Saturday, June 25, 2011

Saturday Discussions (13): Does knowing an author help or hurt when their book comes out?

With the semi-recent explosion of Twitter and blogs and general online-ness, authors have become more accessible to their audience with every blog post, tweet or status update they post. This is one of the most fascinating things internet has done for the book world. So what I want to talk about today is if that's impacted your book buying decisions in positive or negative way.

Libba Bray
Way back when I was first getting into books, I stumbled across one Miss Libba Bray's livejournal account and experienced the shock of a lifetime. The lady that wrote Gemma was freaking hilarious. So not only could she write really great paranormal period pieces but she could be laugh out loud funny. I would have never guessed from the tone of her Gemma Doyle series. A light bulb flicked on and I've been google stalking my favorite author's ever since.

Recently joining Twitter, I have found even more ways to get closer to my favorite authors. But I've also found that while knowing them makes me want to buy their novels, it can also make me not want to.

For me, the biggest drawback to being able to "know" author's online is that sometimes it can lessen my opinion of them. Hey, we're all human and I get that everyone is going to have their off days. What I can never forgive though is a published author whining about writing. I don't mind the "ugh, do not want to write today" occasionally or even why it's hard, etc, etc, etc. But if I see constant whining about writing and it feels like the author is ungrateful then it's a serious turn off for me. I've been busting my ass writing since I was 15 years old, trying to perfect my craft daily. So to see an author constantly whine about writing (and again, I'm talking very negative things all the time) when they have a book they can hold in their hands just makes me very, VERY upset and I'm likely to not by said book or next book.

Another thing is when authors try to dispute bad reviews. You can call me a "unknown good-for-nothing who wouldn't know a good book if it bite me in the ass" to the computer screen and your friends as much as you'd like. Get it out! Vent! But never, never, never go on a website and try to fight a bad review. Pretty much every author I follow would never do this but if an author is going around running their mouth online, I am much less likely to buy that book.

Also, for the record, don't write an article about writing a book in a genre and then dog said genre. Do. Not. Want.

Maureen Johnson
But on the reverse side of this, going to an author's website/blog or reading a few tweets have sold plenty of books on me. Perfect example? Maureen Johnson.As I mentioned before, Libba Bray brought me into the online world of authors and you can't go to her website without being introduced to Maureen Johnson at some time. From there, I jumped on her site and quickly bought Devilish. Then I started following Maureen Johnson on Twitter and just a few days ago she was campaigning for gay rights via her tweets. I wanted her novel The Name of the Star before this happened but I want it even more now because of the type of person she is. Following her on the web has sold me on her as author and I plan to read everything she's written.

Same goes for so many other authors.

Katie Alender
Author interviews will also always sell me on a writer. If I'm conducting them and an author responds back to me pleasantly (which they all do) and promptly (which they all try to do) that totally makes me love them more. Katie Alender is a great example of this. I read her story Bad Girls Don't Die last year and got in touch with her for an interview. She was just so kind and sweet and made sure to announce the giveaway everywhere and drop by to comment on it that her dedication to my McMini blog cemented my love for her. Now I talk about her whenever I get the chance, thrust the book in people's hands in the bookstore and make sure I'm out the day of to get myself a copy and one for all my friends. Another really good example of this is Jana Oliver and her personal assistant CJ, who worked hard to make sure the interview arrived prompt and just like Ms. Alender, Ms. Oliver stopped by to comment on comments.

Jana Oliver
It works when I read others interviews as well. I read an interview for Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters and then headed over to her website where she was constantly checking in and commenting back and forth with people. I went out and bought her book the next day.

I like knowing through Twitter or blog posts or interviews which scenes where hard to write, what characters are based off who and how author's reward themselves for their hard work.

My response to this question is a resounding yes to the positive and also the negative. The author's attitude will always affect if I buy a book. Maybe not the first time but if they are a joy to "know" online, then you can bet I'll be a fan through thick and thin!

So what about you? What do you think about the closeness the internet has brought readers to their authors? Does it affect your book buying?

