the author/pedestal thing



A couple of the comments on my ‘what’s a pen name got to do with it?’ got me thinking about readers putting authors on a pedestal, and I was reminded of this when I read Erotic Horizon’s interesting post about whether the person behind the book actually matters.

The main issue which always seems to come up when this sort of topic is raised is the one of ‘authors behaving badly’.

This is strangely fascinating to me because I’m not a reader who tends to follow author blogs *I’m lazy* nor do I usually find out about any wankfestry until long after the fact *I live in a bubble*.

Am I abnormal?

Well, that kind of goes without saying *this is ME we’re talking about*, but do the majority of readers stalk authors rabidly or do they tend to wander vaguely around the interwebz doing their own thing?

Another question I have is do you, as a reader, truly-ruly want to know anything and everything about your fave author?

I have to admit that in many ways I LIKE keeping my head in the sand. I WANT an author I enjoy to remain up on that pedestal I put ’em on.

Maybe that’s too simplistic a view? *shrugs*

What do you lot reckon then? Are you an ostrich or a sticky beak (translation = nosy parker *I bet some of you don’t get that one either*)?

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About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
This entry was posted in authors, erotic horizon, serious randomness, serious shit, the author pedestal thing. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to the author/pedestal thing

  1. Chris says:

    *gasp* The first use of “nosy parker” I have ever seen outside of a book!

    I don't stalk authors, but I do follow a fair number of author blogs – one of the things I've really enjoyed about the m/m romance community is getting to know some of the authors.

  2. K. Z. Snow says:

    Pedestal?

    Buwahahahaha!

    I can't even begin to relate to this. I'm one of those subterranean writers who'd be satisfied just to get her head above ground level.

    The only mortals who leave me awestruck are the ones whose level of selflessness, intelligence, or creativity is beyond my comprehension. I can't think of any living authors who are on a par with, say, true heroes or Stephen Hawking or Beethoven.

    But I am one of those people who refuse to fatten the wallets and inflate the egos of shitheads. I boycott shitheadedness.

    So, Kris…if I shut the eff up and go all reclusive and mysterious, will I get my own pedestal? Can I write my own inscription, too?

    πŸ˜€

  3. nichem says:

    I only really follow two author blogs, Josh Lanyon's and Lisabea's. Josh's I just follow to keep up with what books he has coming out, and Lisabea's I was following before she was even an author because she's so funny.

    For the most part, all I really want to know from an author is what stories they're working on and when I can buy them. Don't really care about their personal lives.

    I prefer to keep my head in the sand too, Kris. Sometimes in the GR comments and other places I end up stumbling across some of the wankfestery (that's a word, right?) and that does cloud my view of those authors and makes me not want to read their books. I guess it works both ways, though, because there are some authors I've given a try just because they seemed so friendly on GR or in comments here or at Wave's.

  4. Jenre says:

    And this from the person who has in the past had an unhealthy obsession with Sean's blue mesh underwear ;).

    I have a number of author blogs on my reader. I do occasionally pop in and comment – unless it's Sean or Clare or KZ or Wren or LB and then I'm pretty much guaranteed to comment cos they're my friends and I lub them.

    As for the rest, well I read their blogs to keep up with latest releases etc only, and if they start to get all wankfestery, then they get removed from blog reader fast enough to leave skid marks.

  5. JenB says:

    As a reader, I used to follow author blogs. I loved “knowing” them.

    Now that I'm an editor, ignorance is bliss. If I dislike an author, I find myself annoyed when I have to work on his/her books. “ARGH, don't you KNOW how to use that word? WTF is your problem? STOP USING SO MANY COMMAS! No wonder I dislike you, you twit!” etc. πŸ˜‰

    I actively avoid author blogs and chats, and even if I do go check out the latest Author Behaving Badly incident, I usually just skim over it and get a general idea.

    I've also unfollowed several overly political authors on Twitter. I'd prefer not to know which politician an author is promoting (or hating on), and I don't want to read every political rant on the internet. Bleh.

  6. Jambrea says:

    It's heartbreaking when an author falls off their pedestal. *sigh* I've had it happen to me with a couple authors. I can't read their stuff anymore because of it. Sad too, because I like their writing.

