Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Open Letter To Romance Bloglandia

Dear Romance Bloglandia,

Yes, it's me. Your Auntie Super Librarian. I've been putting off writing this letter for sometime, mostly because I couldn't seem to arrange my thoughts in a coherent manner. However, today it all seemed to gel, and I think it's time we sit down to have a chat.

I'm tired. I'm tired of the same, old, tired ass flame wars. I'm tired of reader bloggers talking about "business," "industry," and "traffic." I'm tired of us turning on each other and eating our young. Two bloggers are closing up shop (admittedly I don't know their reasons), people are overthinking the BBAW awards, and I swear to God if I see one more "mean girls" brouhaha I'm throwing a Leon Uris book at someone's head (Uris because all of his books were like 9456 pages long and they would hurt).

Everybody is so damn pissy about everything and looking for ulterior motives under rocks and behind potted palms. It's gotten so absurd that Kristie, Sybil and I even fielded complaints about The Great Western Drive. Yeah, seriously. Are y'all not having enough good orgasms? Is that it? Well, just in case - I guess I better clarify....

We did The Great Western Drive because Kristie thought it would be fun, and the idea amused me and Sybil. I can't speak for Kristie, but Sybil and I do about 95% of what we do just because it amuses us. Nobody put us up to it. No authors or publishers came knocking on our door, begging us to promote historical western romances. We did it because we wanted to. That was it. We knew some people would really dig it, and others wouldn't. To expect universal love is just ignorant. But still, I was surprised. Color me Pollyanna, but of all the crap I've posted on my blog over the years, a little amusing project showcasing my love for historical western romances ranks pretty damn low on the list. Why the feck criticize? If you don't like what we're doing - 1) don't follow or 2) build a different bandwagon all your own.

My theory is that this criticism was born out of the shifting viewpoints on what "reader blogs" should be. Blogging is a job. Blogging is a business. If you're a reader and you want to blog, you need a "plan."

Seriously, just shoot me now. It would be a mercy killing. No jury would convict you.

I still firmly believe that blogging and the blogging community is about doing your own thing. Yes we all want validation, love and acceptance. But let's be honest. We all started blogging about books because we're patently "uncool." No, really - we're all "uncool." If any of us were "cool" we wouldn't be spending so much time on the Internet talking about books. Now, now - don't be offended. I make my living as a goddamn librarian. Here in the Bat Cave I'm referred to as Queen Dorks-A-Lot. The magic of the online romance community is that all of us "uncool" people found each other. And when we're together? Yeah, we're all frickin' awesome! We're all rock stars!

I guess what it boils down to is that I think some of us, as reader bloggers, have lost our way. I don't know. Maybe you think I'm full of shit. Maybe I just have a raging case of PMS. But I can't help thinking that it all used to be a whole lot simpler. Back when nobody felt the need to have a "plan." Back when we were all just tossing up stuff on our own personal Internet walls. Back when we didn't care about things like traffic, advertising, and getting on ARC distribution lists.

Back before any of us thought our own shit didn't stink.

I'll say it again. I've been blogging since 2003. That makes me old. But if my blog vanished tomorrow? Yeah, some of you might miss me....for like half a second. And then you'd all move on. That's the beauty of the Internet. It's totally fluid, and no one is immune. Even the "big blogs" could vanish tomorrow and sure people would be sad - but you know what? They'd get over it. The minute a blogger starts believing their own hype is when, I think, the first nail goes in the coffin.

I'm not sure what the answer is. Especially since some of you are probably reading this wondering what the hell crawled up my ass and died. I will say that if you're reading this, and you blog, that you do one thing for me. Just step back and think for a moment. Think back to why you started blogging. Think back to a time when blogging and the online romance community made you happy. Think back and remember. Hold on to it.

Then take a deep breath....

And exhale.

Yeah. That's it. I want that back.

Sincerely,
Wendy The Super Librarian

91 comments:

CindyS said...

I started blogging because I'm a huge dork who likes to think she's funny. I swear I never thought people would read what I write and when they first did I thought 'love me or leave me'.

I have to admit in the last year I had some sort of brain misfire. I would start a post and think it was crap. I pushed through sometime in June and remembered that I blog to connect with other readers like Nath, Kristie, Ames etc.... I like to think I'll one day meet all my blog buddies. I mean, really, it's not a long list.

I just had to get past this idea that had formed that I had to 'perform'. I'm not sure if it was seeing some of what was happening in blog land or if I just put that strap on myself. Well, I let go of it and I'm back to blogging about my cat, my pool, my laziness etc.

As to blogs as businesses? I have no issue really because I don't go to them. Yes, I once upon a time loved Smart Bitches but that was when they didn't take themselves so seriously. I could never keep up with DA so really my loss.

I'm sorry you got crap on the Western Drive. I'm not even sure what people could possibly say. I read through most of the posts but thought 'self, remember these are here for when you aren't lazy and will make a list'. And like you said, I carried on.

As to missing people, there are bloggers I still think of and wish them well in my thoughts.

Whoops, hi-jacked your blog. Carry on!

CindyS

Taja said...

There's nothing more to add. Very well said, Wendy.

I never imagined you three would get crap about The Great Western Drive. I'm sorry to hear you did.

Venus Vaughn said...

Rockin!

When I first set foot in Romance Bloglandia I thought I'd be one of the "cool kids." Then I realized I can't take the pressure of being cool. Seriously. I wanna talk about the romance things that bore my friends, not the things that everyone else is already talking about.

So, I resigned myself to the fact that I was a failure at Blogging 101 and went about my own business anyway.

I won't write a review. I don't get in pissing matches. I'm a heavy reader who's learning to write at the same time that I'm learning the business of publishing and all of that is more than enough to keep me busy. I don't need to add my ego into it, nor do I much care about the state of anyone else's ego.

I write about writing, and the things that keep me from it, and help me do it. I write about reading and things that I appreciate or dislike about story creation and execution. And then, sometimes, I throw in a few nuggets about my personal life.

That's about the extent of my "plan." Blog about what interests me. That's it.

Pearl said...

Well said Wendy!


And sorry y'all got crap about the Western Drive.
As a fairly new blogger I just don't understand some bloggers and their comments/complaints. I'm more of a live and let live kinda girl. I let people do what they want to do, so let me do what I want to do.

