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No way to test this, but I wonder if you took the same book, and read it knowing a friend had written it, and once not knowing, would you like it more if you KNEW it was a friend who wrote it? Is there something in the brain that gives a friend a break on things you wouldn't give a stranger, and I don't mean just to be kind to the friend, I mean, your brain actually believes the one book is better than the other?

I was doing a crit once, and I didn't know a friend had written the thing. Got about halfway through the chapter and found out who'd written it. Suddenly, it felt like I was seeing a different story. I was willing to give the friend a little more leeway to get me the information that I was critical of not having before. Felt strange.
 

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I tell aspiring authors who say things like my mother loved it or all my friends loved it that those people know your "voice" and are used to the way you say and do things. That's why they like it. Not that it's good or bad, just the way it is.

 

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I enjoy it less but pretend to like it more.

The reason for not enjoying as much is because I can picture the friend writing it when reading in his/her environment. I can also tell it's their thought process at work when reading the story. This ruins the whole experience for me regardless of the quality.

I never really have the heart to say this and try my best to judge the book on its individual merits, but my mind will not allow me to be neutral.
 

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Absolutely not. I speak from experience!
 

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I think I would be more critical and more forgiving, if that makes any sense.  :-\

Knowing who wrote it would make it harder for me to just sit back and enjoy the story. On the other hand, I would be less likely to just put the book down and give up on it.
 

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No.  Definitely not.  I think I am way more critical of friend's books, and I read a lot of them because of my blog.  But I love it when I'm genuinely loving a story written by a friend and I can give it five stars.
 

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Why do you think authors include friendly photos of themselves with their golden retriever on the dust jacket?

 

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Dalya said:
Why do you think authors include friendly photos of themselves with their golden retriever on the dust jacket?
I thought black and white photos in a study or pictures of themselves in the country side wearing chunky scarfs or woolly hats was the in-thing nowadays?
 

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I wouldn't. I haven't in the past. I discourage friends from letting me read their work unless they enjoy getting negative feedback. I tend to be a harsh critiquer.
 

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I have the feeling it would be case of a prophet in their home town -- the book could be the bestest thing to hit literature ever and I'd be like, "Oh, here they go with their fascination with bears, Vienna, and wrestling again."
 

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I'm such a picky reader, I hate when friends ask me to read their stuff unless I already know I like their writing. I don't want to hurt feelings if I don't like it. And there is a good chance, it's just my pickiness, not their writing.
 

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I don't think so.  I would be proud and happy if it was very good though.  We never expect people we know to be brilliant.  8)
 

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Knowing a book was written by someone I know is actually distracting for me. That distraction takes away a tiny bit from my enjoyment of the story as far as the entertainment factor goes but adds to it in a different way because I feel proud to know the author. So will I like the book more? No. But will I be more vocally supportive? Yes.
 

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Nope, I don't think so.

As someone else mentioned, I'd finish a book that was written by a friend, even if I didn't like it (unless it was too scary for me - in which case, they couldn't be too close a friend or they'd never have expected me to read it in the first place!) 

A friendship with someone doesn't blind me to issues with a text or make me enjoy something more than I would otherwise do.  It just means that I'm more likely to read the work in the first place.  :D

Of course - all of my offline friends with work in print have, or have had, traditional publishing contracts & some have decades of experience - so I'm somewhat bringing up the rear!
 

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I'm not inclined to like it more, but I find it distracting as I'm reading. I'm friends with a NYT bestselling author with a huge fan base, but I just can't get into her stories. It's weird!

The highest compliment I can give a writer friend is "I forgot you wrote it as I was reading it." In fact, my friend said that to me when she was reading an early draft of my novella and it totally made my day ... I knew exactly what she meant.  :D
 

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No--in fact, I tend to be harder on folks I know because for some weird reason, my expectations are higher. :)

I'm also inclined to think that bestsellers are not my cup-o-tea so I avoid them like the plague.

I'm weird. I admit it.
 
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