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!
Come hang out with me: