July 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm #28501
Every now and then it’s a bit strange to be both a writer and a reader. I find myself getting caught up in online discussions among authors for example, including authors whose books I read and love. Lately there’s been a lot of tension between indies and trad-pubbed authors. I’ve seen traditionally published authors bashing indies. And I’ve seen a few well-known indies go into attack dog mode against some traditionally-published authors.
It’s all quite stupid really.
While I try to dismiss comments like this on both sides of the fence (given that I know so many wonderful authors on both sides who are also wonderful people), it’s tough when authors come across as complete assholes.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve never been one to shy away from controversy. I can be blunt, and even harsh, at times. And I know that no author can please everyone (nor would I want them to try). But there’s a big difference between being a bit abrasive at times and bashing large groups of fellow authors over silly disagreements that won’t matter in the long run.
The thing is, I’m finding that this doesn’t piss me off so much as an author. It pisses me off more as a reader. I find myself wanting to never pick up another book by Author A because of their personality.
Have you ever been in a similar position? How far does an author have to go before their personality starts to interfere with your ability to enjoy their books? And as an author, does this worry you at all? At what point do you start to censor yourself on your own website or blog for the sake of your readers (such as keeping your mouth shut about politics or religion when it’s completely irrelevant to your work and your readers — the people your site or blog aim to reach)?July 16, 2014 at 4:23 pm #28506
I generally buy books even if I don’t like the author, because talent isn’t always tied to personality. That said, I’m always conscious that my purchase pads their wallet, so if they support something I find reprehensible then I won’t buy their work.
As far as my author persona–I don’t worry about it too much. I stay away from politics and religion and try to be respectful of things that I disagree with but aren’t objectively wrong. But I try to make sure the persona is a reflection of the books, because if you like one, chances are good you’ll like the other.July 17, 2014 at 8:53 am #28510
Good points, especially about keeping the persona tied to the books in some way. I think that’s where I’ve come across issues with some of the authors I really can’t stand. They tend to be more interested in promoting a certain persona to get the attention of other authors than worrying about what their target readers might think of them. And in doing so, they tend to bash large segments of their colleagues. When it’s obvious that most of their public personality is for show, I’m not interested in supporting that.July 17, 2014 at 11:56 am #28514
As a writer and reader, I am all too aware that buying those books supports said writer! I definitely don’t buy from asses. I figure, if you aren’t connecting with my values before I touch your fiction, why read some creative approach to probably the same values. Even just some jerky behavior strikes me as indicative of deeper roots where I’m just not going to agree with that author. I steer clear of any author that turns me off: I don’t want my precious book dollars going to them, and I don’t want my precious reading time going to them either.July 18, 2014 at 9:45 am #28557
<div class=”d4p-bbp-quote-title”>Jennifer Mattern wrote:</div>
Good points, especially about keeping the persona tied to the books in some way. I think that’s where I’ve come across issues with some of the authors I really can’t stand. They tend to be more interested in promoting a certain persona to get the attention of other authors than worrying about what their target readers might think of them. And in doing so, they tend to bash large segments of their colleagues. When it’s obvious that most of their public personality is for show, I’m not interested in supporting that.
Unfortunately, many authors don’t understand that the majority of readers don’t care about indie versus trade. While there are some who are devoted to one of the two sides, most just want to read good stuff, and don’t even think about how it gets to them.July 21, 2014 at 3:57 pm #28563August 21, 2014 at 8:44 am #28888
To Jessie’s point, I agree. We readers don’t give a flying f*** how the book is published if it’s an excellent read. And I would think veteran authors would get that. I’ve read a lot of crappy books, most of them NOT published independently, so what does that say about the vetting process for traditional publishing? I digress….
Jenn, I might have a hard time separating the author’s work from his/her attitude. If I’m far enough removed from it, I’m fine — Ezra Pound was anti-semitic (though he later said he regretted it, I don’t think it’s easily forgiven), but his writing can be so soulful. If he were still alive, I might not feel that way.
I could NOT read Tom Clancy. I tried once — his arrogance dripped off the page. I didn’t have to meet him to know he was a bit of a d*ck. That, to me, is just as bad as starting online battles and acting like an unprofessional ass to your readers.August 21, 2014 at 9:10 am #28893
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