Got something we should discuss next week? Let me know!

Next week's question: What comes first, the character or the plot?


  1. I think it does for me a little bit too. Like I follow a couple of Indie authors and one of them blogs and tweets about their books and you can see that they're a nice person and that they genuinely care about their readers and being a professional author so I want to go out and buy that authors books and tell others to buy them.
    Same when it comes to the negatives. If an author acts unprofessionally or seems to be very mean and rude, then I most likely won't buy their books.

  2. wow, totally agree!!! I had the same thing happen to me when I first heard of Andrea Cremer, she was so cool! and so kind when she agreed to do an interview with me. :)

  3. Wow, this is a really interesting discussion topic! I never really gave it much thought, but being close to authors really does affect whether I'll read their books or not.

    Twitter is where I keep up with authors the most, and it's really changed my opinion on some authors. There are fantastic authors, like you said Maureen Johnson, and MANY others that shed light on issues that I really admire. When I read the tweets from these authors, campaigning for a cause that I am also campaigning for, such as gay rights, animal rights, etc, I definitely make an effort to support that author as much as I can, which means I'll usually buy their books. Jackson Pearce is also a really good example of an author that continually speaks up, and whose opinion I regard highly.

    On the flip side, there have been times when I've read the tweets and comments of authors, and I cringe away from my computer. Just recently this happened on Twitter, where I watched a conversation between several authors take place. It really changed my opinion on two authors, one for the better, and one for WAY worse.

    But, hey, authors are people just like everyone else, and of course they're entitled to their opinions. It's only when an author gets downright offensive that I completely boycott their work, such as with Orson Scott Card.

    Really great post! :))))

  4. A great discussion post and I completely agree with nearly everything you have said. I've also discovered some great writers from their online presence and one that I would rather not read.

    Have a great weekend.

  5. This is a great post and topic for discussion.
    I love getting to know authors, and think it's great you can talk to them with just one click.
    Many I have found have been so polite and accommodating, and their personalities light up the screen.
    I have bought some books after reading authors on line, Beth Revis for example was hyped on a lot of blogs, then I found her own one and thought she came across as really sweet and caring with a great sense of humour and so I got a copy of 'Across the Universe'
    But it does work the other way, especially as you said about authors complaining about their writing and even worse criticizing reviewers, just do not do it! I would never dream of doing it. After all they ask for an honest review and not everyone will like it.

    Great post, thanks, I will have to check out Libba Bray and Maureen Johnson, i've never read either of them. :D

    Have a great weekend.

  6. This was a great post! I really enjoyed reading it and completely agree. I've also recently started following/stalking more authors and it can be a mix of positive and negative experiences.

    Libba Bray is hilarious and following her on twitter has moved her books up on my TBR list. Some of my other favorites are John Green and Lisa McMann.

    Now that I've been blogging and following authors online I've found so many authors and books that originally I probably wouldn't have. I think there are definitely more positives than negatives.

  7. I love this topic, partially because I just found the most hilarious author blog ever and it will help me gush. I'm not sure I quite agree on the issues of authors responding to negative reviews. I just think it's a matter of how they do it and why. I think I'm going to write up a response for my blog though. Thanks for the topic!

  8. I totally know what you mean... I actually guess I never thought about it until now!

    I suppose it would, because say an author says,
    "I hate all blue eyed children." (random example)

    No matter how good their book may be... I would buy it.

  9. D'oh! I guess I was thrown by the "suggest a topic" form, so I posted my comment there! And I didn't see the comments that were here. If you can, would you be able to post my "Saturday Discussion Topics"" post here? Sorry!

  10. I agree! and yeap, you're right on the things not to like from author posts, whining and stuff but I've met great published and Yet to be published authors through the online world and it sure is hard when a book of theirs will be out and be partial about the reviews and more.
    But I try, I mean only real authors/writers can deal with good & bad reviews, because they know not everyone in the whole world will like their books and everyone thinks diferently! so YEY for web ways to contact your favorite authors even if sometimes it makes it hard for us bloggers ^^


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