Author Behavior

A lot has been made about proper and improper author behavior. A lot is being said, and I’m sure the talk will continue for as long as there are authors to talk about. It seems like every week, some author is getting himself or herself in a jam.

Given my area of the universe, I most often hear about authors behaving badly when it comes to negative reviews. There is story after story after story of authors flipping out when their “baby” (their book, not their actual child) is received negatively by reviewers and bloggers.

Posts after post has been written about this subject. Advice has been given by people much wiser than I. Yet authors continue to make dumb choices, and to be honest, I understand why. They’re people. They’re people with feelings and egos just like the rest of us, and some of them simply don’t consider the fact that when they send their books off to be published it is no longer merely their “baby.”

But I don’t want to rehash all that. Anyone wishing to know how to deal with negative criticism need merely conduct a simple Google search. The advice is out there. Instead, I want to talk about good author behavior and how it has affected me.

I am very fortunate in that I have yet to meet a bad author. I know many of my blogger friends are not so lucky, which makes me all the more grateful. Every author I have interacted with has been, at the very least, professional and polite, while many go above and beyond that simple benchmark.

I was thinking extra-hard about this topic last week as I drove home from the library. With BEA coming up and review copies eyeing me balefully from every corner of my room, I don’t really have time to go requesting extra books from the library, but for these two books I made an exception.

Many of my favorite authors will attend BEA at the end of May, and I sincerely long to meet them all. Also attending are Claire LeGrand and Susan Dennard. Ms. LeGrand is responsible for The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, a delightfully squeamish MG, and Ms. Dennard is responsible for Something Strange & Deadly, a historical YA zombie tale. If you fail to see how this ties into author behavior, just hang on for a minute.

I shouldn’t have time to read an MG. I am primarily a YA blogger. I also shouldn’t have time to read a zombie YA, as this particular book is one I tried to read over a year ago and stopped, as I was in a funk and couldn’t click with the book. But for over a year now, I have followed and interacted with both Ms. LeGrand and Ms. Dennard on Twitter. Though I am just a floating pair of glasses and had not read either of their books, they are both unfailingly polite, personable, and accessible. I have watched, and both have handled their criticisms (both good and bad) with aplomb. No blow-ups, no freak-outs, no tirades.

Good author behavior barely makes a blip on anyone’s radar, as it is not nearly as sensational as bad author behavior. Good author behavior is also what is expected. It’s like applauding someone for washing their hands before dinner. Washing your hands before eating isn’t something out of the ordinary.You just do it. And yet when a person is conscientious, professional, and polite, people notice. I notice. Good author behavior has gained both Ms. Dennard and Ms. LeGrand a personal fan, and I hope to soon upgrade my status to a rabid, book-buying fan. In fact, this last weekend I read Cavendish specifically because I like Ms. LeGrand, and I ADORED the book.

In the same way, I interact with both Jessica Khoury and Amy Tintera. Both are debut authors. Both have written books that I’ve read and reviewed (Origin and Reboot, respectively). Unfortunately, I disliked/failed to connect with both books. They weren’t awful books, but I didn’t enjoy myself and don’t really plan to read either book again. However, when Ms. Khoury and Ms. Tintera inevitably come out with other books, I will at least feel a spark of interest. Why? Good author behavior. Both ladies are – again – polite, personable, and accessible. To my knowledge, neither are drama queens nor prone to tirades or pity parties (at least not in public). I associate only good things with both their names, and as authors, their names are their brands. As such, I will be more likely to pay attention to their books and talk up their work to my customers, my followers, and my friends.

Good author behavior impacts the bottom line. I’m not saying an author has to be my bestie for me to check out his or her books. However, authors who put themselves out there and unfailingly show their best side to the world will gain a larger following as a result. It doesn’t matter how good a book is. If I hear that an author is pulling shenanigans, I won’t waste my time or money supporting their endeavors.

So authors, treat people as you would like to be treated, both in person and online. And fellow readers, be sure to celebrate good author behavior. Like well-behaved children, our well-behaved authors plug away and watch as the spotlight passes by to shine (however harshly) on their more diabolical counterparts. If you know an author deserving of a friendly pat on the back, perhaps this is the week to do so. In fact, you can start right here.

