Discussion: authors the good, the bad, the ugly. Do author’s behaviors influence your reading and buying habit? And do they have a duty?

Hi dear friends,

I am back again with a discussion topic for you! It was born from a private and very interesting discussion that I had last week with a FB friend and I would love having your intake on this topic!

Topic of the day: do author’s behavior influence your reading/buying experience? And do they have a duty to their readers?

My title is the good, the bad and the ugly because I’ll speak about certain “not so rosy” side of the publishing world AND I will also give rewards.

First thing first, let’s begin with the bad and the ugly.

I do tend to do my chores first then get my reward. Or eat the less favorite food on my plate and keep the best for the end. Yes I am that kind of girl 😀 

The bad and the ugly: when author’s behavior totally deter me from reading them (anymore).

 

You won’t find names in this “bad” section as my purpose is not to bash but rather share some behaviors or strategies that I encountered or have been aware of that really put me off.

  1. Recently one author asked her team to buy her books after ARCs so it’s a verified purchase.

Let’s elaborate and give some context here. We all know that bloggers and sometimes readers get ARCs from authors and/or PR team/publishing houses. Are these ARCs simple gifts? Not really. As I said some weeks ago even if they can’t really hunt you if you don’t review the book it’s certain that you won’t get other ARCs if you don’t review them.

It’s a “win/win” as bloggers/readers get free books and authors get free publicity. Well with some nuances but go THERE to have them.

When said author is asking people who got the ARCs to buy the book to have a “verified purchase” I guess the reason is that Amazon is becoming picky in the reviews it lets posting on its site. A “verified purchase” is a higher probability of being able to post a review.

But it’s more than that!

It gives readers the impression that the reviewer did not get the book for free but bought it. Technically this is true but it is also misleading and …lying!

Amazon asks that you state if a book was an ARC. If you don’t mention it, that won’t be a drama but there is a gradation with a “verified purchase”. This gives a “seal of approval” from Amazon. The guarantee that the review is genuine as it is a result of a purchase and not a “gift”.

Not only would this behavior be misleading for other readers but there is also a financial aspect involved.

Some ARCs reviewers don’t have the means to buy many books. ARCs is a way to enjoy their passion. You could argue that library exists and that’s true but foreigners like me don’t always have libraries with books in English.

On a side note, when I get an ARC I always try to “give back”. You will find them in my weekly Friday giveaway.

That’s a mean for me to share the love and thanks the author for his or her gift.

 

2. “Under Cover” Invite Only strategy

Some months ago I wrote a long “rant” about the “Invite Only” strategy. If you are interested you can find the details HERE.

To give you the gist of it: “Invite Only” is when an author asks for people to promote her books but won’t give ARCs. To get them you have to be “invited” so, part of her or his inner circle.

I have no real problem with this IF you announce that strategy when you ask people to promote your book.

What had me raving was the author never having mentioned that ARCs would not be available for “commoners” when we signed for the promo.

Once again that is misleading!

There is a difference between signing a google doc asking to review when they mention that ARCs are limited and not a guarantee (that I can live with) and asking for promo giving “false hope” of incoming ARCs.

 

3. Bashing other authors or readers/bloggers

Some years ago I was really furious when I learned that a really well known author attacked one of her fellow authors who wrote a controversial book. She made it into a social media campaign with all the big guns.

Sorry but that I will never accept. Criticize someone’s personal behavior (like sexual harassment) when it’s proven that said person has been found guilty that I can understand. Destroy said person because she wrote a controversial book, sorry but no! These are fictions! Stories coming from the author’s imagination. They are not true. If you don’t like said stories then don’t read them but others could like them. Weird? Maybe but everyone has his or her own personal taste in books and you DO NOT JUDGE someone else’s reading taste. Ever!

And it’s not so uncommon to have some author attacking reviewers for “bad reviews”

 

4. Trademarking common words

Another ugly side of the publishing world can be found in the “Cockygate” affair.

For those who have not heard of this affair: one author trademarked the word “cocky”. preventing any author to use it as a title, on the covers etc plus asking authors to change past titles or be sued!

It gave for weeks of reactions from authors and bloggers/readers all banding together to end this insane affair.

I am happy to report that we won!

