Thursday, June 2, 2011

Social Swamps and Mountain Tops

Yeah, odd subject. Sorta.

But I want to come at this stuff of socializing two different ways.

Firstly, we’ve blathered about the whole ‘nightmare’ of social networking. Ups and downs, etc. Now, here is the question of the day on that front…it’s easy to make mistakes in the swamp of social networking. Easy to have a bad day, say the wrong thing and inadvertently smack someone in the face. I’m curious about how those stumbles affect the actual sale of books, not to mention an author’s rep.

Yes, I’m certain that if you are slapped, you aren’t likely to buy a book from that author again. But…what if you’re on the sidelines, just saw this faux pas? Or you are a friend of the slapped? And this is an author whose books you absolutely adore. An author you have on auto buy! An author whose prose sends you floating…

What do you do?

You see, I’ve met authors who I enjoyed reading. They weren’t necessarily my ab-fab favorites, but I liked them. They told good stories and they did it well.

Then I met them. And…blech. Sometimes more than blech. Sometimes real revulsion. Did I stop reading them?

Actually, a few I did. And when friends would gush about these authors? I’d sorta smile and didn’t try to go into why I seldom read them anymore…

I mean, everyone has a bad day. And my snubs may have just been bad days. And the more than snubs? Those I did talk about.

What about you? I do tend to be pretty forgiving on the social stumbles. We all get a bit bogged down sometimes and we all have bad days. I figure I’m gonna mouth off or say the exact wrong thing eventually and I can only hope those who witness won’t judge me from one bad day.

But I’m curious, how do you feel about this?

At the other side, I want to crow about my publisher and something they are doing this month. My book, The Kraken’s Mirror, is the Read for the Cure Book of the Month at Decadent Publishing. What does this mean? Well, any purchase of the book during the month of June means my publisher donates the proceeds from that book to the fight for a cure to cancer. If you’re going to buy my book, consider doing it this month. If you bought it and liked it, consider encouraging anyone you think might enjoy it to buy it this month.

Because this is the peak of social networking, publisher style! ;-)

Gads! I almost forgot! I have a pair of pirate socks to give away! Random comment wins the prize! ;-)


Bosun said...

First off, as writers out there meeting other writers, I think we have a different take on this. When I was just a reader, before finding author bulletin boards or even finding Romancelandia on the web, I'd never met an author in person. Didn't know a thing about them so there was nothing to judge them on but their work.

I almost wish that were the case today. Today you have to have a persona, a personality that feels friendly and outgoing and welcoming while still churning out the books and living your life and....

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

I've had the occasional run-in with an author but mostly at writing conferences and there it's more a peer to peer exchange than a author to fan exchange. Anytime I've solely played the part of fan, it's been great. Peer to peer, not always.

Hellion said...

I don't know. I mean I know how I act and that can be construed as what I believe--because there are authors I flat out won't read because I've met them in person and it doesn't matter if they wrote the next Harry Potter, I'll set the book on fire before I read it. And I don't think it's just one bad day--I'm pretty sure this person is just this insufferable every single day of their life.

Then there are other authors who I read before I met them. And I loved their books. So meeting them put a damper on them--I got a new "insight" to how they are as real people, like, Wow, she's a pretentious SNOB!--and it pretty much tamps out any hero worship I had for that author. But did I stop reading those people? Three for I haven't. In fact, of the one whose books I've stopped buying outright, it's because I don't enjoy her books as themselves anymore. They're not "enough" in some way, which I've outlined before. The other two, I buy them as soon as they hit the shelves, I recommend them to everyone I know, even though I know they're as impersonable or snotty as can be.

If I stop reading books by a particular author, it's usually because the writing is sucking, not because the author sucks as a person. So long as I don't have to live next door to her, it's fine.

Oh, and I've met plenty of personable authors who were sweet as can be--and I cannot stand their books and would never recommend them to anyone. They make me feel the worst because they're so nice and I think they cannot write. *LOL*

Now there has been one author I met who is just as much a rock star in person as she is online--and that's the Assassin. She's just f***ing awesome.

Bosun said...

I'll second that about the Assassin. She spent an entire afternoon hanging with me at the DC conference just because I showed up looking lonely in the lobby. LOL! I kept thinking, "She can't really want to hang with me" but she did! And she's COOL!

2nd Chance said...

Perhaps it's a genre thing, Bo'sun. Long before I was writing I was meeting authors. Part of it was working at bookstores and going to author signings. Another part was the scifi cons, which is where I met a great many of them.

I just think the pitfalls are much greater now because of social networking! But I can remember my first experience with an author I loved to read...wrote a book that was clearly scifi but got upset when it was called that. Offended a lot of us and made it difficult for me the read her afterward. It was her tone regarding the 'very idea' that THT was scifi!

At cons it was face to face social stuff, hearing them at panels. And cons are very fan/writer things. Not writer/writer things!

2nd Chance said...

Good point, Hels. It's almost harder when you meet someone and they are a total sweetheart, but you just can't buy their stuff because it's just not good, according to your tastes.

At least you don't badmouth them!

