Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Tag Archives: GoodReads

“Best Books” 2015


I’ve been in a heavy reading-mode since I’ve been engaging on Wattpad—the place to find authors you like before they become well-known…

Yes, there are some folks posting on Wattpad who are famous; but, the bulk of what’s there is “aspiring”.

Yes, my last two comments about Wattpad are crass generalizations; but, Wattpad is a complex place

GoodReads is also a complex place

For now, I’ll just say that GoodReads is the place for readers to discuss books and, because of that, find books they may want to read.

I guess the main difference between the two sites is that Wattpad is primarily “not-published-elsewhere” reading and GoodReads is “previously-published-elsewhere” reading.

Wattpad has a system for finding out what readers like best called The Wattys.

GoodReads has The Choice Awards.

So, if you want to read what a huge bunch of readers of “aspiring writing” liked, check out The Wattys.

And, if you want to read what a huge bunch of readers of “established writing” liked

Well

I think I’ll list a few of GoodReads’ Choice Awards right here (fairly random choice):

Harper Lee ~ Go Set A Watchman

Neil Gaiman ~ Trigger Warning

Aziz Ansari ~ Modern Romance : An Investigation

Erik Larson ~ Dead Wake

And, just to be fair, I’ll list a few of the Wattys (random choice again):

@MelancholyMango ~ Misfit (Phan AU)

@LaDameBlanche ~ A Dark Imperfection

@ScarletteDrake ~ The Persistence of Memory

@Rhythmwithlove ~ Never Enough [LH]

Kinda cool the way Wattpad has the @ user names

Also, kinda cool that Wattpad has winners in all these categories:

Late Edit: Just found out about BEST MULTICULTURAL BOOKS OF 2015

Happy Reading :-)
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When Will Readers Stop Being Treated Like Mere Consumers?


So, here’s the Standard Line for writers (usually not stated so baldly)

What Are Editors Really For?

Image Courtesy of Ivan Soares Ferrer ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/ivanferrer-35808

“Dear Writer,

“You’re the content-generator. Readers are the consumers. We Publishers are The Industry.

“You produce raw content. We shape the Product. The reader ingests it.”

I usually try to avoid reading things at The Huffington Post—I consider it Pulp-Journalism.

However, in my continual search for articles to report on, certain headlines will draw me to something in the HuffPost

Enter Mr. Gideon Rose, author of the article, This Is What Editors Know About Publishing That Writers Don’t, in the “Books” Section of the HuffPost.

First, the title of the article, as usual in pulp-journalism, makes outrageous generalizations—editors are all lumped into those who Know and all writers, poor things, don’t know

I’ll share a few excerpts, along with my commentary:

“…editors are industry professionals who can educate often-naive authors about the facts of life in the real world of publishing.”

So, writers are often-naive—seems we’re roaming clueless in our fantasies while the real industry professionals have all the answers.

“…editors can view writers and their products from the outside, which authors themselves rarely can.”

Note the industrial assumption that writers turn out Products

Also, authors apparently can rarely be objective about their work

Well, if writers are just in some literary production-line, how could one ever trust them to understand the big, bad Book World

Then, Mr. Rose says, “I’ve gone to writers and solicited pieces that the writers themselves didn’t think they could do or didn’t think would be worthwhile if they did, and sometimes managed to midwife the birth of great work, just by editorial vision and support.”

I’m sorry but all the real writers I know get pregnant within their own domain and have no problem midwifing their own children—often dismembering those kids or letting those children get them pregnant again or laboring-through very painful stillbirthsLong before the stage where they might need an editor…

And, bringing back the reader, Mr. Rose says:

“Bottom line, editors serve as proxies for readers at large–proxies who, if they are doing their job properly, not only understand what those readers need and appreciate, but are able to help writers do what is necessary to reach them.”

I truly wonder if this man really knows what’s going on in the Book World—where in his industrial mind are the precious Beta Readers?

As I wrote in a previous post:

“Many authors use Beta Readers—folks who read the work before the editors do… 

“Their function isn’t to find clunky sentences or fix typos (though they sometimes do).

“Basically, they give their opinion on how the story feels to them.”

Again, I’m sorry, but editors should not be proxies for readers—editors should be devoted to improving the literary quality of the writing; not prepping it for consumption by the “consumer”

If you happen to be a writer and don’t know anyone who could beta-read for you, try the group at GoodReads or at the World Literary Cafe

And, since I’m being very free with my opinions today, not only should editors not be proxies for readers but they shouldn’t be the ones who determine what readers buy.

