Throwing out my own Happy New Year here, and bringing another discussion topic to the table.  But first, I have to put on my reader’s hat. 

Just a few days ago, my younger sister and I had an interesting discussion about books and authors (she’s an avid New Adult reader, as well) and we got around to discussing the ease of communicating with authors these days.  Furthermore, we debated whether that ease was really a good or bad thing. 

It wasn’t too long ago when the authors we loved to read seemed like this untouchable marvel of storytelling genius – untouchable being the operative word.  With the exception of snail mailing them a letter you could only hope they would actually read, there were very few ways to reach out and let them know how much their work changed your life. 

Then, the internet happened (I know, I’m dating myself) and slowly, your favorite authors started to have websites, and if you were lucky, they had email addresses.  You could send them fan mail online. Skip forward several years, and now you can find and follow almost any author on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and other such social media sites.  Contacting them is as easy as pushing a button, and the chance that you’ll get a response is relatively high. 

As a reader, I find that ability to connect with my favorite authors awesome.  Just following a favorite author on Facebook and reading about them and their lives is a pleasure.  It makes them more real.  The distance between us that once felt insurmountable is no longer there.  I get to connect with them, and sometimes, have real-time conversations with them.  It’s like talking to a celebrity – because authors are my rock stars. *g*    

My sister, however, feels completely different.  While she’s never really followed or "friended" authors as a habit, she’s seen enough bad behavior to know that she doesn’t want to know more. She’s come to the conclusion that the less she knows about authors, their personal lives, and the way they conduct themselves online, the better.  Because (authors take note!) the sad fact is, once she’s seen someone acting “badly,” unprofessionally, or has seen them go off in a way she finds off-putting, she can’t enjoy their books anymore and has no desire to line their pockets.

While my first reaction was to dismiss “authors behaving badly” as rare, it’s not really as rare as it used to be.  It made me think of an author I loved growing up, and how upset I was to find out the author had recently done something I find deplorable.  It totally ruined the magic for me, tainting my opinion of this person and their writing.  I can no longer go back and read this author’s books, which I used to do every year.  I would have been much happier not knowing about it. 

So what I’m wondering is how many of you have experienced something similar?  Likewise, how do you all feel about the ease of connecting with authors these days, and how does the way an author conducts themselves factor into your buying decisions?

In short:
  • Do you enjoy being able to connect with your favorite authors?
  • Have you ever found the experience of knowing more about an author, one whose books you would have otherwise read for the rest of your life, turned you off from them?  Have you stopped buying their books because of it?
  • On the opposite side of the spectrum, have you met authors whose work you weren’t familiar with, and have decided they are such a joy to interact with that you’ll read their books simply because of the way they present themselves?

Thanks for sharing!  Have a great week!

Post a Comment

  1. I like it. It gets me excited when an author replies to me and I love reading their thoughts on their sites so I think it's a good thing.

  2. I think it's a double-edged sword. Social media is something that's become almost a requirement for authors to participate in when it comes to promotion and sales. And by opening that door, real personalities are going to shine through, good and bad.

    But as a reader, I think we have the choice whether or not we want to follow authors or not. If we want to keep them at more of distance and simply enjoy their work, we don't have to like their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.

  3. Great post, Jaycee! There has definitely been some "demystification" of authors (and the world in general, really) with the Internet. Pre-WWW, anything we got from a celebrity, etc. was heavily filtered via pre-recorded interviews and PR releases. With social media, we get to know what Dicaprio thinks about his pasta while he's eating it. :)

    Which is why I think it's so important for authors to maintain an "every man or every woman" type of personality these days. Readers want to see if you're a person just like them. They don't want rockstars. They don't want marketing/hype machines. Twitter isn't the place for an author to be a rockstar unless they ARE a rockstar. (You'll know if you are one, I think.) If you can't be yourself on social media, stay away from it. (And it isn't a crime if you can't. Some people just don't have the personality and/or skill for it. You might not grow as quickly, but you'll be happier--and the readers, too--for it.)