And let's be fair a lot of the crap I have been seeing lately in Romance Bloglandia has to do with plain envy/jealousy.

Stacy~ said...

Really? The Western Romance Drive got flak? Now that's crazy. And sad. Though I don't read many western romances, I thought it sounded fun.

Like most everyone else, I started blogging out of my love of books. None of my RL friends read romance, so this was a great place to connect. I'm a small fish in a huge ocean, but I've blogged since '06 and still enjoy it. The day I don't is the day I say adios. I don't take myself too seriously and the majority of my posts are not thought-provoking or innovative, but I love the people that stop by. Occasionally I've gotten sucked into a flame war, and later feel silly for caring so much about some crazy issue. You're right Wendy, we are dorks. Lovable ones, but dorks on the same. There's a huge world out there outside of blogging, so if I left blogging today, I will be fine. And so would the blogosphere.

I'm sad to see Zeek and AmyC (and anyone else) closing up shop. Love those girls and their enthusiasm and friendship.

Great post, btw.

Maili said...

Complaints about the Great Western Drive? What the fuck? :/ What kind of complaints?

That said, to be fair there were some bloggers who took blogging seriously back then. As did some review sites like AAR (oh yeah, it was SERIOUZ BIZ! THERE WERE RULEZ! WE HAVE PRINCIPLES!) and TTR.

But hey, it's a style that works for some and obviously not for some others.

You said it yourself, which I totally agree with, "I still firmly believe that blogging and the blogging community is about doing your own thing."

If that means taking it seriously and doing the "right" way as they think it should be, so be it. And why not?

It doesn't work for me as a blogger and never did. All my blogs were whimsical, inconsistent, ranty and shallow, but hey! It worked/works for me. :D

I do have a growing pet hate about Romancelandia: the promotion aspect. Such as book giveaways, book tours, author videos on reader blogs, and blah blah.

It wasn't so bad back then, but now? Author interview! in neon. Books giveaway! in neon.

Blegh, but it seems quite a few readers enjoy them, so I can't quite stomp my feet and whine about it. The best I can do is just click to surf away. Thank you, mouse. (kisses the mouse)

"I guess what it boils down to is that I think some of us, as reader bloggers, have lost our way. [...] But I can't help thinking that it all used to be a whole lot simpler. Back when nobody felt the need to have a "plan." Back when we were all just tossing up stuff on our own personal Internet walls. Back when we didn't care about things like traffic, advertising, and getting on ARC distribution lists."

Let me be the one to say it: Bullshit. Well, sort of.

Can you honestly say that none of us cared about that sort back then? "We had 24 visitors today! Whoo hoo!" :D

ARCs - while I have an issue with it, quite a few bloggers back then talked about how to get ARCs. What's the difference between then and now? It was mostly a stumble in the dark, so for some bloggers who want to be "professional", articles like DA's guide to acquiring ARCs is a Very Good Thing. I don't give a crap about this sort of thing, but some do give a crap. Where's the harm in that?

And as for the "lost our way"? That conflicts with what you said earlier, "doing your own thing".

I think what you really are saying is, "You've changed. I'm not sure if I like the new you"? And the newcomers? "Why be so serious?"

Some ARE taking it way too seriously, but it's their choice. We don't have to be there to put up with it.

I DO miss the intimate feel of the old blogland. This sense of community where everyone looked out for each other (as well as fighting with each other, of course). A flame war happened just as frequent as today. Same old debates. Same old arguments. Same old concerns. Same old, same old.

And I'm reasonably convinced we will never get that intimate feel back. Not with other forms of - what do they call it? Oh, yeah - "social media" around. Like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. I seriously hope I'm wrong, but if it does return, I'll be seriously happy.

Blogland always has a high turnover, too. Old issues, new faces. (Last week someone tried to educate me what a fangirl was. :D)

But yeah, a sense of fun or adventure seems to be flatlining at the moment, though.

Sorry that this is so loooong! I forgot how long-winded I can be. No, that's a lie. I knew but did it, anyway. Sorry.

But yeah, I do get what you're saying, but if people change, it makes sense that the internet would, too.

SarahT said...

Wendy, I love you! You say it how it is without going into attack mode.

I also feel there's a lot of bullshit in Blogland. I can quite honestly say I don't give a f@** about my blog stats - which is probably just as well as I doubt I'll be rivaling the bigger sites anytime soon! I have no interest in getting paid advertising on my site, or soliciting ARCs, so it's pretty irrelevant how many hits I get.

I really don't want to get sucked into regarding my blog as a business. I see it as an outlet to express my opinions on books and a break from my real life child-related commitments. So far, I've done one author interview and that was after reading a book I genuinely enjoyed. I'd like to keep it that way.

Each person should do what they feel is right for their blog. For me, steering clear of too much author promo, ads, ass-kissing of fellow bloggers, and so on, feels like the right thing to do.

Amy C said...

Hi Wendy,

One of the main reasons I've decided to take a break is really due to circumstances in my personal life. A particular incident does weigh on me. But because I do need to re-enter the working community, I need to learn to not 'need' the internet. It is addicting, and my time is going to be limited soon anyway. I love blogging. I love talking about books. However, I don't like ARC's much. In alot of ways for me it takes the fun out of reading, because now I am obligated to read and review the book. What if I don't like it, or don't want to finish it? It's cool and all, but it adds more stress! I don't know if other people feel that way or not. My blog started off very simple last year and I want that simplicity back.

Hmm, why would you get negative feedback for your cowboy drive? That just doesn't make any sense. I thought it was a fun thing you guys were doing.

Carrie Lofty said...

Are y'all not having enough good orgasms? Is that it?

*snort*

You made my Wednesday morning a little happier. I'd say this was the highlight, but I'm about to drop my kids off at school, which totally takes the cake.

Big Sis said...

You go girl! I'm so proud.

Tara Marie said...

It's good to see there are consistancies in the blogging world. I disappear for a year and things don't really change that much. The catty behavior never goes away.

Love The Great Western Drive thingy. It's one of the things that pulled me back. I didn't participate, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading the posts and all of your (the collective your) enthusiasm.

My theory is that this criticism was born out of the shifting viewpoints on what "reader blogs" should be. Blogging is a job. Blogging is a business. If you're a reader and you want to blog, you need a "plan."

This is the change I find most surprising. It's like the reader blogs are somehow keeping up with and competing with author blogs sucking people in to get more hits and attention. I'm very surprised by all the give-aways. To be honest, it would be too much work for me.

