Free For All Friday | How Social Media Can Impact Books & Authors

This is the companion piece to my May 8th post regarding reviews.

Social media can be a wonderful tool. Imagine being able to reach your entire fanbase by using one post on Facebook, or Tweeting a picture of your latest book cover. You can run contests, recommend other authors that not only you’re friends with, but whose work you’re a fan of, and just generally be able to connect with your readers on a more personal level.

couple-reading-books

The downside of the internet, is when you run into an issue where an author takes things just a step too far (Like I discussed in May 8th post), and suddenly author’s find themselves either volunteering, or being forced to take a side. This particular incident saw a surge of author’s condemning the author in question for their actions, while only a small few stood behind the author in support of what had happened.

Either way you look at it, someone’s feelings are going to get hurt, and the large debate still remains regarding the breech of privacy. But that’s not what I want to talk about this week.

I want to talk about the impact on the author’s who stood behind their particular author, and how it’s impact them. Now, I’ll only use one author as my go to for this particular blog post today. I’m a fan of hers, although her recent book and novellas not so much (She’s been a featured Taste of Tuesday post and had a book reviewed). Prior to her second book coming out, I found myself looking around on GoodReads, and stumbled across the page for this book. Curious about some of the reviews, and why it had such a low rating, I began to investigate.

rdjA fair portion of the comments began with: “I enjoyed her first book… But then I found out she was friends/a supporter of the author who did the thing.”

I kid you not, I must have counted at least a dozen comments that had similar messages. Some of these reviews went on to say that they refused to support this author, because she supported ‘the author who did the thing’.

I’m curious what your thoughts are as a reader. If you knew about an incident like this, would you continue to support the author because your love their books/writing? Or would you be more skeptical of their future publishings? Hit the comments below!

Free For All Friday | Fairy Tale Trending?

Image result for fairytaleI’ve been seeing this theme with new releases lately, and correct me if I am wrong but I see a lot of Fairy tale retellings.

Who knows, maybe it is just the books that I am attracted to. I’m definitely one that picks a book up based on their cover so maybe it is just those that have been appealing to me.

Lately, we have seen “Stray” by Elissa Sussman, “Dorothy Must Die” by Danielle Paige, “Insanity” by Cameron Jace (plus more of his books), “Alice in Zombieland” by Gena Showalter and “Splintered” by A.G. Howard. I’m sure there are more but these are the ones that are currently sticking in my head.

I really enjoy these fairy tale twists but I find they can go Image result for fairytalefrom amazing to awful very quickly. I am very picky, of course, with the way I think they should go. We have all read the fairy tales our whole life and have imagined every twist we could imagine, but I am glad to see authors expanding my horizons.

Am alone in seeing this trend or does it really exist? Does it have a name that I am unaware of? Do you enjoy them?

Free For All Friday | Reviews And The Internet

Reviews are difficult, especially ones that are well thought out and organized. There is a fine craft to writing a review for any book you’ve read. Goodreads is a medium I’ve used for a few years now (prior to Aurora & I starting our blog), and the reviews can range from highly in-depth and informative, to excessive use of caps lock, profanity and childish writing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been in both categories when it comes to thinking about how I want to word my reviews. There are even some books that I most likely will never end up reviewing, because it caused so much irrational rage inside me (with the ending for example), that I’m still not sure I’d be able to get past that – I’m looking at you Allegiant. But a well written review, even if it’s a negative review of a book, can be beneficial to new readers, and even the author.

The difficulty in writing reviews, is that while you want to express everything you felt, or didn’t feel, while reading the book, it’s sometimes hard to put those feelings into words. Why you ask? Mostly because the internet can be a very, very nasty place. Now, I probably just sounded like a parent right there, didn’t I? Shockingly, I’m not, but I do believe that the internet can be very nasty.

Without naming names, (because I don’t feel its fair to drag anyone through the mud) there was an incident earlier this year/late last year involving an author and a review that was posted on GoodReads. The review was not favourable towards the author’s book. The reader simply did not enjoy it, for a variety of reasons, and posted it as such. Needless to say, when this particular review found its way to the author, they were not happy.

Now, much of what I’m putting here has come from various sources, so a fair portion of it does qualify as hearsay (Again, this is why I’m not naming names). Using the powers of the internet, the author (somehow) managed to gain the personal address of the reviewer, went to their house and confronted them about the review.

Imagine going about your daily life, when suddenly the doorbell rings and the author of that book you just left a negative review of, is standing in front of you. Warning bells are going off in your head, aren’t they? Trust me, the first time I heard about this particular incident, I was aghast that the author had breeched someone’s privacy so violently – And all because of a negative review.

That’s the problem with the internet however; no one is truly anonymous. Something somewhere has your real name attached to it, and there are all sorts of ways to get that information and mishandle it. As bloggers and reviewers, we should be granted freedom to express ourselves and state our opinions of the books that we’ve read. We shouldn’t have to be afraid that one negative review is going to come back and haunt us.

Author’s on the other hand, most likely should stay away from review sites. It’s sad, but true. Most author’s do enjoy seeing the enjoyment that readers get out of their books, but it can also open a torrent of feelings if there’s negativity involved. Writing is a labour of love, and for more authors it is a full-time profession. Imagine creating and falling in love with your characters, only to have someone trash them (and the book) because they didn’t enjoy it.

I have a companion piece to this post, that will be up in a few days. It was talk more about the backlash that authors can face when they’ve associated themselves with others. I’d love to hear what you think about the reviewer/author relationships within social media. Hit the comments below, or shoot me an email! You can always catch me on Twitter too @AutumDupont

Free for All Fridays – I Hate Myself, The Struggle Between My Brain and My Heart.

