Friday, May 6

A Rant or Maybe a Whine--"Romancing the Blog"

This is directly from the Romancing the Blog mission Statement:

. . .Who dictates the direction of modern romance? The writer? The reader? The publisher? The reviewer?

The answer is: All of the above.

Weblogs have emerged as a viable source of information. "Bloggers" are on the cutting edge. They find information and spread it quickly. They share their knowledge and their viewpoints, they "rant" and they praise. And when it comes to romance, they know their stuff.

The columnists on Romancing the Blog are the best of the best. They are readers, reviewers, aspiring authors, and bestsellers. Some are thoughtful, some humorous, some a bit "ranty," and some are insightful. They have their own voices and a love of romance. Together, with your comments, they will map the landscape of today's romance genre from every possible angle. From story conception to the moment a reader finishes the book, they'll cover it all.

Sorry, that was long, but I wanted to include all this info.

Now, yesterday over at Maili's Blog, she posted about cliques within the romance blogging community. I decided to bring some of the conversation over here as not to tie up her blog with my gripping--LOL.

It seems to me the founding fathers/mothers of RTB are missing an important part of the equation. The reader.

Until today, I had never read RTB's mission statement. I'm sure their intentions are to have readers as an important part of their "blog", but I'm not sure we as readers are getting that point. Don't get me wrong, readers are welcome, readers are columnists, and readers post, but on a whole it seems to be an "industry" blog, and I read it and enjoy it as such, but I'm not really sure it's geared for readers. Maybe it's just my perception as a reader.

There are approximately 40 columnists between regulars and guests--3 are readers (not a great percentage), but how many readers are going to be as articulate as any author. In the sidebar there are about 175 "author blogs" listed and there are 20 odd "reader blogs"--several of which haven't been updated in a while (Maili's list is better), and there's a few "industry blogs" listed.

This was Maili's response to my post on her blog:

Tara Marie . . . As for RTB, I have to admit that RTB intimidates me, which is probably why my columns/responses are written as if I was on speed or had too much coffee. :D But RTB *is* for readers as well as authors. The only way to enforce the presence of plain readers is to respond. Keeping silence on readers' part will only create a stronger feel of the author/editor/reviewer presence, leaving readers out in the "cold." I mean, what stops you - or any readers - from approaching the RTB team and ask if you - or they - could contribute? We have to start somewhere.

I think she's right if we want to be heard we need to voice our thoughts and opinions, but I'm curious, how many readers truly feel comfortable doing this, in this environment?

What stops you - or any readers - from approaching the RTB team and ask if you - or they - could contribute?

I know what stops me, I may have a big mouth, but would be completely intimidated by the concept. What can I say, I'm a wimp. If 20 published authors and industry insiders are agreeing with each other and patting each other on the backs, how many readers are going to be a dissenting voice?

So all of that to show what stops me, but what stops other readers?

Boy, am I long winded, sorry about that--LOL.


Kristie said...

I check out RTB daily but I find most columns seem to deal with editor, author issues. I really wish they would add more reader to their list of columnists.

Tara Marie said...

Kristie--exactly, me too.

Bookwormom said...

I too check RTB daily. I posted for the first time tonight. I find the tone there to be...I don't know..unfriendly to readers.

Squawk radio however, feels friendlier, more welcoming.

I suppose Maili's right though, in order to be heard we as readers need to speak out. Question is- will we be heard ? Ignored? Shot down?

Tara Marie said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anne E. said...

I check it out from time to time, but I agree that it seems to be more for writers. I am always in awe of those who have been able to carry through on something that I always wanted to do, but could not, for various reasons, accomplish. But that doesn't mean that published writers are always the best ones to access their own industry, and within the industry, their own genre. We are, after all, the ones who buy, or don't buy, the finished product -- in this case a book, but a product, none the less!

Larissa said...

Hi there!

Your comments are interesting, and the RTB people are listening. Remember, RTB is young, and with so many participants it's going to take time to settle into a groove, and even then, it'll be impossible to please everyone.

That said, RTB IS for readers! Absolutely. More readers have been invited to participate, but as Maili said, many are intimidated and are afraid to participate. But RTB is definitely open to readers.

I hate the thought that anyone feels ignored...what do you mean? That comments are ignored by the author of the post? Or that the PTB have ignored readers by not inviting enough?

Speak out--you won't be ignored! :)

Kristie said...

In my opinion, it's because there aren't enough reader columnists. I wouldn't say we are ignored as much as left out. As far as I know Maili and Rosario are the only ones.
It's interesting to get insight into what writers and editors go through, but I'd like to see it more balanced with what readers have to say. Really, we the readers are the ones that drive the industry. Writers can write all they want and editors can edit all they want but if readers don't buy the books, what's the point. And I think we can have a lot of influence on what other readers buy. Word of mouth and recommendations can be a wonderful tool for writers.
I don't feel intimidated posting there or unwelcome or anything, it's just that they don't focus on reader issues as much as I'd like to see them. I can see why some readers might be intimidated writing a column along with writers, but I've read quite a few reader blogs and there are some very good writers in the group, with some very thoughtful and insightful blogs.

Ami C said...

Alison just posted that they've invited a lot of readers but they've turned them down.