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How much do you want to know about an author?


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Initial post: Jan 4, 2012 8:03:19 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 4, 2012 8:16:41 AM PST
As the publishing industry is changing selling books is becoming an increasingly complex and difficult task (see the assortment of threads on marketing, promotion, spam, on this board), Both self-published and traditionally published authors are having to find new and creative ways to get attention for their work.

One of the more popular methods of self-promotion, for both groups of authors, has become social networking. With a few notable exceptions, all of your favorite authors have a website, a facebook fan page, a website and a twitter feed. This provides a level of access to the author that has never existed before. We now know the name of their dog, their marital status, where they went for New Year's, and sometimes more personal and intimate information than that.

Some authors love this. They have the opportunity to develop relationships with their readers that are important and life giving to them. Others, and I would guess the majority, are not so pleased. They are private people. They don't want every stalker and over zealous fan to know their business.

So, forum neighbors, how much do you want to know about your favorite authors? How does it change your reading experience if you know their dog is ugly, what he or she had for breakfast, etc.? Do you want to be friends with your favorite authors? Would that be cool or kinda creepy? Now that it is becoming expected, does it put you off if an author doesn't reveal much about themselves?

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 8:16:59 AM PST
Kribu says:
I only follow my favourite author's blog (which I originally only looked up because I wanted to know when the next book might come out). He posts about personal life as well as writing progress reports, competitions meant for readers, etc, and I love reading his posts whatever the topic because they're often laugh-out-loud funny. It's definitely made me an even bigger fan and knowing he's as funny in his posts as he is in his books means that I'm more likely to buy his future books, even once the current series ends.

His blog posts also regularly get hundreds if not thousands of comments (many fans use the comment area as a place where to chat with each other) and he does occasionally interact with fans in the comments, e.g. answering specific questions. From what I can tell, the fans are delighted by that, even though it doesn't happen often.

I also occasionally read another author's blog posts, as she posts interesting insights into the whole writing and publishing process at times as well as listing books she's recently read and enjoyed.

Most of the time I don't really have a lot of interest in the authors' personal lives, though. I do appreciate authors having blogs or websites where it's easy to check things such as the order of books in a series, estimated release dates of next books and so on. It doesn't put me off if the author doesn't reveal anything more personal than that.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 8:57:38 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2012 3:56:45 AM PST
Irish reader says:
I've never been in very curious about the authors I read. Occasionally - often years after reading them - I'll discover a big dichotomy between a writer's authorial voice and his private life that makes me curious to know more about him. Baudelaire - a slave-trader? Well, well...

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 9:42:53 AM PST
AmeliaAT says:
I like to know a little bit about them, but I don't care too much about which specifics they mention in their bio or website. The more I've read of an author's work, the more likely I am to want to know more about them. I don't really care about their education unless it's either related to the book they've written or it's unusual. I tend to be somewhat interested in what part of the world/country they're from.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 9:52:51 AM PST
Kribu,
I also have a couple of authors whose websites I follow, not religiously or anything but regularly. One to keep up with when his books are coming out, he is published by a small publisher and they don't always advertise very well.

Another I follow just because she is a neat person with a wonderful perspective on life. Both of them and a couple of others I look at rarely have been a great source of recommendations for new books!

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 9:53:34 AM PST
Flaubert - a slave-trader... how interesting! will have to look that up.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 9:54:26 AM PST
I don't know but to me it feels like stalking as a result makes me feel like a stalker. I look at their sites occasionally but that's about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 9:55:42 AM PST
Amelia,
I agree, it is interesting/helpful sometimes to know where writers are from. I read a couple of authors, one American, and one Canadian who write novels set in England. It is interesting to see how they work out the obvious difficulties.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 9:59:15 AM PST
~am
That is what brought this question to mind. Sometimes it feels a little bit too much like "TEENBEAT" for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 10:26:13 AM PST
Zen Druid says:
I don't really care much about the authors I read, although some of my favorites I'll friend on facebook and check on them there. Usually I don't research an author much until they are big and dead (like Tolkien) or if something in their background is really pertinant to their writing such as their geographical location or perhaps something of their philosophy. So, if I'm reading a novel with a lot of Buddhism in it then I would like to know that the author has some background that makes what they are saying valid.

