Wednesday, September 09, 2009

At the risk of stirring controversy

Ah - what they hell! I VERY seldom do so I think I can this one time.

Keep in mind that this post isn't done out of any kind of anger or sour grapes - well, at least I hope it's not sour grapes - although I'm human so one grape might make it's way in.

The BBAW - not to take anything away from those who have been nominated; there are a few I think are well deserving - but I don't like the whole idea. This is only my personal opinion, but it makes me squirmy. I don't watch award shows - of any kind - I don't like them either but I love music and movies and whatnot so it isn't about the blogs in question. I can't emphasize that enough!

But I don't blog to win awards. I do it to connect with other romance readers; to share a large and important part of who I am, and when my husband was diagnosed with cancer and then lost his battle, it was my salvation. And by having it on my blog, I can go back and relive our life together and see how far I've come. I don't want awards for that. I was nominated for one award in this years BBAW and notified by email. I read through it a couple of times but nowhere was I asked to submit any posts, which seems kind of fishy to me seeing as it looks like everyone else was asked to. Even if I had though, I wouldn't have. Not because I'm not in love with some of what I've done. I think the one I did on the adventures of a cat person dog sitting my sisters dog was brilliant. Yes - I do think that. I had such fun writing it. Also the two follow-up posts were also oodles of fun.

And it's been truly a labour of love promoting some of the things I've got all excited about - promoting Dreaming of You, the Cravenators vs Sebastioners rumble (which is still going on *g*), The North and South Crusde, the promotion of Broken Wing and most recently, The Great Western Drive.

I've been blogging for over five years now and while many have come and gone (and damn it - I miss you all!) some are still around; Sybil(who I still rumble with :-), Wendy, Keishon, Rosario were all blogging before I was, yet none of them received awards and they all have GREAT blogs - done out of love. I love Karen's blog - even though we are as different as night and day in style *g* - but then that's what makes blogging so great. She can be the queen of controversy, but she is also wonderful at raising topics that make you think such as her recent posts on health care and previously her posts on AA authors and how they are treated differently. Cindy, while not blogging that much about books, certainly has an eclectic blog and she was the first blogger I met in person - being a neighbour - blog wise.

I look down the list of nominations and none of these bloggers are up for anything so I know I'm in good company. What I do see, are a lot of new bloggers - quite a few I've never seen or noticed before and trust me - I'm always looking to find new bloggers. And I'm not taking anything away from them, I think it's great that people are reading and enjoying their blogs - I do and do too.

But as with award shows, I'm struck by all those who aren't nominated. And no - the answer isn't more awards. There are far too many categories as it is.

This is just my opinion, but reader blogs shouldn't be done out of any kind of agenda - as a way to get ARC's as some are; used as a promotion tool by either authors or publishers. If I promote a book or author it's because I've LOVED that author or a book. I don't get a whole lot of ARC's - very few. I don't want them. What I do - I do out of love and to have fun. And I hope that's what comes across here at Ramblings.

Wendy did a most excellent post recently and she says exactly what I think.

So - now you can have at me - I'll bring out Krisite to take the flack - she's good at that.


meljean brook said...

"If I promote a book or author it's because I've LOVED that author or a book."

Why don't other bloggers, though? I love your blog to death, and the other ladies you mentioned. But I also love a lot of the new bloggers, and I have to say -- I don't understand the sentiment that seems to be floating around that one form of blogging and love for the genre is more ... pure? ... than another, just because it doesn't involve promo.

Can't it be that they want the ARCs, that they review, that they interview authors, and so one because they love the genre so much and can't wait to get their hands on the books? Why does an ARC = a blogger becomes a shill for authors and publishers? Can't it be that they love the books they get THAT MUCH too?

Not that you've said they are shills, but maybe it's because I do feel really comfortable on this blog even though I don't comment a lot here.

A blogger doesn't have to have an agenda, I agree. And I love a huge number of blogs without agendas. But I don't think it necessary follows that if a blogger *does* have an agenda -- whatever it is -- that their motivation has to be any other reason than their love for the genre.

meljean brook said...

Sigh. Sorry about all of the typos and incoherence. I've been up too long this morning *headdesk*

And I forgot to add: I'm the same way about awards. I really enjoy a lot of the blogs nominated, but I could also easily cast my vote for many others.

SarahT said...

Interesting post, Kristie.

I've mentioned before that I have mixed feelings about certain aspects of BBAW, mostly to do with the long list nominations and communication (or lack thereof) with nominees.

