discussions

Discussion: Thank you, Internet (Author Interactions and the Way We Engage With Books Today)

Discussion time, since we all love it. 

I have previously written a lot about the internet in general and how it affects our reading. I’ve spoken about hype, I’ve spoken about how the community has changed my reading and most recently, how fandom affected the way I experience books. So today we are expanding on that theme and talking about author interactions and how the fact that we can now engage with authors online has changed the way we perceive literature.

The Internet is a Blessing and a Curse

Just imagine a time before the internet (don’t panic). A time before authors had a platform to speak on. There was no way to interact with literature in a way that we do today. You couldn’t tweet to your favorite author and it was harder to reach an author, tell them how you feel about their book, or how much it meant to you. The Internet brought us this opportunity to engage not just with the art itself, but also the artist, which is pretty cool. It gives us the unique opportunity to glimpse behind the scene and the text itself and look at the person. Which isn’t always the greatest thing. It invites the author to respond not just to your reviews (which is BAD. REAL BAD. Don’t do it. Seriously.), but just to real life events. And let me tell you – some of them have real shitty takes on certain stuff.

The Age Old Question – Can We Separate the Art from the Artist? 

I have written about this also, but the Internet really brings forward the question of the art vs artist. Who has the final say – the reader or the writer? Or does literature happen in that space between? The internet makes these question really hard to navigate, since it opens up the platform for authors to speak outside of cannon and the text itself. And sometimes, that’s brilliant, but sometimes it leads to people trying to get cookie points without them deserving said cookie points (like certain authors who shall not be named because I can’t deal, but I wrote a bit about that too).

But What Does It Mean for the Average Reader? 

I have found that the Internet opened up a whole new bookish world for me. I have managed to talk to so many different authors, show them the stuff I made and tell them how much their books have been important to me or how much I genuinely loved them. And they respond back! They appreciate it and it makes me love their books so much more. I get so much more excited to read a book by an author that engages with their readers. I am constantly amazed when authors respond to questions, give hints, do giveaways etc. As a reader, I really appreciate it. And it’s just a whole new aspect of interacting with the book. It’s amazing.

Let me give you an awesome example…

I read Truthwitch for the first time back in 2016 and decided I should just follow the author to keep up, since I really loved the book. By doing so, I have found something really amazing. I have never seen someone as dedicated to their fans as Susan Dennard is. From chats and Q&As, to giveaways, to the newsletter – Susan really does the most. And for me personally, it made the whole series so much more meaningful. Moreover, she talks a lot about behind the scenes stuff and shares insights with the readers that no other author really ever talks about. And she responds to every single tweet related to her series. There’s even a group of readers who love the series (hi, Witchlanders!), and people are constantly chatting with her in the group Discord. It’s amazing. And that means a lot.
She was also very forthcoming about the flaws that her books had and she really acknowledges them and works so hard to make that stuff better (this whole spiel is still up on Susan’s Instagram, if you’re interested in how an author can really acknowledge the flaws in their works in an honest and real way). I had so much respect for her ever since. It’s hard to admit that something you made isn’t great. But being able to shows (to me) so much grace and understanding and I just really appreciate it.
Also, if you are a writer, Susan provides completely FREE writer advice, tips and tricks, which is amazing and really generous. There’s a ton of resources on her website and you should sign up for her newsletter, so you can get that advice delivered to your inbox directly, FOR FREE.
Susan first wrote an amazing series, and then made that series more awesome and meaningful by interacting with her readers. Which really speaks to how much an author can impact the way you experience a book.

And it’s not just about authors you love… 

There are numerous authors who I decided to check out based solely on their online presence. The way the author interacts with their readers can make me want to immediately pick their books up. And not just in regards to their readers. It can be based on their overall attitudes and opinions and their personality. For example, I have been recommended Talia Hibbert’s books on numerous occasions, but I finally picked her books up when I started following her on Twitter and I saw how brilliant she is. And her books are amazing. If you want to check out some really well-written, diverse romance, go for Talia Hibbert’s books.

So What’s the Takeaway? 

Thank you, Internet, for giving the opportunity and means to authors to interact with their readership. And also thank you to those authors for taking that opportunity. It has really impacted my opinion on a lot of books and a lot of authors, and has changed the way I think and engage with certain books. Also, read Susan Dennard’s books. Please.

How About You? 

I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this! What was your favorite author interaction moment? Have certain authors shaped the way you feel about their books? I would love to know! Chime down in the comments and let me know!

xxx

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14 thoughts on “Discussion: Thank you, Internet (Author Interactions and the Way We Engage With Books Today)

  1. The first line had me laughing, because I didn’t have internet until my senior year of college. My old lady giggles aside, I agree – a blessing and a curse. I love all the positive interactions and using it to fangirl, but when there are those online assaults, I feel really uneasy about how readily people abandon all common courtesy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love this post! And yes, I agree with it being both a blessing and a curse. I’m with you on authors not commenting on reviews, to say thank you if you’ve reviewed it, I can deal with (especially if you’ve tagged them in the post), but when they start to defend/justify it becomes too much. And I would love to know which author got you riled up with their shitty take on something? 😂

    Can you separate the art from the artist? Such a great question, one that I’ve ask myself many times, regarding all types of art. Especially when I saw Kanye West acting a fool on social media, slightly off topic, but his college drop out album was fire, and I think it reflected him at that period in his life. Now he’s thinks he’s second to God, from the little of his current music I’ve heard, and his social media presence, so his art is now reflecting how great he believes he is. So if the artists inspires the art, or their life experiences are behind it, then I don’t think you can separate it. However, I also believe some people may have just has a genius idea for a book and ran with it, although subconsciously, our actions must be driven by our beliefs/values. Not to say people won’t make flaws in their books etc, but you know what I mean (I hope).

    I love that – Witchlanders!! As an author, you must know you’ve made it when your fandom has a name! And you put Truthwitch on my radar, I think I’ll buy a copy now because I like what you had to say about the author, she seems really down to earth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I feel that if you tag an author in the post, it’s a positive review and then they can engage (because you’re all friends there) but commenting on negative reviews and being like “oh you didn’t UNDERSTAND what I meant” is a huge NO-NO. And authors? There are so many. Do you know Brandon Sanderson and how much I love him? Well, he’s Mormon and he had some really dubious takes on the LGBT community and I was so angry because I loved his books so much. And you know I can’t deal with J.K.Rowling and Sarah J. Maas a lot of the times 😂

      Oh Kanye is a great example of that. I used to really enjoy his music but with his recent statements really put me off his recent music. So yeah, I find that for me it’s really hard sometimes to separate the two, but sometimes, like you said, people just have genius ideas for books that can’t be ignored.

      I love Susan and her books so much, and I would be really interested to see how you cope with Truthwitch – since it’s totally not your kind of book, but I think it’s amazing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I need to get my ass in gear and read The Raven Boys, then Truthwitch, I’m compiling a list of ‘Marija Books to Read’ 😂 I can’t remember – did you rad To Kill a Kingdom – did you like that one?

        I know quite a few people love Sanderson, so thats sad that he said some dubious stuff. I don’t know much about Rowling but I did hear she claims that one of her characters was lgbt and that she thought it was obvious to people, but it wasn’t and she was trying to jump on the diverse bandwagon – I have no idea how much truth their is any of that.

        Like

  3. I absolutely love it when authors interact with me! It’s lovely when you put so much effort into writing a review of a book you loved and then the author takes the time to read it and even thank you for the support – it just makes the experience even more special!

    Liked by 1 person

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