My favorite malcontent British blogger, KarenS, has incited the ire of the founder of the leading romance novel reviews/industry print magazine. Go on with your bad-ass self girlfriend! Reading the rambling letter made my eyes cross, but here are some juicy (and mind numbing) tidbits I picked:
None of our members deserve such ridiculous bloggers, especially from mean-spirited women posting notes from the quiet of their houses while those in the rat race of business life are working long hours. To think you only have time to promote personal vendettas is sad.Oh
Bloggers who have no idea of the work it takes to be an author and a publisher in today's competitive market should not be welcome on board. And if you check into the sales of some of the people you're "dissing" don't be surprised to see they sell well, or is that the reason they are the object of your disaffection?Actually I think bloggers have more of a clue than your average Jane Blow Schmoe. Well, at least I think I do. I know that authors toil for years on their writing. Then once they've written their book(s), they have to go about navigating the business of publishing. That means agents, editors, publishers, lawyers, contracts, legalese - gawd, it's enough to make your eyes bleed. Then you hurry up and wait. That book you sold a year ago (maybe longer) is just getting published and the 3 manuscripts you've finished are collecting dust because your agent hasn't been able to sell them. Then once that book is in print, you have idiot non-romance readers asking you when you're going to write a "real" book. Bloggers might not know all the dirty, gory details, but we do have a vague idea.
As far as dissing goes - reviews do sell books. How many books is anyone's guess. I know many (and I'm talking many) readers who have bought books after reading a "bad" review. "Good" reviews give the reader some detail as to what works, what doesn't, and the rating (or grade) is actually pretty moot. I've bought a lot of books that got mediocre or bad ratings because hey, the plot sounds kinda interesting or this author has worked for me in the past so why not try the new book? And we've completely skipped over positive reviews. I know for a fact that when I post a good review for a western at least 3 other bloggers are going to go out and buy it. That might not sound very impressive - but every little bit helps.
But what it really boils down to is power. How much power do bloggers have? My guess - not a whole lot. If we did between me, Sybil, Rosie and KristieJ historical western romances would be flooding the market, Lorraine Heath would leave England behind, and Avon would sign Susan Kay Law to write more westerns. I do think some blogs have more of a presence than others (Dear Author, the Smart Bitches), but by and large most of us got into this game to find people "like us." People crazy enough to horde romance paperbacks, catalog their books on Library Thing, and shout from the mountain tops about all the great (and not so great) books we read.
Typically, this debate tends to annoy me because it's a rehash of a very old "debate" and there's no resolution to it. A few years ago it was online review sites that were "mean." Now it's bloggers. Lather, rinse and repeat. But this particular train wreck was just too bizarre to ignore. Plus, she mentioned The Secret, and frankly librarians and booksellers everywhere are starting to break out in hives from that nonsense. Here's a clue folks - positive thinking is great, but if you really want to get ahead there's a lot to be said for good, old fashioned hard work. A solid work ethic is going to get you a lot farther in life than thinking shiny happy sunshine thoughts. Just saying.
Super Librarian out.