My fellow bootcamper, literary agent Nadia Cormier, has come up with a great idea for using blogs to dicuss books openly. Here’s what she says:
Our Theory (again):
Our theory is that readers do have some power – how much, we’re not sure – but we like to think that if readers get really jazzed about a book and “spread the word” that amazing things can happen for a book. Since this is old news, we are also proposing that instead of reading reviews via magazines or simply through amazon – that blogs are the “review culture” of the future and that if you respect someone’s writing via a blog, you might also respect someone’s opinion of a book they read. What we hope to prove is that with enough people creating buzz via their blogs (either positive or negative – we don’t care, we believe that all books will have some of both) a book’s sales will shoot up. If this proves to be true, we will ascertain that not only should authors have blogs (in which to share important information with readers and other writers) but that all readers should blog about books they are currently reading – either enjoying or otherwise – in order to promote books and the industry as a whole. Bah on the people who say, “Nobody is reading anymore.” Bah! Bah! I say.
1. I picked a book. Our “criteria” was that – first and foremost – it wasn’t connected in anyway to our agency. Our other criteria was that it was a book that was poised as a break out novel, but didn’t quite make it — that we could do a Q&A with the author and the editor (perhaps even the agent involved) and that while it was a book that I would heartily recommend (so you aren’t going to waste cash on buying it) it was a book that didn’t receive a spot on the best seller lists. Other, smaller criteria was that it had to be published recently enough that it was available in bookstores but long enough that it was no longer receiving “publisher” assistance on marketing.
The book I picked was:
TEACH ME by R.A. Nelson
I’ll talk more (as the week goes by) about why I picked this book in particular — but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it. I recommend it. I felt it got a bum wrap being compared to other, more “sensational” books that came out at a similar time — and instead of being used as an example of difference – it was trounced as being exactly like “all those bad books that parents of teenagers should watch out for.” First of all, that absolutely smacks of “banning” books, second of all, I have NOTHING against bad reviews. I have Nothing against saying a book was bad (you’re totally entitled to your opinion) but to do so without actually READING the book is not only annoying but it is reckless in the extreme. Don’t ruin books for millions because of your ignorance. And that’s how I feel about that.
That said, there are so many different feelings about TEACH ME. I think this would be a fun book to delve into. I mean, it’s not the kind of book you feel wishy-washy about. It’s got a very sensitive subject matter (about a girl who has an affair with her teacher), it’s got some good writing (which we can also argue about), and … well, let’s just say that we’ll find tons to talk about. I’m interested in hearing YOUR opinions about this book. It’ll teach me something. No pun intended. Sort of.
2. To have an educated discussion about a book, we need to have read the book. So — I’m asking you to go and buy it. It’s on Amazon. It’s in your local stores, so when you’re doing your Christmas shopping (and I KNOW your totally snogging the B&N on your way) stop and pick up a copy and read it. Then come back and post a comment here. I want LOTS of comments. I want A VIVID DISCUSSION. I want to see FUR FLY! (heh.. sorry). Today is the 13th. If you plan on joining in (and i hope you do) please buy it by the 20th of December.
3. Not only a topic about what makes a book “worthy” or a “break out novel” — this is also an experiment to see what bloggers can do. So I need your help. I need you to help SPREAD THE WORD. Cut & Paste this info (or link to it) from your own blog — post it to your writer’s groups. Spread the word and get other people involved. Link them back here to :: http://www.livejournal.com/~agentobscura :: — Once you do, send me an email at blog[at]firebrandliterary[dot]com — with your name & your URL and where you first heard about this experiment…. and to thank you for helping I’ll send you a cool button for your blog that says you’ve participated and I’ll also add you to my list of “particpants” that I’ll post at the end of the experiment… so everyone can see their fellow particpants and can go visit one another’s sites. For anyone who receives a lot of mentions in the “Where I first heard about this experiment” — I’ll send you a special participant button to post on your website or blog. Because then you’ll be special ::wink::.
4. Come back HERE and lets rant and rave about the book.