Thursday, June 29, 2006

Authors Behaving Badly

I tend to spend a lot of time on the internet trolling for information, mostly for FictionDB but sometimes just because. I visit quite a few author sites and blogs as you can imagine. What always amazes me is the way some people behave on the internet. In some ways the internet is very anonymous -- you can browse without anyone knowing what you're doing or where you're going. But in other ways, the internet is very public. Take for example a recent rant I found by an author in a blog. The author was upset about a book of hers being sold on eBay. She was obviously furious since every other word was of the four-letter variety. While she may have had cause to be upset, was the internet the right place for her to vent? Would she have spoken the same thing in front of the annual RWA convention? I seriously doubt it! Copies of her blog will forever be available in some form on the internet and new readers interested in her work will probably see this rant. For me, I wouldn't want to read a book by someone who spoke like this let alone wrote it down for the world to read. I would assume that if writing is your occupation, you could get your point across just as successfully without using such extreme profanity. The scariest thing of all is that this author is a high school teacher.

The author has lost a potential reader in me and I'm sure I'm not alone. Now I am not opposed to free speech, far from it, but writing is a business. The goal of most authors on the web is to promote themselves and their books. Many authors are always professional and gracious in their communication no matter how they really feel. They'll probably retain and acquire more readers than someone who throws hissy fits. Over the years I have seen other authors behaving badly and I've always wondered if it affects their sales at all. Maybe it doesn't. After all, the bulk of the buying public doesn't spend a lot of time reading author blogs. Most of these authors behaving badly are midlist authors who come and go frequently, so it's hard to tell if it's the writing quality or not. Some readers may be able to completely separate the author's personality and behavior from their reading experience, but I can't. I don't even like meeting my favorite authors because I will hear their speaking voice when I read their book rather than their writing voice. Authors behaving badly may entertain me on some level, but they will never get me to buy their books...

2 comments:

Danielle said...

I can definitely understand where you are coming from, but how about an author's personal assistant and messageboard admin, stalking posters across the internet, attempting to get them banned, from boards that aren't the owners of.

Anonymous said...

Oh Danielle I know who that personal assistant may be.

They have posted yet another rant on the MB about Negative readers. My question is this if the negative readers are of the minority, why are they feared. If only 10 people on the board no longer enjoy the series, why do they get so much attention.

Because what they say is True.

The series has become one long boring B rated porn movie without the benefit of a camera.

It's now time for HT to come out and as usual they do their purge of the Negative Readers as the author has chosen to name them this year. But what they do not understand is that with every new release they will get new people who are not enamored with the way the series has devolved.