What would you do if you met someone who gushed about the writer you personally know is a total b*tch on wheels?? Do you share your insight and personal story or just stay mum?

I mean, with one particular author, who I hear people gush about, I'm honest and will say - "Excellent writer, terrible human being."

2nd Chance said...

Ah! That is so sweet! I agree with both of ya on that front...

Which makes me wonder...can a fabulous human being see you buy a mediocre book? Recommend it?

I know authors who I personally really like, but I'm simply not interested in reading their books. Not that they can't write, but just don't read that genre, etc.

Not talking 'bout yer books, Assassin!

Bosun said...

That's why I said " writing conferences" and not just "conferences". MY experience is not going to anything involving writers as a fan only. It just didn't happen in my experience. Books were written by magical people I never laid eyes on.

2nd Chance said...

It's funny...the whole thing with the first author I mention...before the internet. But man, it was amazing how fast her big denial about where her book should be shelved made it around the circuit and left all of us with a bad taste in our mouth about her as a writer.

It tainted how I read her from then on. And eventually, I just stopped reading her.

I wonder if it's a genre sensitive situation... In any genre, really.

2nd Chance said...

Wow, I didn't think it was that dry a topic! Where the hell is everyone? Still hungover from the grand re-opening?

2nd Chance said...

You know, on the flipside of this. My sis...waving! (She might be out there.) She had the opposite opinion, that any author who is popular and sell well likely would blow off fans and not be interested in hearing from them...

Which from what I've seen, is totally the opposite of how RL is.

Bosun said...

It's official. This nesting shit is annoying. LOL! Whose idea what this???

*glares at Hal*

2nd Chance said...

Uh huh... Can we switch back?

Sin said...

I stalked Leslie for an entire weekend at a conference with Hells. I wouldn't mind doing it again. Leslie is a lot of fun.

2nd Chance said...

Maybe we'll all be a con together one day and we can be her posse...of stalkers!

What about you, Sinsister? You ever meet an author and fight the urge to stick an ice pick through their eye and settle for never buying them again?

Sin said...

And on the reading and social networking: I'm always going to run into troubles there. I hate socializing. I really don't do Twitter. I don't really search out many things on Facebook. I don't read blogs. I get most of my suggestions either by listening to you guys or wandering upon it in the store.

While some people may come off as standoffish in person, not everyone has that charm and charisma it takes to draw people to them and keep them there. Some people are inheritantly shy and getting published or trying to get published doesn't cure that. Drawing attention to yourself when you're shy is a painful process. While that doesn't excuse rudeness or snobbery, no one is perfect. I'm one of those people every time I open my mouth I stick my foot in it. That won't change no matter the circumstance.

Sin said...

My reply to the meeting is below. I've met very few authors. I don't attend a lot of signings. I've met Leslie (who was awesome and I'm not just saying that 'cuz she's the assassin or has the rights to Paris.) And I met Debbie Macomber in line for coffee one morning. And Eloisa James was outstandingly friendly and wonderful. And Janet Evanovich who was pretty cool. I'd planned on meeting Tara Janzen and Pamela Clare in August at RomCom in Denver but I couldn't make it work with my conference schedule and work.

My next goal is to stalk Pam. I think she would be agreeable.

2nd Chance said...

I do agree. And it's easy when you're shy or just not the most out there with being social for people to think you're being a snob.

I have a dear friend who is painfully awkward at social stuff and I sent her to blog of writers who address that very fact. They are shy and retiring how do they manage the networking that is almost a necessity in today's markets?

Very carefully and with a select eye!

I can do the 'out there' stuff. I just know I am going to eventually poke my foot in my mouth. It's a given. And I'm hoping if I'm very honest about it and apologize a lot, I'll be quickly forgiven.

2nd Chance said...

Do you wear your super secret, light reflecting ninja outfit when you do the stalking? Do the authors know you are stalking them?

Sounds like you've actually met quite a few, Sinster!

Sin said...

If only the Undead Monkey would believe that I'm capable of doing this. He'd be a great marketer for me. He's the complete opposite of me. He can talk circles around anyone. He's perfect in a social setting.

I keep telling myself I have to learn. I just have no desire to do it. And if I can't finish anything, there's no need to worry about it at this very second. By the time I have anything to promote and pitch, all the trends will be different and the social networks will have something new and shiny to learn.

2nd Chance said...

Oh, man...does that sound like a new 'not writing' technique. Where's Dead Reckoning to give it a clever name...

Though you're right, the social networking stuff moves like lightning.

Hellion said...

OH, the Nicholas Sparks problem. "I don't write Sci-Fi" like "I don't write ROMANCE! Ick! I write LOVE STORIES." Nice.

Sin said...

I prefer to blend into the crowds when in public. That way no one ever notices me.

2nd Chance said...

I KNOW! You just want to smack them around about it. And when I'm at scifi cons that get all snubby about romance I want to shout the sales figures out and just superiorly sneer at them.

Not that my present sales figures are anything to crow about, but in general...!

I do have several scifi and steampunk authors on probation in regards to reading their stuff because of their attitudes.

Hellion said...

