July 27, 2015

Discussion | Authors are People Too

You have just finished a terrible book. The characters were shallow, one-dimensional, and just plain boring. The plot put you to sleep and the world-building was nonexistent. Obviously, there is only one person to blame -- the author. It is not like that monkey with a keyboard can possibly be considered of the same intellect, or even species, as me. 

The only way to fully express my distaste for the novel and its author is to say nasty, uncalled for, and sometimes untruthful insults everywhere on the Internet.

This, my friends, is part of the poison that is corrupting readers and bloggers. 

Unfortunately, author-bashing has become somewhat of a trend. With the added convenience of being able to insult anyone in the world over the Internet, people have been lining up to take shots at each other. Bloggers, readers, and authors are not immune to this either. I know because I have been guilty of it on several occasions. Most of the time, I do not even realize that I have committed this deadly deed. I mean, authors are invincible and cannot be hurt by a mere mortal like me, right? 

Wrong. So totally and utterly wrong.

If I work really hard on something, I want other people to appreciate my effort. So do you. Likewise, authors want people to appreciate, or at least not laugh at and ridicule, their writing efforts.

I think that we can all agree that sky-diving is pretty cool. There is nothing more fun than watching people scream and jump off an airplane into thin air. But, I would never be able to do it myself. Unfortunately, I have a crippling fear of heights, but I appreciate people who are brave enough to try it. I mean, it is pretty admirable to be able to jump off of an airplane into the vast unknown, right?

Like sky-diving, writing is hard. I struggle with 140 character tweets, so I cannot even imagine the time, effort, sacrifice and dedication that goes into writing a book with thousands and thousands of pages. Publishing a book into the big, unpredictable, and sometimes scary world that we live in is like the equivalent of jumping out of an airplane ten thousand times. And jumping out of an airplane is not something that you get used to. 

In the end, trying is the most important thing you can do. I mean, look at my blogging efforts. I basically quit in 2013. The blog was pretty much empty, the design was awful and after two years I still had no idea what I was doing. BUT I WAS TRYING MY BEST. No, I did not have the most followers or the anything like that, but I still had a book blog. And if I had it, I could still improve it. Authors have done their best to provide you with a story that will hopefully change your life, cause a waterfall of tears, brighten your day, make your laugh, or maybe even all of these feelings at once. 

Another thing that is wrong about author-bashing is the most common method used to deliver the hateful messages -- the Internet. I am all for the right to share your opinion, especially on the Internet, but everyone has to be careful how to go about it. Tweeting something nasty about an author or their work and them tagging or @ing them is the start of a battle. And you just fired the first shot. For better or worse, authors cannot just blatantly insult someone back. They do not have as much freedom as they should on the Internet. Authors have to be at least 100000x more cautious with what they post for fear of mass retaliation. Even being involved in the Internet community is considered a ginormous risk for someone as influential as an author. I mean, there is a reason that even the President of the United States did not have a Twitter account until a couple of months ago. Their word is gold, but a lot of people like to try and tarnish that gold.

By all means, you have the right to say whatever you want on the Internet. You can hurt as many people as you want and think that there are no consequences. But somewhere, an author is reading that comment and I can guarantee that it does not make them (or their fans) happy. 

Here are Tessa's golden rules when it comes to authors, their books, and the Internet. 

1. You really should not be attacking ANYONE on the Internet. Not on Twitter, Instagram (even though I am creative enough to see how this would happen, I am sure that someone could find a way), Snapchat, on a blog, or even Facebook (believe it or not, people still use it).

2. Authors really are people, just like you. They are more than the profile picture you see on the Internet or the little bio at the end of the book. They bleed, cry, sweat, and breathe. They have actual emotions and feelings that can be crushed. I promise that none of them are secretly primates.

3. Just because you hate a book does not guarantee that everyone else in the world will also hate it. There are thousands of sayings that go with this, so I do not feel the need to repeat them. Just please remember that everyone is different, as are their tastes in literature.

If you have trouble remembering these things, I have written a little mantra for you to say when things get rough between you and a book.

Authors are people. I am a person.
I do not like to be insulted. Authors do not like to be insulted. 
Writing is hard, so I appreciate the author's effort to entertain me. 
What do you think about this new "trend"? Do you have any more rules to add to my list? Do you have any tips for avoiding author-bashing on the Internet? On a better note, how do you show authors that you love and appreciate their work?

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