So I use my bookstagram (instagram dedicated to books and amaaaazzzing photos of books) to review novels I’ve read but I thought, hey, why not follow some young adult authors I enjoy? See what their lives are like as an author and what mine could be like when I get my first book published.
Most of the authors I follow post about their book tours, lit festivals, interviews, speeches they give at schools, etc.
And then there’s this one author. Whose name I will omit because there’s so many authors like them that the name doesn’t even matter. This particular author just published their first book this year and it’s doing pretty good.
However, their social media timeline is riddled with complaints about fans. Fans asking the same questions, fans doing things they don’t like, basically, complaining about things every successful author has experienced.
Now I know we all hear the stories of celebs being mobbed, having their hair grabbed and clothing ripped. That’s not okay.
But that’s also not happening to YA authors. It’s just not. Maybe if you’re JK Rowling or somewhere in those ranks, but even then, the only complaints I’ve heard her make about fans was when they threatened to burn her books because she criticized Donald Trump. She didn’t even complain exactly, she roasted them and said “I’ve still got your money”. And that was that.
Now, if an author with 7 successful novels, a play, 9 films, 2 theme parks, and a ridiculous amount of memorabilia that have earned her BILLIONS of dollars can use social media without constantly berating her fans, then surely, a debut author with a mediocre book and meager fan base can do so as well.
Social media is how your fans connect with you as an author. This is your chance to show people the person behind the book. Authors should be careful with that. Especially as a young adult author. Some of your fans are teens and children. They don’t want to read about you getting ticked because someone asked you a question about your career that you probably asked before you actually had a career. They want to see what you’re doing for the genre, what your interests are, why you care about writing for them.
Every author has an ego and I think it’s vital, especially if you’re a part of a marginalized group or your writing depicts marginalized groups. However, some of these authors take it just a little too far.
Sort of like those girls in college who constantly talk about all the unworthy guys they rejected this past weekend at the bar. A lot of the time, they just want you to know people are interested in them.
And that’s what some of these authors are doing. They’re not upset that you asked them how they became an author for the 50,000th time, they just want people to know that people think they’re important enough to ask.
Meanwhile, the people egging this behavior on are not heavy hitters in the genre themselves. Some examples of YA heavy hitters: John Green, Nicola Yoon, Jason Reynolds, Rita Williams-Garcia, Sarah Dessen, Rick Yancey, etc. They all have more than one novel out and they’ve all got proven track records of success. They’re not one hit wonders, so to speak.
You don’t really see any of those authors complaining about their fans either because they love what they do and who they do it for. But if you’re going to be a cocky author, you better have something to be cocky about.
Just a little shade, but on a literary level, this author’s debut didn’t blow me away. But, like a lot of authors, the subject material was incredibly timely. That’s the good and bad part of the young adult publishing world. Lots of terrible books get published just because the premise sounds good.
Sort of like going on American Idol and singing about Jesus. You can butcher that song but nobody wants to boo Jesus.
With that in mind, I really question this author’s sincerity when they diss their fans. I suspect the 2nd book won’t do nearly as well (they’ve already revealed the inspiration behind it) and a year down the line they’ll probably be wishing they still had fans to complain about.
All this lead to me wondering what kind of author I’ll be. How do I envision myself? How do I want my readers to envision me? Fun, down to earth, considerate and passionate. Maybe some fan will ask me an annoying question one day or send me an animal sacrifice in the mail or something.
Whatever happens, I know I’ll have more sense than to berate an entire fanbase about it.
Don’t take crap from anyone, but respect your fans. They’re the reason writers have careers.