Sunday, April 19, 2015

Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour 2015/4: Readers' Sites

       I don't hang out in reader communities much these days. I did for a while, trying to be friendly and take part in conversations but I quickly learned one important fact: readers are not like writers. Yes, all writers are readers, but people who are readers only sometimes have a different view of the work. I know it seems strange that I shouldn't have realized this, but I've been writing for such a long time that the two are braided into one for me. I can't always sit back and see a book (mine or someone else's) apart from the act of creating it. I have studied how other authors work. I've seen, sometimes, the trace of a world building hint that might lead back to an original concept. I become as enthralled in a book for it's lovely story as for the work that went into creating it.
And that's where I found that I didn't always connect well with a few readers. Sometimes they get very odd ideas about how books are created. I've seen a couple incidents where they seemed to think book creation was a group project, and as readers they had the right to tell the author what should be in the next book. I found that . . . unpleasant. I also have a problem with the 'authors on parade' concept. I understand the idea of marketing and using electronic media as a way to reach more people, but because both sides are nothing more than words on a screen, things are said that would never happen in a face-to-face encounter. I see problems leap out of nowhere and they aren't easy to fix. Since I'm prone to that kind of misunderstanding, I have just stood back and watched instead.
And there are the problem groups who make decisions that seem to be based almost entirely on 'How annoying can we be?' rather than any logic. I don't understand such groups, and they have, unfortunately, given places like GoodReads a very bad reputation.
I once ran a site that was, really, a good reads site -- I wanted nothing but good reviews posted because I wanted to find the books people loved and to know why they read them. I didn't care what others hated. I wanted to find good books based on what I found interesting in their reviews and a few other people agreed with me. The site was my vision of how to locate those treasures. I didn't want space taken up by the junk as well.
Unfortunately, a group began complaining about how they had the right to post bad reviews, that this was not a helpful site because it didn't give equal opportunity to slam books, etc. I pointed out they could simply go post somewhere else for whatever types of reviews they wanted. It was not enough. THIS site had to be what they wanted.
I shut it down after about a year of constant arguing, and that is where I first began to realize that people on the Internet are not interested in reason or cooperation -- or even, really, talking about books most of the time. If they find something they dislike, they will worry at it and drive people crazy until they get bored or the site disappears.
As I've gotten older, I've lost patience, I think. I know there are good points to such reader sites and that many of the people there enjoy the interaction. I know some writers enjoy sites like WattPad as well, but that's not the direction I want to go. So I'll stick to hanging around with writers. Yeah, like I've had a lot of luck there, too.
You know, maybe it's time for a bit of personality adjustment!

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