Tuesday, April 23, 2013
When writers don't play nice in real life, do readers care?
For the most part, writers are the nicest group of people you'll ever meet. When I went to my first writer'sconference back in 2006 as a newbie without a publishing contract, I was expecting to be dismissed by the "real" authors there. Instead, I found myself surrounded by the most welcoming, supportive professional community I'd ever met.
Of course. there are always exceptions. I've become more aware of those exceptions recently because of Facebook. People who are active on Facebook eventually reveal themselves, personality warts and all. For writers, sometimes too much revealing of self ignites blowback from readers.
Last week, a well-known author posted a Facebook rant about a political topic. Her comments were followed by vocal disappointment from some of her readers; all of the commenters expressed disappointment in the author. A few vowed never to buy her books again. Ouch.
We've even been taken to task occasionally here at TKZ. Whenever a blogger has made an ill considered, controversial or tactless remark, it's "Katie, bar the door." You guys always let us know when we've fumbled the courtesy ball. And for that, we thank you. :)
But it occurs to me that most people don't want to buy "nice" books. Few people want to read about the Village of Nice, Happy People. We want conflict, emotion, and tension from our stories. But we don't want that from our real-life writers.
I grew up surrounded by high-achieving, volatile personalities, so I guess I expect my artists to be a bit raw in person. But I'm wondering--have you ever encountered a writer who was rude or obnoxious in real life, and did that experience make you less likely to buy his or her book?
I'll leave you with Jack Nicholson from As Good As It Gets, in which he offends an ardent fan.