Sunday, 24 October 2010

Discussion: Does the Author Influence How You Judge the Books?

Okay, before I get to the discussion, I just want to make something clear: this post isn’t about getting involved in drama or anything, recent events on Twitter just made me genuinely curious about something and I wanted to know what you all thought. Now, onto the discussion...

So, earlier on Twitter there was this big fuss over something to do with Cassandra Clare and a fan… I’m not going to go into details on that, because it’s not what this post is about (if you’re curious, just go look it up) and it made me wonder:

Does an authors personality (or just how they come across online and how they treat their fans) influence how you read/judge their books?

For example, there are so many authors that I’ve seen on youtube or twitter or on their blogs and they just seem like such genuinely awesome people… and I tend to have that in mind when I read their books, it makes me want to love what they’ve written, I want to like the creation because I think the creator is awesome.

And there’s been a few rare times where I’ve read a book and it’s just not been my cup of tea but I’ve found myself feeling guilty about not liking it because the author is so lovely.

Then, of course, there’s the flip side of the coin: the very rare authors who just… don’t seem that nice (and I say rare, because I have honestly come across less than a handful of them in all my time blogging/reading).

A while ago, there was an author and she was unbelievably rude and horrible to some of her most devoted fans (and, also managed to insult a very large amount of other fandoms with her sweeping generalizations and overly dramatic analogies). I’m not going to mention her name, because it’s in the past and it got smoothed over (and the posts got deleted after about a week of arguments/discussions and hundreds of comments)… sort of.

But the point there is: her books were on my wish list for about a year. I intended to read them really soon… and then as soon as that all happened, I removed them from my to buy list because I just couldn’t bring myself to read her books knowing the kind of person she could be.

Another time, the author of one of my guilty pleasure best selling book series made some comments that I was kind of… not okay with. And although I had already read her books, I’ve never felt the desire to reread them since then and it’s kind of tainted the way I think of them.

I’m not sure if what an author is like as a person should have an impact on how people will judge their books, but it happens… on one hand, writing is a creative outlet and in a way, they are pouring a part of themselves into their words so I guess that could be why -- but on the other hand, it would probably be better in the long run to keep the art and the artist separate. But it’s difficult.

And really, it’s not just limited to books if you think about it -- admit it, a lot of you probably enjoyed Lindsay Lohan’s movies more back in her Parent Trap/Freaky Friday days before she went all trashy and off the rails… and Britney’s music was much more fun to listen to before her personal life overshadowed her talent.

A part of the reason people love Taylor Swifts music so much is because she’s pretty much made of adorable -- if she was this awful excuse for a human being, you really think people would be so into her music? For proof of that, take a look at Miley Cyrus, like Taylor, she’s doesn’t have the most amazing voice but her music is catchy, even if it’s not exactly lyrical genius or anything… her music is fun, but peoples dislike of her as a person make them more reluctant to like her music.

Sorry, rambling over. But does an authors personality/online persona/how they treat their fans matter to you? Or can you keep their books and them as people completely separate in your mind so one won’t be tainted by the other?

Have you ever been put off buying a book because of who wrote it? Or wanted to like a book because you like the author?


*Julie jumps in*

I very, very, very rarely see the negative side. As in, I've seen it once.

So, I'm gonna focus on the POSITIVES.

Anybody with a really positive influence on the YA community makes me want to read their books. Jackson Pearce is really funny and nice and does liveshows and I read and loved her books. Rachel Hawkins is also really funny and has similar taste to me, so I read and loved Hex Hall. Kiersten White's just adorable, so I read and loved her books.

For me, there's just SO many examples. I can think of two more without trying, probably even more if I really tried. And the YA community just has so many funny, sarcastic, wonderful authors, it's easy to find hundreds of books to read based on author alone.

And every time I pick up a book based on the author's online personality? I LOVE it.



  1. Its very hard for me to keep the artist and art separate. If I like the author and I haven't read any of their stuff yet I am much more willing to give their stuff a try as opposed to another author I don't like. I think its hard to keep their work separate from them because if you don't like someone then you don't want anything to remind you of them. It really just taints the book/song/movie no matter how good it is.

  2. I never had to think about this in the past, but now i find myself asking this question, i have to say have met some lovely authors and found myself wanting to like their books for that very reason, so i would say yes the author does have an impact.

  3. For me, the influence from an author comes in more when I'm deciding what to read or whether to accept a book for review, as opposed to how I feel about the book once I've read it. I get a lot of requests to review indie and self-published books and the way the author represents him/herself and the book is a huge factor in whether I'll take a book on for review- first impressions and all that. Beyond that, I tend to only follow the blogs/Twitter/Goodreads pages for authors whose work I enjoy and whose personalities shine through their work, so as a rule I don't follow anyone who's rude/obnoxious/condescending, and hence why I missed all the drama that's going on about this one author right now.

    Great post!

  4. This is a really good discussion. I went through this a couple of times- sweet authors, but the books not to my liking. I feel bad that I didn't like it, but at the same time, I try to communicate my feelings about the book. But I don't like them any less, obviously.

    Unless, as you mentioned, they said majorly something upsetting. They do effect readers, just like celebrity behaviors effect their jobs and fans (Christian Bale, anyone?).

  5. This is a really interesting post. I haven't really had a problem with this, but I think I do a pretty good job of keeping the author and the book separate. There's authors that seem like the sweetest person, but I just don't really like their books. The opposite hasn't happened to me yet, and hopefully it won't.

  6. I try to keep the author and their work separate, but it's difficult. I'm perfectly fine with authors who stay away from the media and don't have much of a presence beyond their books, but I do find the ones that use their platform to spout vitriol (eg, a certain science fiction writer known having particularly narrow-minded views about homosexuality and divorce) very difficult to willingly engage with at times.

    I'm lucky in that all of the authors I've dealt with as part of my review site or in person have been absolutely wonderful and accommodating--even if I've written quite a critical review. On the whole, they seem to be a professional lot, which is great :)

  7. I've never met an author I didn't like. One of the reasons I love the writing community is that after pouring your heart into a story, reworking, editing, revising, and then finally publishing, it's humbling to see the reaction of others. It's like exposing a part of who you are for the world to see. After an experience like that, there's a feeling of intimacy between authors and readers, a common bond between strangers. The love of imagination is what makes the literary community different from all the rest.



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