Why did she do this? Some say there is no bad publicity but I bet that no one wanted to read her books after this totally unfair strategy!

 

I get that writing and publishing a book is a business. Either authors don’t have another source of income because “they have made it” either they have another job and write on their free time. It takes hours, days, weeks, months or even years to write and publish a book.

They should rightfully be compensated for their work.

BUT

That does not excuse a lack of ethic or misleading people.

I will go even further: the more you are famous, the more you have a duty. You have responsibilities. You have to set an example. And better a good example than a bad example!

Do we expect too much of authors?

Well at the end of the day, they are like you and me: humans. They have flaws and they have bad days.

The big difference is that when I have a bad day, few people know it. It does not ripple like author’s bad behavior.

Authors are “in the spotlight” and it means that their behaviors, their words have power and influence others. Needless to say that I cut ties with above mentioned authors.

 

And to end this discussion post, I want to give you some “good”.

 

In French we say that  “on lave son linge sale en privé” meaning if you have something to settle with someone you do it behind closed doors. But if you want to praise, do it publicly! That’s what I intend to do here, give you some names!

I am certain you would have others to add to the list and please do it in the comments below!

Kennedy Ryan

One year ago I read my first Kennedy Ryan book: Flow.

Contrary to every people I did not like it and gave a low rating, explaining what bothered me.

To my biggest surprise Kennedy replied on my review and told me she totally got my points, thanking me for my honest review!

When I praised her for this very fair behavior she told me that she asked one of her “low rating” reviewer to become her beta reader!

 

Jaimie Roberts

I had read several of her books and knew her fairly well but when I read an ARC of My Valentine, I was really between a rock and a hard place. I was disgusted, plain and simple and was not certain I would finish the book!

Imagine my embarrassment when I contacted her and told her that I was 30% in the book and I did not think I could finish. Not because it was poorly written, on the contrary but because it was too dark, sick and twisted for my own personal taste. Too far from my comfort zone …

I asked her “What would you like me to do? Write DNF and explain or say nothing?”

Well she told me “Do what feels right to you” “I trust you” She also added that’s what she loved : I told the truth, no sugarcoating.

And that’s what I did.

 

Erin Watt and their PR Nina Bocci

When I got an ARC from Erin Watt and ended up not loving it as much as I thought I would, I decided to contact their PR Nina Bocci.

I was on a blog tour and you are supposed to promote the book, not to say that it’s not to your liking and point the flaws!

When I asked her: what should I do? Delay my review? Post it on time? Her answer was that they totally understood that the book could not work for everyone and that I was perfectly fine posting the bad rating on the scheduled time!

 

Chloe Walsh

When I invited Chloe to participate in my Romance and Love Celebration, she did not know me. The other authors participating had worked and talked with me before but not Chloe.

Not only did she accept immediately but she wrote a long love letter from my favorite couple of her, saying that it was through their story that we met. She poured her heart out for someone who was a stranger to her!

 

I could go on and on as I have known many authors who are really good persons in real life like: Emma Scott, Amy Harmon, Laylah Attar, Beth Flynn, Suanne Laqueur, Jane Harvey Berrick ….

I know it feels like my personal “walk of fame” here but the message is important.

 

SOME authors have behaviors that hurt or shock others. They may be extremely talented writers but their lack of ethic is a deterrent for me and I stopped reading them (or did not begin).

MANY authors are just really good and generous persons. They are humble despite their celebrity. They do have bad days and share them with their followers but they don’t disrespect others. They lead by example. THEY INSPIRE.

That’s for these authors, and for YOU ALL readers, bloggers that I come back many times a week writing posts about their books, my latest crush or ugly cry.

Pfew! Sorry this has been longer than intended!

Now it’s you turn!

Did you recognize some behaviors here above? Did you encounter other off putting behaviors? Did it influence your reading experience? What are your most generous and beloved authors? Share some good below please!

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

 

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40 Replies to “Discussion: authors the good, the bad, the ugly. Do author’s behaviors influence your reading and buying habit? And do they have a duty?”

  1. Most of the time i’m totally oblivious and have no idea what authors are up to… :/
    If i do hear about nasty behaviour, it would influence me tho. Wouldn’t want to support people like that in any way.