Okay, so .. if you all read my review yesterday you would know that I am feeling pretty crumby about myself right now. I am torn between writing what I know to be true and what I really feel. Don’t you hate the struggle between your brain and your heart!

I want to write unbiased reviews, reviews that discuss the quality and content of a book rather than how the book made me feel. Can a review be unbiased though? If there was no bias there would be no opinion, so wouldn’t it just be a summary and some observations?

I only find I struggle when I know there will be plenty of people that will enjoy the book, and in a way, I don’t want someone else to miss an opportunity to read something they may think is great because I didn’t enjoy it.

What do you guys think?

Have you ever felt torn while writing a review?

Am I being unfair?

Free For All Friday – Move For Inclusion

I know that this has nothing to do with books but I heard about this great cause and can’t help but share this adventure with you all!

I was reading an article the other day about a man named Nick Foley who is biking across Canada to raise money for inclusion awareness. Mr. Foley has started an awareness campaign called Move For Inclusion.

I don’t know a lot about the ride yet but I have been following along to see where he is and what he is doing. Click Here to get the schedule, you can join Mr. Foley on his ride and help him raise awareness.

Free for all Friday | First Person Narrative Pro/Con

Now, I know I’ve mentioned how I prefer first person, but I want to know what you guys think. I have spent a lot of time thinking about this and if I can ever remember really disliking a book based on the narrative chosen. I am finding myself getting more frustrated with books written in third person and thought this might be a good way to get my head out of this funk. I will start with the Pro/Con list for first person.

First Person Pro:

– The story feels more personal and intimate

– It is easier to write, we are used to telling our own personal stories. First Person

Con:

– Limited to one or two viewpoints. Even writing two can be tricky

– Limits your story to the interests and characteristics of your protagonist.

So these are the ones that I can think of for now. I think the story being personal is most important to me. I will do third person next week, I need a little more time to think about that one!

Free For All Friday | Books vs. eReading

Working in a bookstore, I tend to get asked a lot on if I’m Team Book or Team eReader. Its a tough question to answer, as I’d love to just answer Team Writing/Reading in general, but I do see the reason for it. Each side has valid reasons for why people switch from one to the other; remain faithful to their love of physical books; or who have transferred their entire collection to eReading devices.

For me, the answer is that I have both, and I actually favour Team eReader just slightly more. A lot of it comes down to pricing and space. Living where I currently do, I’m tight on space and my makeshift bookshelves, are overflowing as it is… And my collection continues to grow! Sometimes there are sales that are too good to pass up. Here’s my reasoning for each side:

Books
For series’ that I’ve been reading for years, if I’ve started collecting them in physical format, I have to continue in that trend. I find it too difficult to transition from one format to another when it comes to a series, so I’d rather keep physical collections physical, and electronic ones, electronic.
You truly cannot beat the smell of books. The scent of a book is so difficult to explain to people, but I find that it can draw you in much easier, and faster, if it’s something you can relate to via smell. Studies have even shown that we tie memories to scents, so if you’ve read a great series and smell a book, it could bring you back to where you were when you read it!
As enjoyable as it is to have your collection handy and available at your fingertips, sometimes nothing beats holding a book in your hands, and feeling the weight of the paper as you turn the pages. Similar to that of the scent of a book, its a feeling that cannot be replaced when you go electronic.
Pricing! You wouldn’t believe the amount of money I’ve saved (by switching my car insurance to Geico) purchasing some books in actual book format. I own all the Diana Gabaldon mass market paperbacks (the small, pocket sized ones), because there was a deal where I could get 2 for $15 (When they cost about $11.99 each regularly). Even pricing that in comparison to the Kobo version, I saved nearly $40. I couldn’t beat it.

eReaders
I have an iPad and a Kobo Aura eReader, so I luck out in that I’m able to read not only Kobo books, but Kindle and iBooks as well. When I pick up books that author’s have graciously sent me (in exchange for an honest review of their works), most times it comes in a Kindle format file – Which is not accessible on Kobo. Having these devices, or even these apps installed on your phone, tablet or computer, gives you easy access to millions of books, and you don’t have to travel into the cold to buy them!
Travel. I’ve been travelling frequently in the past 2 years, and while I’d love to take 6 or 7 physical books with me, its just not possible. With an eReader (or tablet), I suddenly have access to my entire collection at my fingertips. All I need to do is download them over wifi (or plug my device into my computer). Most devices even allow you easy purchase access directly from your device, which actually makes for a faster experience overall.
Pricing! Now, if you know where to look, and are willing to spend a few minutes finding the right deals, you can actually save money on purchasing eBooks. Kobo has daily deals on their website (where you can save up to 80% off one book each day – of their choosing), and they frequently run contests and promotions. While Kindle and iBooks don’t normally run contests for promotional coupons, they have a much larger selection of cheap (or even free) eBooks for you to choose from.
Pricing (part 2)! Depending on the book/author/publisher/etc you’re actually saving off the cover price in store. A new hardcover in store can run you anywhere from $25 to $40 if they’re not on promotion. eBooks, while occasionally priced the same (if maybe a little cheaper) will often save you anywhere from $5 to $15. It’s all about just taking time to shop for those deals.

I know a lot of people say that books are going the way of the dinosaur, and eventually there won’t be any. Personally I think that’s a very long way off. The retail market for books is still a very popular one, as there are still people who won’t go the route of using an eReader – Which is completely fine! There are people who will never purchase a physical book again, because eReaders and Tablets are so much more convenient for them. Which is completely fine as well. The writing industry is going to be around for hundreds of years to come, as long as we continue to purchase the books that authors write, and publishers put out.

What are your thoughts? Are you Team Book? Or Team eReader?