It seems all the traditional places to discuss books are dying out. When, a couple of years ago, everyone panicked and migrated from Goodreads to BookLikes, it seemed all the great discussions on book-related social media started disappearing. I kept relentlessly posting in my favourite Goodreads groups, but often it felt like I was talking to myself.
I left my favourite discussion group on Monday, Goodreads’ historical romance group, because of some truly bizarre and stalkerish behaviour by the moderator. A note to any other moderators out there: take a look at a world map. Just because it’s 1:30pm Sunday in Texas doesn’t mean it is on Australia’s east coast. Becoming progressively ruder in your messages isn’t going to change anything if it’s 4:30am on Monday here and I’m in bed!
And please, it’s crossing a line to stalk someone all over a site. I’d report it to moderators if it wasn’t a moderator doing it!
I’m going to miss that group – in a way. But at the same time I was recently feeling that place was dying out too.
I tried with BookLikes, I really did. But it felt like a cross between Tumblr and a teen popularity contest (which is basically what Tumblr is!), and the stupid site kept freezing my computer.
I closed my account there, but I also lost touch with the longer-term romance readers who I’d been in contact with under various names for a decade.
It has been about four years since I signed up for the All About Romance forums, but they never validate anyone’s accounts. I read there because I can’t post there, but it’s just the same handful of old-timers talking themselves in circles. A little clique because there are no new members. The focus is very much on historical romance, too, so the discussions are limited at best.
I have been subscribing to RT Magazine for a few years, but my membership on their discussion forums is still apparently “being processed”. Not that those forums are very appealing; they’re extremely conservative, very US-focused and have very few new posts or interesting discussions (big surprise when they never validate people’s membership!).
I avoid Dear Author like the plague, and if you don’t know why, try Google. Also, I disagree with half of what they say, and with more than half of their reviews. Anyway, it’s a review site rather than a discussion board.
The only place that you can have a halfway decent discussion about romance fiction is at the Harlequin forums, but the problem there is it’s only for discussion about HARLEQUIN books.
It seems these days there is literally nowhere left to go to discuss books. I post reviews, and I know people read them, but a few years ago I’d have dozens if not hundreds of comments under a Goodreads review, and now there’s nothing there.
Where did everybody go? They are still buying books, but it seems everyone has stopped discussing them! So many combined author blogs have disappeared. Major historical romance blogs with NYT bestsellers have disappeared. Harlequin lines that used to have joint author blogs closed their sites.
So often these days I feel like I’m talking to myself, and what we really need is a good discussion forum for the genre. Not vicious, pretentious debates on review blogs like Dear Author, where you get shot down if your comment doesn’t read like a university thesis, and not a forum dedicated to a particular publisher, like the Harlequin forums.
If only people would revive Goodreads. I miss casual discussions about books.