Writers’ Roundup – From New Interactive Reader Idea to New Review Policies
Posted on September 22, 2013
There were a lot of interesting tidbits out there all week, but I’m gathering some of the ones that caught my eye and have more immediate relevancy to share.
First up, this week is Banned Books Week. There have been a few cases of books being banned in schools across the United States recently. Toni Morrison‘s book The Bluest Eye received attention when the Ohio state school-board president requested the removal of Morrison’s book as did a legislator in Alabama citing issues with Common Core. Morrison, a native of Ohio, replied with anger and frustration since the book focuses on a girl in Ohio. Another book banning that’s gotten media attention is with Ralph Ellison‘s book The Invisible Man that a North Carolina county voted on to ban in schools.
For those that want to celebrate books or discover more about those that have been banned, visit bannedbooksweek.org to find out more about specific books, events to celebrate banned books, and what you can do.
Hugh Howey made the Writers’ Roundup last week, and he’s making this week’s as well. First, Howey wrote a post titled “Wikify Me” on his website about a new idea how readers can interact with digital books. It’s in the idea stages, but it’s gotten a lot of attention from writers and readers. Read his post to understand his idea of a track changes-like feature on an e-reader that would allow readers to notate mistakes and submit them for writers to use to edit and improve their works. Then after reading his post, come back here because Howey, the very interactive and giving writer, allowed me to interview him with some counterpoints to his idea, and I’ve posted our “conversation” here on this blog!
Howey also wrote a very personal post in response to someone accusing him among many other popular authors, most of whom are indie authors, of purchasing reviews in order to increase visibility of their books. The accusation was made, and many have accepted the list of the accused as being factual. Having had enough, Howey responded with his “Very Small Rocks?” post that explores the experience of being accused as well as a heartfelt declaration at the end worth reading.
And finally, Goodreads rocked its members by announcing new terms to book reviewing and for author use of the site. The book review site has been under fire from both readers and authors, and the announcement made Friday afternoon makes some drastic changes that many see as censorship while others see as a relief to the tone of the site. One of the more concerning problems of Goodreads acting on their new policies was that members saw reviews and bookshelves removed without a warning or indication as to why the automatic removal happened.
Authors should note that they too have new guidelines as to how to use Goodreads. Most of it seems like it should be common sense, but the fact that the site has to explicitly outline acceptable usage means that many have violated common sense. Because of the updates for authors, many members feel that the site that once touted itself as being for readers is now tipping on the side of authors. Since Amazon is directly linking Goodreads with its new Paperwhite Kindle when it’s released in October, my assumption is that they might be correct as it will now be tied in with book purchases as well.
For those who like the social interaction with other book lovers, within the comments about the new policy changes on Goodreads several other book review sites have come to light. The newest one, www.booklikes.com, may become the new haven for book reviewers as several have already migrated there. As it just recently launched, the site is moving slowly due to the unexpected increase of use over the weekend. Other book review sites include Calibre, Shelfari, LibraryThing, and Riffle to name a few.