Ramblings: IS IT STILL FUN? Thoughts on reader/writer interaction. Oh, and book news too.

12043225_860910687328822_7127563371021569365_nRamble: Is anyone surprised that there’s new internet kerfuffle in book-world? I’m shocked. Shocked, I tell you.

There’s a lot to be written about creator and audience interaction that could be applied to any of the creative fields: art, video, gaming, etc. But this time the kerfuffle is about readers and writers. (Because book-people do like a good kerfuffle.) And because we have THOUGHTS. Thoughts that we must express. Usually on Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr (if you’re saucy). And these thoughts are PASSIONATE and often in capital letters (because you mean business.) 2w2r1ae

I thought Ilona Andrews had a thoughtful response to the whole debate about writer/reader interaction and expectation.

“So Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, posted a Writer’s Manifesto, and predictably things got heated, because she tackled some heavy issues including interaction with readers and reader entitlement. Several people asked me what I thought about it, probably because of the latest kerfluffle regarding Hugh’s book.

Short version: I have issues with it.”

Head over to her blog to read the LONG VERSION because it’s very well thought-out. It also reminds me of an old post of mine that I linked back to on Facebook the other day about “What do I owe readers?”

It’s an old debate, you guys! Or it’s been a debate as long as the internet has existed and writers and readers have been interacting more. Here’s what I wrote last year:

“I’ve been seeing this phrase more and more as authors and readers interact on Facebook and Twitter and blogs. I’ve seen it in e-mails. I’ve read it in reviews of books I’ve written and books I’ve read from other authors.

You owe it to your readers to…’

I find myself dismissing everything that comes after that phrase. But since I don’t want to be a dismissive person, I asked myself this morning, “What do I owe my readers?”

After all, you’ve spent money on a book that I wrote and published. So yes, I do think I owe you some things. But what do I owe you? When I really started to think about it, I came up with this short list.

I, as the writer (and publisher) of a book you have paid money for, owe you:

  1. A well-written and edited book.
  2. A story that makes sense.
  3. Marketing that is true to product.”

And you can click on the link above to read MY long version.

IS IT STILL FUN?

creative_process_pie_chart1All this debate reminded me again why it’s so important to find your own balance in online life, especially as a creator, because part of your professional life revolves around social media interaction. It’s really easy to make this graph true. (Only these days, maybe add in “arguing with strangers on Twitter” to it.)

Is this something I have a problem with? Eh, I think everyone—creator and audience—has this problem in one way or another. We live in an information overload society. I manage to cope with the online pressures and dramas by just keeping my head down and writing stuff. Because seriously, that’s my happy place. That and napping. I really do love napping.

The thing that lets me survive in this crazy world is the serendipitous coincidence that my happy place (writing good books) matches up with your expectations (reading good books). SEE HOW THIS WORKS OUT? This is why I love you all.

GROUP HUG!

giphy-4

But seriously, find your own happy place. Maybe that’s a book or a game or a dinner with friends once a week. Maybe it’s with other people. Maybe it’s on your own.

All I know is, when this online social media thing stops being fun and productive, I’m out. I’ll go back to my cave and write more stuff, possibly sending out announcements by carrier pigeon, which frankly, we all need to get more in the habit of doing to prepare for the zombie apocalypse. Think about it. Carrier pigeons. Or maybe trained raccoons, either one.

Maybe... not raccoons.

Maybe… not raccoons.

Book-stuff!

A quick update for those of you looking for the paperback and audio for Beneath a Waning Moon.

AUDIO: The audiobook will be narrated by Gabrielle Baker, Grace’s wonderful narrator. I believe she’s just started production on it, so it will be a little while yet.

PAPERBACK: The paperback is… DONE! That’s right, you should be able to order it on Amazon in the next couple of days, but you can get it right now if you want to order directly from the Createspace store. Because it’s a little shorter, we’ve kept it exclusive distribution to Amazon and Createspace to keep the price down.

I’m also in the end stages of putting together the paperback for The Bronze Blade, which is Tenzin’s origin story in the Elemental universe. I’ve held off on putting it out because it’s really quite short, but there are enough readers who have asked for it that I decided to make it available. I’ll post again when it’s ready to go.

WAKING HEARTS

It is officially 35 days until the release of Waking Hearts, the next Cambio Springs book, so I’m starting a new promotion on my Facebook page. I decided to call it “35 Days of Ollie” because… that’s what I want to call it.

I’ll be sharing 35 quotes or thoughts from Ollie Campbell, the hero of Waking Hearts. (Please keep in mind that Ollie is not a talkative guy. Pulling 35 quotes from him for the promo might just give you the entirety of his dialogue for the book. You’ll just have to be okay with that.) But join us over on the page because we have a lot of fun there, and I’ll be doing a number of ARC giveaways over the next month.

35 days of Ollie

You can pre-order Waking Hearts HERE. It is releasing on November 24th.

Take care, everyone! Hope you have a great week.

Elizabeth

Posted in Writing.

8 Comments

  1. So love this! I love interacting with authors. I want to make sure they know how much I appreciate that they took a risk and shared their story with us the reader!

  2. Love this post EH. It is a reasonable assumption to make that people believe they are owed purely because they are taught they owe the ‘system’ for their existence…I love the Cambio Springs world and have just bought Beneath a Waning Moon…can’t wait to settle in and read it. Thank you for doing what you do. It’s so great. If you choose to do something else, we’ll live 🙂 In the meantime we can all enjoy the delicious fruits of your labours of love. xx

  3. I think you hit the nail on the head, and your list of what you owe your readers is on point. I would rather know that you are grappling with the plot or with character development than with an ornery Tweeter.

  4. Great post Elizabeth, and I loved Ilona Andrews’ reply too. (Does “Conan Buys a a Hot Tub” really exist? I hope so.) I think you owe your readers exactly the same as anyone who sells something owes the buyer, namely a product which offers value for money and which does what it claims to do; i.e. a toaster which toasts, a clock which keeps accurate time, a book which is well-written.
    It is the reader’s choice to buy any book and to decide if it was worth reading, and by extension to buy another book from the same author, the same as it is the purchaser’s choice to buy a kettle which matches the toaster, or to shop around for an other brand. The discerning reader has the same obligation as the careful shopper, do your research, if you don’t like paranormal, then don’t buy a book with “vampire” in the title. If you want happy endings, don’t read Orwell…but don’t expect any writer to change what they write to suit your taste.
    I would continue to buy your books with or without social media. That you and other authors choose to interact with your readers is a bonus, not something I expect but something I really enjoy and appreciate. How you plan your day, how you plan your writing schedule, how you plan your life – whatever works best for you to keep those creative juices flowing – is ultimately what works best for your very grateful readers. 🙂

  5. No author owes me or any other reader a damn thing!! Sometimes we buy a book and don’t like so you move on, you don’t rant about how the author failed you and let you down. Grow the hell up and if you must publish your negative thoughts, do so in a constructive manner that can be taken seriously!!! On the flip side, most of time I get books that I find to be satisfying or better and I’m good with that too. The author did his/her thing and I appreciated the finished product; I like feeling like I got what I paid for and MOST of the time that happens for me with books. As for the interaction with authors, I totally enjoy this aspect of books and book blogging. It is nice to know the authors I read and spend money on are looking at/reading the comments I and others leave on social media sites. I don’t require a response (I know authors have lives too) but it’s nice when I get one 🙂

Leave a Reply