Saturday, June 24, 2006

Yet another opinion

AngieW asks a very good question in light of the latest outbreak.

So my question for authors is, do you feel as though you’re expected to sit on your hands these days? And readers, what is it exactly that you want from an author’s online presence? Do you expect they should sit on their hands, zip it and write the books. If you go to their blogs, what do you want to see? If you see them on a message board, what are you hoping their interactions will consist of?

Although I haven’t participated in the recent dust-up at Karen’s and other author/reader dust-ups, I have followed them. I’m answering the reader part of Angie’s question. As a reader, I very rarely visit author blogs. I can’t relate too many of them since I’m not a writer and with the growing number of reader blogs and a limited time to spend visiting them, I would rather spend my time visiting at other reader blogs. But when an author visits a reader’s blog, I think it would be in their best interest to visit as a reader rather than a writer. I mean after all, they would have to be reader first; before they became a writer. Of course there are times when a reader blogger will ask for opinions from authors. Then they can put on their author hat.
I expect authors who post on reader blogs to use some sense if they do decide to use their author persona. If they are upset at something they’ve read and they really can’t ignore it, then type out a reply first, read it over, go have a coffee and if it’s still an angry post then think about the consequences before they post it. Because whether it's fair or not, if it’s a real snippy answer, the author is going to piss some readers off. And trying to keep things in perspective is a real good idea. Long before there was Smart Bitches or Bam, there was Mrs. Giggles and I’ve seen some authors say it was almost a badge of honor to be snarked by her. Those authors I remember and when I see them handle it with class, I’m more than likely going to give them a try even if there books were snarked. On the flip side, there are some authors I have no interest in reading even if there books have gotten good reviews, because of their on-line antics. Just as authors may be defensive of other authors, readers are defensive of other readers. Now – having said that, I’ve also seen some downright nasty and uncalled for insults against some authors in the comments section of a couple of blogs. Totally totally classless.
It would be nice if we could all place nice and get along, but that's not going to happen with so many people with so many different opinions. But, the main thing is think first.

Anyway for what it’s worth, that’s my 2¢ worth.

‘til later


Avid Reader said...

Hi Kristie,

I'm not on the fence about this issue and here is my two cents:

I just think that authors have more to lose than readers. I'm not saying readers are right to be bitchy and mean and that authors can't respond back, but that's the nature of the game and life isn't fair, so they need to get over it. the facts are these: readers are the consumers and the authors are the ones selling a product. Period. It doesn't make much business sense to attack your consumers, the very people who are paying your bills and saying that they don't care. On some level they do. There are just as many authors who choose NOT to say anything online vs. those who feel that they must voice their opinions.

I know damn well that the customer isn't always right but will I say that to their face? No. I take their money and bitch about them in private :-)

Pardon my french.

CindyS said...

Here, here!! and Keishon is right.

I am surprised at the way authors are reacting on personal blogs. Correcting a fact is one thing but going all squirrely is another. Let the readers get squirrely, who cares! If you can keep your mouth shut all the bashing might stop and people forget.

However, MJD has created a real negative backlash from her responses. Other authors have done the same. I know when I do something on a message board and get flamed, I just don't respond. I can let things go because in the real world, I know what I think and feel and some A-hole flaming me isn't going to change my opinion.

A well thought out, constructive or self-effacing post is always a better way to go than foaming at the mouth.

I know that the on-line community is not large but we do have friends in the real world. Maybe we are in the bookstore with a friend and see so and so's book on the shelves and can't keep the snort of disgust to ourselves. Trust that a conversation will take place.

You know what, create a strict authors group. One where authors can bitch and whine to each other about the SOB reader who dared to suggest they didn't do their research. I mean, we have a trader's group where we talk about other things that are kept private. Sure, you may have to cap it to a certain amount of people but if they need this kind of outlet then have at it!


Bev (BB) said...

One thought keeps rattling around in the back of my brain regarding all this and even though I keep telling myself it's probably not the case I can't help wondering. Seems to me, though, that some authors are confusing "just readers" with professional reviewers and possibly even booksellers. It's a possible explanation to the intensity of the reactions I'm observing. Not an excuse, mind you, but definitely a possible explanation.

Karen Scott said...

I totally agree with Keishon. Authors do have more to lose than readers, and it never fails to surprise me that some authors don't think before they post. If somebody doesn't like me, or hates my blog because of something that I've written, the worst thing that can happen is that they stop reading my blog, or call me a bitch when I'm not looking (or think I'm not looking) but for authors, sometimes it does hurt them financially.

That's just the way it is, and some authors really need to suck it up, or just keep away from the blogs or review sites that are guaranteed to get their juices flowing (and not in a good way).

I have to say, I find myself visiting author blogs less and less these days for the same reasons that you gave Kristie.

As for MJD, I have no idea what to say about her, other than, she hasn't done herself any favours, regardless of how many trillions of dollars she's earning.

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