Tuesday, May 27, 2014

ArmchairBEA 2014 - Day 2 (Author Interaction & More Than Just Words)

Author Interaction

ArmchairBEA said: Let’s talk interacting with authors IRL (in real life) or online. This is your opportunity to talk about your favorite author readings that you have attended. Or, you can feature your favorite author fan moment (i.e., an author sent you a tweet or commented on your blog). Maybe you even want to share how your interactions have changed since becoming a blogger or share your own tips that you have learned along the way when interacting with authors as a blogger.

Living in central Alabama as I do, authors don't have much to draw them nearby. I've posted several times about that one time Holly and I made a spontaneous trip to meet Richelle Mead. This is pretty much the only personal one-on-one, face-to-face interaction I've had with any author. I'd love the opportunity to meet more of them, but timing just hasn't worked out. But since I've discussed this multiple times, I'm going to take a different route with this question.

Being a blogger/reviewer has put me (and most other book bloggers) in the position of being contacted by authors to read and review their books. I think my experience was pretty much the same as other bloggers that I've seen. The first time an author contacted me I was so excited that I accepted the review request without paying much attention to the book itself. As a matter of fact I still have one book on my TBR list from an author who contacted me when I first started blogging. I really intend to at least try to read his book, and I feel insanely guilty about not having read it yet. But that's beside the point. I was just saying to Holly Saturday that I love when I get an "in" with an author that I really end up enjoying his/her books. It hasn't happened too frequently for me because I try to be a little picky about the requests that I accept--not because I don't want to read all the books, but because I only want to accept books I know I'm going to read and can get excited about. Anyway, there's just about nothing more awesome than getting a second review request from an author you've previously reviewed for outside of NetGalley/Edelweiss. Double the excitement if you actually enjoy that particular author's books.

I will say that I hear tons of bloggers talk about interacting with authors on social media, specifically Twitter, but I haven't really branched out into Twitter interaction yet. I think it's a great resource, and I can't really offer a valid reason for not having done so already. I have had a couple of authors retweet my reviews and that's been really cool. I super-cheese every time that happens.

Ultimately, I guess I'm up for any advice on reaching out more. What about you guys? Do you interact much with authors? What advice do you have for me for reaching out more? Let me know!

More Than Just Words

ArmchairBEA said: There are so many mediums that feature more than just words and enhance a story in a multitude of ways. Examples may include graphic novels and comics, audiobooks, or even multimedia novels. On this day, we will be talking about those books and formats that move beyond just the words and use other ways to experience a story. Which books stand out to you in these different formats?

I have only read one graphic novel ever. That was Blankets by Craig Thompson. And that was just a weird book. I can see the appeal of graphic novels, but I just haven't branched out in that direction yet. I am completely interested in checking out The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman graphic novels!

HOWEVER, I am completely all over audiobooks! I've discussed this on my blog some, but I started getting audiobooks as a way to force my friends who "don't have time to read" into experiencing some of the books that have blown me away. It all started with Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I just needed ALL my friends to experience that series even if they didn't read it themselves. And even if I had to purchase the book in multiple formats. What I found was, audiobooks were a great way for me to re-experience books that I've already read. I love re-reading, but especially since I started blogging, I don't feel like I can't devote too much time to re-reads. And the audiobook love has just stretched from there.

I will say that I can understand how audiobooks aren't going to be everyone's cup of tea. The narration can make or break an audiobook in a heartbeat, and as with anything else, everyone has difference preferences. Some people like the narrators to create different "voices" for the different characters. Yet others like the narrator to simply read the book without too much inflection as they would read the book themselves. I started out in the second category but have found myself leaning toward the first category lately. But what everyone can agree on is that any audiobook narration needs to avoid being monotone as well as any other aspect that can take the listener out of the book experience (Ex: heavy breathing, monotone, spacing issues, etc).

Ironically enough, there are several books that I can't imagine experiencing in any other format aside from audio. The Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich is one where I think the narrator, Lorelei King, makes the books even better.