On the other hand, many of those who ultimately made the short list were people I'd have picked, and I was glad to see them there, especially given my reservations at the idea of non-romance readers judging the blogs. Would I have liked to see a few more on that list? Most definitely.

One major positive about the BBAW short list announcements is that I've discovered tons of new blogs which review books in the other genres I like to read, such as mysteries and YAs.

So to sum up my rambling comment: I'm not 100% convinced by all aspects of the BBAW awards but I'm pleased to see certain bloggers make the short list.

Wendy said...

I've gotten more mileage out of that post.....

Sort of to respond to Meljean's comment - I've been thinking on this very topic the last day or so. I'm a firm believer in "do what you want on your blog" - but the relentless promo does get me down a bit. At first I thought I was just waxing nostalgic for "the good old days" - but now I have a new theory.

I think blogging relies heavily on your "voice." Kinda of like writing. There are a lot of blogs I follow simply because I'm drawn to the person's "voice." I like the way they write. I like the way they blog. That's why I follow.

I think that's easy to lose when you're doing promo. It's very easy for promo to sound "canned" - for lack of a better description. Author interviews I think can work better - but it all boils down to the interviewee's style for me.

Which might be why I tend to prefer Kristie's brand of promo (when she does it). She reserves it for when she's genuinely enthusiastic about a book/author. That shows through, and I think that's what ultimately draws people in.

But I could totally be barking up the wrong tree.....

Maili said...

I've already commented on this topic, so I just want to second Wendy and Kristie's comments.

My view: Be a promo-or-ARC whore if you want, but you have to give a bit of yourself to your blog as well, otherwise there's no point.

meljean brook said...

Wendy, it's funny because I was saying something very similar the other day. It's not that I don't understand how blog readers tire of promo, because I absolutely do (and skip over a lot of it in my feedreader, too.) Because the reason to start following a blog is often because you love that blogger's voice -- and so when a guest post, for example, shows up on that blog...well, that's not what you're there for.

The Book Smugglers, for instance. They have a lot of promo (interviews and excerpts) and some of it I'll read and some I'll just click over. But their reviews? I read every single one, even if it's not a book I would likely pick up. Yet, I would never in a million years suggest that just because they do the promo stuff that they love the books that they review and give high grades to any less. A blog like that has to be a labor of love because it's so much work. Even free books can't be worth that much effort.

So it's not that I don't understand the weariness (or that I haven't cut way, way back on my own online promo). I just think it's a little unfair to suggest that one is more about love, and the other is more about what bloggers get out of it.

nath said...

Hmmm, it's kind of sad all the conversations about BBAW and the awards, because in the beginning, it meant to be fun.

Ah well. Personally, I find the whole concept of BBAW a bit meh. I don't know how to explain it... but on paper, it's a great idea and should promote the community feeling... but on the other hand... it's just hard to put in motion, to really organized something where everyone is involved. The problem is that like real life, bloggers have cliques. Some cliques are more popular than others... and the ones that are quiet end up being ignored or just not acknowledged... and that's just sad. Also, there's a high number of turnover on blogland and this just makes thing more complicated.

Also, awards results of any kinds are always controversial... as a result, it's just generating fights, heated discussions, etc. Again, idea is fun, but execution...

SarahT said...

My PC is eating comments today! I left - or thought I'd left - a lengthy reply to Meljean. Here goes again.

I visit a variety of blogs, both new and old. Although I've been blogging just a few months, I've been visiting forums and blogs for years.

Although I say people should do what they want with their blogs, I'm not a fan of a lot of promo and I tend to ignore it unless it's for an author I particularly like, or it's something of interest to me, such as an interview. I can't stand ads. Pet peeve, I know.

What bothers me far more than promo is a review site which only gives glowing reviews. What's the point in that?

If bloggers have agendas, I prefer when they are upfront about it.

meljean brook said...

"What bothers me far more than promo is a review site which only gives glowing reviews. What's the point in that?"

Ha, I couldn't say. I avoid such sites like crazy.

AnimeJune said...

Sarah T - I think of Locus magazine, nearly all of its reviews are positive, but they're upfront when saying - if they read a book and don't like it, they don't review it. They want to focus on suggesting books they think people like than on warning people away from books they don't, and I get that.

I think we need to remember that BBAW isn't all about awards. Okay, I'm very very very biased towards the awards because I'm still doing a happy dance about being shortlisted. But BBAW is also about spreading awareness, finding new blogs, and sharing our love of books. There's other stuff going on that week then just awards - interviews and memes and so forth.

