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General Chatting > The Internet Makes it Much Easier for Readers to Contact Authors. How Do You Feel About This?

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message 1: by Stacy-Deanne (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) Hi All,

I thought this was a great question to ask the group. I recently had a conversation with some authors about the Internet and how it makes it so easy for readers to communicate with authors. The conversation turned very interesting. As I got the responses of these authors, I started talking to others to get theirs.

I found out that authors have mixed feelings about this. Some say it's great that they can interact with fans and readers so easily. Others say it's a hindrance because some people are intrusive when authors open themselves up to the public. Some also said it can lead to harassment and other problems if folks have it in for you or don't like your work. It got me to thinking. These days I am seeing more and more authors talk on their blogs about the disadvantages of the Internet and that sometimes it makes it too easy for you to be in contact with someone.

What do you think? Whether you're a reader or an author, do you think it is a good thing that the Internet puts readers and authors together? Do you have mixed feelings about it?

It's not just authors and readers that the Internet has closed the gap with. With Twitter and Facebook fans can even get closer to their favorite celebrites, politicians or most importantly, folks they hate. LOL! So what do you think? There are advantages and disadvantages to everything. I'd love to know your opinions.

Best Wishes!

message 2: by Nichelle (new)

Nichelle (ebondreamz) I think its a beautiful relationship. I am an aspiring author and once I get published...I am going to love that part of it. I know there will be those who don't like something I have written. It's a given. But obviously I have to think/hope that the publishers know what they are doing when I am signed, that the book is good. (Though I guess there are those that have crept through and aren't).

But I love it. I personally would never contact an author if I didn't like what they did. But I am a nice person. I think that if someone contacts you just to be mean isn't a good person.

Advantages for authors is that it gives you the chance of self-promotion and seeing what your readers love and want to see more of.

message 3: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie Williams | 128 comments Wow, it’s a double edge sword. I mean think about it, ten years ago authors would have to go to bookstores for book signings. Not because they wanted to, because they had to. They had to get those readers, they needed publicists... Yadda yadda yadda.

Now with the explosion of ebooks and ereaders, you can be ALL OVER THE WORLD. Have an account on Facebook, and you have readers from Pau Pau New Guinea to Greenland. It’s great.

On the other had, you have crazies out there and just some people that want to know your every move, especially concerning your writing. Some ask for advice, which is great, I welcome that, but sometimes, it’s so much that it takes up your time to write.

What I do in these cases is (and here is were the internet is our friend again), write a blog on writing and the writing process. In fact I have a cute little animation thing going on my Facebook page.

Just remember, like seeing people in person, you have to be careful of virtual fans too. There can be harassment, but for the most part, I think the Internet has been a blessing for authors in the long run

message 4: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
I could be wrong, but doesn't an author do their own blog, face book, etc.? and if so, aren't they the ones that's putting their contact information out? If they aren't the ones doing their on own blog, etc. then surely they know who is doing it for them. If they don't want their contact information to be publicized, then they don't need to put it out there and they need to tell their handy person not to put it out there.

I know that I have seen a lot of romance books that had the author's email address in them.

I have had the honor of contacting a certain author, who's work that I liked years ago and every blue moon, I might drop her a note. She's sweet and she takes out the time to email me back.

I know that some people can be crazy and go after authors. If an author doesn't feel safe on the internet, they need to pull the plug on their stuff on the internet. Shut down.

You can't be in the public eye without seeing the public eye. The public eye does have craziness. It's life and the authors have to realize that.

Authors needs to also realize that craziness was around way before the internet and it's still alive and kicking away from the internet.

message 5: by Chicki (new)

Chicki Brown (chicki663) | 130 comments I love hearing from my readers, but I realize that I need to keep my responses business-like and not reveal too much personal information.

Readers like being able to tell authors what they enjoyed about their books and ask questions.

So far I haven't had any crazies, with the exception of a couple of African guys who wanted to get too friendly. It seems that African men (who live outside of this country) don't seem to understand the limits of social networking. I just deleted them from my FB friends and reported them.

Chicki Brown
New blog:
Web site:
Amazon Author Page:

message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Jul 18, 2011 11:44AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I think it's like any technology. It can be used for good and evil. As a reader who likes to positively interact with writers, I'm glad that I am able to develop a dialogue with authors. Of course, I try to treat them with respect as any human deserves, and give them privacy and distance they need. I think that authors can probably control their interactions with the public to some degree. The issue I've seen is that many readers don't like to be contacted or approached by authors. They find it intrusive and uncomfortable when authors breach the third wall on sites like Goodreads. Other than some very persistent authors asking for me to review their books, I really haven't had any issues with authors on here or Amazon. But I know some readers have. I've seen some bad acting by readers too.

message 7: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments I like a distance between me and an author. I prefer to know as little about them personally as possible.