As much as I love Dear Author, I don't see it as reader blog anymore--it's an industry one, I still enjoy it and read it on a regular basis even while I was on my hiatus.

I don't know about anyone else, but honestly ARC always felt like a noose around my neck. Loved getting them, but I could never get past the guilt when I hated a book or when I didn't get it read in a timely manor in connection to release dates.

I started blogging because it was a great way to connect with people as geeky and obsessive as me when it came to romance. I originally found this connection on the RT message boards but the funny thing is what chased me and many others away from the message boards simply followed us to the blog world.

It is what it is, it doesn't go away. The last year has taught me none of this is truly important. Enjoy your books and enjoy your blog, and if other do to, it's all good.

Just my thoughts :)

Tumperkin said...

Ok, second attempt (darn work systems shutting me out after 15 mins!)

I couldn't agree more with everything you say.

There's a great bit at the end of a Pam Rosenthal book where she talks about what it means to be an 'amateur' and how the word is derived from the latin for 'love'.

That is what I am - I am a lover of books, and a proudly amateur reviewer. The moment blogging becomes an obligation is the moment I will hang up my - erm - fingers (?)

I don't check my stats and I don't accept ARCs or seek out books to review. I don't do these things cos I know they will change the way I think about blogging and make it not fun anymore. So it's about self-preservation as much as anything.

Don't even get me started on the ethics of reviewing/ professionalism. Srsly. I am a huge bore.

And I thought the GWD was just fab.

Jill D. said...

OH.MY.GOD!!! I lose my reading mo-jo, take a break from Twitter and blog hopping and look what I come back to... all hell breaking loose!!! What is going on people?!


Wendy, God love ya. You know how to give a reality check in a fun non-confrontational way. In the words of my idol (Oprah) "You go, girl!"

You know I have about 60 or 70 blogs I subscribe to and honestly, it is just way too much. I can't keep up with them all and read all the posts. The thing is I don't want to exclude anybody so I try to visit everyone and yet I get so overwhelmed that I end up not visiting anyone. What am I doing?

I should just scale back and visit my "friends" those who really get me and those I really get and just be done with it. This is not a popularity contest and I don't have to belong to the "cool crowd".

Thanks for the bitch slap, Wendy. I think we needed it.

Tara Marie said...

OMG--I just read Maili's post...

Blogland always has a high turnover, too. Old issues, new faces. (Last week someone tried to educate me what a fangirl was. :D)

Well, that made my day and is just too funny.

Phyl said...

Wow, like everyone else this morning I am stunned that you would receive criticism for the Western Drive. It was interesting and informative. You 3 shared your passion with us. Isn't that what blogging is all about?

Lately Romancelandia has felt a little too much like high school all over again. I thought I left that shit behind 30 years ago.

Thank you Wendy for saying what you said today. All I want, all I ever wanted, was to find some good books to read. Not only did I find that, I made a few friends too.

But the rest of it? Blogging as business? A plan? Oh, lookie here....I have a life. 'Scuze me while I go live it.

lbgregg said...

What in the Sam Kane is going on??

I watched the GWD with GLEE (from my isolation chamber called EDITING). It was a great idea, long in coming, from the two chicks I know who genuinely lust after cowboys. Naughty naughty.

I wanted to play along and review an m/m cowboy book...

Stat counters are a curse. I removed mine. I also stopped any and all obligatory blogging. Boo. I have enough obligations in my life--I want to enjoy my friends and write about anything that stumbles across my mind.

What in the hell, though. How could anyone think you and KJ had an ulterior motive? I mean other than to spread the love of the western, and that pesky world domination thing?

Blogging is a hobby. It's a way to connect. It's not a measure of one's self worth.

~lisabea

Victoria Janssen said...

Yeah, some of you might miss me....for like half a second.

After that I'd just stalk you for book recs. *la la la*

I haven't been following the kerfluffles you referenced, but I still think you said some very wise things in this post.

Liza said...

Great post Wendy!

I started blogging so I could keep up with all the books I read. None of my RL friends really read, and those that do read don't read romances. I wanted to talk about books with others who love books as much as I do. Glad to know I'm not the only book dork out here on the internet.

I wish I could say I can't believe anyone said anything about The Great Western Drive, but I can. About 2 months ago I posted on a blog about a new book that was coming out. Several other people also posted about the book and one of the posters wanted to know if we were getting paid by the author to say good things about the book. I personally loved TGWD, and even found some new books to add to my ever growing TBR pile.

Janicu said...

I didn't know about some of these things. I heard of the romfail stuff but not BBAW.. and whatever else has happened. Honestly this month has been full of drama in my personal life (like WHOA) so I am not getting involved - the reading and reviewing and talking about books is my safe, happy place. Trying to keep it that way.

KMont said...

Great post. I do whatever the hell I do on my blog because I enjoy it. That includes all the author interviews and giveaways as well. Why do people bother "hating" that kind of stuff? Don't like the content on a blog? I believe there's some excellent self help advice in Wendy's postfor that.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Nicely said. I largely try to ignore the brouhahas and keep my head in the sand, whistling a happy tune while I blog... wait, I'll get sand in my mouth that way, won't I? I need to stop mixing my metaphors so much.

SarahT said...

When I commented earlier, I forgot to ask you about the criticism of the Great Western Drive. WTF? What's there to criticize? Does someone not like Westerns? If so, why would they complain about those who do?

@Tara Marie: It's funny you should say that about Dear Author being more of an industry blog. That's the category in which I nominated them for the BBAW awards. They're my go-to people for industry news. I still enjoy their reviews but the opinion pieces and news is what differentiates their blog from so many others.

JenB said...

*standing ovation*

I agree 100% with everything you said.

And why would anyone have a problem with the Western thing? Crap, half the books you promoted were no longer in print. Some of those authors aren't even writing these days. You promoted, what, ONE upcoming release? People need to get over themselves.

I keep a relatively low profile in blogland these days, but I still can't help but notice the tense atmosphere.

I'm taking a break from blogging because of work and personal stuff and because I didn't want to burn out and turn something fun into a j-o-b. I do hope to get back to it soon.

