I have no idea how well this discussion post will go down. I don’t think it’s particularly controversial, but I DO think it’s important.
So, like most of my discussions, this is fuelled by things I’ve seen on Twitter lately. (Turns out that’s a surprisingly easy way to find chatty topics). Twitter has sort of blown up lately with the amount of drama in the book community, and while I don’t usually get involved, I feel like this topic is fairly…subdued? compared to the rest of them, and yet still important enough to mention.
So let’s talk about how authors are different from the books they write!
I feel like I need a better way of wording that. I don’t know.
But what I mean is…you have the “you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover” or “you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s movie” – well, I’m going for the “you shouldn’t judge an author by their book”.
Sounds a bit strange, I know.
But recently I’ve seen so much hate being sent to authors because people don’t like their books. Being sent negative things about their books must hurt in the first place, but a lot of authors learn to bare criticism. However it’s been getting WAY too personal lately, I feel. I’ve seen people sending authors endless amount of hate, telling them their life work (i.e. the books) are a load of crap and completely worthless. And so much worse.
In what world is that considered OK?
I do actually unfriend/unfollow anyone who I see being rude about an author because of their books. Just like I would if I saw someone being mean to another person.
Understand that this is different from writing a negative review or just not liking the book. Of course, if you don’t like a book, you’re allowed to say so. I just don’t think it’s a justifiable reason for sending someone hate. Is anything?
Writing a negative review is fine. You don’t like a book, you have a right to say so. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t like the author as a person, either.
Yes, authors pour their hearts and souls into the books they write. They nurture their books like children, and almost unwillingly send them out into the world to be judged. Their book will be a HUGE part of them…but it’s still not strictly THEM.
The author probably isn’t like any specific character they write. The author probably doesn’t agree with all of the events that happen. I mean, pretty much every story has a villain of sorts. A villain that might be manipulative, or abusive, or a criminal mastermind. But just because the author wrote them that way, doesn’t mean that character reflects the author. At all. It’s like claiming an author would murder someone because they wrote a crime novel.
I feel like people conveniently forget that when they don’t like the book. People hate the book, and then they’ll scour through and find some hint of a problem, or point out all the “what-ifs”.Then they’ll share whatever tidbit they found – out of context, I might add – and claim the author is a vile person.
Either that, or some people will idolize authors. Conveniently forget all the problems with things the author have said, and just gaze admiringly instead of opening their ears. Defend them and the things they said without actually opening their mind and considering the fact that other people might have found it offensive.
Like a book = like the author
Don’t like a book = don’t like the author
That’s how it works, right? WRONG.
Most of the time, this sort of thing isn’t about people sending hate to an author. Luckily, the torrent of abuse to authors isn’t that common compared to the sheer love most readers will show them.
A lot of the time, it’s just general opinion. It works both ways:
There’s been so many times I’ve read a book because I like what I’ve seen of the author on social media. So many times I’ve WANTED to like a book, purely because I like the person who wrote it. But obviously, that’s counter-productive. And a lie.
There’s also been times where I’ve cast a blind eye against an author’s problem because I was a fan of their books. Where I just ignored the problems because it might make me feel weird for buying their books. So many times I’ve seen people idolize authors because they like their books. But now I just…can’t do that. Again, it’s not right.
It’s been years since I realised I don’t HAVE to like an author because I like their books. Or vice versa. It took me a while to separate the book from their author. But since I did…well, it’s easier to see that authors are just people. Just another human being. Feeling exactly the same feelings as you or I. We just happen to have read some words they wrote (a bit like you’re doing with me now).
I just feel like sometimes, people are a bit too quick to jump on any words they write and pick them apart completely, whether that be in a book or on social media. Too quick to point out what is or isn’t in their stories. Not everything can be written about in one book.
They’re just people with a hobby. A passion. Like us and our reading. Just because we read a book, it doesn’t mean we agree with everything that happens in there. The same applies to the people who write them.
Plus, it’s fiction. The stories aren’t real. But the authors are real people. And we should form our opinions of them through them…Not through the events or characters they write about (or don’t write about) in their books.
Now it’s your turn!
Honestly, I feel like this discussion has been just a huge dump of words on my part, and huge dump of opinions that I struggled to word. So I kind of need you guys to help me with that now.
What do you think about people judging authors from the books they write?
Would your opinion of a book change your opinion of the author?
Do you keep the author separate from their books in your mind?
Have you ever idolized an author because you loved their books? Or vice versa?
Join the discussion in the comments!
Until next time…
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Snapchat username: “frolic_fiction”