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Authors promoting other authors

A place to debate issues or to rant about what's on your mind. In addition to discussions about historical fiction, books, the publishing industry, and history, discussions about current political, social, and religious issues and other topics are allowed, so those who are easily offended by certain topics may want to avoid such threads. Members are expected to keep the discussions friendly and polite and to avoid personal attacks on other members. The moderators reserve the right to shut down a thread without warning if they believe it necessary.
User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Authors promoting other authors

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Fri February 22nd, 2013, 5:52 pm

I probably should have the sense to keep my hands off the keyboard, but this topic irks me no end.

Once again, on a writer's board, I read a cheerleader saying how everybody should puff other writer's books, especially indie-self-pubbed, so that they will do the same for you.

One the one hand, I have gone the self-pub route, gotten incredibly valuable feedback, learned, revised, and am about to re-launch three novels. And of course I would like as much exposure as possible.

But on the other hand, I only want people who have actually READ my books and liked them to say they are good. I don't expect everyone will like them -- that's impossible. I am not writing for everybody, anyway, but for the reader who likes what I write. (Which, not surprisingly, is similar -- I hope -- to what I prefer to read.)

I don't have time to read a lot of other writer's books. And I'm really not interested in the vast slush-pile of indie works -- the odds of wasting my time go up exponentially, because most indie writers haven't yet put in the 900K words it takes to get competent, nor received a wide enough feedback to hone their storytelling.

Quite a lot of those published by big-name publishers fall in the same boat. Not useful for my limited time. I am the original reading curmudgeon.

And there is also the matter of credibility. So Harriet Klausner likes it. Beg deal. If Annis, Misfit, EC, Parthianbow, Sharz, or others on this board like it, that means something. I know their tastes. If 15 indie authors are all puffing each other's books, I see a tight little mutual appreciation society, and I not only dismiss their praises, I don't believe anything else they say.

Am I being very cynical? Or is this a version of the boy who cried "Wolf, Wolf!" -- the writer who cried "Great Book!"

User avatar
Divia
Bibliomaniac
Location: Always Cloudy, Central New York

Postby Divia » Fri February 22nd, 2013, 10:54 pm

As a community i think we should support each other, and I try really hard to support the authors on this website because I like them, I think they are part of our community and I want to support them. Do I think all of their books 100% of the time. No, but that's okay too. As long as I'm not rude about it.

The HF community isn't huge, so I can see how some authors would be cheerleaders for others.

However, I see your point. At what point does it become one huge click? I mean we aren't in high school anymore, ya know?

Its a fine line, no doubt about that.
News, views, and reviews on books and graphic novels for young adult.
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User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 12:30 am

From a reader's perspective, this is very off-putting. I've seen threads like this at public boards on Amazon, and I've seen how fellow readers react to it and it isn't good. The only opinions I care about of those of readers.

IMHO it's better to take the high road and not go that way, there's been so much crap and shenanigans at Amazon and Goodreads, and tensions are high over that vile website that shall not be named.
At home with a good book and the cat...
...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
LoveHistory
Bibliomaniac
Location: Wisconsin, USA
Contact:

Postby LoveHistory » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 3:30 am

A little bit of both, MLE.

If someone enjoyed a book and wants to share that information, it shouldn't matter that they happen to be an author as well. Yes there are some groups that engage in ratings-pumping, but I doubt they accomplish much. If the books they push are lacking in quality, the readers will figure it out in pretty short order.

I think most readers don't write reviews, and I know there are some who don't read them either. The same could be said of some authors. These authors who fit into the cheer-leader group are at the other end of the spectrum.

Curious...where did the "900K words it takes to get competent" figure come from?

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 3:54 am

"LoveHistory" wrote:A little bit of both, MLE.

Curious...where did the "900K words it takes to get competent" figure come from?

That's a variation of Macolm Gladwell's (Outliers, the Tipping Point, etc.) rule that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert at something.