I hate drama. It helps a lot that I don't visit the more drama-prone blogs. I don't follow them on Twitter either. I've even blocked a few users from my Twitter feed. I don't feel the least bit antisocial for it. It's just me keeping my nose clean and staying out of the mess. It has really helped improve my perception of the blogging community. It's amazing how just a few bad apples really can spoil the whole bunch.

I love this post, Wendy. :)

AnimeJune said...

I'd miss you for waaaaay longer if your blog disappeared. Maybe, even, for a whole DAY. *LOL* Great post!

I don't really understand a lot of the bad press that's been going on in blogland, primarily because I am a little too absorbed in doing my own thing. I don't even know what rom fail is - I thought it was just where people complained about the bad romances they were reading on Twitter.

I started reviewing books as a form of self-expression. When a book is fantasmagorical - so fantasmagorical in fact that I have to make up a word to express its awesomeness, I like an outlet to express how much I like it and get people to read it. Similarly, when I read a book so bad it's offensive, I want to slam it - partly to warn people away and partly because the fun of doing that heals the awful psychic pain of reading about abusive Alpha males.

That being said, is there a vain part of me that likes responding to comments and high numbers? A bit. It's very flattering to think that people take me seriously (or not, given my plot summaries, heh). But ultimately I'm doing my own thing.

Great post!

Morning Glow from Novel Addiction said...

I just wanted to say cheers! You make some excellent points! I'm new to blogging, but I've already seen how mean or rude some people can be. I know I started blogging because I love books, and I wanted to review them, I wanted to share some books with other people that they may not have noticed before. Yeah, I wouldn't complain if I could get some more followers, or if I could get some authors interested in interviews.. but where I am right now? I'm happy with it.

I was honestly surprised you got s.. uh.. crap for The Great Western Drive. I thought that was a great thing to do, and frankly, I know it got me back into reading Westerns (or at least adding them to my TBR pile).If that's not a person's thing, they could just IGNORE IT maybe?!

Blogging is supposed to be fun. And in my own experience so far, it has been.. but it's sad to see blogs closing (I've been following them only a short time, but it's still unfortunate to see) because of the hate being passed around.

Lori said...

Frankly, I think all this drama is ridiculous. I try to stay out of it. I blog about books simply because I like to give my opinion (no, really? Yes!). I could give a flying shit who reads it. (No, PLEASE come to my blog!! Heh) I don't worry about stats and traffic and search terms. My life is too busy to care about that kind of stuff. I don't worry about ARCs and getting in touch with publishers. I don't WANT to feel obligated to put up a review. If something about a book strikes my fancy, I review it. If I don't feel like reviewing it, I don't. And I don't want that to change.

I've met some absolutely wonderful women through blogging - people I consider to be terrific friends (so yes, Wendy - I'd miss you). But if I could never blog again, life would not be over. I was an adult before there was such a thing as the internet. I know how to entertain myself in other ways. But I don't really know who I'd make fun of my kids to. Hmmm....

Holly said...

Great post, Wendy. I don't really have anything to add except everyone just needs to get over themselves.

I still can't believe you got crap for The Great Western Drive. See my above comment. People can be so dumb sometimes.

I think we're all guilty of getting wrapped up in the hype now and then, but..well, some just take it a lot farther than they should.

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Some bloggers may believe they are at a higher level than most. They give off a sense of superiority. These are the same ones you will never see comment on other blogs.

As this blogging world evolves, it changes, some for better, some not.

I am going to keep doing what I love on my blog. So says the woman who has a stuffed demon sheep who has become a big part of her blog and loves it.

heather (errantdreams) said...

Katiebabs said: "Some bloggers may believe they are at a higher level than most. They give off a sense of superiority. These are the same ones you will never see comment on other blogs."

Erm, agree with you most of the time katiebabs, but have to disagree with you here. I don't comment on blogs often, but it's due to the fact that I'm kinda anti-social (been painfully shy most of my life, and being online only somewhat negates that), and prefer mediums like Twitter. There are reasons other than superiority for not commenting. Please be careful with the generalities. :)

Maili said...

"Some bloggers may believe they are at a higher level than most. They give off a sense of superiority. These are the same ones you will never see comment on other blogs."

No, YOU believe they are at a higher level than most. In other words, it's an assumption on your part, and the issue is yours and yours alone. Don't project it on other people.

I don't comment on blogs as much as I used to. That's my choice and I like it that way. It stands to reason that MANY bloggers would feel the same way.

The reason why I reacted strongly to your comment is because you were obviously referring to certain bloggers, but there are a few new bloggers who may believe you were referring to them as well. So unless you're willing to be specific about whom you meant when making that kind of comment, please don't make that kind of generalisation. :)

Wendy said...

OK, there is no way in heck I can respond to all these comments individually - but know that I've enjoyed reading all of your thoughts.

I did want to respond to a comment Maili made, if only to clarify my POV:

Can you honestly say that none of us cared about that sort back then? "We had 24 visitors today! Whoo hoo!"

OK, so we did care. If only a wee little bit :)

I think my perspective is a little different because I've been blogging for so frackin' long. I'm not kidding, I think I was blogging for 2 solid years before I started getting "regular" commenters. Nobody, and I mean nobody, was reading this blog in 2003 that wasn't blood related. But I kept on keeping on, mostly because it amused me, and I got a kick out of it.

Um, which I guess means that I have officially and publicly declared that I have no life. Way to go Wendy! ::snort::

Anonymous said...

Excellent post, Wendy. Agree with you. Am surprised that you all faced criticism over you all's love for westerns. Sucks. Seems as if every blogger out there has an ulterior motive or agenda if seen promoting too much.

I promote who and what I like and will always do that. Nothing's changed since I started blogging my archives say 2006 but I've been online longer than that.

Keishon

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Heather and Mali: Sorry if I offended I didn't mean to generalize like that. My bad. I have noticed that there are certain sites or blogs where I will visit and comment and I never see them comment anywhere. Perhaps it is because they prefer to lurk or keep undercover. I myself am finding it harder to keep up because I can't stop adding blogs to my reader.
Google blogger is an evil addiction.

Jessica said...

Well, since some of you have asked, I guess I should own up to being one of the people who criticized the Great Western Drive.

I had many, many problems with it, but I can only mention a few of them here. (Because I will get more hits if I write a post bringing the controversy to my own blog with my own post.)


1. the word "Great". Some bloggers think they are so much better than the rest of us, and this is a clear example. They couldn't have a "Mediocre" Western Drive, could they?


