such a fine line to walk. And yet, so important to consider the hard working blogger's feelings, too, she who has carefully crafted that review and tag. Please press on with what you do. We love you!

  5. Pam,

    I've only started to think about this recently, and while I've focused on authors and books here because of this blog, it can be true for anything. It's just nice to be appreciated when we do something nice for others.

    And wow, a Starbucks card?!

  6. Sandra,

    It means so much that you stopped by to share your thoughts. I had such a blast featuring you over the summer with your new release!

    I understand why some might not want to post a comment on a blog, and for the exact reasons you mentioned. Sometimes, it can be more helpful to lurk and learn than to put our two cents in and make things awkward. It really is a fine line, just like you said. I've seen comments everywhere lately from authors wondering whether or not they should comment on blogs and posts and reviews and all that. I can't speak for the hundreds of bloggers out there, but author comments on this blog make my day. I cherish them!

    After I tagged that author on FB, I was curious to see whether or not it did show up on their wall, and it didn't. That's why I was so surprised when I got back on FB later to find the tag had been didn't make sense, and yes, it was hurtful. It made me wonder if there was any point in doing it anymore. We'll see about it, I suppose.

    Thanks again for coming over! Your next book can not be released soon enough. :o)

  7. I'm not an author, although I would love to write a book, but I think it's only appropriate to say thank you. I think that in all walks of life we need to show gratitude and be grateful for the things that people do for us and why should this be any different. Well said.

  8. Christy,
    I am not an author either, but love your blog and read everything you post. I can understand your point in not hearing from the authors as well as their point of view. To me it is kind of: do I drop in on someone or call first? I have always been the type of person that anyone is welcome anytime,but not all people feel that way.

    You do such a valuable service for librarians that don't have the time to read every book considered for the church library. I have taken your word for a book being a good one, and ordered it for the library. I have never gotten negative reports back on a book you have recommended. I only get good comments.

    I am so glad you asked me to be your "friend" on Bookmooch or I would never have found your blog. In my opinion you have done a great job on your blog and I for one, want you to keep up the good work!

    Candace Betts (

  9. Lotti, Candace, and Margaret,

    Thanks for stopping by to share your thoughts! I appreciate friends like you that I would've never met if not for blogging and sites like BookMooch. :o)

  10. I can understand your frustration on the tagging part. It would have broken my heart to have a tag removed. I just find that very offensive and rude! I hate to say, I probably wouldn't read anymore books by that author. Needless to say, I have to pray about holding grudges. ;)

    I'm not a writer, but I can definitely understand the awkward part for an author not knowing whether to comment or not, though.

  11. Tammy,

    I have to pray about those grudges, too. It's so easy for me to let my flesh take over and get frustrated about something for days.

    I'm still considering whether or not I will read something in the future by that author because of their easy decision.

  12. I totally understand this, Christy! I wonder the same thing sometimes...but I can see how sometimes links on Twitter and other social media could get lost in the shuffle.

  13. Hmmm, the facebook tag thing is tricky. I can't stand FB and though I haven't used it regularly in about a year, I never liked tagging. I feel uncomfortable broadcasting myself to my friends. Maybe the author is as quirky as me?

    Twitter (my networking site of choice) seems totally different, more like lots of little conversations.

    Since tweets are like conversations, it feels rude to me when people don't respond to @ tweets (authors or not).

    I always @ authors the links to their reviews and there are a few that never respond. I definitely appreciate the ones that do. Even if it's just a simple "Thanks for reading."

  14. Sooo interesting! I'm afraid of authors so I kind of shy away from them. I've had authors comment and I think it is nice, but they don't have to. I think sometimes authors don't comment because they don't want people think they had anything to do with the positive review.

    As for tags. I'm not sure exactly what that means. You can take tags off?

  15. CHRISTY!!!

    Oh, honey, I hear you, and it doesn't just happen to blogger reviewers either, trust me!