I don't bad mouth them in public. I've said plenty to my reader friends face to face, "I can't stand so and so! Her stories are SOOO unbelievable!" and go into a diatribe of what I hated about the book. Fortunately my reader friends are sane and capable of thinking for themselves, so either the things I'm bitching about don't bother them OR they realize I'm right and just avoid them too. *LOL*

Hellion said...

I didn't finish reading the comment before I spoke.

What would you do if you met someone who gushed about the writer you personally know is a total b*tch on wheels?? Do you share your insight and personal story or just stay mum?

Believe me, if it's the woman in question, I would say, BITCH ON WHEELS--and I'd say, "And her storytelling sucks. Her characters are flat. Her characters do things only according to her plot and not the other way around, motivation is thin or non-existent, and don't get me started about the sex."

Mind you, I haven't even read one of her books because I flat out can't stand her. I'm quoting a reader friend who had read her books and can't stand her either.

SO in other words: GUILTY AS CHARGED

2nd Chance said...

I try to differentiate between the writer and the person. Or the writing and the person.

Though I have met those who have crossed that line and I'm just not interested in giving them my money ever again...

2nd Chance said...

You see, I have a hard time with this one. If a reader is totally anamored of this writer, I hate to pop their bubble. And I try to play the devil's advocate... "Maybe my experience was an isolated one. Maybe I don't have the right to rain on this reader's parade..."

Plus...well, one person's hurt feelings is another person's shrug off.

Granted, maybe one day I'll have someone really be nasty and it will witnessed by enough people that I could throw a rock and be applauded.

Donna said...

Sorry for showing up late. I've got a zillion things going on here.

I'm not sure I like the nesting, and whew, the font is so SMALL now. LOL I guess I'll have to change my screen resolution to 150% or something. I feel like I'm blind.

I think it's easy to tell when an author is feeling shy and/or awkward, and when they're being arrogant or disdainful. The latter never works, and the former is forgivable. We've all been in that place where we've made a social faux pas due to nervousness. But there's really no reason to be rude, especially to fans or potential fans.

I was the shyest person growing up, and I learned early on the easiest way to get thru a conversation was to ask questions of the OTHER person -- because people like to talk about themselves. :) And asking somebody what they're writing is always a good conversation starter.

I've bought books because I like a person, but as Hellion says, it is tough when you like THEM more than their books. There are several folks whose books I won't buy because of their behavior or attitude, but I doubt they'll notice a dip in sales because of me. LOL

2nd Chance said...

True, it's only my dollar I'm holding back when I don't buy. But I do like to be a socially conscious shopper, even when it isn't about saving a planet...just not supporting someone individually.

I do think everyone has bad days and bad moments and gut level reactions that can really screw you up...especially with the speed of cyberspace.

Which is why I try to give the benefit of the doubt in most all cases.

And when I hear stories from friends about this writer or that writer, I try to guage it all on what I know about the speaker...

Bosun said...

I'll see about getting the font larger. I wasn't sure if it was just me or my screen.

I think Hellie is talking about a severe case. Not one slight. Nothing minor. There is an author who slights me at every turn. In person. Online. And I was aquainted with this person before she ever sold anything. It's possible I did something somewhere that I'm unaware of, but I'm not going to be buying her books either way.

I've yet to tell others not to read her though. I don't see the point. Not every book is for every reader. This author's books seem to be reviewed well so more power to her.

Janga said...

Since I don't go to conferences or author signings, I haven't met any romance authors face-to-face, but those with whom I've had contact on boards and blogs or via email have, with few exceptions, been warm and gracious. I still remember the first fan email I ever sent. It was to the late Edith Layton, and her kind response touched me.

When I taught high school (before the days of the internet), I often had my students write to the author of a book they had read. Those who wrote to genre fiction authors almost always received personal responses. YA authors sometimes responded personally and sometimes had publicists send responses. Authors of literary fiction generally ignored the letters.

There are two authors whose books I refuse to buy because I have found them rude and arrogant. I don't bad mouth them in public, but I will never spend a cent on one of their books nor read one if it's given to me. And I will never recommend their books. OTOH, one of my favorite authors can be a bit of a curmudgeon online, and I never miss her books, which I frequently rave about. For me, there's a huge difference in someone whose online persona I find less than appealing and someone for whom rudeness and self-absorption are common offenses.

2nd Chance said...

Yeah, with something like that you just don't know what the f*ck is going on. Is it personal or what?

I'm usually willing to give a bit of a break with people I don't really know...maybe I remind them of some grammar school teacher who was really nasty? But if someone I knew disses me on the road to fame?

Dead to me.

And yes, the font is a little small. And I officially hate the nesting.

Bosun said...

Then stop hitting the reply button and "nesting" your comments.


2nd Chance said...

It's kinda addictive... ;-)

2nd Chance said...

For me, there’s a huge difference in someone whose online persona I find less than appealing and someone for whom rudeness and self-absorption are common offenses.

Gotta agree with you on this one, Janga. Well put! And I do find interesting that you hold back on commenting on specifics...with everyone or just online?