    Came across a few of these but they were authors who wrote books i wasn’t interested to begin with.

  2. Definitely influences my reading choice. There are authors I don’t read because of their misbehavior or my general dislike of their topics in books. K Webster comes to mind but that’s a personal preference based on the first book I read by her. I may try her again (My Torin is good, I hear).

    Invite only books I don’t read because I don’t have the time for them. I also don’t buy books only the author asks it of me in order to receive an ARC. If I love the book, I’ll buy it anyway.

  3. Wow, very interesting post Sophie. I’ll admit that I’m mostly on Instagram or Twitter where I can just like stuff really quickly, I just don’t have the time to get sucked into the gossip of Facebook so I know I miss a lot of the “background” of an author, their everyday behavior or bad or good days. But I have heard of the controversy that Bibi mentioned and it’s terrible! There’s also all kinds of things that happen like plagiarism (I was so mad about that, I actually posted about that, which I never do). It can be disheartening and you know the drama breaks my heart so I prefer to live in my own bubble most of the time, LOL!

    1. Beware Of The Reader says: Reply

      I completely understand you wanting to live in your bubble Trisy! Life is hard enough for you as it is!

  4. StackingMy BookShelves says: Reply

    This has happened to most of us. I have to applaud those that buy the books the want and read and review them not get them for free but with conditions. I am ok with conditions if I really want to read the book. I am myself am moving towards books that I just want to read and not getting them for free to promote them and then feel guilty when I don’t like them as much as maybe I should. I do not make any money from blogging or posting reviews or promoting an authors book so it should be what I want to read now.

    Mary

    1. Beware Of The Reader says: Reply

      I think Mary that most of us after some time become pickier about the ARC as we really want to savor our read and no longer binge read if it makes sense. I am a rebel born and do poorly with unusual conditions ( ok with no spoiler (of course!) Posting on certain date etc).

  5. Rachel @Waves of Fiction says: Reply

    Wonderful discussion post, Sophie! I tend to stay away from an authors engaging in bad behavior. Cockygate was awful, and I’m sure the author didn’t expect the outrage poured out. It certainly backfired on her.

    1. Beware Of The Reader says: Reply

      Oh yes talk about backfiring! But if she did not expect that reaction honestly she was twice a fool!

  6. I always find it difficult as on the one hand I think an author is separate from their book. But on the other hand sometimes bad or very good behavior from an author can make me more or less likely to pick up their book or future books. Also on the topic of those authors you mentioned who responded well to negative reviews I always think it’s great when authors do that. I’ve had a few 2 and 3 star and DNF reviews where the author responded so nicely and understanding and that is such a relief as I always often bad about those and I think it’s great when an author can realize their book won’t be for everyone.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Exactly Lola! I admire them as they expose their “baby” to criticism and if they are able to accept that they won’t work for everyone it shows their respect for their readers.

  7. I am also the type of person that eats my foods least favorite to favorite! Gotta save the best for last 😉

    I don’t usually let my perspective of an author determine my reading, but that is mostly because I don’t pay attention to that kind of stuff. It has to be a HUGE controversy for my to hear of it haha. (I did hear about Cockygate and I won’t read her stuff!)

    Great Post!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Thank you Brittany! And I am usually aware of some scandal because other bloggers talk about it with me LOL

  8. What a great discussion, Sophie! I remember the Cockygate clearly, and I wrote 2 blog posts about this. Back then I thought it was as ugly as it could get. How naive I was! That was until I learned of an author who STALKED A BLOGGER TO HER HOUSE, named & shamed her publicly. This blogger is no more, but the author is publishing a book in June giving it a humorous aspect. That’s right, she’s going to make money on her illegal and threatening behaviour. It’s unbelievable how ugly people can get sometimes 🙁

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      WHAT??????????? This is unbelievable Bibi!

