Monday, May 27, 2013

Naughty, Naughty Authors

Sometimes, authors have a tough time keeping their anger in check. Sometimes, it ends up on the Internet. And sometimes, it makes book bloggers ponder about how it affects their views on said author.

This discussion is inspired by a similar post held at The Broke And Bookish from a while ago. In truth, this discussion was actually supposed to be scheduled for December but somehow, I missed the deadline. So here it is. I guess that also explains why I'm bringing it up long after most of the drama has passed. This topic is simply too intriguing for me to ignore an opportunity to input my two cents.

To be honest, I've always been a fan of scandals, as long as I'm not connected to the scandal, in which case, I scream and cry. But, alas, I am not an author nor do I frequently converse with authors so there's no need for me to worry about being scandalized. Since starting blogging back in August, I've heard a fair amount of reviewer/author drama going down from secondary sources. Most of it from my own research, like from this wonderful feature at Pocketful of Books, but I would consider myself pretty well-informed nonetheless.

Now, I'm not particularly surprised by all these scandals surrounding certain authors. I mean, authors are people too, right? And people definitely screw up and make mistakes so even though it hasn't happened in the past, that's not to say it won't happen in the future. But while I'm not taken aback by the fact that these outbreaks of defensive authors do occur, the sheer amount of guts some authors have is appalling. Sometimes, after sitting back and reading about these scandals, you wonder: where the heck are their publicists? Because honestly, the things they say are absolutely horrifying, in how rude and offensive they are. 

I can tell you right now that I understand feeling defensive when someone criticizes you or your work. It's understandable that you'd be upset over a negative review of your book. To think about all the hours you've spent writing that book and then to have it torn to pieces by a single reader? It hurts, man. And you get upset  which is natural. You vent to your friends - fine. You cry a bit - fine. But there has to come a time where you realize that sitting back and moping won't do you any good. Maybe this reviewer has a point. Maybe I do need to work on character development. There has to be a reason why someone thought what they thought about your book and so maybe before getting all angry and enraged, think it through. When someone attacks your book, often they aren't attacking you as a person. And that's incredibly important to remember. Also that everyone is entitled to their opinion. So while one person may absolutely detest your book, another might absolutely love it (not counting you, the author, FYI). Think about it, is it really necessary to make a fuss about one review? Especially on the internet, no less. You're not only putting your reputation on the line, you're making the reviewer look like a villain when they aren't really doing anything bad.

As a reader though, I find myself thinking: do scandalized authors make me wary of their books? Or do I continue with it anyway? In all honesty, I don't see how scandals have anything to do with the quality of a book. Yes, I understand being disgusted at an author's actions and not wanting to have anything to do with them but on the other hand, their character isn't related to how well they write. I'd rather rely on reviews to tell me that. And in any case, scandals attract me, not deter me so if an author has some controversy surrounding them, I'd probably be interested in what their book is like. However, it's not as if I'm just going to pick every book written by every single controversial author - I actually have to be interested in them. Man, what do you take me to be?

Well, there's my two cents on this controversial topic. Whew, I think I'm all scandal-ed out! Feel free to leave comments below! xxx


  1. Well, these authors have got nothing on those trolls that always seem to appear on every news article that appears on the Internet, ever. You know, the ones that make you despair for the future of humanity and avoid the comments section of articles at all cost. I think it's just the Internet bringing that side of people out. The near-instantaneousness of the Internet, often masked by the fact that it still requires us to *write* (which--gasp--is totally a lost form, right?), coupled with the "safety glass" (i.e. no one can slap us for saying offensive or stupid things).... Well, I've always felt like some people treat being on the Internet like being behind the wheel of a car on the road. That relative anonymity, the feeling of safety as you're encased by a frame of metal, leads to some people behaving very shockingly on the roads, when out of the car they can be the nicest people.

    If we're really to have a discussion about blogging etiquette, it's not enough to just talk about authors behaving badly, because book bloggers behave just as badly, just as often. I think it's a probably with people and the Internet, in general. From what I've gleaned of the controversies (and it's not much, as I've tried to stay out of it), it seems like lots of people take sides--us vs. them, bloggers vs. authors--when really, it's not personal. It's just that one individual behaving badly. It's not representative of that individual's community, nor is it an offense upon the whole of the offended party. Like I hate when people make stereotypical remarks about Asian females being bad drivers--it's an *individual* that's the bad driver, not a *race* of bad drivers, argh. Same thing here. Individuals behaving badly.

    Thanks for bringing this up, many months after you had intended. It's good to keep the thoughts going on this matter, and not just to wait until the next big scandal that happens. Helps keeps the gears in my brain oiled. :)

  2. You bring up a great point about the different personalities people can have off and on the Internet. Because of that anonymity, it's so much easier to be rude and mean on the Internet so I definitely agree with you when you say that it's a two way street, with bloggers AND authors being equally responsible.

    It's also much easier to come to a misunderstanding on the Internet. It's not like speaking to someone where their tone and attitude is easily identified. On the Internet, there's no way to convey your intent clearly and that often creates clashes. It's this kind of stuff that makes me wary of writing negative reviews. Are people going to think I'm a mean and cruel person? Is someone going to take this the wrong way?

    Thanks for commenting, Steph! You brought up great points. Situations such as these are often much more complex and multi-faceted than at first sight.

  3. I used to try and keep up with all of the drama, but it got too exhausting! I also found it to be a huge time-suck and it made me kind of negative. So cutting out the drama is one of the things that I put in my blogging manifesto, since it really did nothing for me!

    Does controversy around an author automatically make me not read their book? No. But I might move it down my TBR slightly, haha

  4. There certainly is a lot of drama! I've recently come across a list on Goodreads of authors that have behaved badly and I was surprised to see some authors on there! Curious to find out how they ended up on the list!

    I don't find that I necessarily become more negative because of the drama but I definitely blow off a lot of time when I research into these kinds of things! If I had a blogging manifesto, I would definitely add "cut down on keeping up with the drama". :)

  5. With few exceptions of authors I have developed a relationship with, I tend to completely ignore authors. I've even had experiences when seeing a picture of an author has completely thrown me from my love of their books because they don't look like I think they should.

    That said, if an author started throwing down some drama about one of my reviews, I would probably never read one of their books again.

    Mei @ Diary of a Fair Weather Diver

  6. My connections with authors have been very limited as well so I'm most likely not going to run into any scandals as of present. In the future...well, I'm no psychic but I certainly hope not!

    Thanks for stopping by!