If you know of an author that has influenced your reading/buying/following habits with their behavior, tell me in the comments!

43 Responses to Author Behavior

  1. Sunny Duvall May 17, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    *applauds* Robin LaFevers comes to my mind instantly. I’m sure I’ve interacted with lots of other nice people, but talking about having a Mexican night with her is definitely the top.

  2. jml May 17, 2013 at 11:40 am #

    An author I have followed for years has recently been vocally and financially supporting a political organization which I vehemently disagree with. I haven’t decided if I will purchase any more of this authors books (and more importantly if I will go see the movie that is in production based on one of this author’s books).

    • Shelver 506 May 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      And that’s fine. Differences of opinion are allowed. It’s when authors are overtly rude that the line is crossed.

  3. Erin May 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    Great post!

    Susan Dennard immediately comes to mind for nice authors, for all the same reasons you listed. I first met her when she did a joint signing with Anne Greenwood Brown, whose book, Lies Beneath, I was quite interested in. Susan was so nice that I bought SS&D as well, even though zombies aren’t my thing. She’e also a local author, so when she had another signing a week later, I went to fangirl some more. And I drove 3 ½ hours later that month to meet her again (her & 4 other authors, but I went mostly to hang with her), because she’s so awesome. This was actually the first time I’ve fangirled an author as a person, and not because I loved their book (if that makes sense).

    • Shelver 506 May 17, 2013 at 8:21 pm #

      Aw, that’s so cool! And yes, it makes complete sense.

  4. GillyB May 17, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

    YESSSSS so much of this. All of this. I’ve read so many books because I love the authors on Twitter, because I’ve watched them be nothing but kind and accepting of both their fans and their detractors. There is SO MUCH good author behavior out there, but it just takes one drop of bad author behavior to poison the pond, so to speak.

  5. Jessica R May 17, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    This is a great post, Shelver! I definitely agree with a lot of what you had to say. I have had some wonderful experiences with multiple authors and try to recognize them for that by reading their books as well as sharing with others that they’ve been nothing but kind and personable. It’s always disappointing to see an “authors behaving badly” type situation but I like to look at all the positive experiences I’ve had instead and that always cheers me up.

    • Shelver 506 May 17, 2013 at 8:22 pm #

      Yes. Being able to hold onto the good authors helps ameliorate the effects from the bad.

  6. Christine May 17, 2013 at 9:48 pm #

    Trish Doller stands out for me as a friendly author who is very interactive in a positive way. I don’t have a very big following, but she still stopped by to thank me for a Waiting on Wednesday post I did featuring one of her books. She was also game to participate in a rap battle with Aaron of Real Men Read YA — stuff like that makes me smile 🙂

    • Shelver 506 May 18, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      Aw, that’s so nice!

    • Trish Doller May 20, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

      Thank you, Christine! And great post, Bookshelvers. Bad behavior reflects on all of us so it’s nice to be reminded that there are lots and lots of good authors out there.

    • Shelver 506 May 20, 2013 at 4:13 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Ms. Trish, and thank you for all you do. 🙂

    • Karen Amanda Hooper May 28, 2013 at 8:27 am #

      I’ve met Trish in real life and let me tell you, she is exceptionally sweet and always quick to help others. All around awesome author. 🙂

  7. Ems May 17, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    YES to this. I absolutely make it a point to read (and often purchase) books by authors who treat their fans kindly.

    A few bright stars stand out to me: Lisa T. Bergren, who has been the epitome of graciousness. I love interacting with her, because it always feels so heartfelt. Nothing canned from Ms. Bergren. Veronica Rossi, who had a new book coming out and a tour starting, and still took the time to send me a really kind email in response to one I’d sent her. Irene Hannon, who takes the time to interact with me on Twitter and joke about finding real men like the ones she writes. Kevin Emerson, who is just plain cool, and so great to chat with. I hadn’t heard of him before he approached me about his book, but you better believe that after my interactions with him, I’m getting my hands on everything I can. Amy Plum, who has been so fun to Tweet with and talk about Jules. She once promised him to me! 😀 She’s kind, gracious, and an author I’ll be forever loyal to. Stephanie Perkins, who was so incredibly amazing at the signing I went to. With a long line ahead of her, she took the time to talk with me (and play with my earrings!) and get to know me in the little time we had. She was fantastic.