      1. I know, it’s outrageous!! You can read more about it here https://bibianesebookblog.com/2019/01/12/lets-talk-about-authors-who-stalk-reviewers/ if you want to 🙂

  9. Interesting discussion! I honestly don’t pay a ton of attention to authors, so I don’t always know when they do something bad. I have bought a few books because the author is an awesome person on social media or in real life. If an author is an unapologetic jerk on social media, I’ll probably avoid their books. I don’t want to financially support jerks.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well AJ you have a point here! I don’t want to financially support a jerk either! And I am aware of dramas thanks to friends LOL

  10. I am probably going to disagree on the “if you do not like, do not read it” statement. With all due respect, when you are a content creator, it is your responsibility that you are not encouraging misogyny, racism, prejudice in your content. It goes beyond that actually. As a content creator, it is your responsibility to acknowledge, and discuss taboo/controversial/difficult topics with respect to the groups it concerns (example glorifying rape is not only disrespectful to rape victims but also encourages the romanticizing of sexual abuse–something that should NEVER happen).

    It does not matter if it is fiction, it does not matter if your story is written in a medieval fantasy world where rape is a common phenomenon. If you have the imagination and the writing skills to write a book where trading teeth grants wishes and planet Earth is a sentient, vengeful entity and women can raise the dead to do their bidding, then surely you have the writing skills to ALSO discuss sensitive, controversial topics in a manner that truly acknowledges the without glorifying abuse, promoting white savior stereotypes and finding excuses for colonization and segregation in order to make yourself feel better about your own roots.

    And if you don’t have the writing skills to do all of the above, then you should probably focus more on doing your research.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Tanaz I so love your comment! You give me feed for next week’s discussion!
      Some months ago I asked an author’s friend (known to write about taboo/child abuse etc) if they should write about it or say nothing. She answered misely that not speaking about these things would not make them disappear. But it would allow the perpetrators to stay in the shadow and never pay for what they did.
      She was so right!
      But as you said they can’t glorify it. Of course it’s trickier if you write say an historical book about crusades. If you write from a “white bread” character’s POV of course he’ll often think what he is doing is his duty to his god! But then what is important is to introduce another “white christian” character who is questioning his purpose, what the church asks them to do.
      The world is not clear cut.
      But even if I am white and christian I can see the crusades for what they were: an invasion to seize more lands, riches and force our religion on others. Basically: something wrong!
      We complain about the muslims and the terrorists but we were not better some centuries ago! We also tried to force our belief and religion upon others. We killed others if they did not believe. We even tortured! What gave us the right to do so? Nothing.
      To get back to the topic you are absolutely right saying that authors have the talent to write and should be able to give nuances and avoid glorifying atrocities!
      Thank you for your intake! More on this next week 😉

      1. I cannot wait to read your post next week. Nuances are so important. I was mainly referring to the whole “rape in fiction” controversy surrounding Game Of Thrones and The Magicians trilogy, but yes the examples you gave are relevant too. These subjects require the author to do a lot of homework, research and skill–and to completely ignore the sentiments of the groups involved just because it is “fiction” would be irresponsible ultimately fiction feeds the media and in the digitally connected world we live in today, media is what shapes our views and opinions about the society we live in.

  11. I don’t usually pay attention to author behavior, and therefore don’t usually determine whether to read their book based on that or not. But there are two big exceptions, and both are because of social media. I will name no names.
    1. I followed the author, loved their humor account, was very excited for their upcoming book. THEN they not-at-all-subtly sub-tweeted a well-known and loved author completely bashing them. Like, I don’t find that professional, and it really turned me off the author. I unfollowed and have stopped worrying about the book. Maybe it is already out, I don’t know because I don’t care anymore.
    2. There is a very popular author who uses their social media platform to complain about the way other people treat them on social media on a regular basis. And I don’t follow them, but they keep coming up in my feed, and every time the thing they are complaining about feels like a direct attack at me and people with my belief set. They have an opinion, but state it as fact, and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong and insensitive. It is their way or the highway. It makes me SO angry that not only will I refuse to read their very buzz-y series, but I won’t even look at or engage with posts featuring their books! Maybe I am a bad person, but this author just really grates my cheese.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I don’t think you are a bad person Katie! In life you can’t like everyone! Some will grate your cheese (I love that expression by the way!) and others will become your best buds. There are no rules! I have difficulties enjoying books if the author has turned into a hater. I can’t seem to separate their personality from their story! I keep wondering “is it true” when I read about a loving and peaceful character because he is so far from what the author shows us!