2. the word "Western". This is blatantly exclusionary of the East. I was deeply offended by it, living in New England as I do. I always suspected there was an east cost/ west coast thing in romance. Now, I know it.

3. the word "Drive". So not ecosensitive. Can't be bothered to walk or ride, you uppity western bloggers, can you?

4. And why "cowboys"? Ever heard of cow women? Cow hermaphrodites?

5. Finally, one for the horses. Horses do not exist merely to showcase your prettily manicured cowboys and host uncomfortable and potentially physically impossible sex acts. Until your blog starts taking the views of horses into consideration (and that means EAST coast horses, too, mind you) I'm afraid I can't support you.

heather (errantdreams) said...

I agree, katiebabs, the proliferation of awesome blogs does not help! If I commented on all the great stuff out there I'd have no time for anything else. *wistful sigh*

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

All these wonderful blogs have made me become a hermit. And don't even get me started on twitter.

To think when I found out about online message boards in 1998, how far and wide blogging would come. I wonder what the next decade or so will be like?

Anonymous said...

Some bloggers may believe they are at a higher level than most. They give off a sense of superiority. These are the same ones you will never see comment on other blogs.

*****

What Maili said. I don't comment much either but that's only because I'm lazy or have nothing to add of value. No superiority complex here, trust me. Pinkie swear.

Keishon

Katiebabs a.k.a KB said...

Cow hermaphrodites will be the next big thing in erotic romance. I can see the people at Kensington Aphrodisia placing a call for horse hermies submissions as we speak.

Maili said...

@Katiebabs
There was nothing to apologise for. You made your comment, I reacted, you reacted, sorted. That's what makes the internet so awesome. :D

As a blogger I stumbled into puddles of mud so many times that it's not even funny. It's mostly because, I think, of the tone in my writing. Some found (and probably still find) it abrasive and arrogant. I don't mean it that way, so when a person responds to a comment, like yours (and mine), it's generally a good thing because it opens up a conversation, which is IMO what makes the community work. I hope this makes sense.

"I have noticed that there are certain sites or blogs where I will visit and comment and I never see them comment anywhere."

It's always been like that with various bloggers all these years. Some commented like crazy, e.g. me, and some didn't comment at all, e.g. me. Seriously, if we were to blog however we like, it stands to reason we could lurk/comment however we like as well. :)

"Um, which I guess means that I have officially and publicly declared that I have no life. Way to go Wendy! ::snort::"

(snicker)

girrlit said...

Nothing to add here except Jessica may owe me a new keyboard. We'll see when it dries.

Now to find a cloth.. who knew laughing with a mouthful of drink could cause such a spray?

Samanthadelayed said...

Wow. What a mess. I just spent an hour following links and reading tweets. I think my head is about to explode.

I have to admit, I was very glad you guys did the Great Western Drive and really can't see why anyone would complain. In fact I think there should be more of that kind of genre eye opening done on these blogs. I ended up reading two westerns and adding quite a few others to my TBR pile.

As for this #romfail mess. I didn't even know it was going on at the time because I stopped following Jane. I could never keep up with the volumes of tweets, nothing personal. Besides, I needed to concentrate on Brent Spiner's plethora of tweets instead! ;-)

SarahT said...

Jessica - that was hilarious! I'm allergic to cows, so I guess I should add myself to the anti-Western brigade, LOL!

As for the not commenting business: I have to admit that I go through phases of commenting a lot and phases of not commenting much. It partly depends on the topic, often on time constraints. I'm more inclined to comment on opinion pieces than reviews, so there are some blogs where I comment more than others simply because they do more of those.

limecello said...

Hee! You get cyber cookies, and are definitely my favorite person today :D
I've been waiting for this post.

JenB said...

Haaahaha...another big blog polled readers about possibly withdrawing from BBAW, and one of the poll choices is "Why should I give a crap?"

It's winning by 20 votes. :)

Barbara said...

WOW! Wendy, this is one of the best posts I've read in a long time. It's so true. So very, very true. I completely agree.

Charlie Horse said...

Perfectly Put.

sybil said...

LOL since you listen to me ALL THE TIME, you can speak for me pretty well. I would comment but uh it takes up way too much space, so did a post, which I couldn't post. Pretty much a long ass ramble of

OMFG you rock and are the rightest (on most things) lol but lucky you as soon as I can figure out how to post I will - you know... post it.

yay for updates that completely make your blog odd to you, god I need sleep

Carolyn Crane said...

I thought the Western Drive was great! I love that you three made an event like that. I really enjoy this community, and I'm sorry you had to get flak. I don't know what happened, but I do know it's more yucky, for some reason, when flak comes to a person online. So, yuck.

Glad you spoke up.

azteclady said...

There are people in all venues who will give crap to anyone and everyone they can, just because they can.

Not so unbelievable, after all.

Ignoring the asshats is what works best, I think. After all, what does their opinion matter to you, right?

Jessica, you just about killed me.

Wendy, I would miss you even longer than Anime June. See how I love you?

I happily contribute to two very different blogs. Karen blogs about whatever she pleases, and lets me do the same. Mad mostly hosts author giveaways. I'm happy with both.




But then, I know I'm nobody, so I have no expectations, which helps a lot.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

I'm with ya, girlfriend.

Lynn Spencer said...

The Great Western Drive?! I can't even imagine why someone would want to criticize that. I got all kinds of great ideas for additions to Mt. TBR reading about it.

PK the Bookeemonster said...

I've been around the 'Net a long time -- since before there were graphics. I had a blog starting in 1999. The only time I get upset with a blog I follow is when it breaks its own premise. Example: I will drop a blog in an instant if it ventures into politics when it is primarily about books/writers. Your historical western romance theme for a week was fine. I don't read them but I learned something.

Janet Webb said...

I do have a growing pet hate about Romancelandia: the promotion aspect. Such as book giveaways, book tours, author videos on reader blogs, and blah blah. ... that was Maili wasn't it? I hope I spelled your name right!

My preference is to find such things on bookstore chat venues like the new Borders chat room. Which I am really enjoying. To me it makes sense, Borders sells book -- this is a bit more sizzle and pizzazz -- but it's their reason for being.

When reader blogs all pimp the same book -- literally, blog after blog after blog, all the same book/author/giveaway whatever -- I just get worn out. I buy a ton of books but often they've been out for a year or two or even [gasp] a decade! An intensive discussion of Gaffney's THATH, hearing from a first-time reader of Heyer (all of which all the reader blogs I like do), occasionally, is much more to my taste.

