Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Readergirlz: A Follow-up to "Where's our Harriet Potter?"

So, my mom, being into books and things, passed along this site after hearing about my blog post bemoaning the lack of strong female characters in books. Readergirlz comes as a bit of a disappointment however.

Sure, it's a nifty concept: girls and women sharing books with their friends, and celebrating "strong girls in books who've got the guts to dream" and hopefully "inspiring girls to make history of their own." I guess I was picturing a great blog/forum where readers could weigh in about their favorite characters, discuss notable plots, etc. Instead, the main site seems to speak entirely in teen-girl chatter, what with their *way cool* bookmarks you can download, and their founding "divas" regularly write posts about how awesome things are going on the site. (If you take a look at their author bios and photos, I don't know if they strike me as the diva type.) Overall, it seems like a bunch of smart women had a good idea to start a teen-accessible book blog, but ended up pandering to them with things like MySpace author chats and "Best Books for BFF's."

The end result feels more like a bad attempt at under the radar marketing rather than a genuine effort to reach out to young women readers. I figure if they're as voracious a reader that would visit a site like "readergirlz," then they probably won't be into the whole BFF thing.

That said, how do you create an online community that doesn't feel schlocky? I think that online author chats sound neat, as does some of the sites other features. It's just a question of maturity: teens certainly don't want anything that seems like it's younger skewing (do you have to use so much pink in your design?)

Something tells me that the girls from 3iying could give readergirlz some good advice.

1 comment:

Little Willow said...

I hope you'll participate in the threads at the readergirlz forum. We discuss the book selected for that month as well as many other books. People start up topics related to their favorite characters, characters or stories that remind readers of themselves, similar themes in seemingly dissimilar titles, and so on. While discussing classics as well as contemporary favorites, we've talked about everything ranging from religion to cultural identity and societal expectations to self-respect.

The December issue will be up at the start of the month, spotlighting Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller by Sarah Miller. It's an amazing book, and I look forward to discussing it at the forum with other readers.