Thanks to the ecosystem of the Internet, there are creative platforms that allow readers to give input on what they, themselves, want to read.

I’ll wrap-up with a quote of mine from my About.Me page:

“The reader is more important than the writer; but, books should never be written just for the reader—authentic writing is a must; yet, without the reader, the writing is unfruitful…”

And, to gain a bit of perspective on the Relationship between Readers and Writers, check out my past post, What Readers Want vs What Writers Must Do.
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25+ Book Recommendation Sites


Last year I wrote a post listing the “top 10” book recommendation platforms.

Of course, any listing of the “top” sites has a bit of bias built in—your “top” may not be my “top”…

And, plenty of people would say GoodReads is the Top since it’s touted as the largest and most-used reading-recommender.

However, last month, I found an article in the Self-Publishing Review that lists 10 alternatives to GoodReads.

So, since I know many folks are hard-pressed for time and may not take every link in a blog post (“Just give me the ‘important’ ones!”), I’ll list those 10 sites right here—with the caveat that there is a bit of overlap from the post I first linked to; and, with the hopeful encouragement to take my last link so you can read SPR’s Tips for Using these Sites…

Shelfari

LibraryThing

TheReadingRoom

Libib

BookJetty

Riffle

BookLikes

BOOKish

aNobii

Readernaut

If you know of other Book Recommendation Sites, do, please, give us a link in the Comments :-)
And, Check Out our Latest Poll…
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* Amazon Author Page
* Google Author Page

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Ask This Author Some Questions . . .


Asking authors questions has never been so easy—assuming the author is open to the idea…

GoodReads Ask The Author

Image courtesy of Chris Baker ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/immrchris

I’m sure readers have questions for authors—about characters, why things happened the way they did, when the next book will be out…

And, authors often have questions for other authors—some exactly the same as other readers—some about specifically Writerly topics—how to, or why to, or when to, or other issues that impact a writer’s life…

It’s one thing to read an author interview or other articles where authors convey information—quite another thing to ask direct and specific questions.

Back in June, I wrote the post, Asking Authors (and Readers) Questions . . .

An excerpt:

“If you could ask Margaret AtwoodKhaled Hosseini, or James Patterson anything, what would it be? Maybe you want to know their writing inspiration, what they read as a guilty pleasure, or you have a burning question about one of their bestsellers. Now’s your chance because these three are among the 54 major authors who are helping us launch an exciting new program on Goodreads—Ask the Author!”

So, since they opened the program up to any Goodreads author, I gave it a try—read that last as “A Big Fail” :-)

I thought I’d activated the Ask The Author program but only succeeded in creating a group I called Ask The Author :-(

Well…

I finally figured it all out.

So,,,

First you have to sign-up as a Goodreads Member (free).

You could stop there and explore all the benefits of the most popular site for Readers…

And/Or…

You could go to my Ask The Author page :-)

I’m open for any and all questions—why I write, how I write, what I read, why I’ve written my books, what’s next…

Be aware, though, if you ask me a question that needs a specific bit of “advice” about writing, I’ll answer it, but in a way that makes you ask yourself a few questions :-)

Also, if you hate Goodreads, just use my email—right down there in Red text…
[Big Secret: I’m working on a permanent Forum for questions, answers, and conversations…]
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* Google Author Page

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Asking Authors (and Readers) Questions . . .


Not long ago, I wrote a post about GoodReads new Ask The Author program.

GoodReads Ask The Author

Image courtesy of Chris Baker ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/immrchris

Well, not only can you ask over 50 well-known authors questions, now you can ask any authors (there are over 100,000) who sign-up for the program.

Here’s just a bit from GoodReads article about the program:

“If you could ask Margaret AtwoodKhaled Hosseini, or James Patterson anything, what would it be? Maybe you want to know their writing inspiration, what they read as a guilty pleasure, or you have a burning question about one of their bestsellers. Now’s your chance because these three are among the 54 major authors who are helping us launch an exciting new program on Goodreads—Ask the Author!

“Ask the Author allows readers to ask questions and get answers from their favorite authors. At Goodreads, we believe the relationship between authors and readers is very special. Authors tell stories and create worlds that spark the imaginations of their readers. Now readers can deepen that connection by asking questions about the new worlds, ideas, and people they’ve discovered in books.”

Also, GoodReads says they’re starting a companion program called Ask The Reader :-)

So

Next Sunday, the 22nd of June, from Noon til 4pm EDT (USA), you can ask me questions—about my books or my writing life.

Next Monday, I’ll let you know what happened………

BTW, you can avoid going to GoodReads to ask me questions by using the Comments section of this blog :-)
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
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