AAR
Click here for full forums index
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 
 
Ummm....would it be fair of me to hold it against an author
Goto page 1, 2  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
bookmark



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 321

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 4:12 pm    Post subject: Ummm....would it be fair of me to hold it against an author Reply with quote

for not responding to readers' emails? Either too slow of a response or, *gasp*, no response.

I mean I can understand how in the olden days with snail mail, it may be too much to open each single piece of mail, read, and respond to each one.

I can also understand authors beeing leery of spam.

Now, while it would be nice to get a response within a day or two, I don't expect that because i know authors are busy and who knows how much emails they get daily.

I'm not the type of reader who correspond with authors much, only on very rare occasions, either because my love of the author's books overwhelm me and I can't keep the love to myself or I have a specific question regarding the book. I would say I've contacted probably less than 8 authors in my long romance novel reading history. I was very happy with the quick response of all the authors in the past. A quick shout out to Suzanne Robinson who went above and beyond and even sent me a free book (now this was yeaaars ago!). I emailed 2 authors recently. While one took a while to respond, she did about a week or so later. Another one I have not heard from. It affected my feeling and impression regarding these two authors even though I tried really hard not to.

I want to be fair to them and not allow my impatience to get in the way, so I want to get some feedback from readers and possibly authors.

I don't know. Should I not expect a response from any authors? Would it be better to go on their facebook pages? Blogs? I'm not much of a blogger, facebook, or any other social media sites. I just like to go straight to email as a fast, personal way to get in touch an author, and I always try to have a subject line that's very specific as to whether I have a comment, or question and the book title also listed.

My recent experiences just made me more hesitant now to get in contact with authors for any reason (this could be my emotions talking about a recent event, which I may forget at a later date, as in not hold a grudge). I liked the books that I read recently from these two authors, but now I don't think I'll be reading or checking up on their other books. Which is kind of unfortunate as they're newer authors.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Blackjack1



Joined: 21 Feb 2011
Posts: 575
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 5:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that writers are public figures insofar as most of them are producing their ideas for public consumption. However, I think often of Emily Dickinson who wrote for herself but whose work was published posthumously and without permission by a family member. I wouldn't expect any writer to engage with a reader on an individual level and instead I consider the written work and my role as a reader to define the boundaries around the author/reader relationship. I actually prefer to stay focused on the writing (the text) rather than the person behind the writing for all sorts of reasons and find that confusing authors with their artistic productions can lead to some sticky problems. So, for me, I'm not interested in "knowing" an author or assuming that I know their motivations or read personal intent into the writing itself.

Some writers want to remain very private and I completely respect that, while other writers want to engage with their readership and/or sell their product. I frequently attend author readings and have had opportunities to hear contemporary authors read their writing aloud, but I find too that authors are not always fully cognizant of why certain ideas emerge in their works or even why certain ideas resonate or not with the public. So, I suppose I would have to go back to my original thought which is that for me it's about the writing itself and not the person that interests me.

Also, most of the authors I read, study, and teach are long dead, as I tend to stay mostly in the 19th century Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Salaisuus



Joined: 30 Jul 2010
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Robin McKinley had a brilliant thing on her web site for awhile about how she is busy and no, she does not have time to answer all your interview questions for your book report because if she did this for everyone writing to her for this reason, she'd never have any time left to sleep, let alone write. I don't see that rant on her site anymore, which is a shame. I thought it was wonderful and very to the point on this issue.

She had some kind of side note for kids that was directed at teachers who made grades depend on whether or not an author answered your email.

Consider how popular the author is and how busy they probably are. Would you be able to keep up with 200-300 emails a day and also still do your regular job and cook meals and take care of family, pets, car maintenance, doctor appointments, and so on? They are busy just like anyone else. I would not read anything into a slow email response.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4210
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Blackjack1 wrote:
Some writers want to remain very private and I completely respect that, while other writers want to engage with their readership and/or sell their product.

I do agree with this. Authors have the right to participate or not in public communication with their readership. Since I never communicate with any authors, I don't know which are which. Write to them if you wish, but don't necessarily expect a reply. Can you imagine the amount of emails and/or snail mail they may receive on a daily basis?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bookmark



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 321

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know authors are busy and they can private people, but as a reader, I would think that it's reasonable to me to expect a reply in regards to a specific question related to the book. I get why they don't because of lack of time or any other good reasons, but it's still irks all the same when I get silence (I'm only human!-->This line reminds me of an X-Files episode, but that's another...)