    Those are just a few of the amazing authors I’ve had the privilege to work with since starting up as a blogger. I look forward to our interactions (and fangirl quite a bit!) and their latest books.

    Kudos to ALL the amazing authors out there who are also fantastic human beings!

    • Shelver 506 May 18, 2013 at 6:04 am #

      Love this comment. Love love love it. I love that you’ve had to many positive author experiences. Go authors!

  8. Kay May 18, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing some positive experiences with authors. I know that it is expected for them to not be rude but that doesn’t mean we can’t shine a light on those awesome authors out there. It always makes me super sad when I see an author bash a reviewer because the person didn’t like their book. I understand they are human, but they need to keep in mind that everyone is allowed to have their own opinion and not be blatantly mean/rude about it. Great post!

    • Shelver 506 May 20, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

      Thanks! And yes, if you come in contact with an author who makes your day with their behavior, please let everyone know. 🙂

  9. Hannah May 20, 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    YES TO ALL OF THIS!!! So this might come out as long, but still…

    Authors need to understand that this is a world of strong emotions. People will either love or hate, or sometimes, feel meh about a book. It’s bound to happen. For every five stars, there’s bound to be a one or a two star review amongst them. But the authors that shine – that show their full potential as amazing people – are the ones that continue to take criticism of their work on board and don’t freak the s*** out; but instead move on gracefully and take that criticism and use it to better themselves as not just a writer, but a person.

    And this post, man, I can’t wait to hug you in person!!! This post has all the good feels. Thank you for sharing the author love. There was a few authors that you mentioned whose books I’ve never read, nor interacted with on twitter, but now I can’t wait to meet at BEA.

    There are so many amazing authors out there, and not just traditionally published. Some honourable mentions go to Trish Doller, Teri Terry, Juliana Haygert, Claire Merle, Amy Plum, Jessica Khoury and so many other authors that I not just only chat to on a regular basis via Twitter, but the ones that take the time and effort to reply back if I’ve tweeted them a reply to their own tweet, a blog post I’ve written, or anything else in general.

    You guys are what makes me excited about reading. So thank you for being amazing.

    • Shelver 506 May 20, 2013 at 2:38 pm #

      Dude, I can’t wait to hug you in person either. All this bookish joy is infectious. 🙂 And YES!! Positive interactions on Twitter are EXACTLY the reason BEA has me vibrating with excitement.

    • Trish Doller May 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

      Thank you, Hannah!

    • Juliana Haygert May 23, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

      Aw, Hannah! I <3 you, chica! Thanks 🙂

  10. Jenna D. May 21, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    So many authors to commend here!

    It has already been said that Trish Doller has shown exemplary behavior, but I can up but think her name bears repeating. She is quite possibly the most amazing author have met to-date.

    In addition, I have experienced only good things with authors such as: Karen Hooper (Tangled Tides, Grasping at Eternity), Colleen Houck (Tiger’s Curse), Kristen Simmons (Article 5) and Rachel Harris (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century). These ladies have been nothing but professional when it comes to author-reader interactions. And, though I am perhaps biased because I dare to call a number of them “friends”, I admire the dedication they have to their fans within the various social media venues.

    Kudos to good behavior!

    • Jenna D. May 21, 2013 at 12:17 am #

      Yuck. It’s after midnight here. I can’t help but correct the horrible spelling errors I made in the above paragraph:

      “It has already been said that Trish Doller has shown exemplary behavior, but I can’t help but feel that her name bears repeating. She is quite possibly the most amazing author I have met to-date.”

    • Shelver 506 May 21, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

      That’s wonderful! I’m doing my best to go through and alert authors who have been mentioned, because I think they need to know. I’m sure it’ll be nice for these ladies to hear how they’ve affected you. 🙂

    • Karen Amanda Hooper May 28, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      Jenna, you’re too sweet! Thanks so much for the mention. 🙂 *hugs*

  11. Amy Plum May 21, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    *blushing* Merci, Ems!

  12. Christina May 21, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Very nice, Shelver. Like you, I see all of this stuff, and it does make me very angry. However, I’ve only had negative experiences with one or two out of the hundreds of authors I’ve read or interacted with. It’s a small percentage doing such things, and the good ones deserve praise!

