Hey readers! Welcome to another thrilling installment of My Thought Monday. A weekly post where I get to rant and/or rave about happenings in the book world. I have received lots of positive feedback from my previous posts and want to keep the momentum going. This week I'll be touching on another topic that's important to all authors and bloggers.
I'd like to offer up my thoughts for discussion among authors, bloggers, readers, and all members of the literary community. I understand that my views may be in the minority on some fronts and would love to hear your thoughts. Please note that while I would love to hear your thoughts, I will not tolerate this as a place of hate and negativity. If you so choose to put forward your thoughts via comment, Twitter, Facebook, email, etc, please do so professionally. I am fully aware that sometimes the bookish world is the last place you want to put your personal thoughts, but I, for one, am tired of being quiet. It's time for me to take a stand on issues that are important to me in this community. It is my belief that, only as a community, can we pull together and make real change in this bookish world we all know and love.
This week's topic:
Falling Out of Love with an Author
I read. A lot. Many of you read, a lot. In fact, you are reading right this very moment. Do I expect you to read everything I write? No. Do I expect you to agree with everything I write? No. Do I expect you to love everything I write? Of course not. Then why do we do it with authors?
Ever since starting this blog last March, I've noticed a growing trend that really irks me. Reviewers, bloggers, etc are sometimes afraid to let their honest thoughts be known. If they love an author, everyone knows it. If they hate an author, their closest friends may know it, but what happens when their favorite author writes a novel that's sub-par to them?
We shrug it off, continue to promote it, and then either 1) neglect to review it or 2) lie in the review. I say 'we' as the reviewing community, not saying that I personally do such things.
Anyone who reads my negative critiques knows that I don't go easy on them. Some of my all-time favorite authors such as Sherry Ficklin and Jon Messenger sure didn't start out that way. In their earlier reviews, I ripped their works apart. In the end, I still loved them and their work, but I wasn't shy about pointing out the issues I had. Do you guys remember my reviews for Gayle Foreman's If I Stay series? I hated that novel and I sure wasn't shy about admitting it. My whole point with this rant is to remember to be honest in your promotion and reviewing. Lying doesn't help anyone.
Personal story time. (I'm going to leave out specific names here in an effort to not single anyone out.) Earlier this year, I was approaching by an author to review the latest installment in a series that has been very special to me. I've been promoting it for well over a year now. I eagerly awaited my ARC, then flew through it, only to discover that I actually kind of hated the book. A novel I'd been waiting a long time to get my hands on, only to be extremely disappointed in the novel in nearly every way possible. I analyzed the read from every angel and facet and discovered that it simply was not the read for me. I was torn. In a big way. Not only was this series a favorite of mine, the author was (and remains to this day) a very close personal friend. What do I do?
I fought long and hard about my decision. Do I risk our friendship by posting this bad review? Do I just not share my thoughts? After consulting with several friends on the matter (many of whom agreed with me that this was not the author's greatest work), it was decided that I should not only post my review, but also reach out to my friend explaining why I judged it so harshly. So... I bit the bullet. I posted my review.
The next day I sent the author a message explaining my thoughts and my review. The response? The author was completely fine with it. In fact, I was praised for being honest and pointing out some things that the author was also nervous about in the novel. Now, that being said, my thoughts didn't impact anyone probably, because the novel went on to be a best seller. The author explained to me that any review is helpful to them and their readers and that they only ask for honesty in their reviews.
That meant the world to me.
Just because I don't love what an author has written does not mean I can't continue to be a fan of their works. In a lot of aspects of the world the phrase "a _____ is only as good as their latest _____" can be said. In the author world, this simply is not true.
Authors are people too (gasp, surprise). Each time an author sits down and puts pen to paper, it's a different experience. Are they sad? Happy? Angry? An author must be cautious when writing because their feelings are displayed very clearly on the page. Are they writing on a deadline and just trying to hurry up and finish the novel? Yeah. I can definitely see when that is the case. Maybe their writing experience doesn't match your reading experience? Who can say?
