|Kassa and Leontine|
First of all, thanks to Janna for having us all on her blog. I’ll tell you that chick is seriously sneaky. She made sure everyone was sober before she hit us up for guest posts that way we couldn’t weasel out of it. Smart girlie.
Anyway by now you’ve read a bunch of posts about GRL and the highlights, which almost everyone has their own ideas. I agree with many of the posts in that I loved the ladies, the venue (can’t ever get enough of NOLA), and meeting the authors themselves. I kind of went over this in great detail that everyone is likely sick of over on my blog. You can check out those posts but here on Janna’s lovely space of porn I’m going to talk about whether meeting an author changes how you view their work.
The biggest thing about GRL was for the authors and readers to meet and mingle. Now of course Kris avoided this whenever possible but for most other people, we wanted to meet and gossip with our favorites. Meeting authors can be stressful on both sides as the authors are nervous and shy and the readers are as well. The authors are worried how they’re coming off and the readers just want to be able to say something and strike up a conversation. On the one hand it gives a sense of empathy because you’re both really going through the same thing but that doesn’t change that it can be awkward.
Then you get into the really nitty gritty bits of meaty conversation and maybe the author says something to turn you off or make you excited about their work. I experienced both of these and after the first day of meeting authors at the drunken gay bar festivities, I wondered how I’d ever review any of them again. I met one author (I’ll keep her name secret) but she said she was afraid of my reviews and hoped I wouldn’t review her again. Now I get that but it saddens me and makes me not want to review their work. She was a lovely woman and very easy to talk to but that one comment – a grain of truth among the joke – made me wonder if I could really read and review her work again knowing she was so unhappy about it.
The same thought occurred to me with authors that made me feel welcome and valued. Some of these authors, I mention them all on my blog post “Meeting the Authors” were so gracious and kind, I thought I’d be some kind of ogre ever to give them a bad review again. And if I am thinking that, the well-known “bitch” of the review blogsphere, then what are other readers and reviewers thinking?
After taking some time to really consider the issue away from GRL, I realized that actually as wonderful as meeting the authors was it doesn’t change how I’m going to read and review their work. There are a couple of authors that I don’t want to read so I obviously won’t review them but for the most part, nothing’s really changed as far as my reading and reviewing. I can’t speak for others but reviewing doesn’t actually reflect personal feelings towards the author. I may love an author’s personality (and there are several I do and just want to hang out and chat for hours with) but that doesn’t change whether I like their book. The book is what I’m critiquing, not the authors.
Almost every book I pick up I want it to be great. I want the book to succeed and excel and be the best book I’ve ever written so it’s not as though I can have higher expectations of the authors I like personally. I already want their books to be great so meeting them just reinforced that. However wanting a book to be great doesn’t make a book great. I still have to be honest about how I view the book on its merits alone and not whether the author themselves.
I’m not sure how other readers and reviewers feel so tell me, can you still be objective and honest? Or are you forever tainted?
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