Pushy Wonders…About Loving (or not! *cringe*) Authors

Posted 25 June, 2011 by Danny in Uncategorized / 18 Comments

Hello, dear reader!

*waves*

It’s been a while since we chatted
(not that I’m not here at the site like EVERYDAY
but I’m not always posting so, just sayin’, hi!)
but I’ve gotten another bee in my bonnet and I’m hoping
you’ll take a second to weigh in on a question I have.

You see, I’m a VERY lucky girl!
I live in a centrally located city (Chicago) where
SCADS of authors come to visit!
(largely through the beneficent offices of Anderson’s Bookshop)

And I ADORE meeting authors!!

And most of them are so super sweet
and I just love their enthusiasm and wit and shoes
(what? they wear good shoes!)

BUT….

Recently I’ve begun to wonder…..

Do my feelings for an author, as a person,
influence my feelings for their works?
And…
Should it?

I have to admit that they do!

On more than one occasion, I’ve read a book that was good, but not mind-blowing.

But, after meeting the author,
and hearing their thoughts on their characters,
their stories and just seeing how they interacted with their fans,
I find that I love their book so much more!

I’ve also had the opposite experience where for whatever reason
I didn’t click with an author, and I found myself less inclined to read his/her works.

It’s this latter situation that causes me the most angst,
because, while I feel that as a reviewer it’s my job to be impartial and open,
as a reader I just can’t justify “wasting” my time on an author
whom I don’t like on a personal level!

What’s a curious fox to do?

My first thought was to bring this question to the Bookworms!

If ever there was a group of intelligent and good-looking women,
the Bookworms are it!

Here’s what my fellow Bookworms had to say on the topic:

Danny’s Thoughts: What an excellent question! When Pushy talked to me about this I was nodding the whole time. And Yes I have to admit, that it happened to me too. It’s not like I would give a glowing review of a book I didn’t like at all, just because I happen to like the author. NO! I would never do this since I would totally lose my integrity! But, when I’m torn between a rating I tempt to give the better one just because I love the author so much.
Also, I have to admit one more thing. On one occasion an author appeared very rude, not to me personally but to to others around. If I would have picked his/her book before, I decided not to
do now. Is that wrong? I don’t know, but I’m also just a woman and as professional we all want to be, we just happen to be people…
Seriously, this is one of the reasons I don’t follow authors anymore on twitter before I read their books. What if I connect with them on twitter and then I read their books and I don’t like it? I don’t want to hurt their feelings so I might just shut up…
In times of social networking, facebook, twitter, tumblr we come much closer to authors than ever before. While I love this a lot, it also can easily backfire in both directions. It’s a very fine line we have to walk here.. and I’m excited to hear your thoughts!

some cutie thoughts: Being that I live in the super nova black hole known as the Southwestern United States, I have not had the opportunity to schmooze with authors nor admire their killer shoe styles, simply because there ain’t no authors to schmooze with! (*deletes long winded, self-involved, irate rant*)

Where was I? Oh yes.

So I can’t say from experience that I have been more likely to read a book and like it simply due to the personality of said author. However, to build upon Danny’s thoughts, I have found that I will be effected by the tweets of an author for good or bad. For example, via Twitter I have grander a huge girl crush on the author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Morgan Matson. Seriously, I am her official stalker! I love how she takes the time to talk with her followers and shares what’s going on in her life. However, there are some authors who I tend to ignore because they not only bombard Twitter with nonsense but also just seem incredibly self-involved (I will not be naming names but immediately ones come to mind!).

Inversely (wow… did I just use the word inversely?), an author who doesn’t use social networking to connect with their fans seem like a snob to me. Harsh, I know! But I think in this day and age, with social networking being so popular, that every author should have one. So the fact that a little known (that’s a joke, by the by) but well loved author such as (I hate to use names but….) Stephenie Meyer no longer interacts with her fans via the webernet just seems… well wrong.

And in conclusion: Did I mention I live in a state where no authors come to visit? And when I say none, I mean: Z-E-R-O. *tragic dramatically long sigh*

Kristen’s 2 tiny cents: I agree with everyone! How’s that? Done? Ok, I’ll be more wordy. I think it only makes sense that we like people who are nice. I want to support authors who are friendly and ok, I’ll say it, humble. It’s ok if they are confident – but if they are tickled pink to be where they are or can use humor (which is my fav quality in a person) to say that they are more than happy to be writing than doing any other sort of job in the world and thank goodness they are good at it since they stink at waitressing. Those are my kind of people.
So Pushy – you are RIGHT ON in my head about wondering this. And thank goodness you are not just a great person, but also a great writer! Yippeeeeee!