That being said, I kinda like the awards. BBAW as a whole seems to be about awareness AND the message that just because "anyone can publish on the internet" doesn't mean book blogs don't contribute to readers, authors, and the publishing industry. I think part of the attempt to up the "street cred" of blogs is the awards.

Pretty much every vocation has its own awards - acting has Oscars and Tonys, writing has RITAs, Pulitzers, Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgars, etc. I think the idea of blogger awards that are panel-judged and then reader-voted is just a way to acknowledge that book blogging IS a vocation, one that deserves honour.

Of course nobody blogs for awards - just as people don't act for awards. I'm pretty sure Samuel L. Jackson doesn't - else what else would explain "Deep Blue Sea" and "Snakes on a Plane"? *LOL*

But awards are a perk. I think it's a good idea to judge and award a few. BBAW may not be perfect but it's the best attempt made so far, and for pete's sake, it's only on its second year!

Again....totally biased here.....

Lea said...

Hi Kristie;

Well, I think you have made some excellent points. As did Nath, and Wendy in her post last week.

The bottom line is, I guess, is that one can only do their best whether it be raising children, a career or when involved in a hobby such as.... blogging. It is impossible to please everyone, as we all know.

I've always enjoyed your blog and your enthusiasm Kristie, and appreciate the fact that you support authors and romance genres in unique ways. On a personal note, I've tried very hard to learn from you and other experienced bloggers out there. I just try and do my own thing and have enjoyed it when folks stop by. And, yes I have been introduced to author's work that I thoroughly enjoy and have tried to help with a little promotion. I don't have an agenda, I just like those author's voices, and try to help while having a little fun.

As for awards? Well I'm sure it is all meant with the best of intention, however these sorts of things does occasionally, bring out the competitive side of human beings and unfortunately the original intent does sometimes get lost.

Lately, for me, blogging hasn't been as enjoyable for a variety of reasons. I've been blogging for nearly a year, maybe it's time to make a decision with respect to taking a break.

Thanks for the insightful honest post Kristie.


Anonymous said...

Good post Kristie and you've made some very good points.
I have mixed feelings on the whole BBAW thing - I think its great that people have nominated blogs they enjoy and want that blogger to know they appreciated their hard work etc. But there doesn't seem to be any set rules that apply to everyone. Some people were asked to submit posts for review, while others weren't like you mentioned. Some people got emailed early, others got emailed a week later. There are so many categories and some in those catagories are like comparing apples to oranges- how do you vote on that? Perhaps because its all so new...
I wish them all the best, but I've stay away from all of it.

sybil said...

One thing to remember is not everyone plays... I didn't turn in anything and honestly see it as a meme.

For me it was more work than I wanted to deal with to have a 'team' of people judge them or count the votes (email was vague). Why in the world wouldn't you just go with the number of votes? Unless you just wanted an out to be able to play fave and toss shit at will?

When you run a contest, do you ever allow yourself to be in it? I don't. But Amy is up repeatedly.

The whole thing is just beyond silly and the most vocal people singing its praises are the ones who are up for the most 'awards'. So really, ::shrug:: they aren't hurting anyone, I am sure next step will include getting a sponser or 100 for 2010... it is a lot of work man! Money is needed to make it more special. Or a name or something. Then again I am cynical.

By the time they announced the shortlist I was tried of hearing about it. And by it I mean BBAW not the blogs.

For promo on blogs, of course I have no issue with it, HELL we do it. My rule of thumb is there needs to be a reason for it... we like the book, it something we want to read, the author is a fave, we have something to add.

Tara Marie said...

Being gone from blogging for a year has left me out of the Romance blogland and especially the BBAW loop. I had to google it to find their website and then (I hate to admit this) I only recognized one of the romance reading blogs.

I'm sure the BBAW blogs are all wonderful and all different, but on a whole I've had a hard time with all the blogs--too many to keep track of. So many give-aways, so many author interviews, so many of the same books being reviewed.

It seems there is a blurring of reader/review blogs, author blogs and industry blogs. Dear Author has made the transition from reader/reviewer blog to an industry one, but most of the reader/reviewrr blogs are really doing author and industry type of hype, which is great. Nothing stays stagnant, but they're not review blogs.

I think what Wendy is saying about voice is important. There is something very similar in the newer blogs I've been visiting it might be because I'm kind of turned off by all the industry type of hype.

Kristie, Sybil, Wendy, Keishon, Rosario, Karen and Cindy have been blogging a while now with unique voices and styles.