And also my own personal experience. When I finished my first 50K words, I thought I was fantastic.
I wasn't.
Now, somewhere past that 900k number, most of them re-written four or five times, I can soberly rate myself as competent.

It's a learning curve that just can't be shortcut.

User avatar
Mythica
Bibliophile
Preferred HF: European and American (mostly pre-20th century)
Location: Colorado
Contact:

Postby Mythica » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 10:20 am

"Misfit" wrote:From a reader's perspective, this is very off-putting. I've seen threads like this at public boards on Amazon, and I've seen how fellow readers react to it and it isn't good. The only opinions I care about of those of readers.


It's a shame because author's are readers too and they should be entitled to express their genuine enjoyment of a book just like any other reader. But this kind of quid-pro-quo that is developing among indie authors devalues author reviews and makes me skeptical of them.

User avatar
Helen_Davis
Compulsive Reader

Postby Helen_Davis » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 2:56 pm

"Divia" wrote:As a community i think we should support each other, and I try really hard to support the authors on this website because I like them, I think they are part of our community and I want to support them. Do I think all of their books 100% of the time. No, but that's okay too. As long as I'm not rude about it.

The HF community isn't huge, so I can see how some authors would be cheerleaders for others.

However, I see your point. At what point does it become one huge click? I mean we aren't in high school anymore, ya know?

Its a fine line, no doubt about that.

I agree Divia, good points. But didn't you mean clique and not click?
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"The first time a book has gotten us close to Evita, in all her misery and all her splendor."
Excerpt from the Spanish summary of my novel

User avatar
Misfit
Bibliomaniac
Location: Seattle, WA

Postby Misfit » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 3:51 pm

"Mythica" wrote:It's a shame because author's are readers too and they should be entitled to express their genuine enjoyment of a book just like any other reader. But this kind of quid-pro-quo that is developing among indie authors devalues author reviews and makes me skeptical of them.


I do have several authors on my friend list at GR, including at least one who is self published and sets a fine example on what to do and why I would take a book recommendation from her anytime. She was still working on her first book when she came joined GR, and made friends not by talking about her book, but by sharing books with other readers. She followed our updates and reviews and absorbed what we liked and what tropes drove us batty.
At home with a good book and the cat...

...is the only place I want to be

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 4:33 pm

I didn't mean to imply that a writer should never critique or praise another writer. Only the "You pat my back and I'll pat yours" system, when it has nothing to do with whether the book is any good or not.

In fact, I have, (as those on this board may have noticed ;) ) rather strong opinions on much of what I read, and no hesitation about expressing them! But if I review a book, it will be one I have read, not one I am puffing regardless of quality in the hopes that the author will do the same for me in return. And my opinion of the quality will be an honest one, although if I really dislike a book I usually don't bother to finish it, let alone write a review.

I just think that producers have a different agenda from consumers and when critiques are offered, it should be clear which hat the reviewer is wearing.

I remember gritting my teeth when one writer-member of the old board suggested the the book-of-the-month choice should be limited to living authors who would still get royalties, not dead or out-of-print works. As if this community of readers existed to serve writers, and not the other way around.
Last edited by MLE (Emily Cotton) on Sat February 23rd, 2013, 6:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

User avatar
MLE (Emily Cotton)
Bibliomaniac
Interest in HF: started in childhood with the classics, which, IMHO are HF even if they were contemporary when written.
Favorite HF book: Prince of Foxes, by Samuel Shellabarger
Preferred HF: Currently prefer 1600 and earlier, but I'll read anything that keeps me turning the page.
Location: California Bay Area

Postby MLE (Emily Cotton) » Sat February 23rd, 2013, 4:42 pm

In fact, maybe writers should be made to post a disclaimer on their reviews. I mean, if something so small as a free copy of a book requires a disclaimer because it might color the reviewer's honesty, surely promoting your own career is many times more serious?

Something like: "disclaimer: the reviewer is a published writer and might expect to receive favorable reviews from this book's author in return."


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