I mean if you were to meet a bunch of us at a conference and talk turned to who personifies rudeness...would you share? Or still stay mum?

Hellion said...

Like Janga, I've written to authors of novels I've really loved (not JK Rowling but that's because I'd have to write Scholastic and it'd have to be forwarded, blah, blah, blah) and they (I think all of them have?) have written me back the most gracious kind emails in return. I think even the very popular authors like fan mail because well, writing is a lonely business and usually writing takes a certain kind of personality--the kind of personality who is seeking approval even if we say we're not. *LOL* It's why writers look at reviews even when they say you shouldn't. They want to torture themselves. *LOL* I think it's always right to write authors who have written books you admire.

And I'm with Donna--I usually show the author by not buying their books--but my $7 doesn't usually put a dent in their check.

I don't go on Amazon or pretty much anywhere and give reviews, unless it's a positive review. I've written one horrible review back when I was young, but no more. It's not worth the time to badmouth someone in public. Who the hell cares? *LOL* Those who like this person like them and those who don't, don't. You haven't swayed anyone one way or the other, I assure you.

Donna said...

I mean if you were to meet a bunch of us at a conference and talk turned to who personifies rudeness…would you share? Or still stay mum?

That's a tough one. I mean, if I'm yakking about who is rude, then it seems like it reflects on ME just as much as them. LOL

This past weekend, when Christine was taking pitches from the local authors, we would chat with them while they were waiting their turn. They had seen us speak the night before at the bookstore, and they looked at us as having "made it", because we were a step closer to the goal, and they were listening to us as if we were oracles. It was a good reminder that I was making an impression on people who could potentially decide to buy my books based on how I treated them that day.

2nd Chance said...

If you're right and reviews don't really matter in this you think people who bother to post nasty comments on Amazon are just looking to get a rise out of the author?

I mean, if writing is a lonely place, imagine being a reader who wants to be a reviewer people listen to?

Now that I have some reviews out's a hard thing to handle at times. I've had mostly positives, but one that was less than flattering. Though it gave me some real giggles after the sinking sensation in my tummy went away...

The thing is...and I've thought about this... As readers...let me see how to put this right... No, as a writer...would you want to hear from a reader who stopped buying you for why they stopped buying you? To give you a chance to explain or atone? (Granted, this goes on the assumption that the writer did something legitimately correctable.)

Or do you just some/lose some?

Bosun said...

If I was in a hotel room at a conference with friends I trusted, I'd relay a negative encounter with an author. But not outside the room and not to anyone I didn't trust to keep the confidence.

2nd Chance said...

I can understand this, totally. Especially as you are a writer and ... let's face it...its a small world!

If you were just a plans on crossing to the writer you care and speak up, period? Without turning it all into a feeding frenzy.

I suppose it's a real swim in murky waters, one way or the other.

2nd Chance said...

This I totally get! Sometimes it isn't about the other author, but about the impression we want to make.

But geez. I was in this situation earlier this year... A friend pitched to someone and got a request and I wanted sooooo badly to share some insider insight about why she should tread carefully... But! To rain on that parade? And maybe she'd have a good experience? And who am I to say?

I honestly was so relieved when she eventually got a pass. Felt bad for her and happy for her at the same time...

In that situation, what is the right road to take? If she'd signed and then been smacked...should I have said something?

Hellion said...

I don't know.

I agree that some reviewers want to be taken seriously for their opinion--though if you want to, I'd work on submitting reviews somewhere than other than AMAZON. (I love Amazon, but it's not a place where I think your opinion matters as much as say NYT or a book reviewer blog. I take Smart Women Trashy Books much more seriously for their opinions than Amazon reviewers. But that's just me. I'm sure some people LOVE Amazon reviews; and it's not like I don't use the reviews to decide on a product some of the time. I don't usually use them to decide on a book though...)

As a writer...I don't know. And I say that because I'm thinking of Laurell K. Hamilton and her Anita Blake series. I've heard stories of people who stood in line to buy her book (in HARDBACK), then gave her a blistering opinion of why her writing was now crap. That is about as ridiculous--more so--than a blistering Amazon review. Really? Why did you do that? And I think it's like Donna said--think for a second how badly this is reflecting on YOU, the ranting maniac? (I say this with a straight face considering the times I've ranted about that Wallflower book.)

And the reader said, "You're writing it WRONG. You've lost your way. There's TOO MUCH SEX and there's no plot." Now part of me could see this--there is alot of sex, but I wouldn't say there was no plot. I still enjoyed the books. I could buy into where LKH was taking the series. And all I can think is, "WHY would you pay $30 and spend your afternoon in line to tell off this author? There are better things to do with your time and money."

So I don't think I'd want to know. I think the author has the creative authority to take her series wherever she wants, however she sees fit. If it's series suicide, that's up to her. (And I can think of another author who's done just that and she couldn't give a rip about negative opinions.)

Creative Authority belongs to the author, not the reader. If the reader doesn't like it, they can find a new author or they can write their own book. Period.

Donna said...

