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Lion King Staten Island memeHappy 2014 everyone!

I’m starting off the new year by doing something nice but may be also controversial for some. I’ve created a list on Goodreads’ Listopia. I did it to help Staten Island authors get some recognition, and to show that even a place like The Forgotten Borough can produce good writers. And since I am originally from the Island, I included my book on the list.

This isn’t something I thought up over night. When I first started out in 2012, I asked around Goodreads about adding my book to any of Goodreads’ lists that fit its description. I was told by other authors that while it wasn’t against Goodreads guidelines, it was frowned upon by other users. That made sense to me, because any author could put their books on the wrong lists or over vote their books just for exposure. In other words, they would promote their books in a poor manner that would turn off other readers.

But a couple of months ago, I saw this being discussed in one of the Goodreads groups and while it was agreed that an author could abuse Listopia, it was debated over whether certain lists were OK for an author to put their book on. This was when the Goodreads’ Director of Author Marketing, stepped in and said while it wasn’t advisable to add your book to any “Best of…” or a list that did not fit the genre or category, there was nothing wrong for adding your book to a list that fit its description.

So, let’s say your book takes place in Hawaii or delves heavily into astrology or has a main character with OCD. It is fine to add that book to a list that includes books with similar attributes. Even creating a list is OK if there isn’t one that exists.

I was intrigued. Especially since I was looking for a way to spread the word about fellow Staten Island authors. As some of you may know, I was born and raised there. I may currently live in Brooklyn now and loving it, but Staten Island still matters to me. It’s my hometown!

Now, Brooklyn is known for being the Writing Capital of the United States, or at least the East Coast. It does not need to let the world know about that. Even the other boroughs, Manhattan especially, have recognition as a place where great minds can create great books. Staten Island, on the other hand…

Sadly, it is known as the “armpit” of New York City. That meme above says it all, and many of my Facebook friends laughed uproariously over it. Staten Island is not recognized for anything artistic or intellectual. In fact, it has many negative stereotypes as being conservative and its residents being much like the cast of the Jersey Shore. While those labels may be true for some, you can’t say a place with nearly 500,000 people can’t have a good writer or two.

So why not make it be known?

I began making a list of authors who’s books I would include on my Listopia list. Some I met before when I ran my writing groups. Others I had heard about, like Paul Zindel. I actually read Zindel’s book, “The Pigman”, in junior high and loved that he was a Staten Islander and set that book there. It gave me hope of being an author myself. Because, you know, seeing one of your own succeed is inspiring. 🙂 I also included authors who while they may not have actually lived on Staten Island, they were closely associated with it due to their job.

But I was still hesitant because I’ve heard about authors adding their books to lists and getting labeled by Goodreads authors as an “Author Behaving Badly” because of their spammy promotion tactics. So I emailed Goodreads for a final confirmation, and their response was that my idea was fine, as long as my books were not the only ones on the lists.

That was reassuring. And I can assure you that my book is not the only one on that list. Not only because it will be all alone, but it will just lousy to promote myself that way. And besides, why not give a shout-out to fellow Staten Island authors? This shows that we exist and may give some book loving Islanders some pride.

I know monitoring this list won’t be easy. I’m sure some spammy author will come along, and flood the list his or her work and abuse the voting. I’ll have to make it a twice-weekly effort to make sure that doesn’t happen. My list is free for any author who was born and raised, or lived, or is closely associated with Staten Island. Now, if you are an author who is none of these things, but can prove that your book is set on Staten Island – and Staten Island has to be a setting, not merely mentioned – I’ll add your work because you are closely associated with the borough in that way.

I’m nervous I may get flamed for making this list, but it seems that is all good. After all, I was told twice by Goodreads that my idea is fine. So if they say so, then I feel much better.

So, no more of me talking (or typing 🙂 )and here is Listopia’s Staten Island Authors.