In the same way, Carter Finally Gets It (Carter Finally Gets It, # 1) by Brent Crawford is a book I don't think I would have even picked up, but the narrator, Nick Podehl, commits like no other narrator I've ever heard before. He took this book to an entirely new level than it could have ever gotten alone.

And then there are books like Delirium (Delirium, # 1) by Lauren Oliver and Matched (Matched, # 1) by Ally Condie where the writing is beautiful already but also lends itself to being even more beautiful spoken aloud. Both of these books are similar. They both have similar and beautiful prose in places. And they both have an air of desperation that the narrators, Sarah Drew and Kate Simses, take to the next level as well.

Aside from periodically finding books where the audio version is better, audiobooks also provide you with a means of multitasking. I want to read ALL the books, and audiobooks are helping me to do my best. Out of the 62 books I've read so far this year 13 of these books have been audiobooks. I love being able to listen and clean or do various other tasks that do not require much thought while making progress on my books at the same time. It's a win-win.

For those skeptical of audiobooks, I highly suggest you try a few of the ones I mentioned above. Sometimes it takes finding just the right book and narrator combination.

What about you guys? Do you read other formats--comics, graphic novels? Do you listen to audiobooks? Let me know!


  1. I interact with a lot of authors online. Most come to me (I also offer some marketing services like blog tours), but then there are the ones I have met through social media. I belong to a few groups on Facebook, but I also have connected with authors I enjoy through it as well. Check an author's website to see if they have a Facebook page and then like it so you get updates and can interact with them there.

    I loved the narrator for the Twilight series. Something about her voice. And I totally agree that a narrator can make or break an audio book. I've actually gone looking for more audio books by certain narrators.

  2. I don't interact with authors on Twitter much, preferring to only tweet them my positive reviews for the most part. It's a personal thing, though, and lots of people really love tweeting them.

    I've only read a couple of graphic novels, and really want to read The Walking Dead too! I also don't listen to many audiobooks, though I love doing so. Last summer, I had a long commute for an internship and I listened to a ton of books on the drive to and from work--which included a lot of rereads. Matched was one, actually, and I so agree that it benefits from being read aloud and that the narrator is good. I didn't mind the commute, actually, because I got to listen to books! ;D

  3. There are two authors I "talk" to on twitter whose books I love; the comfort level of being able to tweet them directly came about as a result of blog comments left, and seeing them tweeting with other blogger friends. I don't see me getting that comfortable with any other author at the moment....which is fine! (since I have trouble keeping up with twitter anyway!)

  4. There are so many great ways books are changing and I love graphic novels. Have you read In the Shadows? It's a book that intertwines a graphic novel with a regular novel.

  5. As a new blogger, I don't interact with authors, and I'm not sure how much I want to. A good narrator can definitely make an audiobook though.

  6. Oh yes--there are definitely some books that I can't imagine having read after listening to the audio...and some books that I read and wish that I had listened to on audio!

    I haven't read Blankets but I've heard good things about it. Persepolis and Maus seem to be blogger favorites in terms of Graphic Memoirs (for good reason!) and I'd also recommend Relish by Lucy Knisley--it's a foodie memoir and lots of fun.

    Happy Armchair BEA!

  7. Holly @ Words Fueled by LoveMay 27, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    Part of me wants to like audiobooks. The only two terrible attempts I made at it ruined the experience for me and I haven't had a desire to attempt it again. Not to mention right now the time I would have to listen to an audiobook is the same time I would have to actually sit and read. So for now, I will pass on those. And I agree about TWD graphic novels. I'd love to check those out!!

  8. I still remember how when I first started blogging I got so excited when i got a review request and just like you i've accepted a few back when i first started that I still haven't read. I accepted some books without really reading the blurb, nowadays i am much more carefull with which books I accept for review.
    I haven't had any author interactions beside those online as I live in the Netherlands and there aren't that many events close by.
    I have read quite some grpahic novels or manga's, although not as much as I used to nowadays. I have never listened to an audiobook before, I can see the benefits of listening to one, but for some reason they just don't appeal to me. Or maybe I should just try it once.