Hellion, I like that "Creative Authority" phrase. I might just add it as my title on my business cards. LOL

I hope I'm not missing anything with those nested comments. I kinda feel like I am. I've got to dash and get some more things done, so I'll check in later.

Creative Authority

2nd Chance said...

In total agreement when it comes to the writing part. Really. Even if I have a particular writer I'd like to hang from the yardarm, I'm not going to rant at her. (Hey, with luck, her loss will be my gain.) I will share my opinion privately with people.

But if I, as a writer, inadvertantly snub someone, step on their toes...this I think I'd like to know. Because this is a social faux pas, not an opinion of my writer. More like an opinion of me as a human being.

2nd Chance said...

And I'm off to drop the dog into daycare and mail some PRIZES!

2nd Chance said...

Yeah... Don't like the rain today? Take it up with the Creative Authority! ;-)

Bosun said...

If you were just a reader…no plans on crossing to the writer side…do you care and speak up, period?

I'm trying to remember pre-2006 when I was reader only. I don't remember picking up books that I didn't like. And like I said, I never encountered authors in person. Hmmm....I think if I really didn't like a book, and another reader asked, I'd say I didn't like it and why. But strangely enough, I never hung with other Romance readers back then either. Except my sister, and we usually liked the same authors.

2nd Chance said...

At the scifi cons...people aren't shy about their opinions... I heard a lot back in my pre-writer days.

Probably why I don't even try to step into that arena... ;-)

Be back in a bit!

Hellion said...

Yes, but I don't see any reader saying, "I'm not reading you anymore because you're a snotty bitch." Though I'd LOVE to say that to the one who really irks me. *LOL* But those aren't usually the reviews that are left behind, you know? It's usually complaints about where the series went. You get those sci-fi guys that complain because "Now there's a ROMANCE, GAG ME!" or romance people who go off because some historical detail was wrong, or the chemistry was off, or hero was a jerk and not redeemable.

And I already know I'm a snotty that's going to be a problem when I start doing public things.'re mailing prizes??? EEK!

2nd Chance said...

Ah, but how many readers aren't buying a certain writer anymore because they're a snob? It's an unknown number, really.

I figure there will always be the disgruntled readers who didn't like the direction I go, one way or the other. Can't help those. You can't please everyone!

But I...well, don't so much worry as wonder, about the simple faux pas that can be blown all out of proportion and how to snip them in the bud! And wonder if they influence the bottom line at all.

Evidently, they do. You have authors you don't buy anymore. The Bo'sun does. I do. And we're only three in this crew! Imagine that number magnified in the greater marketplace?

Hellion said...

But the majority of authors I don't buy anymore have to do with I don't like the writing any more. It's less about the persona or personality of the writer. Most writers, I'd guess, aren't very "personable"--that's why they're writers. People who are personable tend to talkers...and doers, not observers.

The people I've stopped buying is much less that I think they're insufferable than I think their writing is insufferable. I assure you the latter is the bigger crime.

It sounds like you're trying to control the uncontrollable. Like trying to control the reaction of an editor you've sent your book to, when they may have rejected your work for a dozen reasons other than your writing is actually bad.

I am intelligent enough to realize that most of the authors I'm offended by, who are "snobby" are not making me feel inferior without my consent. I could be smart enough to realize this is THEIR problem and not mine, so the fact I'm bothered at all is MY problem. And that's what this is: you're trying to control your readerships' PROBLEMS.

Now...logically, do you think that's even remotely doable? No.

And even if you COULD do something about it, are you suggesting you should change your personality and become someone else just to get an approving readership? How would that be better. At the very least, it would be exhausting; and the worst, it wouldn't be authentic. I think we all prefer someone who is authentic rather than someone who is unfailingly polite and perfect.

So Oprah says: stop worrying about it.

2nd Chance said...

Well, I'm not losing any sleep over it. Really. I'm just the wondering sort! ;-)

I hear, over and over and over, from editors and people who supposedly are in the know... Do not post anything that can come back and bite you. Temper your reactions, tame the bad days, etc. Don't snap back at ignorant reviewers... In otherwords, be social, but careful.

And I wonder if this is really important or not? Do people really make up their mind to buy or not buy you based on the occassional bit of 'bad press'?

I'm sensitive enough - because writers do need to be sensitive -


- to care if I step on someone's toes and need to apologize. Not so much because I want them to buy my books and like me...but because I was raised right!

In the grand scheme, do those who don't bother to apologize lose sales?

Really, Cap'n, I'm not worried about it! I'm curious! Like a cat, I'm not worried about that bird in the tree...I'm curious about it!

Hellion said...

WRITING something on the internet and SAYING something in public are two different things. WRITING is permanent. I don't think that advice is good etiquette for writers only. It's for everyone, all the time. Writing is permanent.

Twitter and Facebook and the internet are new enough that I don't think we're going to understand the repercussions for some time. We're already dealing with kids who have only known technology and can neither write a non-shorthand sentence in chatroom/texting format OR wait for anything.

Bosun said...

That's what we get for typing at the same time. LOL!

Bosun said...

Bottom line is, that advice about not snapping back and being careful what you post online does not just apply to writers. It applies to everyone. I don't care who you are.