If I was a blogger, I know I'd be a buyer of my own books because I wouldn't be able to handle the implicit pressure of reviewing to a timetable. I voted for "I don't give a crap" on that poll which REALLY surprised me. Usually I give a crap about everything but in this case, I'm a reader, not a blogger, it seemed like totally an inside-the-beltway kinda discussion.

Nora Roberts said...

I heart Wendy.

And I don't even write Westerns.

sybil said...

Well there was that one Harlequin Historical...

Really Nora you should do another. For us! ::bats eyes:: I mean what else you working on?

Tracy said...

Well said Wendy. Even when you're ranting you say it so well. I need you when I'm in an argument with my hubby. :)

You got flak over the GWD? Truly? Some people are nuts!

I just blog because I want to - not because I feel I have to and I just don't take myself too seriously. Works for me.:)
Can't wait to see you soon!

Wendy said...

I heart you too Nora. And you wrote one historical western, which makes you an honorary member of the club. Um, whether you want to be one or not - LOL.

Sybil: I know! I mean, what else could Nora possibly be working on? Probably another book about those Eve and Roarke people that nobody wants to read ;-)

Seriously, can you believe I just typed that with a straight face?

azteclady said...

Really Nora you should do another. For us! ::bats eyes:: I mean what else you working on?

*choking*

*spluttering*

*gasping for breath*

sybil, you are a caution

kiirstin said...

Am I late to the table? I feel late. Anyway. Wendy, I just wanted to say I heart this post and I heart your blog generally and I do think I would miss it if you disappeared despite the fact that the blogs in my reader seem to be having babies when I'm not looking and I'm over my legal subscription limit now.

All of these comments are awesome and I'm going to add my voice to those who blog just for the hell of it, because *I* read it, and it makes me think about what I enjoy in reading, and it makes me stretch my horizons a bit. And I like my gentle readers and I like the conversations we have. And if there were many more I wouldn't be able to keep up with all of them. And I've been blogging (not about books, but generally) since 1998, so I don't think a little riffle in the blogosphere is going to make me quit.

But thanks for the amazingness. When people ask me why I became a librarian, I might just start hyperlinking to your blog. 'Cause damn, librarians are just that [un-]cool.

Lil Sis said...

Ok, holy crap 59 comments! Just a few thoughts from Lil' Sis.

1. You are a dork - but that's ok - I still love you. :)

2. Your family thinks you are "cool" and honestly, we are the only ones who matter. :)

3. Dude - Nora Roberts posts comments on your blog, nuf' said.

Kristie (J) said...

Ah I miss so much on a busy day at work and SYTYCD night!

Wendy - I heart you!

I blog 'cause it's fun. And when it stops being fun, I will stop blogging.
I blog to share the love of books, authors, great movies with Richard Armitage and/or Tim Daly and/or Daniel Day Lewis (though he was only really good in Last of the Mohicans)that I find. I blog 'cause it's fun to find fellow Cravenators, even though Sybil is a Sebastian girl and Wendy I don't think you are either *g*.
When I can't find anymore good books, which I don't think will ever happen mind you, but I'll probably stick to stories about toilet paper and stupid bits of toilet paper stuck on bear bums, or my challenges with figuring out VCRs, DVD's, cable, cell phones, Twitter, or how Destructo Cat is ruining my house bit by bit but I can't get rid of her 'cause she's just too darn cute. 'Cause it's FUN.
I will continue blogging 'cause it has led me to sleep with women I've never met before in hotel rooms in some pretty cool cities I wouldn't normally visit. heh heh heh and - it has enriched my life. And these women are still friends *g*.
I'll blog about the occasional thing that makes me see red and brings out the Krisite in me.
But I will never blog about the "business" of blogging 'cause it isn't about 'business'. It's about meeting and making friends online that share the same passion - whether it be Westerns, Broken Wing or Richard Armitage heh, heh, heh.
It's about sharing a passion that I have with others who has been noted more than once in the comments don't have RL friends to really share this passion with.
While I may observe the occasional flame war, I will VERY rarely participate in one. I'm seldom controversial - not because I don't have strong opinions on some things - I do - but others have as strong as an opinion as I do on the opposite side and who is to say whose right and whose wrong? Just as it's nobody's business to tell me how to think and feel, it's none of mine to tell them how to think and feel. Feelings is feelings and there isn't right or wrong feeling.
I will never make out a plan on what to blog about or how to go about it - unless it's something like The Great Western Drive - which was a RIOT and involved very little planning time - mainly a fly by the seat of your pants kind of thing.
If I do get pissy - and I do - I may write out a comment, read it over, possibly write even more - maybe even share it with only close friends - and then delete it 'cause the one who would be most hurt really is me. The guilt would consume me.
And while I may get a momentary thrill when looking at stats if it's a high traffic day, the REAL thrill is following links and finding new reader blogs - THAT is the fun part of looking at stats - and that and trying to find out who it is that lives in the middle of the Indian ocean that often drops by for a visit. I'm thinking it must be an Atlantian.

nicchic said...

You are an awesome dork. Some people are just ignorant... I really appreciate your post!!

Cheryl St.John said...

I started blogging because it's fun. My blog is rarely about my own books--it mostly about weird stuff in the news, So You Think You Can Dance and American Idol, books and recipes. A lot of authors say they don't have time to blog--they think it's more important to write a good book. I'll stop blogging when it stops being fun and becomes work, because writing a good book is hard work.

Like everyone else I can't believe you got flack about The Great Western Drive. The whole point of blogging about books is to share your excitement about the stories you enjoy. If I don't like the topic on a blog, I go to the next one out of the 14,855 that are on my list, you know? Get real.

Smooches.

sula said...

holy wow. is there room for one more itty bitty comment?

First off, great post. I have no idea what kind of kerfuffle went down because I've been so busy with real life wedding planning crap that my online persona may as well be taking a really long nap. That said, I wish that people could just chillax and talk about books and menz and stuff.

I have met some s'rsly awesome people through the intertubes and to me it's more about sharing our thoughts and opinions about the things we enjoy that make bloglandia fun. Not so much the contests and ARCs and things.

Anyways, whatever you do, don't stop doing your own damn thing. And now I gotta go run more errands. lol.

