MusingsWritersWriting

Can An Author Be Publically Human

Okay, I really don’t get something.  Over the last two years since I jumped into the blogging game, I have seen at least half a dozen cases of well-known authors doing something equivalent to sticking their foot in it and pissing readers off either in small numbers or large.  And not based on killing off a beloved series character or something they’ve done in their writing to drive fans away.  No.  They’re being bad-mouthed and ostracized for daring to be human and have a life and honest opinion.  Tess Gerritsen got virtually publically flogged over her opinion about that business relating to that woman who went to such extreme lengths to have a negative Amazon review removed.  Some other folks were criticized for dressing up at convention (RWA?  I don’t remember–you see how important I consier this stuff).  Today another friend of mine was following more of the usual drama over at Dear Author and was so frustrated by the comments of one famous author that she swore never to buy the woman’s books.  This was evidently based on the author presenting some erroneous information (which sounded to me as if it were more an issue of being ill-informed). There are other people I’ve heard get riled up because an author had different political views, views on publishing, dared to have a sense of humor (swan hat anyone?).

Honestly I just don’t get it.  I don’t get why what an author says or does in public because they’re, you know, human, should have any bearing on whether I buy their books.  I mean, if they publicly admit to using puppies in satanic rituals or personally insult me, then that might actually bother me.  But if an author writes a good and entertaining story that I enjoy, I don’t give a rat’s ass what that author’s personal preference, opinion, or whatever is on…well, anything.  Honestly, I pay very little attention to the personal lives or even the public ones of most of the authors I read regularly.  They mostly aren’t the authors whose blogs I follow (which is probably odd, now that I think about it).  An author’s job is to entertain me.  If they do that in the books I read, then I’m satisfied.  That’s all that matters to me.

Any other attitude really, honestly baffles me.  So those of you that these things matter to, explain it to me.  I’m really curious why it actually matters.

2 thoughts on “Can An Author Be Publically Human

  1. Well, I don’t think I have a lot of experience reading off-book writing by authors, but I do start getting irritated when authors work in more and more personal pet social issues into books. I know it’s their book to write, but there is a difference between telling a good story and using the pretense of a story to convince people to your political opinion.

    The latest Rita Mae Brown–one of my favorite authors–was like that. It was a murder mystery but it involved a doctor who performed abortions. The language she used was really one-sided: terminating a pregnancy, fetus (never baby), and crazy anti-choicers who are all backwoods idiots with guns. Okay, she didn’t explicitly say the last phrase, but that was her characterization of it. I was disappointed because I really was interested in the storyline, but she really seemed like she had an agenda to push and it was distracting. Perhaps if she had worked it in more smoothly, it would not have been an issue, but I ended up putting the book down because I felt like I was reading a political opinion book. My mom quit reading it too, and she’s a huge fan of Ms. Brown.

    But, I suppose, it is her right to write what she wants, just as it is my right to find a new author when an old favorite isn’t a good fit anymore.

  2. For myself I’m trying to get into fewer debates, though more because I don’t have time for the silly nonsense. I think I am FINALLY getting it through my head that a lot of these debates are totally pointless. I don’t need the world to agree with me, but I do sorta like it when people here what I actually say instead of what they re-interpreted me as saying. That’s frustrating.

    I think for things that I really want to argue for the most part I’ll argue under a different name. Just to avoid shit that could mess up sales.

    It’s completely stupid, but it is what it is. And sometimes I feel that way too.

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