    I like to know some things about authors, but I don't need to know every detail. Well…except TA Chase. I'm obsessed with him and he knows it! lol

    I know that I would never want to be on a pedestal. Heck…sometimes its even hard to believe I'm published. lol

  7. Tam says:

    *I'm lazy* *I live in a bubble*.

    Stop stealin' my character traits damn it. And yes, I know what a nosey parker is, and I don't think I am one.

    Like Jen, I follow a few author blogs and will comment because I consider them friends and not “just” authors. Otherwise now. I rely on others (aka you guys) to tell me when a book is coming out (Lily's releases this week post is great) but otherwise no, I don't follow them.

    Do I want to know everything? Not really. Nothing personal but I don't care that much. If you're my friend I probably already know a fair bit about you from our interactions, if you're just a name on a book, no matter how much I might enjoy that book, I'm not really interested in every detail of your life beyond a few basics that just kind of let me put something more than a blank face on someone. I can't be bothered stalking, too much work.

  8. I am guilty of following alot of authors – not only on their blogs/site but some authors who are “drag their feet between books” writers, they go on the google alert..

    But everything in moderation – I dont have any of them on pedestals – alive or dead..

    I am only human and I have a few I love to read – even the flops, and those I even email on the odd occasions.

    E.H>

  9. Not living in a bubble, but lazy, yes. So, I don't stalk authors. I'm interested in them but I don't need or want to know details about their personal lives. I learn enough from them through their books and the occasional interaction on twitter, other blogs or goodreads, which is fun.
    I would hate to learn something negative about an author whose work I love, so better don't know too much then. πŸ™‚

  10. *raises hand* I'm a stalker, but in my defense I only do this so I know when authors' books are coming out. I don't really want to *know* about their personal life unless it relates to their work or unless they make me laugh like LB Gregg.

    I do at times put them on pedestals because I'm such a fan of their work. It is very disappointing when I find out when one of them behaves badly especially to their readers.

  11. Matthew says:

    Oooooh… Am I on a pedestal? Am I?

  12. Author blogs are cool to learn about new-to-me authors.

    Strange as it is; if i DIDN'T discover you by your blog then I will not be visiting. I have already created you in my head and you will not match IRL.

    If I DID discover you by your blog then I will be coming back over and over because IBL* got to me brain first.

    *in blog life

  13. I don't stalk any authors, but I have some author blogs on Google reader, and a couple I regularly comment on. There are a few others I keep on bookmark status, so if I want to see what they're up to I can easily pop in.

    I spent a little time on a forum or two, and found that is where the more unpleasant voices come out. One author really turned me off, and I put off buying her book because of it. After I saw some positive reviews, I broke down and got it. I started but never finished, because I always had the things she'd 'said' in the back of my mind!

    p.s. Thanks, Jen πŸ™‚

  14. Sweet says:

    I try to stay away from most author blogs and chats. I've stumbled across too many WTF comments, that have lessened my enjoyment of their books.

  15. K. Z. Snow says:

    I think it's safe to say we heart you too, Jen. πŸ˜‰

  16. Eyre says:

    I follow some author blogs because their friends or acquaintances, but I don't stalk authors. The authors I do follow are the ones that I've communicated with elsewhere.

    I guess I am guilty of putting them on pedestals. I guess I just naively assume that if an author creates a character that I fall in love with, then that author must be a nice person, etc. I do not need to know everything about an author, and I don't go searching for dirt or gossip. However, it's just about impossible to avoid learning about some of those things when all of the blogging universe is up in arms over something like plagiarism.

  17. Lea says:

    When I first 'discovered' blogs I did visit a number of author sites. Once I started blogging and my free time has become at a premium I don't visit as much.

    I do try and get out and support some authors who I've gotten to know online when they are doing promo blog tours or having contests and shit.

    I'm an old fart and don't do 'pedestals' anymore, unless of course it's Johnny Depp – for him – high pedestal, very high… lol

    Good post and question Kris.

    Hey I just saw your post with the pictures of the new paint job and bookshelves – NICE!

    πŸ˜‰

    word verification: entlerst (pornish?)

  18. Chris says:

    Hmm. Does pestering authors to do promos/giveaways on my blog count as stalking?

    Veri word says: imperill. Hmm. Outlook unclear.