To be honest, I can't take too seriously an award for romance review that doesn't include Rosario. Is that because I'm more of an old-timer--maybe.

Tumperkin said...

I have to echo your comments, Kristie and those of Wendy, particularly the point that Wendy makes about 'voice' - and it's uncanny really because I was thinking the exact same thing yesterday except in a totally non-articulate way.

I don't have an issue with bloggers choosing to seek out ARCs or do lots of promo or any of that stuff - that's absolutely fine - but it's not what I want to do with my blog. One of the things that I really REALLY love about this blog is Kristie's very personal enthusiasm about the books and causes she chooses to champion. You can tell it comes from HER. I love that. That is voice. That is - for me - what I look for in a blog.

As a general rule, I don't read promo-type posts on other blogs (even on blogs I really love), and a major proliferation of promo will cause me to remove the blog from my favourites. This is not because I disapprove of them or regard them as less 'pure' in motive, it's because I find promo posts generally, well, pretty boring. I realise there are lots of people who feel quite differently and that's fine too. But not for me, thanks.

Finally, on BBAW, I'm just pretty non-plussed by the whole thing. There are some very good blogs listed and I wish them all the best and all that. And fair enough to all the people saying it's raising awareness of new blogs etc. However, beyond a wee picture to be posted somewhere on your sidebar, I don't see what this award actually confers? I suppose, Kristie, like you I have a general lack of interest in awards anyway, but again, others will disagree and that's fine. It's just something I'm not interested in. *shrugs*

Anonymous said...

I just love to blog about the books themselves, I don't do it for awards either. I don't really watch the Emmys or Oscars or Miss America myself. That does not mean that a little recognition isn't a good thing, it's great, but I blog because I love it and I love to read.

Many of my reviews are good reviews, but I will try to be fair to the author and to anyone who might like the book or dislike the book that I review.

I like what Wendy said about 'voices' in blogs and I totally agree with her.

Amy said...

Hi Kristie!

I'm not sure what category you were nominated in but a few of them we had to determine by popular vote and the others didn't require any submission...such as design, because it was based solely on design.

I will admit it wasn't perfect--we had lots of bumps in the road, but I do hope people discover a few new blogs to love.

Funny enough, last year, the first time I did this, when I was suggesting categories, people didn't know there were blogs that only reviewed romance or YA or what have you. So if nothing else I do think BBAW has increased awareness of the other blogs out there.

And Sybil, I've seen your comments and a few others have raised that concern. I personally didn't tabulate nominations nor did I do any scoring on the categories I've been nominated in. The reason we didn't disqualify myself, the 13 members of the awards committee, or any of our judges is because it didn't seem fair to disqualify people willing to do the hard tedious work this called for. Also, it's a way to say thank you to my readers who nominated me. I did withdraw BBAW from best event.

I certainly understand why you feel that way, though.

Oh as to why we did it by panel? We were trying to be as fair as possible and give smaller blogs that might not have the readership to nominate them multiple times a fair shake.

Anyway, I understand awards aren't for everyone and the sharpest criticism of BBAW has come from the Romance Blogging community, where I mostly lurk! But I guess that shows how passionate you all are about what you do.

A detailed look at the process is available on the BBAW blog along with a list of panelists.

Best regards to you all

orannia said...

One of the things that I really REALLY love about this blog is Kristie's very personal enthusiasm about the books and causes she chooses to champion.

Tumperkin - you put it beautifully :)

I'm assuming by 'promo' everyone is referring to the promtion of a book, series and/or author on their blog in various ways?

I visit the blogs I do because of the 'voice' of the blogger...and because what they say interests me. As for the promo, I guess I try and look beyond the hype...and if the premise of a book doesn't interest me then the book isn't something I will read (too many books in my TBR list already :)

CindyS said...

Okay, I'll admit it.

I was nominated for most Chatty and was very surprised - no, I didn't nominate myself or anything because most people know 1. I'm lazy, 2. I have no clue about most things.

So yes, I was all shiny and happy and I took my time and picked out 5 posts that I thought showed my 'chatty' side although I kept it to books.

I don't know who nominated me but thank you - it was a thrill for me to get a little e-mail saying I was nominated.

Maybe that's sad. Now I feel kind of silly but I'm nothing if not honest.

Do I blog for awards? Nah. Barely knew they existed but, it was nice.


sybil said...