Heather’s even-tinier-than-Kristen’s thoughts: I also agree with everyone. I’ll admit to being very judgemental…if you come off as not enjoying meeting your fans, signing books, and answering the same questions over and over again…I’m not going to like you very much. And if you’re books are just okay, I probably won’t waste my time since my view of you is now tainted by my impression of how you are in real life. But I have yet to meet a single author who is like this, so I have not actually been able to put my theory to the ultimate test (I’m a chemist, I need hard scientific data!). But the same can be said for people in general, I’m just one of those people that gives you one chance to make an impression and that’s all you get. Pushy and the rest of the Bookworms know that I’m like that and they love me anyway, so I’m cool.

That being said, Pushy and I have met so many wonderful authors and I am horrible with names. I’ll remember your face forever, but your name…I’ll never remember it even if you’re wearing a name tag. So the odds are in your favor that if you have to be at the extremes of niceness or evilness for me to be swayed in the least.

In this day and age of Social Networking, I think any author except the JK Rowlings and Stephenie Meyers of the world are expected to be open and approachable to their fans. I follow many authors on Twitter and I haven’t seen one bad or offensive tweet out of the 50 or so that I follow. Obviously the bigger ones don’t interact with their fans as much, but does this make me like them less? Heck no, I just know that they have many fans and can’t possibly reply to every single tweet that they get.

Now it’s time for YOU to weigh in!

What do you think?

If you’re a blogger, do you find this happens to you too?
Do you fight it? Embrace it?

If you’re an author, do you notice this in your reviews?
Do you have concerns of your own of having your work be treated objectively
outside of a reviewer’s relationship to you?
Or do you feel pressured to be “on”
in social media settings just to promote your book?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

Then go and get lost…in a book!
Tweeting optional. *grin*

Obsessive Reader by Night – Scientist at Day!
You can also find me on goodreads. I’d love to get to know you so, don’t be shy and say Hello!

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18 Responses to “Pushy Wonders…About Loving (or not! *cringe*) Authors”

  1. Hi Pushy and et al!

    Very, very good question. I can see where a conflict of interest will cause problems when you like an author personally but their writing is not what you expected. Should you review on the basis of your opinion of the author or simply on the work itself. To me, as an author, I have learned to develop a thick skin where reviews come into the picture. Not everyone is going to like what you write. It's their opinion but it doesn't make the reviewers bad people. I wouldn't hold it again a review that gave one of my books a bad or mediocre review.

    When I write, I want to be able to touch as many people with my story that I can but that in itself is impossible. Will this make me write less. No, not at all.

    I believe you should remain true to your heart and review honestly no matter if do you know and love the author personally. It's not fair to them nor to the readers who are depending on you to give a straightforward review. You'll know if your opinion is influencing your rating. You can't help but know.

    Hugs and not sure if I answered but that's how I see it.

    Judith

  2. Scott Nicholson

    I don't have a problem not reading people I don't like. Orson Scott Card is a great story teller but since he's a hawkish homophobe, I simply can no longer enjoy his work. And I don't want to put any money in his pocket, either. On the other hand, if someone is maybe less talented but hardworking and doing charitable works in the world, I will definitely enjoy their work more. We don't read, write, or review in a vacuum–we are human beings, and I think that's a good thing.

    Scott

  3. For the "big name" publishing house authors, I tend not to pay them much attention, and then I objectively enjoy (or dislike) their work. For the indie authors I review, however, I have "gotten to know" many of them through online networking. It doesn't bias my work, but it does make me feel a tiny bit heartbroken when I have to write a review that is somewhat unflattering about the work of someone I really like. Most authors have been very appreciative (at best) or gracious (at least) about those reviews. I feel like my honesty and integrity is paramount, regardless of my relationship with the author. I have gotten feedback from many readers that they have chosen books based on my reviews- even the unflattering ones- because they could tell it was a book they'd enjoy even if I didn't. I like that. My tastes are not everyone's, so I try to put information in the review that helps the reader decide for him or herself.

    I love Anderson's Bookstore! I haven't lived near one in ages though 🙁 Here, I don't even have a real bookstore within hundreds of miles (unless you count Walmart, which I don't). Good thing I'm a digital indie girl!
    My recent post REVIEW: “The Scent of Jade” by Dee DeTarsio

  4. There are so many books out there that even if you read all the ones you want to read by all the authors you love, you'll probably still run out of time. So I don't think it's a bad thing or something to worry about if you decide not to read books by authors you don't personally like. It's probably a lot better than disregarding a book because you don't like the cover! (erm, I'm so guilty of doing that!)

    It's really awkward when I read a book from an author I love, but I don't love their book. I don't really know what to do except cringe a lot and be respectfully honest.
    My recent post Recap 6/18 to 6/24

  5. liz tea

    I so totally agree! For example, I was actually kind of on the fence about Nightshade, but then I met the author, Andrea Cremer, at a signing, and…well…I just fell in love with her, and her book! She was so funny and vivacious, I was totally jealous of her awesome job as a historian/professor. The way she talked about her book just made me appreciate it on a whole different level.