  19. Emilie says:

    There are a few author blogs and LJs I follow, some to see when they have new books out. I've been known to e-mail a couple of favorite authors who aren't much on self-promotion and ask, “Why didn't you tell us you had a new story out?” Do you think that's stalkerish of me?

    I've gotten to know some e-book authors online, and I don't think I particularly put them on a pedestal. I like the ones I regularly interact with. There are a few I'll e-mail to let them know their books have hit that month's bestseller list at a gay bookstore, and that's a happy interaction.

    I don't generally go out searching for gossip, but if I hear about something along the way, I may stop to read a wankfest or online implosion. I think it's the fascination some people have for watching a trainwreck. Then I post about my opinion that an author can never really win an online argument, not in the long run, at least.

    I don't need to know about an author's personal life to enjoy a book, but if I see for myself that one is saying awful things publicly about other authors or readers or reviewers, it does put me off. If I see that an author is kind and supportive of other authors, I might keep it in mind to give their work a try.

  20. Kris says:

    Chris: “The first use of “nosy parker” I have ever seen outside of a book!”

    I am a trend setter. You will see it every where now. πŸ™‚

    Stalking authors for goodies doesn't count. Nor does annoying them to participate in story challenges or competitions. *hehehe*

    KZ: “So, Kris…if I shut the eff up and go all reclusive and mysterious, will I get my own pedestal? Can I write my own inscription, too?”

    If you're lucky AND YOU ANSWER YOUR FUCKING EMAILS!!!

    *ahem*

    Sorry, but I do all of the the inscriptions for my pedestals. I find it helps to keep a tally there too as to where the author has pissed me off or not. Yours is looking pretty grim. Just sayin'.

    Richelle: “I guess it works both ways, though, because there are some authors I've given a try just because they seemed so friendly on GR or in comments here or at Wave's.”

    That's a great point, Richelle. There are a few authors that I've tried because I like the way they've interacted with their readers or what they've had to say about their work. So, yes, it can indeed work both ways.

  21. Kris says:

    Jenre: What's your point. πŸ˜›

    “… unless it's Sean or Clare or KZ or Wren or LB and then I'm pretty much guaranteed to comment cos they're my friends and I lub them…”

    Suck up. πŸ™‚

    JenB: “Now that I'm an editor, ignorance is bliss. If I dislike an author, I find myself annoyed when I have to work on his/her books. “ARGH, don't you KNOW how to use that word? WTF is your problem? STOP USING SO MANY COMMAS! No wonder I dislike you, you twit!” etc. ;)”

    *snort* I can see how that would be a problem, Jen, if only for the ranting that goes on in your head. LOL.

    Jambrea: πŸ™‚ “It's heartbreaking when an author falls off their pedestal… Sad too, because I like their writing.”

    Exactly. That's one of the reasons why I prefer to keep my head in the sand. To find out that an author you love actually has feel of clay. Well, it can be devastating.

  22. Kris says:

    Tam: “Nothing personal but I don't care that much.”

    This is how I feel. I think of it as the “no offense but why are you telling me all this personal shit when you could be writing more books for me to read” reader response. I'm glad to know that there is someone else like me out there.

    EH: “But everything in moderation – I dont have any of them on pedestals – alive or dead.”

    I think that's a great approach. I wish I was more like that. Even as I was doing this post and answering the comments, I have a little voice in me – way, WAY deep down – saying 'but Kris they're only human so can't you just accept them faults and all'. Erm, no, apparently not. *sigh*

    Janna: “I would hate to learn something negative about an author whose work I love, so better don't know too much then. :)”

    I'm with you, hun. Ignorance is bliss and all that. πŸ™‚

  23. Lea says:

    “Does pestering authors to do promos/giveaways on my blog count as stalking?”

    Nope… It's helpful. πŸ™‚ And, You are so good at it Chris.

    Verification Word: guingahs (definitely a word from Urban Dictionary for some type of simian)

  24. Kris says:

    KC: “It is very disappointing when I find out when one of them behaves badly especially to their readers.”

    When an author is a total arsehole to a reader I get super annoyed. Let's face it; it is very easy for most of us to put ourselves in that position. NOT a great feeling at all and an insta-fail for me.

    Matthew: BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Too funny.