Otherwise, *my* authors are free to live their lives as they see fit.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 10:41:46 AM PST
MelindaC says:
I don't really ever think about the personal life of the author unless something in the book I'm reading makes me wonder. For example, in my late teens/early 20s I went on a Dean Koontz binge (which I'm currently revisiting). He tends to have protagonists with some sort of abusive background, which made me wonder about his own childhood. Turns out he had an abusive, alcoholic father.

Recurring themes such as that in a specific author's writing make me want to know more about them, but otherwise, I don't really think about it.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 10:53:17 AM PST
Usually I don't want to know anything about the author. The only thing that's important for me is what they write and if I enjoy them.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 11:03:17 AM PST
I don't necessarily want to know much about them. But sometimes I am slapped in the face with information about their personal lives that makes me unable to continue reading their books. I came to learn, for example, that Orson Scott Card is a raging fundie jack@ss homophobe. I loved Ender's Game. I will never buy another of his books. I will not pay him even one dime more of my money.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 4, 2012 12:03:51 PM PST
dave conifer says:
Card is definitely the poster child for this thread, Queen...

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 2:18:36 PM PST
Feel the same about Card. I dropped 9$ on a paperback, talked about it, and people educated me just what his politics were. It didn't make the book any less enjoyable (I can divorce the two) but it did feel...yucky.

That being said, I go through zero effort on researching my fav authors, whether they have wiki pages or not. Oddly, I find industry blogs more interesting than writers' blogs, and don't fan/follow any of them on FB.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 5:51:36 PM PST
Pete Morin says:
As my father taught me a long time ago, "there is no benefit to being an a$$hole."

Sort of a universal principle.

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 7:01:47 PM PST
I don't much care about the personal lives of authors... or athletes, musicians, thespians, or any other type of entertainer. Why they write what/how they write can be interesting (sometimes), but I just want a good story (or informative article).

Posted on Jan 4, 2012 7:12:19 PM PST
I follow a few authors blogs - some are really interesting :) I used to follow more but a lot of them were just gng on and on about writing to the point it felt like I was reading a creative writing course. And as a fair few of them were simply regurgitating what the others said, it got boring fast. But the one's whom I do still follow chat about all manner of things and it's funny/interesting to see where their inspiration comes from. My friend had some fascinating chats with Charlene Harris via email - we were all rather jealous! Love the sookie stackhouse books (well, the first 8 ;p)

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 6:45:18 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 5, 2012 6:45:56 AM PST
I find I don't much care to know much about an author's personal life.
When I was reading some of Orson Scott Card's comments, it very much disgusted me. Even though I LOVED Ender's Game, I won't purchase anything else by him either.
Sometimes though, a writer lets his/her personal views into a story. Dan Simmons was one of my favorite authors of all time, but his latest book seemed to be rather preachy and right wing lovey dovey. I don't mind a book delving into politics or creating its own politics, but I do mind when those politics overwhelm the story. In his latest, IMO, that's exactly what happened.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 8:48:05 AM PST
Zen Druid says:
I'd heard that about Simmons latest book which surprised me because I've read a good bit of his work and hadn't encountered that before. Let's hope it's not a trend in his writing :(

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 9:19:05 AM PST
Zen, it totally bummed me out. Simmons actually posted at his website that the book does not reflect his politics. Oddly, many reviewers felt differently, including myself. Prior to this book, I've loved almost everything he has written. Carrion Comfort, The Terror, and Children of Night are some of my favorites, not to mention the whole Hyperion and Olympus series'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 5, 2012 10:02:21 AM PST
Zen Druid says:
Oooh, thanks Charlene for giving me a few more to try, I haven't read the first 3 you have listed there, although I loved the Hyperion Cantos as well as the Olympus series. Song of Kali is good as well, although it is a little rough since it is his first novel, but still engrossing.

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 10:07:11 AM PST
Zen, I would love to hear your thoughts when you've read any of them. The Terror was especially good and imparted some very interesting historical facts about early explorations. Truly fascinating and a bit scary!

Posted on Jan 5, 2012 5:35:20 PM PST
Carrion Comfort is my favorite horror book of all time, though I didn't much care for The Terror.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 1, 2012 9:13:07 PM PDT
Notey says:
I have tried to read The Terror two times. I just can't get into it.

And I really don't want to know anything about the people who write the books I read. They don't need to know anything about me, either.
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Discussion in:  Kindle Book forum
Participants:  30
Total posts:  70
Initial post:  Jan 4, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 21, 2012

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