Be nice. Be tolerant. Be cautious and think before you fire something hateful into the universe, whether it's coming out of your keyboard or your mouth.

If you're a good person who makes an effort to be nice to people, then you'll be fine. Online and off. I'd say think and use common sense. That should cover it.

2nd Chance said...

So true! But language is a living thing and I suspect a lot of the internet shorthand will...for good or bad...become part of the common way to write eventually.

I agree, the interent is tricky. I mean, all the kerfuffles about saying this or responding to that and how everyone gets in a tizzy about it... Does anyone remember particulars enough to scratch an author off their buy list? Does anyone really care enough?

In person snubs and experiences last longer in the mind. Do they have the same impact as a comment on FB before the first cup of coffee?

2nd Chance said...

And the internet, most especially so odd sometimes. I know authors who accepted a friend and then that friend got all in their face because they posted about their new book and it's a M/M and that is offensive!

Well...duh! You friended them, what the heck! Gads, it's like someone of a different religion joining your church and telling you you're doing it all wrong and how dare you!?

It's just plain old goofy sometimes! Brings out the lunatic fringe in everyone!

Donna said...

To me, it comes down to this: "What do you want to be known for?"

I have strong opinions about a lot of things, but I don't share them online. I want people to think of me as humorous, good with words, who provides helpful writing info. I don't want them to think "crazy ranty woman" when they hear my name. LOL

Everyone has slipups. Everyone has a bad day. Everyone understands that.

But if you're tempted to go off on a rant, "what do you want to be known for?" is a good thing to ask yourself first.

2nd Chance said...

True, Donnaroo...

I want to be known as slightly demented, but cheerful about it all. First author to use the phrase piratepunk...

Oh, and I bludgeon people with foul langauge. Such fun!

Hellion said...

I think they were talking about this topic in the last RWR magazine, or maybe I saw it as an article on The Writer magazine???

Basically a certain author went crazy about a review that was done about her book--and everyone is saying she shot herself in the foot.

I remember that author, I remember that book, and I remember that review. And all I can think is that it was like shooting someone who was already dying of something else. Even if she hadn't said a word about it, I don't think her book would have been any more or less read...because it looked like a book that was for a VERY SMALL AUDIENCE.

And I know another author who seems to make a muck of nearly everything she does: interviews, personal interactions, reviews, blogs--but her stories are broad enough, mainstream enough that I think she could survive and be successful even if she wasn't particularly likable. I think it would be difficult to offend every single person who's likely to pick up her book because her books hit a broader audience.

2nd Chance said...

I think ranting about a review can be really bad news with other reviewers...does it really bug the reader? Okay, I almost never read reviews of any books, online or other. So, if a writer raises a stink and it makes the rounds, it's more likely to draw my interest TO the book.

That sort of publicity is a double edged sword. If I read a review that was totally whacked and the author responded with the same opinion...? I'd probably go buy her book on principle.

It's the "I know you are but what am I?" stuff that will make me roll my eyes and totally duck for cover.

With a small author, with a small crowd...could raising a stink actually help her bottom line? Yeah, mud with others...but? Depends on the stink...

Di R said...

Very thought provoking, blog and discussion.
I follow the advice I learned when I was a little girl, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." I add to that a lesson I've learned as an adult. When something happens, remember to take a moment and breathe, before you react.


Janga said...

I don't think the authors I refuse to buy miss my $8, but I think for those of us who regularly talk about books online, silence can influence other readers. I'm fortunate to have led other people to read books I have loved and written about. I'm nevergoing to lead anyone to read books by the two authors I mentioned because I'm never going to mention their books in lists, blog posts, or conversations. So potentially these authors have lost more than my $8.

I mean if you were to meet a bunch of us at a conference and talk turned to who personifies rudeness…would you share? Or still stay mum?

It would depend on the bunch and the place. I would not say anything negative in a public place, just as I never would online. Even in a private setting, I'd save my brutal honesty for friends who have proven trustworthy. Conviviality is not enough.

2nd Chance said...

Oh, yeah. Di on it about the difference between react and reflect. My sis and I go around this all the time. I want time to reflect and then respond. Which is why I love e-mail.

She prefers face to face...but she's got fast reaction time. Not always to her benefit! I have sucky reaction time, regardless of whether my eventual response is good or bad for me.

I'm working on the ask people questions stuff when face to face in order to gain the space and time I need to reflect...

Julie said...

"My book, The Kraken’s Mirror, is the Read for the Cure Book of the Month at Decadent Publishing. What does this mean?"

What does this mean? it means You can behave like you “ got up on the wrong side of the bed while you say the wrong thing and inadvertently smack someone in the face” but still be forgiven. Why? Because your support of a good cause proves that you really do care about people. Even if some of your occasional (note I didn‘t say habitual ) actions/reactions might leave the readers with a suspicion that this song
was written in your honor.

2nd Chance said...

Yer very wise, Janga. I have to watch my babble level, no matter where I am generally. I need a happy medium. I've been with friends who bascially never say anything in public for fear someone might be listening. And those who talk about everything... I think I fall somewhere in between.