    Oh, that was a joke, right. πŸ˜›

    Miranda: You know I understood exactly what you meant and am in total agreement. On only one cup of morning coffee too. πŸ˜‰

    “Author blogs are cool to learn about new-to-me authors.”

    Absolutely. That's why it's so important to make sure that blogs are regularly updated. Sean, Matthew, are you reading this. Write this down – VERY IMPORTANT.

  25. Kris says:

    Wren: “I started but never finished, because I always had the things she'd 'said' in the back of my mind!”

    Ick. This is similar to what Jen was saying about what can sometimes happen when she edits. Happily I don't think I've ever been in that position. Avoidance and denial are key tenets to my life. πŸ™‚

    Sweet: “I've stumbled across too many WTF comments, that have lessened my enjoyment of their books.”

    Word. I came across a major WTF comment from a mainstream author whom I adore and I've stayed clear of that site and others where I know she visits ever since. Yuck.

    Eyre: “However, it's just about impossible to avoid learning about some of those things when all of the blogging universe is up in arms over something like plagiarism.”

    God, yes. Because I prefer being an ostrich, there have been a couple of occasions where I've just deleted emails with links etc because I've really not wanted to know what's going on this time 'round. It just seems like one thing after another some days and, as much as I can also be fascinated by trainwrecks, that can get old very quickly.

  26. Val says:

    What a great topic, Kris! I follow one or two author blogs because they're friends and I want to keep up with their new releases. But I just don't have time to read that much so I have to keep the blog reading to a minimum.

    As for the author falling off the pedestal, I'd like to say that only the writing matters, but that wouldn't be true in my case. I'll forgive a lot, but if an author gets insanely weird (especially in an over-the-top political way) or gets vengeful towards readers / reviewers, then I just can't read their books anymore.

    I was sorry to hear about Alice Hoffman going after that 75 year-old reviewer who published a slightly critical review of one of her books. I mean, trying to whip all her readers into a hate-mail campaign against a reviewer for one slightly less than worshipful review? That's just completely nuts.

    No more Alice Hoffman books for me — not even through the library. I don't think I'd be able to forget what I now know about her personality enough to enjoy the story. 😦

  27. Kris says:

    Lea: My new feature wall and the bookshelves continue to look amazing. I luff them so. *sigh*

    What were we talking about?? Oh, Johnny Depp and his pedestal. *bows down* He deserves every inch of it. *waggles eyebrows*

    I think support author promo, especially those who you have come to know is absolutely fair enough. I'm not very good at it though. In fact, my support comes mainly in the form of bossy; for eg, 'why aren't you doing this?'. LOL.

    Emilie: “I've been known to e-mail a couple of favorite authors who aren't much on self-promotion and ask, “Why didn't you tell us you had a new story out?” Do you think that's stalkerish of me?”

    Hell, no, especially since I do it myself. *g*

    “I don't need to know about an author's personal life to enjoy a book, but if I see for myself that one is saying awful things publicly about other authors or readers or reviewers, it does put me off. If I see that an author is kind and supportive of other authors, I might keep it in mind to give their work a try.”

    I'm similarly influenced, Emilie. The way authors interact with each other especially makes an impression on me, both in the positive and negative.

    Val: “As for the author falling off the pedestal, I'd like to say that only the writing matters, but that wouldn't be true in my case.”

    Me too. *sigh*

    “I'll forgive a lot, but if an author gets insanely weird (especially in an over-the-top political way) or gets vengeful towards readers / reviewers, then I just can't read their books anymore.”

    You're about the third person to mention the overly political issue to me recently, Val. I don't think I've seen an example of this before. Can you explain what you mean? No names needed. πŸ™‚

  28. K. Z. Snow says:

    If you're lucky AND YOU ANSWER YOUR FUCKING EMAILS!!!”

    Has somebody not met her quota of hissy fits for the month? Hm?

    Yeah, okay, I'll go back and check. Sometimes a few slip past me. That's why my nickname isn't Hawkeye.

    (“trobb” — That's what the wienies of blue-collar guys in Chicago do. Heh.)

  29. Kris says:

    KZ: I'm meant to have a quota?? Since when?!

    PS – You're all having way to much fun with veri when I still get shitty ones. When's my karma gonna kick in, I ask ya.

