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Janitor On Duty

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February 3rd, 2008

10:56 PM

Your AAR needs you

Hmm, so I hear from Dear Author that Laurie Gold is feeling rather blue because she's not getting the usual amount of votes for the All About Romance annual poll and she also doesn't understand why bloggers aren't talking about the poll. Well, just spreading the word here - if you have some time to spare, go fill out the ballot form at AAR.

This has me thinking. I personally never cared for polls since they always seem to be popularity contests than anything else, so I have never participated in any of them. In fact, most of the time I can't remember on the spot my favorite books of the year. Sometimes I thought I liked this book, only to remember that the book came out a year before and therefore didn't qualify for the poll - that kind of thing. Other times I'm like, "That book... that book... what is it called?" only to remember the answer much later when I'm doing something else like stirring the soup. And by that time I'm not in the mood to go back and redo the poll all over again.

But what do such polls (not just the AAR one, but any other polls on romance books) mean to other people? I know my taste rarely gel with many people - especially AAR regulars since I can pretty much guess that some familiar favorite names will end up topping the polls every year and many of these favorites aren't mine by a long shot - so the polls don't really elicit anything from me other than a passing curiosity as to whether Suzanne Brockmann still wins every category she's eligible for, heh. These last few years I visit AAR less and less because I realize that their newest generation of reviewers have tastes that are very different from mine. The times I look up their review of a book I've read confirm this: what these reviewers are looking for in their books are different from what I'm looking for. No big deal.

Also, and I hesitate to say this because I like the site and the principles behind the founding the site, I wish AAR is a little bit more... cutting edge, if I may say so. Back in the 1990s, it was one of the handful of non-fluff review sites and I remembered the site as one to visit to discover new authors. But since then, AAR don't review ebooks. They rarely, if ever, review AA romances,  much less MM stories. Erotic romances tended to elicit "Eeeuw, anal sex!" reactions from their reviewers. I still scratch my head over their review of Collette Gale's Unmasqued, mind you, where the reviewer complained that the opera chorus girl sleeping with a patron is a sign of immorality. I'd think folks who are big on historical accuracy will realize that such behavior is actually quite common - expected, even - among opera singers back in those days. Dare I say it? AAR seems to have drifted as far away from me as can be when it comes to what we think, see, and look for in romance novels.

Is there a point to this blog entry? None, really. Just my thoughts about AAR that started with the poll thing.

3 comment(s).

Posted by Karen Scott:

Dare I say it? AAR seems to have drifted as far away from me as can be when it comes to what we think, see, and look for in romance novels.

I think you may have a point. I think they seem to have let themselves almost become old fashioned. Not that there's anything wrong with being old fashioned, but I tend to think that places like DA, SBs, and Emily's Erecsite are much more my cup of tea. I click into AAR every now and then to see what the ATBF column is, but even that's become a veritable snoozefest.

But since then, AAR don't review ebooks. They rarely, if ever, review AA romances, much less MM stories.

I get the feeling that the reviewers there think that they're above such books. That's why I don't blame Monica for taking umbrage at the fact that AA books are hardly ever reviewed there. The fact is, they aren't. In my opinion, they'll soon be left behind by the likes of DA and the SBs. A place where both readers and authors happily congregate to discuss current romance affairs, and trends.

I'm pretty sure that LLB must be feeling a little pressure to compete with the afore-mentioned blogs. She'll need to move much quicker with the times, for AAR to become a place of interest to someone like myself again.
February 4th, 2008 @ 1:20 AM

Posted by Statch:

I was thinking of voting, but I was a little concerned that she mentioned in the blog that she had checked the votes so far to see if any well known bloggers had voted. I guess I don't like the idea that she's looking down at the level of actual names to see who's voted. It says on the site that though you have to provide your name and e-mail address, they won't post either online. To me, her blogging that she's checked the names and that well known bloggers haven't voted is a little too close to the edge of violating that trust...
February 4th, 2008 @ 3:38 AM

Posted by no name:

And that is the reason I don't vote. I feel that she is always watching the names with a yay or a nay. Can't help thinking that.
February 6th, 2008 @ 12:36 PM