Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekly Geeks - Author Interviews

Aha! a Weekly Geek topic that I've been meaning to talk about! Bernadette of Reactions To Reading, poses us this challenge:

Having recently been told that I'm odd because I'm not terribly interested in author interviews I've started to ponder whether there are two types of readers...those who stick to the books versus those who like to know more about the author's background, thoughts, motivations and writing process.

I must be odd, too (like that's a surprise). I like to know a little bit about an author, but to be perfectly honest, I find most of the author interviews in the blogosphere kind of boring, and especially when there's a "tour" and there are a 6 or 8 bloggers asking the same questions of the same person. Truth be told, I'm just not that interested in what inspires the author or what color their cat is or what music he or she listens to while writing. I know that sounds cold. Sorry.

There are exceptions. I'll confess I went a little cuckoo for JR Ward's site and forum when my fandom was at its most rabid. Eventually I eased out of that "world" for a few reasons not really relevant here, and I mostly don't participate heavily on author sites any more.

So, what about you?

* Do you seek out interviews with authors of books you've enjoyed? Why or why not?

* Do you interview authors on your blog? If yes what did you gain from the interview process? If no is it because you don't want to or because you haven't felt able to ask an author yet?

* Do you subscribe to the blogs of authors you like? Which ones? All the authors you like or only certain ones?

So, no, I don't do interviews here for the most part and I rarely go out of my way to read them. Not because I find authors unapproachable (quite the opposite, usually!); it's just not my thing.

I don't put author blogs on my blog roll, just as a matter of policy. I would feel pressured to add someone to the roll if I feel friendly toward the author but found the last book just OK, as a for instance, and I don't need that kind of angst about something I do here for fun.

I do follow some author blogs more than others but I'm not really religious about following any of them. I mean, good writing is good writing, whether the result is a book or a blog post, so yeah, many of them are entertaining. But honestly, just in general I'm in kind of a lull right now about how many blogs I want to read regularly; I've been reading fewer of my "regulars" and less often as it is. I do like to check in and see what the news is about their releases though.

* Do you track down author websites or look for biographical information about them elsewhere? Would you skip reading a book if you couldn't find out anything about its author?

* Have you hosted an author on a blog tour? Was it someone whose books you already read or did it introduce you to a new author?

When reviewing a new author, I usually do check out the website. I like to know about the book in context with the author's other work; sometimes my review will take into account whether it's a debut book or not. Sometimes authobiographic information is interesting relative to the story -- like JR Ward's previous profession as a lawyer, or Robyn Carr's nursing education.

I am sometimes frustrated if there's no site, or a badly maintained site, but it absolutely won't stop me from reading a book. (I mean, I started reading when the only way to contact an author was to write an actual letter, on paper, and send it to their publisher.) It makes it harder to help promote an author though, if I haven't got a clue about what's coming out next from them. I've seen a big improvement on this in the two years I've been blogging. It used to be that a lot of established authors would have a really crummy site, or maybe a beautiful site with a letter to the readers dated a year and a half ago. I don't see that as much any more.

I've done some blog tours but I usually just do a review and maybe a giveaway.

Bottom line is, I'm afraid I can't deny that when it comes to authors, I'm really just after one thing. I'm not that interested in developing a relationship or indulging in small talk. Don't really want to know about your baggage. I just want to run my fingers over the luscious swells of your embossed titles; inhale that new-book smell; and plunge into the depths of your pages.

Authors, I'm sorry. The truth is, I'm only using you for your stories.

For more thoughts on this topic, please visit The Weekly Geeks, check out the links, and add your voice.


meljean brook said...

Ha! I'm not terribly interested in author interviews, either :-D I enjoy writing them and answering questions, but I always assume that many readers are going to skip over them, because they will only be interested in the book. That's basically the kind of reader I am, too.

The primary exception is when there's something in the interview that is not about the author, but about the research or the background of a book (stuff that isn't personal.) Then I'm more likely to read it.

Nicola O. said...

Oh yes, little "insider" tidbits can be a lot of fun.

Kaetrin said...

I'm totally with you Nicola. I'm not terribly interested in author interviews either. I'd much rather read a book review. I doubt I'd buy a book because of an interview and I don't think I'd read an author interview if that author was new to me. I buy plenty of books because of reviews though (she says, cringing at the size of her TBR pile!).

Venus Vaughn said...

Oy, I hear ya. The first few interviews I read I was so enchanted. It was like taking a peek behind a mysterious closed door, the keys to a secret society...

That lasted for about five interviews.

