Thursday, March 20, 2014

A Cocktail and Conversation: Authors and Readers Online Interations

Every other Thursday here at the Broke & The Bookish is  A Cocktail & Conversation time. One of the TBTB members will pose a question to 2-3 of the other 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.

Julia asks: How involved are you with author/reader interaction in the online world? Do you as a reader follow authors on facebook/twitter/newsletters or prefer to keep them behind the curtain in a way and just read? In the same vein, how do you feel about author/reviewer interactions?


Jamie says: To be honest, I feel like I'm one of those weirdos that really doesn't follow a lot of authors even though they are soooo super accessible right now. I pretty much just follow favorites and have dialogues with them about their books but quite often many OTHER things besides their book. I typically do like to read without having the author's persona influencing my reading experience. It's lovely to chat with authors but, even though I don't take note of the various author/blogger dramas, I still have been influenced by an author who I thought was rude or said something that rubbed me the wrong way. I try to separate the two things because their book is something entirely apart from WHO they are, and let's be honest that we all aren't perfect/have bad days/poor judgment calls, BUT it's sometimes made me not racing to read their book. And sometimes the author really just IS a douchewad and I struggle with wanting to give my $ to them because I'm human. So basically my author interaction is pretty minimal to my faves/those I've met and thought were interesting or ones that have social media accounts that are super informative/funny.  I think author/reviewer interaction is a fine line. I tend not to be one who gets offended very easily so I don't mind if an author comments on the review personally on MY review as long as they aren't being belligerent or rude or telling me I'm wrong. I'm totally fine with clarification or discussion, as long as they aren't trying to invalidate my reading experience/opinions, but I know I'm probably in the minority.

Bridget says: I'm probably even less involved than Jamie. I did only *just* join Twitter, so that's part of my problem, but there are only two authors that I follow: Stephen King (duh) and Isla Morley, who wrote Above (which came out on March 4 and I reviewed here). I don't interact with them much, primarily because, well, Stephen King, and the time or two I tweeted at Morley, it didn't seem like she got them, even though she had been retweeting other reviews. So I don't know.

Like Jamie, my primary interest in authors is their product, not their personal life or interactions with the outside world. I don't want myor other reviewers'interactions with them to color my experience with them as an author. I won't lie, the reason I followed Morley initially was because I saw she was retweeting reviews and had very few followers, so I thought if I tweeted at her early and she responded, I could maybe get an interview with her or something. But having received no response, I feel sort of "meh" about her now when I feel like if I had held back, I would still view her more as a mythical book-producing creature than a regular person who doesn't answer my tweets.

So, in the end, I really don't have much interest in following authors on social media. Unless, of course, it's for information like book signings or something. But personal life/outside interactions, not so much.

Tahleen says: I actually really enjoy interacting with authors, on Twitter primarily, especially if I've enjoyed their work in the past. For example, I've tweeted at Christopher Healey, who wrote The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom and its sequels (I just won a galley of the third in the series, The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw, and I'M SO EXCITED). I've also tweeted with Rebecca Rasmussen, who wrote The Bird Sisters and the forthcoming Evergreen, and she is a sweetheart. I'll occasionally tweet to others, and sometimes they will reply, other times not; I've noticed the really popular ones are less likely to do so, for obvious reasons. But I really enjoy the accessibility, even if we're just joking with each other and not necessarily talking about their books.

I will say, though, that I like being able to contact authors for other reasons. In college, before Twitter exploded into what it is today, I sent an email to YA author Laurie Faria Stolarz with interview questions for a history/literature paper I was writing, and she graciously replied with excellent answers (and I got an A on the paper). I also reached out to Erin Bow recently after reading her book Plain Kate for a book club because I had questions about her use of the Roma-like people in her fantasy, which she called the Roamers. She also graciously answered my questions, as well as provided me with links to interviews she had done in the past.

So yes, I love being able to reach out to authors via social media and through email!

What about you all? Do you like to interact with authors online? Do you like reading without knowing their personality or anything about them? How do you feel about author/reviewer interaction? Have you ever (without names) had an experience with an author that made it hard for you to read their book or does that not bother you?


  1. Great topic!
    I love interacting with authors via social media. I always put authors on such a pedestal and it is nice now to be able to see them as real people with fears and mistakes. I also love seeing what they do outside of books and how it influences their writing. I can think of a few authors that I followed on Twitter and I had not previously read and seeing their tweets and getting a good feel for their personality actually made me want to read their work and I eventually became big fans of them.
    As for bad experiences, I haven't had any myself, but I will say that seeing authors I used to enjoy "behaving badly" does make me less inclined to read them again.

  2. I love interacting with authors via social media and I have a few authors who even feel like friends. Although I do try to not let my opinion of the author as a person influence my opinion of a book. I once gave a 3 star rating to a book from an author who I know and I felt like she was a bit disapointed :(, that hurts a bit and I think those situations are the most difficult to deal with. But otherwise I love becoming friends with authors and talking to them on social media.
    Although most often I just use social media to tag the author when I write a review. And most of my author interactions don't go further then that. I also like using social media to keep up to date about new books they are writing etc. Just like Tahleen I noticed the more popular authors are less likely to retweet or reply. But there are exceptions.

  3. I love interacting with authors on Twitter! It still amazes me that I can be reading a book, tweet the author a question or comment and they'll reply sometimes immediately allowing a whole new dynamic to the experience of reading. I've come to feel like friends with some of the authors I talk to on Twitter and it's so fulfilling to connect with someone who has opened my mind and warmed my heart through their creativity.

  4. There are some choice authors I will follow on Twitter and fewer I will interact with. As Jamie states in the post, there are some authors who will go to say, Twitter (which is where I primarily interact with them) and say something that doesn't sit well with me and it discourages me from wanting to buy their books- even if I like their books.

  5. I follow a lot of authors on twitter and facebook, and absolutely LOVE when they interact with their readers!

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