Wednesday, August 29, 2012

A Cocktail & Conversation -- Naughty Authors & Its Effect On Us As Readers

 Every Wednesday here at the Broke & The Bookish is going to be A Cocktail & Conversation time. We'll pose a question to 2-3 members of TB&TB crew about books, life, music, etc and then they'll answer and we can converse about it. So grab a cocktail & cozy up for some conversation. It's 5 o'clock somewhere, friends. 

This week: Has an author's behavior/personality/something they said/stance on something important to you ever made you not want to read their books for that fact alone? Example? What kinds of things could deter you from reading an author's book?

Tahleen says: Actually, this happened just last week to me. I don't know if anyone heard about the Emily Giffin debacle, but what started as just a negative review on Amazon turned into this firestorm that ended up leading to one reviewer receiving death threats from a rabid fan. I had been curious about Giffin's books, but this event coupled with the fact that I already had an enormous amount of books to read, plus the fact that I was only mildly interested in the novel, made me return Something Borrowed to the library the next day. Here's a link to the reviewer's recap of the events:

Kelly says: Truthfully? If an author is acting immature regarding negative feedback about one of their books, which we know happens quite often in the book/blogging world, it just makes me want to read their book more. I want to know if their book is as good as they think it is and if their defensiveness is necessary. However, I'll go into the book with a much more critical and guard thought process. Of course, the same goes the other way as well. I've had an author send me a bunch of cool goodies along with an ARC of their new book, so of course I was eager to read it (and went in with a good feeling)!

Jamie says: Honestly, sometimes authors behaviors really do leave a bad taste in my mouth and make me not want to read their books. The first time I experienced it was with the whole James Frey thing. I was excited to read that book and then that whole debacle happened and suddenly I had no desire to read it anymore. It's happened more since then, probably because authors are more in my life with Twitter and Facebook and blogs. I try really hard not to let personalities or strong opinions or even petty (read: not serious) drama effect whether I read a book. But sometimes I know I cannot support things and then I will quietly avoid their books.

What about you, readers? Has an author's behavior/personality/something they said/stance on something important to you ever made you not want to read their books for that fact alone? What kinds of things could deter you from reading an author's book?


  1. Yeah, I like reading about the scandals and the hella crazy shiz that always goes down when authors behave badly, but I don't usually get involved outside of that of voyeur. I think it makes the author look unprofessional and immature when they are seen throwing a hissy fit because someone (legitimately) criticized their book. It makes me sad, sometimes scares that it may happen to me, but mostly grateful that my author interactions were so amazing!

  2. I'm really glad I haven't experienced this first hand, but it always makes me sad. Though it is sort of like a train wreck: I can't look away when I come across it on the internet.
    And this kind of behaviour does turn me off a bit and make me think twice whether or not I want to read a book. If I've been dying to read the book, I'll still do it, but if I'm only mildly interested, I'll probably skip it.

  3. So sad that authors (and their husbands) feel so defensive about their creative work. I've basically managed to stay out of the fray with this blogger vs. author wars, but I don't like what I am seeing. If there are two groups of people that should be working together, it would be authors and bloggers.

    I do have to wonder how competitive book publishing has become. In reading the Emily Giffin story, it sounds very much like she is desperately trying to earn money that she has already spent. There is a desperation to her words on FB and Amazon almost like she's having trouble paying the mortgage or something. Hmmm...

    I'm a firm believer that all publicity is good publicity.

  4. Tahleen -- Just read the entire post about Emily Giffin. Thank you so much for linking! What appalling, shocking behavior. Someone get that girl a publicist! What a shame.

    1. Ditto this. I read the drama last week & just couldn't believe everything that was going on. I'm not like the biggest EG fan, but I was going to read her book since I've read all the others. Now, not so sure. :-/

    2. Anna, no problem--I'm glad you appreciated the link. I feel like I want other people to know about stuff like this, because otherwise I feel like I'm condoning their behavior if I don't say something. It really is a shame, but it makes my TBR pile that much shorter.

  5. I just read the Emily Giffin post. OMG!! I haven't read any of her books and I'm not going to now. I wasn't really interested in books that made cheating seem like a good thing, but her attitude has turned me off completely.

    I can also related to the James Frey thing. I'll never read any of his stuff or Pittacus Lore.

    A contemporary author pulling attitude or doing something I disagree with is more likely to get me to stop reading their books than if I hear of a classic author being racist or sexist (I heard Dickens did not like Austen), I still might read their books, because I take time period/culture into account, though it might still effect how I see their work.

