The Writer-Reader Relationship posted by Maureen Lang
September 26, 2012 Leave a comment
When I finish a book I’ve really enjoyed, I usually go online to check out a few things. First and most importantly, I look to see what else this writer has published. Secondly, I want to take a peek at their website.
I’m not sure why I look for the website when all I really want is the title of another good book to read, and I can find that on Amazon or any other online book site that offers an Author’s Pages. Liking one book by an author gives me a certain amount of trust that I’ll like another. So I guess what I’m looking for on the website, or perhaps Facebook, is a glimpse into the author’s life, to see if the online presence seems to match the person I would expect to have written the kind of book I just enjoyed. Someone who could be my friend, albeit in the most distant sort of way since it’s unlikely I’ll ever meet them, unless they’re a fellow Inspirational writer.
I do have a confession to make, though. If I haven’t liked a book, or if it is filled with elements that either surprised me in a negative way or includes things I disagree with, I’ve looked at author websites for negative reasons too. And as the old adage goes, if you’re looking for faults you’ll usually find them. One author of a book I didn’t like was filled with photos of this author – positioned from different angles in front of a very ornate (i.e. expensive) fireplace. It didn’t give me much insight into him as a person, only that he thought it would be valuable for his readers to see him pose in a very author-ly manner, complete with smoking jacket. That is, I’m happy to say, the extent of my negative stalking. I guess I was looking for a clue as to why this author might have disappointed me.
On a more positive note, I’ve also made the effort to attend personal appearances by favorite authors. I’ve “met” a couple this way – well, I should clarify if meeting someone hints at an exchange of introductions I really just stood in line to tell authors like Lief Enger (Peace Like a River) and Kathryn Stockett (The Help) how much I enjoyed their work. But prior to the signing, I listened to them give a talk about their writing life, and it was wonderful. It made that connection between this reader and that writer just a little bit deeper, and made me look forward to future work.
So how about you? What do you do to make a connection to your favorite author, if anything beyond just reading their books? Do you even want any kind of connection, or is experiencing their work enough for you? If you’re a website visitor, what kind of things do you look for? Friendly, personal ones, or more professional ones that may have been created by the publisher rather than the author? Does it matter? And what about Facebook? Do you look there to keep up with them, or is the website or checking their products on a site like Amazon enough?