Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Message to Authors

After some recent events involving the behavior of YA authors, I have something to say. I've rewritten this post several times now trying to say it right and while it would normally go on my personal blog, I think it needs to be posted here.
Being a member of Goodreads, a reviewer, and just someone who loves YA in the digital age makes keeping track of books, authors, and the occasional author shennanigans much easier. I say occasional because normally, there is some spacing between incidents.This is some of the behavior I have seen authors--self-published, vanity-published, and traditionally published alike--engaging in recently (and by this, I mean within the past two weeks):
  • Passively-aggressively trolling a Goodreads review where the reviewer is angry about how portions of the book inaccurately portray feminism and inciting a group of authors to trade insults about it on Twitter (though to be fair, many of the people involved have now said they were not aware of what the conversation/hashtag was about and have apologized);
  • Comparing Goodreads to 4chan;
  • Getting negative reviews of their book deleted on Goodreads and possibly Amazon because they were supposedly written by sockpuppet saboteurs (one of the supposed sockpuppets recently approached me and turned out not to be a sockpuppet, just an honest reviewer who didn't like the book), writing an article on a major webstite about it that also tells reviewers how to review, and posting a comment on a negative Amazon review of the book calling the review an act of sabotage;
  • Calling a reviewer a cow and a bitch while starting an email campaign to mess with the Amazon system and get a negative review of the author's book voted down;
  • And using actual sockpuppets and/or asking fans to give a book one star because of a personal beef with the book's author.
What happened? Why have so many authors in such a short period of time lost their minds and also lost the ability to act like professionals?

According to what some friends have told me, there isn't a lot of media training for new authors. Considering the above-listed behavior and how easy the digital age makes author-reader interactions, I think this needs to change. Some would say they need to rely on common sense to not make mistakes like that and to a degree, I feel the same way. As much as we would like it to, common sense can't cover everything and letting unprofessional behavior going unchecked like this can do some damage to the author's career. I don't buy the books of authors I see ridiculing reviewers and generally behaving badly and I'm far from the only reader that does this.

I'm almost ashamed now that I want to spend my life working in the YA industry. I'm not going to let one very small group of horribly behaved authors crush something that has been my goal since I was a fifteen-year-old in her freshman year of high school, but I hope none of the hypothetical authors I may one day work with ever behave like this.

Good authors who behave well and know how to act like professionals (like one specific author involved in one of the above incidents)? Thank you for doing so. I hope others who are published, awaiting publication, or just dreaming of it for the moment can learn from your examples.

Anyone who wants to know who I'm talking about and which authors did what can email me. I don't want this to show up as a result for their names through Google Alerts. After what I've seen the past few days, I have justifiable reason to fear that someone would attack me if I attached names to deeds in this post.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with some of what you're saying, but I must add, one should not throw rock when one lives in a glass house.


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