  6. I am fascinated by drama when it goes down, though I will personally stay out of it. I'm intrigued by how hard everyone fights to prove that they are right.

    However said drama does turn me off from an author and makes it nearly impossible for me to enjoy their books. I had an Emily Griffin book on my TBR list and after all that drama I removed it. I didn't feel it was right to support an author who allowed her readers to be treated so badly.

  7. I was looking at a book on amazon a while back. I was on the fence about getting it so I read some of the reviews. One person indicated that they got about 100 pages in and had to give up, and gave it a low (one or two star) review. The author jumped on and started criticizing the reviewer, saying that he shouldn't have been allowed to write a review if he didn't finish the book because he obviously doesn't know what he's talking about. The reviewer commented that he'd read plenty of the book, enough to know that he didn't want to finish it, and that's a perfectly valid opinion (let's face it...if an author can't get you interested in a book in 100 pages, that's some bad writing right there. Telling me that it will get better after that point doesn't help because if it gets better later, it should have been better earlier.) The author jumped back on and attacked him and it went back and forth for AGES. It helped me make up my mind that I was totally uninterested in supporting this author by buying his book.

    If you're a creative person, there will (hopefully) be people who love your art and there will be people who hate it. It's how it works. If you can't handle that, you should probably find a job as an accountant or something.

    Another thing that will make me not want to read an author's work is finding out that their political views are diametrically opposed to mine, especially if they're very firm and outspoken about their beliefs, or spend time or money working toward furthering their politics. Sometimes I feel like I shouldn't let it influence me, but I don't want to financially support someone who will then turn around and use that money to support something that I'm opposed to. I absolutely don't research every author (or store or restaurant owner) before I buy their goods, but when I do happen to find out something like this, it changes how I look at them (kind of like finding out an actor or actress is a total jacka** in real life...I tend not to be able to look at them in their movies the same way.). Maybe this isn't fair, but again it's the risk they take by getting into a creative field. Nobody really cares if their accountant is an ass, as long as he keeps their tax rates low.

  8. I found that Emily Giffin thing to be ridiculously frustrating. Honestly, when an author reacts in a bad way to negative reviews, it makes me irritated. It's childish. You're an author, and an adult. If someone walks up to you in the park and says your book sucks, do you shove them in the mud? No. That's what you may have done in Kindergarten when a boy told you that you had cooties. Grow up.

    I don't always find out about every author freaking out, but when I do, it makes me reluctant to read their work. Why would I want to support someone who can't be the bigger person? You write a book, you WILL get at least ONE negative review. Ugh...

    Great post, by the way. ^_^

  9. I love a good drama, but knowing when to stop and think a moment is a necessary skill for everyone who likes to run around online. Some of my favorite authors have gone batshitcrazy at one time or another, but it hasn't been the reason I stop reading them. I do think it may be indicative of larger issues that eventually pop up in their writing and become the reason I stop reading their books.

    For the most part, the more I love an author the less inclined I am to meet them or read their blogs. I'd rather not peek behind some curtains, thanks very much.

  10. I really try not to pay attention to that sort of thing when I pick up a book because I definitely don't jive with the drama. If there is bad author behavior, I certainly won't be plugging that particular author in my blog posts or anything and if it's something more serious, I'll probably re-consider my choice in reading their material. Otherwise, I'm content to just let petty people be petty and sit back and enjoy the reading. Opinions are like, well, you know. Everyone's got one. It's just a shame not all people can maintain a decent level of maturity when it comes to their work.

  11. I heard about the Emily Griffin ridiculousness. I was not a reader of hers to begin with, but I certainly wouldn't read her now. There are just way too many good books to read.

  12. Wow, the Giffen story had passed me by but man, that's crazy. It wouldn't be acceptable to respond publicly to criticism like that in any job aligned with someone else's brand so why the hell would an author do it to themselves???

  13. Goodness, I just read the whole link/post about Emily Giffin. I had no idea that happened until now. I read and reviewed her book on my blog last week and gave it an OKAY review. I thought it was good enough, but not excellent. I was just being completely honest (as book reviews should be.) I never thought that her and someone from her circle would react that way. I don't think it will deter me from reading her books, as I respect her literary works and always enjoy them. But this entire scandal does leave a bad taste in my mouth...

  14. Another one I just thought of today was Jonah Lehrer. I had bought two of his books about 2 years ago and haven't gotten around to reading them, but now I wonder if I should even bother considering what has come to light in the past couple of months.

  15. While I know that I should read and review books on literary merit, the bad behavior will affect my opinion. After the Giffen drama, I don't think I could be unbiased reading her now. It was just very immature and unproffessional.


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