Say if I was asking about a general question such as when a book was going to be released, or giving comments as to how much I enjoy or dislike the book, then I don't really expect a answer.

Of course, I don't expect authors to reply to any and all inquiries, comments, etc...but the ones who do are going to get a little more positive impression from me or are going to influence how I feel/think about them in some way.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1145
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Tue Aug 27, 2013 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe your e-mail went to a spam folder and the author who didn't respond never saw it. Maybe it's an old e-mail and the website wasn't updated. Maybe they were busy with a deadline, or with personal stuff, or have specific times set aside to deal with reader e-mails. Maybe they don't answer most e-mails immediately. I used to work as an assistant to someone who would receive hundreds of e-mails per day - sometimes the schedule doesn't allow for responding to them in what the writers would consider a timely fashion, so you deal with the urgent stuff and save the rest for later. A specific question about a book is not urgent and doesn't, in my opinion, deserve a prompt answer more than the other examples you gave.

I have never gotten in touch with any authors by e-mail and can't imagine anything that would lead me to do so; my only direct communication with authors has been in responses to comments and posts. There are so many ways to reach authors these days that some of them may be more comfortable handling interactions with readers via other channels.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Elaine S



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 666
Location: Rural England

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did once contact an author via her website with a query. She was just starting out and had only had a few things published. It led to a 2 year correspondence between us and she even sent me several of her new novels in draft for comment and critique. I was very flattered and hoped that my input was helpful - she certainly said it was.

I have had several authors post comments on reviews I've put on amazon (fortunately favourable reviews - goodness knows I've never heard from any when I posted highly critical reviews!) I was very touched that they bothered.

I am very appreciative of the authors (for example Carla Kelly and Elizabeth Rolls) who post here at AAR and think that by doing that they very much encourage the reader/author relationship which is so important for mutual satisfaction. However, I would never actually expect an author to reply to an approach from me so on the one occasion it led to something was very precious indeed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
dick



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 2478

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Years ago, when I first started posting on AAR, I can remember being startled (amazed really) at the chummy relationship between authors and readers in romance land. That being said, I too find the comments of authors such as Kelly, Rolls, Templeton, an interesting addition to these boards. Sometimes though, that familiarity can be troublesome. Does anyone else remember the contretemps over Nora Roberts' picture in the leather coat on the back of the In Death series, for example?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Tee



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 4210
Location: Detroit Metro

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

dick wrote:
Does anyone else remember the contretemps over Nora Roberts' picture in the leather coat on the back of the In Death series, for example?

Not only do I remember it, dick, I was also a contributor to the comments. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
AARJenna



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
Posts: 21

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think I'd take a non-response from a writer personally, especially if that writer is established and/or extremely popular. If a writer has to open, read and respond to every single e-mail she (he) receives, that doesn't leave her much time to actually write. Especially when you consider the other jobs involved with being a writer - editing, dealing with agents and publishers, etc. - and the fact that today so many writers have to perform a lot of their own marketing duties. I can imagine that a new writer is far more enthusiastic about responding to e-mails, but once she starts to get quite a few e-mails a day, it can become overwhelming.

I think that with the ease in which we have access to writers these days - e-mails, twitter, Facebook, webpages, blogs - we've developed an illusion of closeness that maybe doesn't exist. In the "olden days" you could send a writer a fan letter via snail-mail and perhaps never expect a response and not think a thing of it. But today if we send someone an e-mail and they never reply, we feel slighted. I don't think the writer is being rude, just picking and choosing where she needs to focus her attention to get her job done. IMO, of course.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eggletina



Joined: 06 Jul 2010
Posts: 404

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AARJenna wrote:
I think that with the ease in which we have access to writers these days - e-mails, twitter, Facebook, webpages, blogs - we've developed an illusion of closeness that maybe doesn't exist. In the "olden days" you could send a writer a fan letter via snail-mail and perhaps never expect a response and not think a thing of it.


I think so too about that illusion of closeness. I also think we tend to forget that people who are famous for what they do often have public and private personas and the two are too easily confused.