    Oh, also, I do agree that I would be more likely to give an author more chances if he/she is awesome to readers.

    Lindsay Ribar, E.C. Myers, Maryanne O’Hara, Victoria Scott, Lenore Appelhans, Inara Scott are a few who have been fantastic to me. I can’t think of any off the top of my head who were specifically awesome to me after a negative review, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they exist. Just not popping to mind.

    • Shelver 506 May 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

      Most authors usually steer clear of responding to negative reviews even positively because they feel like they’re hovering. And that thoughtfulness in and of itself is awfully nice.

    • Inara Scott May 23, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      Christina, that’s so super nice of you to say!! I really appreciate it!

  13. Inara Scott May 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    Really lovely post, Bookshelvers! It’s always easy to find the train-wreck stories–much harder to find the nice ones. Thanks for calling it out!

    • Shelver 506 May 24, 2013 at 10:12 am #

      Thank you all for doing something to be called out on! Seriously.

  14. Claire Legrand May 23, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    Revisiting this post because it is so lovely, and seeing the comments here warms my heart. Thank you for the kindness, Shelver506, and thanks to the other commenters as well. Such gracious bloggers/readers makes the bad days better. (And gahhh can’t wait to meet you at BEA next week, Shelver506!!! And hopefully learn your real name so I don’t have to call you Shelver, hee.)

    • Shelver 506 May 24, 2013 at 10:14 am #

      Good. And if you ever need a reminder, come talk to me and your other fans, especially on those days when you feel low and cranky. Good behavior may not be mentioned, but it’s noticed.

      And YES. A meeting and a name shall be forthcoming. 😉

  15. Rachel Harris May 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Aw thank you so much for including me. Love this post! 😉

    • Shelver 506 May 25, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

      Thank your followers. They clearly love you. 🙂

  16. Karen Amanda Hooper May 28, 2013 at 8:29 am #

    Great post! Love to see so many great names mentioned for authors behaving well. 🙂

    • Shelver 506 May 28, 2013 at 12:03 pm #

      Just a small way to thank you all for what you do (or don’t do, as the case may be).

  17. Lili June 15, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

    Oh gosh… ELLEN OH. She deserves a spot on this list a million times over, Shelver. I was beyond excited for PROPHECY and when I got it I just couldn’t deal with it. I gave it 3 stars, part of me was even leaning towards 2. I ended up going with three because of her gutsy movies in the story and some other aspects on top of my curiosity for book two. I tweeted my review, but not directly at her because it’s just rude to tweet a review to an author if it’s not 5 stars. It’s like me spending years of my life writing an essay I’m damn proud of and for an army of people to say “eh, it was okay.” I respect authors who handle that well because I would be bummed out, and I’m sure they are too. But, back to the point. Ellen actually contacted me, sending me an e-mail out of nowhere THANKING me for my honesty in a respectable manner since other people were rather scathing. And she’s still an amazing friend to this day. I’ve never had an author react that way to my reviews.

    I know this comment is late, but a friend recently linked to this post and I have to check it out. I was able to hug Susan at BEA because her and I have talked since months before the release of her first book. She is the biggest sweetheart on the planet <3

    • Shelver 506 June 15, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

      This. This entire comment is so freaking amazing. All of it. Yes. *waves hand in a vague, all-encompassing fashion* I love it to pieces.

  18. Ello - Ellen Oh June 15, 2013 at 10:22 pm #

    Ah, thank you both for this! Lili is a sweetheart! And has a heart of gold! I’m actually incredibly proud of her and think she is wonderful and smart and has a great future ahead of her! But for me – well I have to be honest and admit to having made my own stupid mistake early on that I regret. But the good news about me is that 1. I apologize right away when I realize I did wrong and 2. I do learn from my mistakes! That’s the thing about authors. We are all human. And lots of us learn from watching others make mistakes. But sometimes the best learning comes from our own! ;o)

    but it was lovely to see this because it was nice to read about all these authors who are loved by their readers. And I have to concur that Robin LaFevers is one of the nicest authors in the entire world! She is simply a marvelous human being!!

    • Lili June 16, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

      Ahhh thank you, Ellen! <3

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