    So, yes, I'd have to agree that authors that are super nice and awesome, I'm more inclined to like their books more. Though, like some of you, I tend to avoid reading that author's blog or twitter until after I read the book.

    Like that article on Slate that caused so much buzz? Yeah. I'm not planning on reading that certain book anytime soon, just based on the authors' comments and lack of professionalism. 😛

    Authors can definitely influence how people feel about their book.

  6. Lily

    You know I read a book that I loved! So I went to the author's site to find more of their work, but as I scrolled through their site and read a long (3 pages) long rant of their dislikes which listed groups of people to which I personally identified myself with, I found myself disliking them as a person and I don't read their books anymore thinking if you hate groups A,B and C which I am a part of, why would I give you my money.

    I have also met authors on tours whom I have never hear of and read their books as a result of their awesomeness. So yes, if I like an author as a person I tend to like their work more.
    Like Lauren Kate for example I read Fallen and The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove and I LOVED THEM! Then she came to town to promote Torment, (Which I read before the signing) she is SUCH A SWEET WOMAN!! Oh my gosh! She didn't even laugh when I nearly fell on my face walking to the table. After the meet I found myself loving the books even more.

  7. *worries that Pushy can read minds* I was JUST thinking about that! Because yes, my feelings for an author tend to influence by my feelings for his/her book. But just like Danny said, I won't write a glowing review for a book just because the author seems nice – and then again, sometimes it's so hard to believe that super awesome authors can write sucky books, you know? :))

    I don't live in the US so I don't get to meet the authors personally, but I can at least stalk them online.:D It's so awesome to be able to chat with your fave authors!<3 I like to see how the authors are really like; how they interact with their fans, if they answer tweets and all kind of silly questions, if they are funny, sweet, smart, professional when necessary, friendly etc. Because knowing all this makes it easier to connect with their books, so there are bigger chances for me to enjoy reading them. And when they don't do ANY of that, my deranged mind takes it like 'hey, I'm too important and too busy to blog or to chat with y' all!' I'm sure most of the time it's not the case, or that they are nice AND indeed important and busy people, but… Oh well, I'm just crazy and sensitive like that. (It doesn't happen all the time – for instance, my favorite author never tweets or chats on Facebook with the fans or answers blog comments and I still adore her and her books!:D)

    And speaking of Twitter, I happened to follow this author and she was a bit too… harsh (for a lack of better word atm). She always had something accusatory or nasty to say. Then I went to read her book, hoping I was just paranoid like always and I'd like it. But I didn't. Because there was that same tone to it…Ugh. (It probably was just bad timing:)) )

    Anyway, my comment becomes longer than your post. :)) Point is, I am influenced by author sometimes, I love stalking them online, it's probably not fair to judge their work by their attitude towards readers, but…
    well, you know how it it – so many books, so little time!

    Great post, thanks for bringing this up! More brainstorming for me at 2 AM! LOL
    xoxo

  8. What a great discussion! I'll admit, through social networking, I've become fairly good acquaintances with quite a few authors that I would absolutely HATE to give bad reviews to, but the bottom line is that I have to uphold my integrity. I think there's a vast difference between bad reviews and negative reviews though. I could give a negative review to a book but still love the author's style. I always try to point out the positives.

    If an author is douchey and doesn't want to know the reader though..that's a different story haha
    My recent post Let's Talk: Pottermore &amp; Evolving Literature

  9. Greta is Erikasbuddy

    I actually think the more friendly and author is online the more likely I am to want to check out their books. BUTTERS… I do know when to say "Uhh… yeahs… I iz picky and HATED IT!" (we all know how picky I am)

    SO, it is possible that an author's attitude can sway me but its the story that makes me want to read more.

    I don't know if meeting an author and listening to them talk about their book would persuade me to give it another go. I kinda doubt it. We know how pig-headed I can be.

    That's not really an answer huh? I guess I just dig it when the peoples are nice, answer my tweets or FB posts, and don't mind me stalking them in a healthy way. THose kinds of authors are the bestest and will have the best likleyhood of me wanting to score their books.

  10. Judith, thanks for weighing in! I agree that remaining true to your heart about a review. It's great to hear an author say that you value opinions even if they're not favorable to your book so long as they're given respectfully!

  11. I think it's easier (but by no means easy) to give a less than positive review if you're as professional as possible about it. And pointing out the positives (there's always SOMETHING to like about a book, I mean, you were interested enough in the premise to read it in the first place, right?) is an important part of that. Thanks for adding to the discussion!! <3
    My recent post A Cutie and Danny Review: Legcay by Cayla Kluver

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