Anyway, my question: When I get emails to say people are following my reviews, what is the proper thing to do? Is what an author should do different than what a blogger or reader should do? There are three courses of action that I have identified for when somebody follows my reviews on Goodreads. Please advise:
A: Should I friend that person?
Pro: I do feel friendly toward people who are want to have exchanges of opinion on books, so why not friend them? I kind of don't understand why there are two levels. Also, I once followed Julie James' reviews, thinking it was too forward to ask her to be my friend, but she came back with a friend request. So I thought, if Julie James does it, then maybe that's a good thing for an author to do. Because, I'm all about the peer pressure.
Con: as twitter pal @JackieUhrmacher jokingly suggested, it might be a bit stalkery. Again, she was joking, but is there some truth to that? Is friending a person who is just following your reviews the same as, say, if you're in a bookstore and somebody asks what you think of a certain book, and you're all like, Let's be friends! When we had this minor twitter discussion, twitter pal @LauraSummers said that she friends review followers, too. She, too, began to wonder. Though she is more of a reviewer. Maybe different etiquette applies.
B: Should I follow their reviews back?
Pro: I am interested in people's thoughts on books of all kinds, and what people are reading and how they are reacting. And sure, I'm an author, but I don't think my opinions are more interesting than non-authors. In fact, I think my opinions are way less interesting because I'm careful about criticizing and upsetting my fellow authors, and non-author readers don't have to be like that. They are freer and typically more interesting and honest. What's more, when a person follows my reviews, isn't it just natural to follow them back? And, it's the same level of interaction that they've chosen. Maybe they don't want to be friends!
Con: As an author, is following people's reviews back like saying, Hey, I'm watching you with my EAGLE EYE! I'll be reading your review of my book! If you say something bad I'm going to HUNT YOU DOWN. Which is to say, does it have the chilling effect on honesty? I don't read all my reviews, unless somebody has specifically brought one to my attention. I don't have Google alerts on for my name and all that. I mean, part of me enjoys reading reviews of my book, and I do learn things from them, but I think it's unhealthy to get too focused on what people are saying. So, it's not like I sit there and read them. Still, does following back chill reviews?
C. Do nothing!
Pro: This seems least invasive to the person, least stalkerly and least eagle-eye monitory, and maybe it seems more authorly, too. I mean, is there some level of interaction that's too much? Should authors maintain decorum and distance on Goodreads?
Con: Isn't it snobby that somebody would express interest in my reviews, but I don't care to read theirs? What if I do care to read them? I'm a reader, too. I'm interested in things like, what people think of the new JR Ward book and all that. But I don't want to make people feel weird!
Bonus question: what IS the difference between friending and following reviews? I sort of don't get it, but I don't use Goodreads as intensively as some people.
So, let me know what you think. And, hey, do you want to be my friend or follow my reviews on Goodreads? I'm there! Though, you never know what I'm going to do back!