      1. I guess I find it silly that I care because I don’t know if most of the authors I read are good people or no. Why signal out this one author who annoys me just because my friends HAPPEN to re-tweet and like their obnoxious stuff, when it’s possible other authors I devour books by are serial killers or something. *shrug*

  12. I really wonder how much “bad” behavior can be avoided by authors if they treat their social media platforms as more professional places. Things get complicated when book twitter not only includes bloggers, but authors and publishers and editors, etc. Sometimes I think we should just have separate circles. That being said, I know how valuable social media is as well. Sometimes you got to take the bad with the good.

    1. For me, I expect an author on social media to be professional. But sometimes they treat it the way I treat my “personal” social media, like facebook. I know that once you reach a certain level of fame you have no personal social media, so create an anonymous blog and complain to THAT.

      1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

        Katie some authors do have two accounts! Yes I think it could be the solution. Kind of like us having a blog page and then a private account.

        1. Yes I agree! I don’t say things that I don’t find professional on my blog twitter, or at least I try not to.

    2. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Well Alicia I think you are onto something here! And some have two accounts: a public one with their pen names and a private one. Kind of like Katie is suggesting below.

  13. Fabulous discussion, Sophie. Authors are people just like anybody else so I say they are free to behave how they wish. Not that I condone bad behavior and gimmicks.I remember my mother telling me to sleep on it before reacting. Things will be more clear in the morning. Good advice! Feeling this way, I also am free to read or not read their books. The ARC verification thing? What comes next???

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Sleep on it before reacting is a sound advice Laura! I try to follow it when I am angry and wants to react by mail. I send it to me then read it the day after and smooth it out somehow!

  14. I just saw that ARC-verified purchase thing earlier this week. That’s just wrong. All the things you mentioned, would turn me off from an author. I will not be reading any books from certain authors, because of their behavior in social media. There are tons of books out there for me to choose from, why would I want to support someone, who is mean-spirited and displaying great bias towards people. I don’t need poison like that in my life.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      That’s exactly it Sam! Life and people irl are toxic enough we don’t need more in our leisure time!

  15. What a great post. I can totally see Kennedy doing that. She is an amazing author and person. I recently gave a book 3 stars and I was on the blog tour. The author said she completely understood and thanked me for reading and reviewing. She just asked that I post after the tour was completed. I thought that was a very gracius attitude which I appreciated.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      I can accept postponing the review when you are on a tour Heather! It is a promo tour so that’s understandable. They don’t ask you not to post or lie!

  16. Wow, this is a lot of info Sophie! Honestly, the author’s behavior either it is good or bad doesn’t influence my reading experience. I’ve never read anything by Kennedy Ryan but I’ve heard great things about her books. She sounds like an amazing author! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      You are welcome Raven! And lucky in a way that your reading is not influenced by their personal behavior. I wish I was like that, it would be much more easier!

  17. Authors have a right to voice their opinions and they are also free to do and act as they will on their own social media platforms. That said though, I also have the right not to heed their words and am free to not read or buy their books if their bad behavior pisses me off. It’s wonderful that way, lol! 😀

    And authors can also choose to market their books however they want, though yes, I too do not like some of the less ethical methods, especially if they are not upfront about all the details or are trying to obfuscate something.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Bwahahahaha Mogsy yes it’s wonderful that way! This is so true indeed. They are free to manage their business their own way and we are free to react our own way! Simple as that!

  18. OMG! But this is such a juicy topic, especially for every book blogger reading and review ebooks, what ever their source. There should, you would think, be an unspoken code of ethics, and a certain level of decent behaviour on both sides of the fence. But we’re back to people being people. Some a good, some are sh*theads, and some are kindness personified (I point to Louise Penny for that experience!)

    Like anything in life, we get back what we put in, and it’s the same with authors. Bad behaviour will probably lose you more readers and followers, than gain. But these days, the internet has unleashed one kind of personality that use to be locked away, sad to say.

    1. BewareOfTheReader says: Reply

      Hahaha yes juicy topic indeed Alexandra! And you are absolutely right about internet unleashing one kind of personality. You could compare the net to the “speaker’s corner” in Hyde Park. Everyone has something to voice and as in real life, unhappy people (or bad mannered) are often the most vocal!

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