Wednesday, May 2, 2007

By The Power Of Greyskull!

Boy wait five minutes and the Romance Land Blogosphere erupts. I wasn't going to comment on any of this but 1) I'm a librarian and got something to say and 2) I just can't help myself. As far as train wrecks go this one is a doozy.

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 shit crud this pushes my feminist hot button in a huge way. One, she's suggesting that all bloggers are bored housewives who have no clue what the "real" world is like. Two, she's implying that said "bored" housewives are somehow inferior and lacking in intelligence. I know some stay-at-home moms and I'm insulted for them. Frankly, the very ideal of feminism is that women should be "allowed" to be what they want to be. If you want to be a stay-at-home mommy - good for you. If you're a CEO - good for you. One is not inferior to the other. Women have fought long and hard to be taken seriously. We want to make our own choices, our own decisions - and we certainly do not want someone (especially another woman!) implying that our choice is somehow inferior. Free will is a beautiful thing y'all!
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.


Marg said...

The comment about bloggers sitting at home while others worked hard in the real world was the main one that annoyed me! I work hard, and I choose to blog because I love to read!

I do shake my head at how often the romance world seems to determined to rip the throats out of other people within the world. Can't be a good thing surely!

Karen Scott said...

My favorite malcontent British blogger,

I love that description. *g*

Rosie said...

Those of us in Romancelandia seem to be our own worst enemies at times. I just want to read and talk about the books I read with other people who read. What so's complicated here?

Good post Wendy.

Kristie (J) said...

"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."

*heavy sigh* If only we had that power. It's almost 8:30 and I haven't had dinner yet - too busy tring to follow this particular wreck. You're right - it is a doozy isn't it?

Jane said...

So I see you are reading Skin. How is it? A friend of mine read it and said it "wasn't bad."

Wendy said...

Right now it's working for me strictly as a "guilty pleasure." It has problems, and by no means is perfect, but it's readable. How's that for a ringing endorsement? LOL I plan on blogging about it when I'm done with it, but it's going to be a weird review to write me thinks.

Wendy said...

I love the word malcontent. It just rolls off the tongue. I thought about calling you Karen, Goddess Of The Universe but thought that might be a tad over the top.

I think that's the reason why the vast majority of reader blogs cropped up. We wanted a place where we could ramble on about anything and everything PLUS connect with other readers "like us." I find the blogging format a bit more "freeing" than message boards, so it's been a good fit for me.

KristieJ: It's shocking that Big NY Publishing isn't hanging on my every word isn't it? LOL Oh well. At least HH is still feeding our western addiction.

Alie said...

ITA with you! I personally have went out and either bought or got the books you recommended from the library. Bloggers have a lot of power now, look at CNN and how during the presidential debates and such how they feature what the blogging community is saying!

sybil said...

No shit Marg, I sit at work while I blog.


And what is this about no power? Dude, don't burst my bubble.