I can honestly say that in a majority of cases, an author gets better with each passing novel. That's how it should be. More experience= better writing, makes sense, right? This isn't the truth in all cases though. You know how sometimes an author will release a bestselling debut novel and then drop off the face of the planet? That's why. Sometimes people only have one story to tell, and that's completely okay. There have been several instances where I've read from a debut author (or read a debut novel) that was absolutely fantastic, only to be severely disappointed in later works. Writing is a fine art folks. Let's not judge too harshly.
If you love the first novel in a series, don't let the next one affect your thinking. Even if it doesn't go the way you envision. Don't ever let the next read affect your overall views of the author, no matter how hard that may be.
The bottom line truth is folks, it's going to be very seldom that you find an author that's going to release a 5-star perfect, fantastic read every time. Don't let that pressure get to you. All books are not meant for all readers. Embrace it. Own the no. Let your truthful thoughts be known. I can assure you that not only the author, but your fellow reviewers, will respect you so much more.
Nobody likes a kiss ass. If you've reviewed 100 novels this year and 99 of them were 5-star reads, you're in the wrong business folks. If you look at my archive, you'll see that many of my reviews are for 5-star reads. I also don't review near as often as other bloggers. Why? Because I don't take the time to review novels I don't care for. For every book I do review, there are probably 2 that I choose not to. I challenge all my fellow bloggers and readers to look into a reviewer carefully before selecting novels solely based on their opinions. I've come to find that they aren't all always the truth.
But what happens when you do completely fall out of love with an Author?
I've had this happen to me recently as well. It's hard to say who changed. Was it me? My life certainly has changed a lot recently and that is definitely being reflected in my reading choices. Was it them? Has their writing style changed so much that it's beyond recognition? Have they given in completely to the spotlight and stopped writing from the heart? It's hard to say. In this instance I strongly believe that the author has changed. Not just as a writer, but as a person. It's an author who's career I followed since the beginning, devouring each and every novel they'd written. I've watched for years while they rose to superstar status, while their books fell down the hill into poorly written trash.
I fell out of love.
It hurt. I was offended. I never want to read another book they write. But guess what? That's okay. Nobody cares. I can be mad all I want to, but the only person it's going to effect? Me. Only me. That bestselling author and now superstar doesn't need my approval, they don't even know me. So I just let it go. They've released several other books now and guess what? I didn't read them. I don't care anymore. They've lost my respect as a person and an author.
Yet the world keeps on spinning.
For every author I love, there are thousands out there begging for their chance to be loved by one more fan. I've come to the point in my blogging career that I no longer care what people think about who or what I read. I've crossed all genres and read from authors worldwide, always looking for that next shining star to add to my bookshelf. If I search hard enough, I'll always find one.
Reading isn't about The One. It isn't about finding that author who is your soul mate. It isn't about finding that singular tome that will change your life forever. Reading is about hope. Reading is about life. Reading is about losing yourself in the pages of another world for a short period of time. Books may only hold a place on our shelves for a while, but they stay in our hearts forever.
Remember that friends.
It's okay if you fall out of love with an author. Please don't let it get you down. pick up the pieces of your broken bookish heart and move on. There is another author hiding out there who would love to help put you back together again. Don't continue to suffer through the works of an authors whose works aren't what they used to be. C'est la vie.
So where does that leave us? In a world full of infinite bookish possibilities! Don't waste your time on authors you don't love anymore. Be thankful for the good times you had together and let's move on! Let another author fill that void, I promise you'll be more happy than you were! Maybe one day you can go back to that author you dropped and fall in love all over again. Who knows what tomorrow may bring!
Keep reading, keep reviewing, keep loving, and keep following your passion. Just do it with honesty. Don't lie to anyone, including yourself. You'll never help anyone that way.
And there you have it. My thoughts on Falling Out of Love with an Author. Have you experienced this yourself? How did you cope? Let us know in the comments below. This was such a fun post to write and I hope you all got something out of it. Until next time, Happy Reading!