I have this vision of being in a bookstore with you...picking up one of your do-not-buy authors and you silently taking the book from me and putting it back, handing me another way and softly saying. "Take this one, much better!"

2nd Chance said...

I have a very socially conscious publisher when it comes to what they believe in, Julie... ;-)

I'll watch the video when I'm not at Starbucks!

Marnee said...

I can't see all the comments.... :*(

As to the question....

This is tough. There's a lot at play. For example, if an author's responding to comments on a blog, or comments on FB. Or in general, if an author is responding, I tend to allow some swing room. It's impossible to gage full intent over the internet. We can't hear the tone of their voice exactly. Sometimes I'm chatty, sometimes I don't have much to say. So, I just kinda go with it.

Exception: an author should NEVER respond to criticism on their work. Even if it's to thank someone for their honesty and thoughtful response. In writing, even a genuine response to criticism can be misconstrued.

I also think it's important to be humble when it comes to success.

In person, I think that it's just important to be nice. Whatever that means for you.

2nd Chance said...

Marn! You can't see all the comments? I'm sorry! Wonder what is going on. Is the new ship...haunted?

I think you're a kind soul to allow some wiggle room with response. It seems to be a place everyone has a different standard on. We'd like to think we're all professionals, but, damn it! We're also human and if someone says something nasty about your kid...hard not to snap back.

*note to self...humble and nice

Marnee said...

Maybe this was said, but I'm more worried about offending someone else than about being offended myself. I try really hard not to say things that could offend, but no one ever knows exactly how their responses are going to be absorbed. So my biggest concern is that I would inadvertently hurt someone's feelings because I'm a flake and sometimes say too much or say something the wrong way.

I think that I can only see the last ten or so comments. It has an older comment button. I shall press that and see if it takes me to the beginning..... If I don't come back soon, send out a search party.

2nd Chance said...

That should do it, Marn.

I'm like you. I would be horrified to actually smack someone, so I try to be very, very, very careful. But I know myself and I'm gonna do it eventually.

I'll be back in about an hour. Lunch beckons!

Marnee said...

I see! I figured it out. *waits for a scratch between the ears. No one volunteers. Sags.*

Well, okay then. Since everyone else is swifter than me.... Whatever.


JK Coi said...

I can only see the last handful of comments, but I think I have the gist of the convo! :)

Personally, I like to keep things easy peasy online. I might chat about my day a little bit on facebook and twitter, and I might crack a few jokes in between discussing my writing process or whatnot, but I try not to let it get too personal. As a writer, I want to appear personable and approachable, and I want people to know that I'm not going to constantly shove my work down their throats, so I can't just pimp my books 24/7 -- that would get so boring anyway! But I have to also remember my responsibility to my family, my privacy and my reputation.

Great discussion!

Scapegoat said...

So many of the comments today are long so it took me a bit to read them all and catch up!

For my part, most of the authors I loved turned out to be lovely in person. Some not exactly what I expected, but most at least nice.

There have only been a few that put me off and then I do find it hard to read them again without being reminded of this.

Showing your ass on social sites can be just as bad as in person if not worse. There's a certain "writing guru" who does tons of writers workshops who took it upon himself to write the most ass-hole comments of all time about book bloggers on a site. I lost every ounce of respect I have for him. I literally seethe with hatred I want to scream at the top of my lungs everytime someone mentions him or RT's him on twitter.

I hate him with never-ending passion.

I don't bash other writers though. Or even that man. I've never told anyone what I thought about what he wrote. Becuase you never know who that person knows. And it really is a small community. :)

I'm like Bo'Sun - maybe face to face with friends I trusted I might say something, but no where else.

2nd Chance said...

jk...older comments button will take you to the first half of the discussion...

It is a bit disconcerting, this odd little button... ;-)

I agree, but I find it hard to know what is enough and what isn't enough!

2nd Chance said...

Now, I'm dying of curiosity, Scape! I know several well known authors who have totally lost the respect of many of us smaller published due to his comments about how piracy helps the bottom line...

Yeah, if you have a super structure above the waterline!

Scapegoat said...

Ha - I must have missed something about the whole piracy thing. Not sure if it's the same guy or not. How did I miss it?!?

There is another element to this as well - when the author is nice, but totally seems the opposite of what you expected.

Like an author who writes sassy, sexy heroines who in person is shy, reserved and quiet? What do you think about that?

Makes me think it's all on the inside and coming out through the writing!

P. Kirby said...

Probably repeating what others have said (taking a breather from the dining room project, so not a lot of time to read comments) ...

But ... having watched kerfuffle after kerfuffle, I believe there's no such thing as a permanent record. I mean, yeah, when you write something on the Internet, it lies there like bones of infamy. Sort of.

People have itty-bitty attention spans. And what's today's Internet pile-on is quickly forgotten. Stuff that had someone absolutely livid is quickly replaced by the latest outrage.

The Internet, because of its anonymity, is the perfect place for pitchfork waving mobs surrounding the castle of the unfortunate fool who said something stupid. But mobs get bored; new monsters arise and off they go.