  4. Hi!

    I believe anything is black or white, There are authors I prefer don't follow them because they usually share info I prefer ignore (food recipes for example)

    I follow my favorite authors in almost social media existing... I adore have the chance of connect with them, saying how amazing are theirs books or my crazy theory about the story.

    Also is bittersweet when an author you love don't answer one tweet or something #Unfollow ;)

    Great post Jaycee by the way ;)

  5. Years ago, I loved connecting with authors. Every time I pick up a Janet Evanovich book, I remember the time her daughter put one of my art doodles on their website. So cool!

    But since I joined the game, I've become a little jaded. I've been burned by fellow authors too many times to overlook everything. If they can't play nice, I'm not interested in the crap they crank out--even if it's free. :)

    I still love connecting with readers, though. Their insights always touch and amaze me! :D

  6. I really enjoy being able to interact with authors. It makes me much more likely to read a book if I like the author, so of course the reverse is true. Now I'm not one of those people to let a celeb's personal beliefs change how I see them as an actor/author/etc but if someone is stirring up trouble with bad behavior and attacking fans, then I will just walk away from that author.

  7. Great Post! I LOVE being able to connect with my favorite Authors online. And I get so excited when they reply to my posts. Some Authors have groups like "street teams" where you can interact with them often. And I think that's fun!

    I have not had any instances where the Author behaves badly and I do not want to read their books anymore, but that would suck.... I think "most" of them know better than to act impulsive online. Bad for business and all...

  8. I haven't really witnessed any authors behaving badly on social media, and am curious to see what that entails. I think it's fun to connect with them. :) I also think I can separate the book from the author. For example, I still like Ender's Game even though I don't at all agree with Orson Scott Card's views on gay marriage. That said, if he was spewing out anti-gay rants on twitter, perhaps it would erode my appreciation for Ender's Game.

  9. This is an interesting topic. As a reader and a writer, I like the interaction. I haven't witnessed rude or insensitive behavior from authors yet either. I hope it's rare because those occurrances could discourage very positive connections. I'd also like to mention Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. I'm glad I read those books before I learned of Card's personal views. It probably would have stopped me from enjoying his work. I loved them.

  10. This is an interesting topic. As a reader and a writer, I like the interaction. I haven't witnessed rude or insensitive behavior from authors yet either. I hope it's rare because those occurrances could discourage very positive connections. I'd also like to mention Ender's Game and Ender's Shadow. I'm glad I read those books before I learned of Card's personal views. It probably would have stopped me from enjoying his work. I loved them.

  11. I love being able to connect with my favorite authors. I like to read about what they've been up to and get a glimpse of their personal life. However, I can see where your sister is coming from. I never really thought about it until I read this post but I get it. It seems we hold our favorites upon a pedestal and don't give much thought to them being anything other than fabulous.

  12. I can't say I've been disillusioned by authors on the internet. I have been terribly disappointed by meeting authors in real life at conventions. Some of them will just yell out swear words for no reason while conducting workshops. Others will make it clear that anyone who disagrees with their politics are sub-human. It seems to come from how they consider themselves the literary elite.

    I seem to look at blogs of authors who are just starting out, so those writers are much more humble.

  13. I really like the ability to talk to my favorite authors on social media, but I think I need to draw a line at times. I don't like them to know when I'm reading their books, because what if I don't enjoy it? It would be awkward and I'd feel bad, so I keep my distance in that sense.

    And an authors online presence can definitely make me not want to read their work. Earlier this week, I saw a blog post that completely turned me off from an author whose work I was about to start reading. It's strange, but once I see something negative - I imagine what if that happened to me. So I avoid it.

    Great post!!

  14. If I am reading a book I like, I will stop and email or message the author. I have a little list of authors who respond and mostly they respond positively and I love that. It shows me how I want to be once I become published. I would love for my readers to contact me and tell me what they thought.

  15. What an interesting post. I tend to enjoy being able to connect with authors and I love when I get to meet an author whose works I have enjoyed. I can think of an author who showed me a side I wasn't thrilled about, but it wasn't anything huge, and I still have read more of their work because I like their writing. I know I will be thinking about this questions more tonight. :)


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