Rosie said...

All these people are commenting on blogging. I thought your post was about orgasms. Am I wrong?

Jen Lyon (aka Apodaca) said...

Hey Wendy, I was reading you WAY back when...I just rarely comment. I tend to get distracted.

And I'd miss you if you went away!

Renee said...

Damn, Wendy, I get distracted by things like brush fires, kid's homework, and new cable/phone installations, and see what I miss? Blasted blogroll, with its alphabetized list. I need to start from the bottom (you are last at "W") and work my way up more often.

You go, with your post! I often miss the flamewars --and apparently I missed this most recent one --so, I'm clueless. However, in the end, I just don't understand why people will actually seek out blogland drama by participating and encouraging that kind of stuff.

I'm sorry your wonderful GWD got some criticism. It was loads of fun. And, isn't that the main reason to do what we're doing?

I've learned the hard way that I don't like to accept ARCs for review. I don't do well with those kind of deadlines. I've got enough of them in real life, that I don't go seeking them out. If I win an ARC, I try my best to review it, but it doesn't always happen. I also want my blog to be whatever the hell I want it to be when I wake up that morning. I don't have a plan for world domination. Just a hope that I can share a little about books and authors I love and that others will drop by and do the same.

I don't do interviews, promotions, or other things I consider "high stress" --I get enough of that in my website job. However, that doesn't mean I don't love to visit those brave souls who do that, and enjoy their blogs.

It's a big internet world out there. There's a lot of room for all of us to play nicely with each other. Thanks for the reminder!

Take care, and try to stay out of the awful smoky air outside. Can't wait to see you, soon! :-)

Wendy said...

Wow. Maybe I should editorialize more often? This crap-load of comments is an all-time high for the Bat Cave.

Renee: I can't wait to see all you guys either! Hopefully it will be safe to breathe the air by then!

Rosie: Let's be honest - isn't it always about the quality (and quantity) of orgasms? Heh.

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Wendy!

As one of the winners of the Western Drive, all I have to say, YAY Me! I got my book and I'm loving it. If you don't like what a blogger is saying, shove off, go find a different blog. There are thousands of them, literally.

I blog because of my love for books and the gift of gab that I have yet to fulfill or relinquish. And I hope I never do.

What is all this nonsense about BBAW, I don't get it and don't want to. So what, no nominations for me. I don't blog for awards, nominations, or for acknowledgment of any kind. I blog because I like talking about books. I'm a nerd or a geek, whatever, so sue me. But please don't be mean for the sake of trying to make me feel bad. I like what I do, it's not a job, it's supposed to be for fun.

I love AmyC and I hate to see her leave, she has a great place to go talk. She will be missed.

Well, I've imposed probably longer than I should have, but thanks for the opportunity for discussion.

About the orgasms, maybe we all need to start a blog about the art of the orgasm, maximized for the readers own desires. Just thinking out loud here.

Dottie :)

Lea said...

Hey Wendy:

Great post. I have to apologize, I'm completely in the dark here as to what is going on with the BBAW (is that the correct acronym).

I fell into blogging by accident and for the most part have enjoyed it.

Um, lately I haven't gotten around to comment on a lot of other blogs because of 13 to 14 hour days at work. However, the day job does take over sometimes.

Isn't blogging supposed to be about sharing a love of romance with others? WTF - Sorry - I'm scratching my head here Wendy.

As for your "Great Western Drive", it rocked. I've read a western book thanks to you, Sybil and Kristie, and enjoyed it very much. In fact I'm going to do a review and host a giveaway starting Tuesday...

Well, thank you for sharing..

Best to you.
Lea

Leya said...

I really need to catch up with what been's going around. Man, the drama!

Just so you know, Wendy, Kristie and Sybil, I loved the Western Drive. My TBB list has increased. I cannot wait to rediscover my love for westerns. :)

I blog because I enjoy it, and I tend to keep it simple and straight forward, that just my style. And I love reading all the other styles too.

Loved the post Wendy!

Tabitha said...

Your post here rock. We need to remember that book blogs are to help spread our love of reading. Let's not get too serious here now -- some things get way out of hand when they don't need to be.

I don't blog because I'm not good at putting into words how I feel about a book. Oh and also because the "blog" I created (which is really empty but for one draft post) is blocked by my work IT and work time is the only time I really have time to be on the pc...lol

Mandi said...

I think this was a GREAT post. My neck hurts from leaning over my computer reading the previous 72 comments.

I don't like drama - it blows my mind that people freak out over things like this and can be so mean about it.

Why criticize your great western week? Seriously? You and some peeps get together and work hard on organizing something..and people give you flack? sigh.

Loved your dork comment BTW!!

Shiloh Walker said...

Admittedly, I haven't followed the whole 'BBAW' thing very well. But I think I get the general idea.


And like many of the flame fests, this matter doesn't boil down to any absolute wrong that's been done.

The problem is that one group of people have a certain opinion, and it's in contradiction to another group. Or various groups. Now MOST of these people can agree to disagree and just move on.

But the flame fests erupt when a few individuals from one, both, all groups decide that no...they can't agree to disagree because everybody that doesn't think exactly like them is WRONG. So they begin pounding their ideas at others. And shrieking it.

Not pointing any fingers in this mess, because I haven't paid enough attention, nor am I inclined to.

But that's the thing with most flame wars-a few individuals seem to forget that other people are entitled to their own opinions.

Bloggers aren't part of some cohesive borg brain. We all have different opinions, and it's actually more fun that way. The issues are when people FORGET we dont' have to see eye to eye on every little thing.

Serena said...

I just popped over from Babbling About Books....BRAVO! Well said.

I completely agree!

Rebecca @ DSB said...

Man oh man, I had my head down this week, swimming in my own little pond, and I had no idea that the fur was flying. Keerist! When I started my blog I held up the book blog community as an example of little guys working together in harmony, and that fantasy has just been blown to bits. Had to happen sooner or later I suppose, and what a freaking drag.

Wendy, you have the biggest, hairiest set of coconut-sized balls, and I hope mine grow nice and big like yours someday.

As to the dust up over your Western book drive... I'm guessing some folks felt left out, pure and simple. They saw a group of bloggers doing a cool thing, and the mean little monster on their shoulder cried like a little kid who sits by herself on the playground. After the sadness, the pettiness came. It's a shame, but they'll grow up eventually.