If I learn that an author has just suffered an acrimonious divorce and later read a book of hers where the heroine also is suffering through an acrimonious divorce then it takes me out of the book. I spend too much time wondering how much of it is from her own experience. Did that thing I just read also happen to her? I know the writerly maxim is to write what you know, But specific incidents makes me feel like the distance begins to disappear.

I also think some authors can get a little too involved with their readership and it affects characters and even storyline choices in their books.

I also like to be as frank as possible in my reviews. My belief is that if I have fostered a relationship with an author, I may be censor myself either consciously or unconsciously.

message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Jul 22, 2011 09:33AM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I don't say anything in my review that I wouldn't say to an author's face. I'm not saying I don't get nervous when I think of author reading my review, but since I have a blog where I post reviews, and I write reviews for two different sites, an author can read my reviews anytime they want. I just try to follow the golden rule when I write a review. How would I feel if this was my book that someone had written a review about.

message 9: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments My philosophy on reviewing on a readerly site, though, is that my reviews are directed to other readers, not the writers. Sure a writer can read them but in the end my goal in reviewing is to give an insight into why I think this is either a good book worthy of another reader's time based on my opinion or a bad book not worthy of their time, also on my say so.

I want the relationship to stay between me, the book and other readers.

When the writer gets inserted into that equation it inevitably changes the paradigm, imo. And it isn't always about a negative review either. If there is some personal relationship, the review runs the risk of not being just about the text.

For example, a reader/reviewer may be aware, based on an outside conversation with the author why he or she made a specific choice in the book you just read. From her explanation, that choice makes some sense. However she didn't execute it well in the course of the story and it actually made the plot weaker or more muddled or jettisoned some long standing character development.

Without the extra-textual knowledge your review on the book is based on what is on the page. But with that, now you have a choice. You understood what she was trying to accomplish and had she executed it well it would have made sense. You may be tempted to rate or even review differently based on that. Hence your review could potentially be a very different one. Now you don't just have to think about how to craft the review to other readers, you have think of this author's feelings on what you are writing given that she has provided you with all this other information.

Frankly, I don't want to think of the what author might think. I just want to think of the words on the page and how to express how they affected me.

And as a reader of reviews, if I am aware a reviewer has a relationship with a writer I am more likely to pass over those reviews.

message 10: by Stacy-Deanne (last edited Jul 25, 2011 06:52AM) (new)

Stacy-Deanne Stacy-Deanne (wwwgoodreadscomstacydeanne) I gotta take off my author's hat and bring up a point as a reader or fan. I have seen the bad side as a reader. I have been turned off by authors (some I even know personally) because of something offensive they've said online, usually it's political. My motto is to stay away from talking about politics. I don't go there because I don't wanna offend anyone, especially my readers. But I have witnessed authors acting major fools on FB especially. I was shocked at one author I knew personally who made racist comments about white people. She's a black author and I'm black, but I don't tolerate racism on any level. She really shocked me and disgusted me with some of the things she said on there. She even got blasted from some white people on her friends list who happened to be readers of her books! See that's why you cannot be stupid online! If you are a public figure (such as authors) you gotta watch what you say because you might offend someone who supported you. I don't wanna alienate readers.

I think some authors do it on purpose. I even know some who talk about being as controversial as possible. I suppose they do it thinking they'd get book sales. Hey it's the Charlie Sheen age, so who knows. But I'm not gonna act a damn fool just to get book sales. I don't want that kind of attention.

You'll see me online giving my opinions and even ranting about some things. But you'll never see me online talking about politics or religion. I stay as far away from those topics as possible. When authors get into those types of rants with people it almost always ends up ugly. There is another author guy who is also black who I considered a friend who talks horribly about gay people all on FB. Now you don't think gay people might read your books? Because of his constant rants about gays and how they'll burn in hell, I stopped contact with him. I'm not gay but goodness I was offended at the hateful stuff he says.

It's like some folks don't think before they open their mouth!

Best Wishes!

message 11: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Stacy-Deanne, I definitely try to keep my mouth zipped online when it comes to politics, and I try to be very careful about discussing religion. If I read a Christian book, I am going to discuss my feelings about the book from a faith-based standpoint. I know that I did talk politics slightly in my review for Parable of the Sower because it was timely, but I really try to keep that stuff off-line. I have never seen something divide a group so fast than bringing up politics and religion.