Then I was like, Waitasec! These are just normal people in a normal house doing a normal job --just with less job security. Now I skip almost all author interviews unless I'm already fangirling for the author (which is rare).

Renee said...

It's good to know I'm not the only one out there! I also love blogging, but don't really have interest in doing author interviews. To me, it smacks too much of "work", and since blogging is my playtime, and participating in challenges or group posts is about as much pressure as I want. Also, I've never been too comfortable with being a "fan", and an author signing is about as much as I can do (on occasion).

It's funny, because I've thought about this recently, since a friend is coming out with a book in the next couple of weeks, and I want to do something at my place to support her release. I feel differently about this, since I have a connection to her that isn't as an author, but more as a peer. Somehow, this makes a difference to me. I know, however, it won't be a typical interview, since yeah, like you, I'm not usually interested in the "where do you get your ideas" type of interview. I _will_ read an interview if it promises to tell me something new about the book or if I'm looking for an answer to a specific question about the book.

I do read author sites and some blogs, though it's mostly for book info.

I enjoy interacting with authors, though much more comfortable relating to them as fellow readers than as a "fan". At my place, their site links are there, but separate from my blogroll, because I do feel that distinction. The one exception is Marta Acosta. Her Vampire Wire blog is on my blogroll, but her author site is on the "author links" side of things.

Phew! Didn't mean to go on and on, but you totally hit on things I've been thinking about lately. :-)

Victoria Janssen said...

Authors, I'm sorry. The truth is, I'm only using you for your stories.

Is it okay if we're only using you for your book recommendations?

[typo fixed!]

Rikki said...

Aren't the stories the things that count? I'm glad I'm not the only odd one here.

Nicola O. said...

It's funny, almost everyone on the WG linky is saying the same thing, but yet SO MANY bloggers post tons of interviews. I guess the Geeks are not representative? (I'm also a Statistics Geek).

Kaetrin, I like reviews better too! Speaking of which, when are you going to do some? I saw your debut review of the last Loretta Chase and it was awesome. MORE PLZ.

Venus & Rikki, ain't it the truth?! I don't know if it's really the most "normal" job in the world, but then my husband creates videogame monsters for a living, so there's that.

Renee girl, head over to the WG linky and write your post -- you're always welcome to comment at length here but you deserve an audience for that much thought and effort, LOL.

Victoria -- that seems fair!

Smokinhotbooks said...

To be honest...not really. Unless the author is talking about tidbits about their series or a future series. And yet I say this with 3 guest author spotlights for my future posts, lol.

Kaetrin said...


Thank you!!!

I seriously didn't expect anyone to read it - after all, who cares what I think? But then, I suppose that most (if not all?) bloggers think that at least at the beginning.

Thanks to Sayuri I even have my first comment! Woot!

Srsly, thank you for your encouragement. I really appreciate it. I will try to put up more reviews soon.

Anonymous said...

OOh, Nicola, you've touched upon a topic that currently gives me a lot of angst. I'm an enthusiastic and long-term romance reader who recently made her first sale, and I'm finding that what I expect from authors as a reader - just a damn good book - seems to be quite at odds with what a lot of readers seem to expect from their favorite authors these days - a personal relationship.

As a reader, I don't visit author blogs, don't care about author interviews (unless they're discussing craft), and positively shudder when I happen upon authors' interviews with CHARACTERS. I don't go to author message boards, I don't want to know what goes on in their personal lives (seems invasive), I loathe book trailers, don't enter contests (who needs more tchotchkes?), and don't care about newsletters. I don't particularly value autographs.

I just want to read a great book.

As an author, I'm told I need to care about all these things, very much indeed.

I'm still struggling to find the right balance.

Darren Daz Cox said...

:) it's funny that you say that about the authors as I, with rare exceptions, feel the same way, yet when it comes to painters it's (just about always that ) their whole life story adds to the enjoyment of their art.

If Gauguin had remained a stockbroker and painted in his spare time would we have ever even heard of him, even if he painted only one or two masterpieces? and Van Gogh, if his story wasn't so tragic would we love him so much? And Michelangelo and his unrequited love (whatever it was) and Raphael dying so young and Da Vinci being a stuck up douchebag, perhaps this is my 'romance novel' haha! :)

Nicola O. said...

I don't know, Daz. I don't know nuthin' about those artists, but I know when a painting goes with my couch or not...


Misfit said...

Well said. I can't handle all those *interviews* either, especially when there's a new one day after day after day after day.......

I'd rather just read the book.


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