You have the classic responses to bad reviews. That’s the big one that most people think of first when it comes to this subject. It happens and it sucks. I’ve recently dealt with it first hand, but that’s not the kind of behavior Jen and I wanted to discuss today.
As a reader, I enjoy following authors. I love to see what they're working on, and even talk with them on occasion. Sometimes though, I feel like authors get too comfortable. I’m not saying I’m out to get every author who posts something I don’t agree with. Every person is different. Today, we want to talk about some of the unprofessional things we've seen that have affected our book purchases.
Authors Bashing Other Authors
April: I hate this. I hate it so much. Talking shit about another author's book will not get me to buy yours. I see it all the time and it’s appalling. I saw an author bashing E.L. James for being successful and now I refuse to buy her books. I didn’t like the 50 Shades books. I think they are horribly written. That still doesn’t make it okay for another author to bash her. Be jealous, fine, but don’t use her shitty books to bring attention to yourself.
Jen: I feel like that, in much the same way that we bloggers like to build each other up, authors should use various platforms to do the same for each other. I haven't seen a lot of author-on-author attacks, but they're always cringe-inducing when they do occur. It's fine to have your own opinion -- and I do think everyone has the right to voice said opinion -- but I don't think it's right to verbally attack another person in a public forum. There's a fine line here between voicing an opinion and verbal sparring, and I think it's to everyone's benefit to tread carefully.
Mixing Personal with Business
April: I love seeing little snippets of how an author is in real life. It reminds me that they are people, and that they have lives. They aren’t just words on paper. But sometimes too much is too much. I’m going to use an example here. I follow an author of YA and she has an instragram account that posts to all her public author profiles. That’s fine and dandy but most of the pictures shared are of her drinking and partying with friends. That’s cool! She’s young, pretty and having the time of her life. But does it belong on your author Facebook page for a bunch of young teens and tweens to see? Not in my opinion. I recently requested a galley of her new book. I was hesitant, I really was. My whole perception of her is based off the pictures I see her post now. I hate that I let these things determine what books I read, but in this case maybe I should have went with my gut. The book had no plot and was full of underage drinking and partying. Should I have been surprised?
Jen: I agree...I love to see what an author is like outside of their writing, but at the same time, there's a point of no return, as evidenced by the example you provided, April. I don't think I could ever look at that author the same, either. I've not run into this problem with the authors I follow, not really, anyway, but I do think platforms like Twitter and Instagram make it easier for authors to be more personable and also to showcase their "other" life. Sometimes this makes me like an author even more, but there are cases where a little too much of their personal life is being exposed and it could be detrimental to their careers if it carries on that way.
Whining About Book Sales
April: I’ve seen this from many authors, self-pubs and traditionally-published. Sometimes your book is going to take off and sometimes it won’t. Maybe work harder to promote it? No one likes a whiner; it’s unbecoming. I actually came across a post once by a self-published author insulting her readers, while complaining that she has minimal sales on a book. I wish I had screen shot of it, because it was hysterical. In a nutshell, she basically said that $2.99 was a great price, that it’s the cost of a coffee, and if we can buy coffee every morning we can buy her book. She said her readers are cheap and that she wasn’t dropping it to $0.99 because she needs to eat. Lol. I have yet to purchase anything from that author now and not because I’m cheap.
Jen: "No one likes a whiner"...so true. I don't read a lot of self-published novels, but I have seen a similar complaint about dropping prices. I've also seen where an author wasn't so much complaining but simply explaining that another installment in her series might not be forthcoming because of lackluster sales on the previous books. And then the first installment in that series promptly went on sale. I think that's a much better approach to take to the sales issue than simply complaining about it or insulting one's readers.
April: I don’t see this very often, thank goodness, but I’ve seen it recently from one particular author. It makes me so sad. She started out self-publishing. She constantly complained about not having a publishing deal. She was relentless, and I overlooked it because you know what? Her books are good. I felt she deserved to be published. She did end up getting a deal on her last trilogy and it was awesome. I loved it so much and I was so happy for her. Lately though, I’ve seen her being very negative in her posts. Talking trash about her publisher, not on her author page mind you, just on her personal page. How do I know this? Well, I was friends with her on it along with hundreds of other bloggers. Recently, I saw her post complaining about how they sent her another round of edits to do on one of her books. She said that she was going to send it back to them and just say she looked through it. Um… really? I can’t help but wonder if other bloggers were as shocked as I was when reading this. That's not funny and no where near professional. I was so turned off by that, and I have since removed myself from her personal page. It’s a shame because I love her writing, but I just haven’t had the urge to read any of it lately because of her behavior.
Jen: Yikes, talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. To be given such an opportunity and then to essentially squander it because of your own pride, laziness, or what have you. Such a shame. I know several other indie authors who've received the same opportunity and really put it to work, so at least it's only a random occurrence. I lump authors who don't appreciate their fans in with this category, and I see that much more often than I'd like to admit. Granted, some fans expect too much from authors and can get greedy, but the same is true of authors. It's all give-and-take, and there's always one side that seems to take more from the relationship, unfortunately.
I also lump authors invading our review spaces into this category because I feel that as the saying goes, any publicity is good publicity. We're doing authors a favor by taking the time to review their books, whether favorably or not. Sometimes, those scathing reviews actually make me want to read a book, but when I see an author attacking another reviewer over their opinion, THEN I resolve not to pick up the book. I refuse to promote or purchase anything even remotely related to that author then.
I thought that maybe with 2013 being such a bad year for blogger/reviewer/author interactions, we'd all endeavor to try harder this year to be courteous and conflict-free, but this year's started out the same way as last. I know this wasn't the point of April's post, but sometimes this community just makes me sad instead of being the happy place it once was.
Those are just a few that have been nagging at us lately. I purposely didn’t mention names because that’s not what this post is supposed to be about. I’m not trying to call out authors and cause waves, I’m just really curious how much of this is just me or if there are others who feel the same? Are any of you turned off buying books based on an authors behavior? And not just when they invade our review spaces?