An author should be very careful about that, because their fanbase probably will be quite wide. You never know who you're going to offend. It's not so much a matter of not having an opinion, but being careful about how you express your opinions.

Coming from someone who made a regular habit of putting foot in my mouth, I have learned the hard way to be careful what I say and what I put out there for others to read. The worst someone can say is that they don't know where you stand on some subjects if you are along those lines.

message 12: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
When I write a review, I write for myself. I never write for other people. I don't try to get a person to read or not read a book with my reviews. Everyone's taste is different. Just because I liked or didn't like a book, it doesn't mean the next person will feel the same way that I feel.

As for religion and politics. I don't really discuss this online, but if I am reading a book and disagree with something an author wrote, I might say something about it in my reviews.

I'm against homosexuality and if a book has a storyline as such, but it's not the main characters. I will make it known in my reviews that I've skipped the homosexaul parts in the book and I have that right to do so.

If other topics are written in a book that I'm against, if I have something to say, I will say it in my review and in a respetful manner.

If the author reads my review and gets crazy with me. I will let him or her know where I stand. Some authors can be ugly. I've witness authors being ugly towards me.

I love respecting everyone, but everyone needs to learn how to respect people as well.

message 13: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments Oh, man, I don't go anywhere near politics & religion discussions.

The closest I'll ever get is fake religions in fantasy novels. And even then you have to be careful because people begin to extrapolate and suddenly people start to lose their minds.

I think any topic that inherently divides people into an us vs. them (politics, religions and yes, even race) has the potential to turn out to be fraught. Stuff gets personal real fast and many people can't disconnect and talk impersonally or academically.

Best to stay away.

Also regards authors talking out on Facebook... ohh, bad idea. Facebook has been the downfall of many people. When will people realize you are not just hanging out with your friends in your house on FB? You are online where your stuff lives forever. I have googled myself and found posts that I made on list-serves from 1994!

message 14: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
I can't tell writers what to do, but maybe writers shouldn't put politic and religion in their stories. Some writers like to push things down people throat. They like to attack things in their stories. Let their characters be a certain way.

I don't write about politics or religion. I do write virgin characters and some people have a problem with a woman or man being a virgin at a certain age and I'm like, "One person can't speak for everyone."

I find it romantic when a hero is a virgin. A hero's bed skills don't do anything for me. I like reading about a good bad boy, who's sassy, sarcastic, tortured, spoils the heroine, crazy about the heroine, even if he tries to hide his feelings, etc.

Tension ( and no not sexual tension) is what catches my attention. I like to see strong tension between the hero and and heroine. I can read stories without love scenes. I can writes stories without loves scenes.

A hero and heroine can connect without connecting with their bodies.

message 15: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I don't have a writer writing about subjects that are important to them, so long as they aren't shoving anything down an unsuspecting reader's through, mismarketing, or doing a bait and switch with the reader. If a reader wants to read a political book, then nothing wrong with writers targeting that market. If a reader wants to read Christian fiction, so be it.

I think the problem is when you feel that someone's beliefs are forced upon you, whatever they are.

The issue with writers who blog, tweet, facebook, etc and are very open about their political views, is that it puts their fanbase in the uncomfortable position of having to decide if they like an author's work enough to override any personal objections they might have to that person.

I view writers as professionals, and therefore, the burden is for them to act professional, aware of themselves as people in the public eye. In other words, not 'showing their butts' for everyone to gawk at.

message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
GRs is acting funky for me today. I couldn't edit my last post. I meant to say "I don't have an issue with writers writing.."

message 17: by James (new)

James Lewis (jameswlewis) | 19 comments I actually like the two-degrees-of-separation. I've found the more I interact with my readers, the more they're willing to help promote my work without me asking, just from me being humble. I've had several of my FB friends use my book as their profile pic, for example. I also enjoy the real-time access, like they can say "I'm on page 38 of your book right now!" Of course, I've had a number of people cross the line (flirting, trying to dangle the carrot, etc), but nothing outrageous--except I've had to tell a few guys I don't roll like that. LOL

message 18: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (gotrr) | 53 comments I like knowing a bit about an author because I find it interesting to compare a author's background to the perspective(s) of the main character(s). But, I too have been known to stop purchasing an author's (or film maker's) work when I've read about or heard them say something that is offensive to me. And while I don't mind reading of religion and politics in works, I don't want to feel as if the author is shoving a particular viewpoint down my throat. I would rather see a particular view point through the eyes of a character rather than the author's narrative.

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