You keep rocking blogosphere Wendy! I only check about 5 blogs regularly, so don't you dare quit on me. I'm too lazy to find a replacement.

Carolan Ivey said...

Since I have a random kind of brain, my blog is a reflection of what's interesting to me. (Hence the tagline - "This being the place where I deposit the random thoughts that fall out of my brain.")

Which puts me right up there with you as a dork princess. :)

Sometimes I get a lot of hits, sometimes I don't. It's okay. After almost three years of blogging I've amassed a huge repository of random stuff that could (and has) spark a story or two. Has it generated book sales? Maybe, but that's not the entire point of blogging.

Snark "sells"; controversy "sells". I tend not to go that direction. My blog is my little oasis from that kind of mess. :)

Lusty Reader said...

oh wendy im outta the loop and 77 comments late on your post. but i wanted to comment anyway to let you know that i agree with pretty much everything you said. except i am having enough orgasms ;)

blogging is fun, i have never received an ARC and don't give a shit if i do, i don't take any book blogs seriously, it is all for FUN!

and for the record i would miss your blog LOTS for wayyy more than 5 seconds if you left. you are fab.

Wendy said...

I cannot get over all the comments here. And it's not even a contest post! Heh.

Thanks for stopping by everybody!

azteclady said...

Wendy, what else could we do? You are hot when you rant erm... editorialize.



Have a GREAT weekend!

Emily Veinglory: said...

But, y'know, it is not everybody joining in the drama-rama, but actually a rather small group of blogs that are easily avoided, at least for a while. So long as pointless drma draws more readers than it loses, bloggers will keep doing it, I guess.

Throwmearope said...

First off, I was once a wannabe librarian. Unfortunately, I have never had a tiny voice.

I once won an ARC in a contest. Didn't like the book, couldn't finish it. But I was supposed to come up with a comment on it.

Wracked what passes for my brain for something nice to say. Posted my comment, feeling dutiful. Then one of the Janes smacked at me 'cause it wasn't very positive.

I decided then that if I don't enter contests, I can skip over a whole bunch of guilt.

As for establishing and maintaining a blog, all of you guys have bigger cojones than I.

I missed the GWD debacle, but I love western historicals. I guess I'll add this to the list of things on teh internet that I don't understand.

Sandra Schwab said...

Wendy, I think I love you! Great post!

(And could somebody please tell azteclady that she is NOT a nobody!!!)

Christine said...

Dear Wendy,
I'm barely aware of the sequence of events that has lead to the latest upheaval in Romance Bloglandia, but I'm very glad I found my way to read your letter today. It always saddens and disappoints me when one drama or another upsets and alienates the very people who have in essence been brought together in the first place because of our mutual love and passion for something so simple and lovely as being a reader of romance. Your letter and all of the supporting comments are wonderful reminders that we're all doing this because we enjoy sharing our love of romance with each other. Thanks for such a heartfelt and honest letter, Wendy.

Sincerely,
Christine

Marianne McA said...

I could live with a Great Richard Armitage Drive...

Shaymless Aymless said...

My 2 cents for what its worth:

1. Wendy can't leave! I'd have to find some people in LA to stalk you at your library to get the book stats (that way I know what NOT to try to get at the library - not the I'm a big borrower, I'm more of a renter - dang late fees)

2. You said it all. Blogging is hobby and most of my non-internet friends just don't get it. But here "uncool" is so "cool". I'm still amazed that more than two or three people actually read my blog.

Melissa Blue said...

You know I've found the actual flame wars boring, because they die down and here comes the next one. Why I don't think they should die out are the discussions that come out of it. Those are worth my eyeballs hurting when I roll them so hard at *insert this week's flame war*

Can't remember what blog, but it was indirectly about #romfail. Anyway, the blogger asked the question if women are supposed to be "nicer". And, would have people reacted the same if the #romfail group had been men. *paraphrased of course.* I think that's dialogue that needs to happen. Yes, the conversation started out of drama, but it got people talking about things that makes you think.

Anyway, love the post.

Nikki said...

As usual, I'm late to the party, but I think all the crap that is going on has contributed to me spending more time playing games on facebook. Meanwhile, I'm adding to the western historicals that I want to read, and slowly weeding out a sh*tload of TBRs that I won't.

Blodeuedd said...

Came here trough another site, and great post. And why would anyone give you crap about the western thing, I heard about it and thought fun (even if I didn't stop by). Can't those meanies just stay outside.

But oh no, now I fear critics who will venture into my little blog, I am not good with that. I do understand why some quit blogging. It's supposed to be fun, about books and yes how we all are such big nerds who would rather just stay indoor reading, cos I sure love it. And I want to share that love with others. So far I have only met nice sweet people. But I know from others what is out there.

As for traffic and business. I sure don't see myself as ever becoming a business. Traffic, sure fun to get, but I like to talk to those who follow me and lately there are a bunch of new ones and I have no idea who they are because they have never commented. Doubt they read the blog either. But at lest they are nice

Stephanie Feagan said...

I shut down my blog after something I said pissed people off. Blew my mind, but it got turned into some kind of conspiracy by me and the RWA board of directors. And I was trying to be helpful. What a laugh riot. Going forward, I knew I couldn't let something I said be misconstrued, twisted around and sent back to bite RWA in the backside, so I told the webmistress to kill the blog.

Sometimes I think, hey, I could blog about that - then remember, no, I can't.
In the last couple of years, I've stopped visiting blogs at all, and honestly, I don't miss it. Well, I miss some things - but for sure not all the drama.

Maybe it's my age - I ask myself, with so many problems in the world, things we could do that would make a difference, how can something so inconsequential cause such a raging fury? If only people had that much passion for things that matter...

Wendy, you really are super. I love you, man.

Stef, who visited today because someone sent me a link and said, "You will love this!" She was right - I did!

Anonymous said...

Umm not sure if I should say something but I will. I am not a blogger, didn't know about the world of bloggers until a good friend of mine started one. Now I check her site everyday to see what she is up to and having to say, Kristie J blogs makes me smile, curious and leads me to other peoples blogs where I read and learn more. I read what interests me and skip what doesn't I enjoy reading other peoples opions and interests. So although I do not understand the "avr's and other stuff listed I do hope everyone continues as even people like me get a smile from it and think this is great you can do this. Great Job.
Lori