Yeah, there are a few (very few) authors I won't buy because of something they've said. Orson Scott Card, for one, for his homophobia. But, honestly? It's not like I really liked his writing all that much.

I know I've pissed people off. I'm opinionated. And often passionate about my opinions. But in the long run, my lack of motivation to really get out and promote and network (I suck at both) is probably impacting my sales more than one of my snotty blog posts, or a battle at a political site.

*Shrugs and goes off to fight with drywall.*

2nd Chance said...

Eh, Scape... I have no idea if this was the same guy. But it was interesting, his take on the whole thing involved having people get your stuff to read, even if they stole it, is a good thing. That sort of theft is never a good thing, period.

But yeah, the authors who write steamy stuff and you meet them and they are meek and mild. Was it in Orlando with the author who wrote steamy stuff under one name and totally sweet contemps with another...may the two never meet! And she had to careful who she was with which fans!

2nd Chance said...

Pat...ah, I disliked his writing before I knew that!

But I am beginning to think you're right for the mobbed masses. Not so sure about the people who are very genre specific. I do think if you piss off a noted reviewer by squablling with them, you're shooting yourself in the foot when it comes to other reviewers. Not true with all reviewers, as I'm sure even the book reviewers have sites they sorta look sideways at.

Am I right, Scape? No need to go into any details, btw! ;-)

(e-mail me later...)

I think maybe, having a rep as a scrappy curmudgeon might work to your advantage, Pat. Those who are totally on it with you will go looking for your books. I know one of the scrappiest guys on FB is an author I read, idea of his politics. When he posts political stuff I just chortle. I soooooo agree with him!

Bosun said...

I change my livingroom around and miss the nighttime discussion. I too am curious about who Scape is talking about!

My take on the shy ones writing steamy > I think it just means they have a vivid imagination but communicating that verbally is not their thing. But writing can be done without having to look at the reader while you're writing. Can be unihibiting.

Now off to bed!

2nd Chance said...

Maybe! We'll have to corner Scape when we do our Florida retreat and beat it out of her... ;-)

Jenny Brown said...

The more time we writers spend on social media the more we raise the chances that we're going to bore potential readers.

People buy our books because they want to be swept away to exciting places filled with vibrant characters. We aren't sending the message that we can do that for them when we post about how our electric can opener broke or how sad we are that our favorite TV show isn't being renewed.

For my part, I don't care what kind of a bitch an author might be or how lame her social skills if she can write the kind of book that keeps me reading way past when I ought to be asleep and makes me fall in love with the hero.

In fact, a case could be made that some of the greatest writers of all time had the worst social skills. Normal people, after all, don't spend years off by themselves copying down the conversations of their imaginary playmates and turning them into compelling narratives. Jane Austen was widely believed to have a very sharp tongue.

2nd Chance said...

Good point, Jenny. But I do think that today's readers expect, even demand, that the authors they love be more accessible to them. Not so much answerable, etc. But it's a bit of the living vicariously stuff doing on and the simply desire to touch the genius. (genius? Well, you know what I mean!)

The ease of social media makes it so easy for readers to touch their authors...

Now, I don't get all depressed if my fav isn't on FB or twitter. I don't get angry and consider them a snob. But I feel a little bummed.

In general the only authors I have walked away from were ones I met at conference of convention who I saw be rude, heard talking and I walked away with an ugly feeling about them...that sort of thing.

Maybe the next question I'll ask about this subject is this... Can a new author gain an audience without treading the social media tightrope? Considering most publishers will put basically nothing forward to promote the average author...

Food for thought!

Jenny Brown said...

Your post nails the problem for the new author who doesn't have much publisher support. As willing as they might be to have their genius be touched, potential readers do what you do: They use social media to find the authors they already know and love, NOT to go looking for authors they've never heard of.

So it's tough for new authors to build up an audience of TwitFace followers that isn't made up almost entirely of second cousins from Nebraska, horney men from Estonia, or bots created to friend people in order to harvest their personal information.

Real marketing involves getting your message to people who fit the parameters of your target market who haven't yet heard of you. The message part is what gets lost in most of the chatter about social networking. How are your social networking activities getting across the message that you write entertaining BOOKS? Posting pictures of your Kute Kitty and gushing about your favorite TV star won't do that.

Bosun said...


Favorite new term. Thanks, Jenny!

I find myself following along on social media more than joining in. I have to really have something to say before I'll tweet. And I'm not yet working on building a readership. For me, this time is more about networking within the industry world, and that might be more treacherous waters than dealing with readers. At least it feels like it.

2nd Chance said...

It's awkward, as a new author, to figure out what to post that will get the message across that I write entertaining books. I think... I hope, the it's the old word of mouth thing. Since The Kraken's Mirror has been released, I've picked up a handful of new people to, for example, my FB account. I strive to be entertaining with my posts and keep them interested in me so that they'll remember me when the next book comes out. Interested and entertained to the extent that they'll tell others about this fav new author they discovered...

One thing social networking is excellent for is word of mouth...

Yeah. twitface...I feel like that...a lot!