"I think part of the attempt to up the "street cred" of blogs is the awards. "

I don't get what you are saying here. I am shocked BBWA hasn't landed romanceland on fandomwank yet (and if it has I don't want to know). The whole thing is beyond silly but if people are having fun it is a whatev. Helping give blogs any sort of credibility? Really... I don't see it at all.

Beyond that we need to be given it why? And for what? But it is late and I think I am reading your sentence wrong.

How does creating an award to appreciate book bloggers and including yourself in the mix so you allow your 'readers' to appreciate you, thank them? I miss the translation of that somewhere.

sybil said...


Cindy but you are the bestests at being chatty *g*

CindyS said...

Thanks for leaving the 'h' in there Syb ;)

AnimeJune said...

Sybil, what I meant is that the BBAW awards are meant to honour book blogging in general - and to spread the message that blogging is a vocation for many people (myself included) and maybe should be recognized as such. With my post I meant that, for example, since actors and writers and other artists have industry awards where their communities vote to honour the best of the best - why not blogging? I'm kinda sick of all the badmouthing BBAW's gotten because - SURPRISE! - it's not perfect after two years when its run entirely by volunteers.

sybil said...

I see what you are saying now. I guess I don't agree, it is more like singing to the choir. The people getting the awards, voting on them or interested in them will already know that...

Good luck!

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi Kristie!

I love your blog, constantly lurking and reading.

I blog because I love books and the people who read books.

I promo only those books or authors I truly enjoy, believe me, I receive emails asking for promo everyday. I do run contests for the books or a genre I really enjoy.

The BBAW, I don't really have time for it. Not that I don't wish all the nominees the best of luck, I do. It's just not my thing. I'm not much for a competition about who's the best at blogging.

I don't blog for ARCs, will I accept an ARC, sure, but the review will be my own, if I didn't like the book, I'll say it wasn't my cup of tea. Will I blast a book that didn't please me? No, it may well prove that someone else will love the book, one man's garbage is another man's treasure. Do I finish every book I start? No, and if I'm asked to review, I say why I was unable finish the book.

Maybe it's just me, but it's the way I chose to blog.

Thanks for a needed outlet!

Dottie :)

Danni said...

I totally agree, it's nice to get awards ever now an then. Just to know that your blog is appreciated, but getting them all the time takes up so many posts that after a while become unnecessary.

Janet Webb said...

I check your blog on my daily rounds and always find something to enjoy. Reporting in on the Western Drive, my library had nothing by Susan Kay Law that was Western so I ended up reading The Paper Marriage by her -- I liked it and I would read her women's fiction again. Two: I ordered Never Love a Lawman -- haven't read it yet. Third: I picked up Penelope Williamson's The Outsider at my library's 2nd hand book truck and it was awesome. I was scared to read to the end because it just didn't seem there could be a good ending. A match up of a Plain People (think Amish, sort of) widow woman and a gunslinger. Loved it! So thanks for putting it together :)

... as for the awards, I dunno, I definitely think it's great to celebrate but I'm sure there are growing pains.

Kristie (J) said...

Janet *g* Wasn't The Outsider a fine book? And did you know they made a movie of it? Tim Daly stars as Johnny and Naomi Watts stars as Rachel/Rebecca - they changed her name. While they left a lot of the book out - I think you almost have too - it's still a Very Good Movie and one of my very favourite book to movie movie.

Pamela Clare said...

BBAW? fandomwank?

Yeah. Okay. So I thought I spent a lot of time online. But I have absolutely no clue what anyone is talking about. It's like you're all speaking in tongues or something.

Wendy, I read your post, and I really liked it. I would have commented, but I had nothing intelligent to say. Still don't. Everything you said was spot on, and I wondered who had time to rag on the Great Western Drive. WTF? I think the "lack of good orgasms" theory is as good as any other.

Blogging is communicating and it can have lots of purposes, but it should be fun. Everything in life should be as fun as possible, because life is too damned short.

Sybil, KristieJ — Hi!

No, Sybil, those two paragraphs aren't written yet. *sigh* I know. I know. I just want them to be purrrfect.

I guess I'll crawl back in my cave now.

Janet Webb said...

I'll have to keep my eyes open for the movie -- yeah, I loved the book. On to my next Western drive book: "A Season in Eden" by Megan Chance ... thanks again for making me shake out my TBR for the cowboy-up bks!

Karen Scott said...

To be honest, I can't take too seriously an award for romance review that doesn't include Rosario.

What she said. *g*

Karen Scott said...

By the way, I do so love your controversial posts.