  30. Amora says:

    I prefer not to know too much about an author.

    It's only since I've started my blog that I've got to know a few that turned out to be awesome. Lucky me, one turns out to be one of my favs, so far pedestal just gets higher.

    Met a couple real jerks too. Ruined as far as their books, but wasn't that impressed anyway.

  31. Lily says:

    I follow just a few author blogs but mainly because we've become friendly in the past few months. It's nice to know when new books are coming out but I usually get that info from the publisher's site or other blogs. I don't have to stalk them around the web for that. πŸ™‚

    I've got enough going on in my life that I can't be bothered to know every little detail about an author. Just keep on writing the good books and I'll read them. I don't need to know what movie you watched last night, who you're voting for or any other little detail floating around.

  32. Kris says:

    Amora: That's one of the major downsides of having a review blog, I think, that some authors can react badly. Not that I would really know. You may have noticed that I avoid reviews as much as possible. LOL.

    Because I mainly play with authors (ie make fun of them incessantly) I don't really interact with them of the same sort of level that many others do; that is, professional, mature, etc, etc. πŸ˜› Plus I reckon most of 'em know if they piss me off I will tell 'em to sod off. *g*

    Lily: “Just keep on writing the good books and I'll read them.”

    Word. Please, please don't tell me about your sex life, but feel free to use it as inspiration in that story you should be writing. πŸ˜‰

  33. orannia says:

    One of only authors I 'stalk' is Nalini Singh…and I've been very constant about that. OK, I follow her blog πŸ™‚

    But apart from that, I mostly live in a bubble too *grin*

  34. jitterbug says:

    I, too, prefer not to know much about an author. Some writers have shown more than once to possess a level head and a good dose of common sense – I don't put them on a pedestral, I'm just reasonably sure they will continue to behave with a certain equanimity, or at least that they will know when to withdraw from a train wreck, but sadly they are a minority. The possibility of being witness to big WTFery moments is too high. Wankfests may sometimes be funny, in a “oh my god no s/he didn't!”-way, but it gets old sooo fast. No, I mostly prefer to consider authors a breed apart ;P. That said, I've bookmarked a lot of authors' blogs – I check them now and again because I want to know about their WIPs. I'm obsessed by their WIPs. I always hope to find updates about them, or even snippets. Yeah, snippets make my day ;).

  35. I think what it all comes down to is authors are just people, like you and me. I've met some great ones and some that have left a sour taste in my mouth.

  36. lbgregg says:

    I have limited my stalking to actors. German Actors. Actor.

    And apparently, I also stalk his husband.

    ::shift eyes::

    Just kidding.

  37. lbgregg says:

    Also PS

    Thank you for the nice-nice, friends. Made me smile.

  38. Kris says:

    Orannia: Bubbles are good. Especially in baths. Or in alcohol. πŸ™‚

    Sara: “No, I mostly prefer to consider authors a breed apart…”

    LOL. Makes sense. I think it's great that you're obsessed with WIPs. I used to be and then my inherent laziness reared it's ugly head as well as the need to cut down on my level of procrastination. RL can really be a downer sometimes.

  39. Kris says:

    Stephani: “I think what it all comes down to is authors are just people, like you and me.”

    You're absolutely right. I know this yet I still put them on a pedestal. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because 'the author' behind the book is this imaginary person who must be awesome because they've written something that I just enjoyed muchly?? Something to ponder.

    LB: You are so not kidding. Who the hell are you trying to fool. Stalker.

  40. Sarah says:

    Nope, bubble girl I think. There are a couple of authors who are pretty entertaining, I like what they have to say and I follow them on twitter. But I'm not sure I slavishly read their blogs.

    There are a couple of authors who's wankfests I could not help but notice. Left a bit of a bad taste in my mouth, so I just don't read them. You've got to wonder at the mentality of someone like that and what their objectives are. Occasionally stuff just gets my goat. So, I vote with my credit card. πŸ™‚

  41. Kris says:

    Sarah: “So, I vote with my credit card. :)”

    πŸ™‚ It could be the bubble/sand thing, but, unless the author vs reader/reviewer conflict has become particularly bad, I rarely see readers publicly campaigning against authors. It seems that most of us prefer to just quietly do as you say, Sarah; that is, vote with our $$.

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