    I have written 5-star reviews for authors who didn't know I was reading their book, but because I LOVED it, I wanted to take the time to post a good review, so I did. I can't tell you how many times I did not hear a peep back from them, which surprised me. Now, maybe they don't look at reviews like I do, but like you, I am always a little taken aback when there is no acknowledgment because if it were me they wrote a review for, I'd practically want to send them a gift card, you know?? :)

    Also if I like an author's work and they are being featured on a blog, I will usually go to that blog and leave a comment to let them know. It's downright shocking to me how many authors do NOT respond to my comments or other readers' comments because I literally couldn't sleep at night if I didn't.

    Anyway, all of this is to say that I understand where you're coming from and the truth is not everybody thinks of courtesies like that because more and more, our world seems to put courtesy on a back burner, I guess because we are all so busy or maybe their mama's didn't insist on it when they were young, who knows?

    Okay, I'm stepping down off my soapbox to respond to your questions:

    1) Do you liked to be tagged by readers/reviewers on social networks?

    You bet!! I want to KNOW if someone is promoting my work because, YES, they deserve my acknowledgment and my thanks.

    2) Do you try to send a response to a reader after they've read/commented/reviewed one of your books?

    Absolutely ALWAYS if I know about it. In fact, I just had a blog tour for A Heart Revealed with over 90 blogger/reviewers, and Revell always sends me the links to the reviews. I literally spend a whole day going to each link, reading the review and if it was a positive 4- or 5-star review, I thanked them and asked them to post it on sites like Amazon or CBD ONLY if they were prone to posting their reviews. If the reviews were bad, then I do not leave a comment -- I simply say a prayer God to bless them and take my leave.

    3) Do you avoid posting comments directly to a book blog for a certain reason? (I've heard that some do.)

    Only if the person criticizes me or writes a bad review. However, if they write a review that reflects something that's not true, yes, I write them and politely ask them to correct it.

    4) Are there just not enough hours in the day to interact with readers/reviewers?

    No, there are NOT enough hours in the day to interact with readers, but I do anyway because you know what? Connecting with readers is one of the best things about this job -- that and writing. The promotion sucks pond water and so do the deadlines, but reader friends??? Absolutely one of the greatest joys in my author life, so I make time for it and the results are precious friendships that have blessed me beyond measure.

    Thank you for an honest and thought-provoking blog today, Christy, and you can bet your bottom dollar that if you promote me in any way -- such as hosting me on your blog on December 2 like you are -- I WILL thank you! :)


  16. Well, I'll tell ya what. After my first book gets published, I definitely want you to review it and tag me, and I promise from the bottom of my heart that I will give you a heart-felt thank you!! :)

  17. Holly~

    You're right...sometimes it does get lost in the shuffle. I'm still in the middle about whether or not I'll continue to tag.

  18. Joy~

    I've @'ed several authors on Twitter, too, and the response there hasn't been much better than FB. Some authors have their Twitter feed as just an extension of their FB feed, and they're never really there interacting with anyone.

    I see your point about Twitter being more of a conversation, too. I try to respond every time I'm mentioned in a friend's tweet or RT with a thanks b/c I appreciate them so much. :o)

  19. Alexis~

    When I first started doing book reviews, I was terrified of authors! Seriously! That's says a lot, too, considering that shying away like that is not my typical behavior. :o)

    Over time, though, I got a LOT braver, and if I ever send a note to an author and got a thanks for it, I was over the moon excited! Those first few notes got responses every single time, so I don't know what's different now with notifying some through tags and not getting a response. *shrug*

  20. Julie~

    I just love you!!! Authors like you make my job (better known as hobby) of book blogging and reviewing so enjoyable!

    I hate that you, too, have experienced this same problem, but at the same time, I guess I'm sorta glad to know it's not just me.

    And while I know it takes up such a chunk of your time to visit each and every blog participating in a blog tour, I'm sure that each one of those bloggers has a special place in their heart for you! I can't speak for everyone, but your comments and thanks from some of my promo posts for you have endeared me to you as an author, and I feel like I now know the person behind the book. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. :o)

    Can't wait to have you here in less than 2 months! Time flies, huh? *wink*

  21. Jennifer~

    I look forward to the opportunity! Let me know when your book is available, and I'd be happy to provide a review for you. :o)



I love your comments!! They make me happier than cold sweet tea on a hot summer day! :o)