Monday, April 30

The Attitude of the Author

Fancy covers, clever titles, word of mouth. We notice a book and we look into it. Like the blurb? The first page? We read it.

We either like a book or we don't. Everyone has different literary tastes. Some authors' styles just may not sit with you. Sometimes you'll like one book an author writes, only to snooze at another. It's disappointing but it happens.

What about the authors themselves? Do they matter to the reader?

Barring the obvious need for an author to write the books their readers love, how many of us care what an author is like as a person or how they conduct themselves? Is an author just an intangible idea to the reader?

I remember a time when authors were just people I envied and admired for writing books that enthralled me. With the internet and social networking, they've come to life.

To clarify, I have yet to have a bad experience with an author. Still, I do hear things in passing from people which cause my ears to prick up.

If I hear something about an author being unfriendly or distant, I don't feel angry or disgruntled, just a little deflated. They are human after all, and I don't want to black-mark them on word of mouth. Yet, I can't deny that a part of my brain still wishes they were made of cookies and ice cream.

Have I avoided books because of things I've heard about an author? Not intentionally. However, I've not felt an urge to rush to buy/read one of their books. The same goes for hearing that an author is the nicest person on the planet. Part of me files that information in a positive region of my brain, but I do not dash out to purchase their book based on it.

On the flip side, if I see an author speak, vlog or tweet, and they seem interesting or humorous, I am more compelled to read their book. I feel I have connected with them, even if it is not on a personal or immediate level. Their words have interested me in one way, so I feel that they might do the same with their novel.

Being human (at least I think I am) I say and do stupid things. I can aggravate, be distant, and sometimes I just suck. I am sorry to say that I am not made of cookies and ice cream. If I was, I would have made some very delicious attempts at depleting my existence.

Yes, I head-desk for my past and future blunders, and apologise to those caught in the cross-fire of my idiocy. I swear I don't go out of the way to make it happen, and I like to give the benefit of the doubt to authors that they don't either.

Ultimately, no matter what I hear about the attitude of an author, if their books rock then that is what matters. I want to escape into a brilliant story, and if a writer allows me to do that then they have done me a service.

This also makes me think about how readers can sometimes judge authors based on the books they write. There are some authors who write books that I do not like. I cannot bring myself to say nice things about the text. Then, I feel awful because I know that the author in question seems lovely.

I have lost count of the number of people who have told me that if they ever met Stephenie Meyer, they would punch her in the face. That – is – horrible. While I don't reprimand them for disliking Twilight, I've had no impression of Meyer but that she is extremely nice. Why would you proclaim that you would do something so nasty to someone simply because you didn't like a book they wrote?

Does the attitude of the author matter to the reader or does it all rest on their writing?

I think the answer lies within the individual reader.

1 comment:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Wow, people have actually said that about Stephenie Meyers? Some people need a life if that's their goal if they meet her. Jealous anyone????

I don't pay attention to authors. I generally don't follow their blogs or visit their websites. I don't stalk them on Facebook or Twitter. As long as they keep writing the books I love, I'm good.

Of course, if they start acting like Mel Gibson, then all bets are off.