Today’s blog is about interaction with authors. Reaching out and touching your favorite authors (sick puppies get your mind out of the gutter) has been made so much easier with social media. Is this a good or bad? I guess it depends on the author. There are a variety of ways to contact your favorites. Most have a Facebook page or a twitter account. Others just have email accounts and their websites. Each author is different but for the most part they like the one on one contact with their fans. Some value their privacy and are like some of the authors of old who liked to remain anonymous. Others are out at book signings and like to greet, shake hands and yap with the crazies otherwise known as fans. But when does talking with an author become too much? That is the question we are going to discuss today, really I will be typing about it and you will be reading about it.
Now I am one of those people who is on Facebook all the time. I yap with my friends and I know that it is shocking but yes, I do have friends. I see authors making posts and commenting on their wall and doing random promoting. I never bother them unless it is a certain East Tennessee author then I bug the hell out of her. Anyone else I leave alone. I know that some authors don’t mind if you start chatting with them but I never want to feel like I am a bother. I would rather them get their stuff taken care of and get back to the business of writing the next book. Now if they comment on something I post or on my wall then they are fair game. I will chat with them till they have to go or I pass out whichever comes first. This is the only time that I talk to some of them. I have some as my friends and have never even spoken to them. I only added them for updates on their books or blogs (not that I go and check them out very often).
Unless I am contacting an author for a chat I rarely send them private messages. I know most don’t mind but I also know that there are a few people who send them messages every day. I have no idea what these messages could be about since most of the time books are self-explanatory. Maybe they are shy and want to show their love for a book in private. Me, I like to let everyone know who I love and how I love them (geez you guys spend a lot of time in the gutter). If I have a question about a book then I write it on their wall because if I have that question then maybe someone else does too. Normally it is more like “ When am I getting the next book and who is it about?” It may be killing two birds with one stone which in the end helps the authors get back to the writing, which is the important thing.
For some fans the line between friend and fan becomes a very blurred line. For me it is very clear, if they call me just to chat then they have moved into the friend territory. If they want to talk to me about their personal lives then we are friends. I know, I am always shocked that anyone would text or call me if they didn’t have too. Well, except for Mia who just likes the abuse that I offer long distance. If I know an author’s real name, their kid’s names, or the author’s favorite sexual position, again I have moved into friend territory. Even though I am sometimes in the friend zone I still have trouble calling or texting with authors. I try not to bother them. I never want to be that friend who is always calling, texting, or showing up on their doorstep. Normally, that is because after a few times of hiding in their bushes they serve me with a restraining order but you know it is the price you pay for being me.
Now, if they contact me and ask me about their books or something related to their work then I am a reader. I think that because we as readers have more immediate contact with the authors some take it as a personal relationship. In a way it is but in my mind you must remember that they are first and foremost authors. They are like anyone else in the public eye. They are out there selling not just their books but themselves in a non-prostitute kind of way. It may be a bit easier for me because as an administrator for a book group, I know that some people try and get in my good graces (like I have some) so that they can come to the group and pimp their books. Yes, I know that I am a cynical bitch, but once bitten, twice shy. I try to keep that in mind every time I friend an author on Facebook or talk to them at a convention. When standing face to face with an author it is easier for both of us to connect and to know if we want to be friends or just acquaintances on facebook. But when the person is just lines on a computer screen it becomes much harder for author and reader.
I know that it is difficult for some authors to balance or know when the fan has crossed the line. They have to be careful of offending their readers. It is not so much that they don’t want to talk to them but for most authors they just don’t have the time to get into one on one conversation with each and every person. Most of these authors have hundreds of friends or in some cases thousands. This is not even counting their fan pages or groups. The thing I think that most readers need to remember is that if you are constantly sending them messages then they will not have time to write the books that you want to read.
The question now is are you a fan or someone who has forgotten where the line is drawn? Don’t worry we have all blurred the line a few times.