  9. Sounds like you've got the author interaction thing down! I definitely need to be more active in social media, but right now I'm fine with what I'm doing.

    I have to say that I didn't love the narrator of Twilight. I didn't like the way she said "Bella" when it was Edward speaking. BUT we all have our own preferences. I can totally understand going to search for more narrations by the same people though. That makes a huge difference. Thanks for stopping by Donna!

  10. I don't either. It's something that sounds cool on the surface, but when it comes time to do it, I just haven't jumped on board that ship yet. I have gone back and forth over email with a couple of authors and I LOVE that!

    The Walking Dead series is one of those "maybe I'll get to it one day" series. :) That's a great way to turn a commute into productive time. My friend Paula has about an hour commute to and from work and she listens to audiobooks then. I would but Husband and I actually work together.... Although I've forced him to listen to a couple of audiobooks, it's not his favorite. :|

  11. I do love when I find specific authors that I feel comfortable communicating back and forth with. But yeah, the idea of seeking it out is a bit much. And I'm with you, Twitter is a lot to keep up with. Thanks for commenting Charlotte!

  12. I haven't read In the Shadows. Who is it by? Thanks for stopping by Kim!

  13. Now that you mention it there was something odd about how she said Bella. I probably shouldn't mention this, but sometimes when I'm having trouble sleeping I'll go to the digital library and download the audio version because her voice (or something) can usually lull me to sleep.

  14. Haha...I completely understand Rachel! I'm pretty happy in my own little cocoon myself! The ones I have interacted with have been few and far in between, but I really love when I find one I'm comfortable talking back and forth with! Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

  15. I love to find others who feel the same. I know everyone has their own preferences though, but sometimes I just want to FORCE people to listen to the audio for a few of the ones I've enjoyed better that way. :) Not very nice of me, huh?

    I'll have to check out some of these that you recommending! Thanks for stopping by and commenting Trish!

  16. Yeah, it can be really helpful for me when I need to multitask or when I'm doing something boring--like vacuuming the pool. Listening to an audiobook then really helps the time go by. But when you've had some bad experiences it is hard to get over. But yeah...if the only time you have to listen would be actual reading time then it kind of defeats the purpose for me. I really like audiobooks because I can "read" when I'm not able to actually read. :)

  17. Haha...yep! I think that was the experience for most of us. We're just so excited that someone contacted us. :) I bet it can be really frustrating to blog from another part of the world. It's something I haven't thought much about. But yeah, you could always give audiobooks a good and if you don't like it then well no harm done. Thanks for stopping by Lola!

  18. Bahahahahaha!!!!!!!! I love that! Best thing I've heard all day! Whatever works, right?

  19. I completely understand about the lack of author events. I live near Dothan, Al...which I believe isn't to far from you...and there is never anything close to attend. I am going to UtopYA in Nashville next month and I'm super excited about it.

    I've made several author friends by just messaging them on FB and letting them know that I enjoyed their book and plan to post a review on it. They are usually super nice and appreciative of the extra note. Actually, all my author friends started out with that small contact.

    Love audiobooks! Magic Study by Marie Snyder is one of my favorite audio series and I've recently really enjoyed The Other Series by Anne Bishop on audio. It's awesome!

  20. Oh yes. You're closer to Page and Palette than I am (they're out of Fairhope) and that's where Richelle Mead was when I met her. I try to keep an eye out for other events there but haven't been able to make another trip as yet. UtopYA sounds interesting. I need to look into that.

    You make a good point. I need to branch out on Facebook more. I usually just do my post and then move on. I don't always even tag the author I'm reviewing, but I need to start doing that more and maybe that will spark some more interaction. Thanks Gin!

    And thanks for the audio recommendations. I'll have to check those out!