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Elle Carter Neal
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I was going to comment to ask if you thought there was a different set of rules for fiction authors, but you've answered that above. I wonder if we've done a loop, if not come full circle. When I was eight years old and making the decision to become an author when I grew up, such venerable creatures were unknowable enigmas. Most of my friends didn't really think about who had written a book they were reading (if they actually cared to read it). I, myself, went a number of years refusing to read the author blurbs at the back of favourite books out of fear that it would shatter the magic of those books to discover how human and normal the author really was. So I think it's entirely possible that some readers feel that a particular author persona is part of the magic, while a jarring persona strips it away. On the other hand, I think of poets and authors like Sylvia Plath and Hemingway - people who had huge problems and poured them into their works. Knowing the details of their private (not so private) struggles adds to the poignancy of their writing. Self-help authors like Sean Stephenson actively use their disabilities to inspire their readers. Lots to think about here. I think it's a very fine line between being authentic and being overwhelming. I think taking the approach of looking for the positive in whatever one wants to talk about - the way one solves such a problem or the new perspective one gains despite a bad situation - can go a long way to help readers feel comfortable.
This is shocking. Until recently I had no idea this sort of thing was going on. Then I heard about the paid review-mill scandal (i.e. "reviewers" not even properly reading the books for which they were generating reviews). Now this bullying of honest reviewers? Most of the half-decent authors read a lot, and can actually tell whether a book is well-written or not (as opposed to just being well-marketed). Their reviews don't count? Seriously?
Oops. I think I have two or three of those. I'll have to go and check now!
What a great idea! I'm going to use this for the birthdays coming up next. Thanks :-) Elle
Elle Carter Neal is now following The Typepad Team
Dec 27, 2012