Monday, January 9, 2012

Open Thread: Authors vs. Their Work

So. I've been thinking a lot about authors and their online platforms these past couple of days. Specifically, the kind of reputation an author has with those who follow their blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr accounts (whether they're hilarious/informative/inspirational/etc). In some cases, we might even buy an author's book because we like their online platform, even if the author writes in a genre we don't typically read (confession: I am SUPER guilty of this and am in no way ashamed of it).

But I'm curious about something else: what happens when things go south? Let's say you discover an author through the blogosphere/Internet, like their perspective on writing/life, and fall head over heels  for their books. What if the author does something that disappoints you? Not as a reader, but as a person (i.e. their attitude toward something you take seriously isn't respectful or tactful). 

This leads to today's open thread question: does an author's reputation come into play when you're choosing between reading their work or not? Or does content trump reputation?


I'm really looking forward to your thoughts!

12 comments:

  1. I have skipped reads from authors who have rubbed me the wrong way. But there are very few. There's just so much to read out there. I don't think I'm really missing that much. Then I've purchased books to support authors who have helped out communities. So I hope I'm pretty much balanced. =)

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  2. Nah, not really. One of my favorite authors has a blog and it's dreadfully dull, but I still love his books. And there are authors I've met through my old job, that were not very nice but I would/do still read their books.

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  3. I will admit I usually know nothing about the author, only about what people have said about the book.

    Perhaps I should be more present in the online world :)

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  4. An author's public profile will influence my reading to some degree, especially if they say something I find offensive. But on the other hand, when an author seems really awesome, I'll check out their book even if it's not my usual thing, so it works both ways!

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  5. Ah, good question. Really, the only thing that makes it impossible for me to enjoy a person's work is if I find out he's a meanie. Authors should never insult their readers on their blogs, and some authors seem to underestimate the scope of their market (don't know who their readers are). The best bet is just not to insult anybody. Snark is fun, but if you're selling something, it's a bad idea to snark AT your customers.

    Meanies aside, I will still read if the author has different personal ideas than I do. Everyone is different, and I understand most authors are eccentric (aren't we all?) so a weird in-person encounter wouldn't bother me either. I'm like Becky, though. If somebody is cute, clever, or super sweet in their online persona, I'm twice as likely to buy their stuff on pre-order and plug it everywhere!

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  6. I read Silas Marner by George Eliot for a book club once. As I read, I kept thinking about the author and her promiscuous and selfish lifestyle, and I DID NOT like the book because of it. Only when I finished did I realized I mixed her up with George Sand (novelist and mistress of Chopin). I couldn't believe it. My impression of the book was TOTALLY based on what I thought about the author's character, unfortunately. :(

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  7. I definitely have a lost of authors whose work I avoid because of their personal beliefs or choices they have made. I think that if I'm going to give them my money, I should be comfortable with the kind of person they are. That's not to say that someone has to be perfect, but there are a few things that can really turn me off of a person's work.

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  8. You can't judge a book by its author...or maybe you can?

    I generally get to know the books before the authors, and "getting to know them" hasn't influenced my future reading...that I 'm aware of anyway.

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  9. I don't research an author online before deciding to buy and read her book. BUT if an author writes or does something that rubs me the wrong way - from blog whining to interacting ungracefully with reviewers to anything in between - I put them on my do-not-read list.

    There are too many great books in the world for me to waste my time patronizing authors who can't behave themselves.

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  10. It definitely can, but I think it's more like a tipping point. There's a famous bestselling author that I've read for years, and I personally felt the quality of her books was not so great in recent editions. I saw some nasty comments on amazon reviews, one of which linked to an article where the author said something to the effect of, "if something's working, just milk it," which was my exact issue with her work, that it felt like each volume was churned out with recycled plots. Hearing that made the decision to drop the series a bit easier. I'm sure the author is a nice person and she's making a lot of money, but there are too many books to read to just read the same one over and over with a different cover!

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  11. I don't want to name names, but there is a big name author who writes urban fantasy who I heard speak at a book event. She said something off-color regarding wishing a scene about killing children hadn't been cut by her editor. The editor thought the scene was too gory and too much.

    And then her attitude towards her fans was very apathetic and not gracious at all.

    Despite loving the first 3 books I read by her, I have yet to read her two most recent releases. While I never made the conscious choice "I'm never reading anything by _______ again!" her persona definitely left me less eager to read her stuff.

    Lauren @ Hughes Reviews

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  12. Interesting. I don't know that it's ever happened to me, but if someone was a total jerk in RL or online, I'm sure it would impact my decision-making regarding future books. As with anything, I want my dollars to vote for the upstanding folks of the world, of whom there are many. That said, if it's an obvious mistake and an isolated incident, I could overlook it.

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