Friday, June 30, 2006

Searching by Cover

A woman in my book group has been looking for a book for the last 5 years. She remembers several things about the book, but she knows she can recognize it by its cover. Everyone in the group has tried to find this book at some point and today was my turn. I created a link from the Advanced Search results page to another page displaying all the cover images from those same books. Yippy!! Now in just a couple of minutes, my friend can find the book she's been looking for.

It seems that all enhancements to FictionDB come from someone's need to get the same data in a different way. Hopefully, my friend's request can help you find the books you've been looking for :)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Authors Behaving Badly

I tend to spend a lot of time on the internet trolling for information, mostly for FictionDB but sometimes just because. I visit quite a few author sites and blogs as you can imagine. What always amazes me is the way some people behave on the internet. In some ways the internet is very anonymous -- you can browse without anyone knowing what you're doing or where you're going. But in other ways, the internet is very public. Take for example a recent rant I found by an author in a blog. The author was upset about a book of hers being sold on eBay. She was obviously furious since every other word was of the four-letter variety. While she may have had cause to be upset, was the internet the right place for her to vent? Would she have spoken the same thing in front of the annual RWA convention? I seriously doubt it! Copies of her blog will forever be available in some form on the internet and new readers interested in her work will probably see this rant. For me, I wouldn't want to read a book by someone who spoke like this let alone wrote it down for the world to read. I would assume that if writing is your occupation, you could get your point across just as successfully without using such extreme profanity. The scariest thing of all is that this author is a high school teacher.

The author has lost a potential reader in me and I'm sure I'm not alone. Now I am not opposed to free speech, far from it, but writing is a business. The goal of most authors on the web is to promote themselves and their books. Many authors are always professional and gracious in their communication no matter how they really feel. They'll probably retain and acquire more readers than someone who throws hissy fits. Over the years I have seen other authors behaving badly and I've always wondered if it affects their sales at all. Maybe it doesn't. After all, the bulk of the buying public doesn't spend a lot of time reading author blogs. Most of these authors behaving badly are midlist authors who come and go frequently, so it's hard to tell if it's the writing quality or not. Some readers may be able to completely separate the author's personality and behavior from their reading experience, but I can't. I don't even like meeting my favorite authors because I will hear their speaking voice when I read their book rather than their writing voice. Authors behaving badly may entertain me on some level, but they will never get me to buy their books...