I regard the the author/reader relationship as a bit of a Pandora's box. By the very act of getting on the internet, participating in forums and reading groups I've exposed myself to authors. I can't honestly say I don't interact with them. Still, I'd rather only interact with authors on a reader-to reader-basis. While it's nice to know what their next book is going to be about and when they hope to publish it, I don't really want to know too much about it (and personally feel in some cases too much is being spoonfed to overeager readers). This is where I differ from Elaine:

Quote:
...the reader/author relationship which is so important for mutual satisfaction...


We're all different and draw our boundary lines in different places, but I personally prefer my reading to be solitary (and therefore my thoughts and reactions uninfluenced) rather than interactive to the extent that the experience is no longer my own. That's not to say that it isn't interesting to find out what others thought or what the author's own intent was versus my own interpretation, but I don't want to lose or spoil that unique sense of what it meant to me. That relationship to the book, it's a one-to-one relationship, just me and the book (not with the author or anyone else).
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
paintedmoon



Joined: 03 Nov 2011
Posts: 19
Location: Texas

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just because I had read an author's book (or books) I would never feel like I was entitled to a personal response from them. Even though responding to emails may be quicker and less cumbersome than old-fashioned letters, when you multiply even a short amount of time per email times many, many emails, you end up with hours and hours of time devoted to only that. I respect that they have a life and a career and don't owe me, a single individual, a response.

bookmark - you contradict yourself several times in your posts above. First you say, "I don't expect authors to reply to any and all inquiries, comments, etc...." but then you go on to say it irks you when they don't. You say, "I know authors are busy and they can private people...." but then you say it's reasonable to expect a response. For me, I don't think it's reasonable to not just expect a response, but to allow that to mar your enjoyment of their future works. Perhaps if you enjoyed their books so much you could get the same enjoyment/feedback from talking about the book on blogs or message boards or forums set up to discuss that author's work with other readers? I know how it feels when you really, really enjoy something - you want to discuss, elaborate and re-live all the things you liked about it. I'll bet there are other fans of the author's work that would be happy to do that.

I think it's great that you did receive kind and/or timely replies from other authors. I would be grateful for the kindness of those that do respond, but I would not feel an author was UNkind for not responding to me.

Anne
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Eliza



Joined: 21 Aug 2011
Posts: 1017

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought my views had already been expressed by Tee who said, "Write to them if you wish, but don't necessarily expect a reply"; by dick who noted, "that familiarity can be troublesome"; and by Jenna's thoughts on the "illusion of closeness."

Then Eggletina posted, "We're all different and draw our boundary lines in different places, but I personally prefer my reading to be solitary (and therefore my thoughts and reactions uninfluenced) rather than interactive to the extent that the experience is no longer my own. That's not to say that it isn't interesting to find out what others thought or what the author's own intent was versus my own interpretation, but I don't want to lose or spoil that unique sense of what it meant to me. That relationship to the book, it's a one-to-one relationship, just me and the book (not with the author or anyone else)."

I feel the very same way that it's "just me and the book," and not emails, authors, critics, fan boosters, book reviewers, or street teams.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
bookmark



Joined: 06 Nov 2007
Posts: 321

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright...you guys convinced me. Well, I did feel that I was a bit (only a little because I am a rational, reasonable, fair Wink person) unreasonable but I couldn't help feeling what I felt. Now that I'm over it, I do feel a little silly overacting a little.

Eliza, feel exactly like you do regarding reading as a personal experience. That's why it'd be difficult for me to be in any reading book clubs. I'm mainly talking about fiction only.

Thanks all for your input.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1145
Location: Elsewhere

PostPosted: Wed Aug 28, 2013 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bookmark wrote:
Alright...you guys convinced me. Well, I did feel that I was a bit (only a little because I am a rational, reasonable, fair Wink person) unreasonable but I couldn't help feeling what I felt. Now that I'm over it, I do feel a little silly overacting a little.

Actually, I think you did exactly the right thing - you didn't harass the authors, you didn't whine or name names, you explained what happened and how you felt and asked other readers (the best people to consult on such a matter!) for their thoughts. Everyone overreacts sometimes, but I think you took the matter to the right forum Wink

And if you can bring yourself to get into Twitter or FB, there are lots of authors who are active there, so you might enjoy it. You can set up a separate account just for reading interests.

Just something I did want to add to my previous post - I think the only thing an author "owes" readers is to write the best books they can. Anything else is a bonus.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    AAR Forum Index -> Romance Potpourri Forum All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Goto page 1, 2  Next
Page 1 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group