Let’s Talk: Authors are completely different beings from their books. Remember that.

authors are different from their books

I have no idea how well this discussion post will go down. I don’t think it’s particularly controversial, but I DO think it’s important.

So, like most of my discussions, this is fuelled by things I’ve seen on Twitter lately. (Turns out that’s a surprisingly easy way to find chatty topics). Twitter has sort of blown up lately with the amount of drama in the book community, and while I don’t usually get involved, I feel like this topic is fairly…subdued? compared to the rest of them, and yet still important enough to mention.

So let’s talk about how authors are different from the books they write!

what

I feel like I need a better way of wording that. I don’t know.

But what I mean is…you have the “you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover” or “you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s movie” – well, I’m going for the “you shouldn’t judge an author by their book”.

Sounds a bit strange, I know.

But recently I’ve seen so much hate being sent to authors because people don’t like their books. Being sent negative things about their books must hurt in the first place, but a lot of authors learn to bare criticism. However it’s been getting WAY too personal lately, I feel. I’ve seen people sending authors endless amount of hate, telling them their life work (i.e. the books) are a load of crap and completely worthless. And so much worse.

In what world is that considered OK?

I do actually unfriend/unfollow anyone who I see being rude about an author because of their books. Just like I would if I saw someone being mean to another person.

Understand that this is different from writing a negative review or just not liking the book. Of course, if you don’t like a book, you’re allowed to say so. I just don’t think it’s a justifiable reason for sending someone hate. Is anything?

Writing a negative review is fine. You don’t like a book, you have a right to say so. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t like the author as a person, either.

its the authors

Yes, authors pour their hearts and souls into the books they write. They nurture their books like children, and almost unwillingly send them out into the world to be judged. Their book will be a HUGE part of them…but it’s still not strictly THEM.

The author probably isn’t like any specific character they write. The author probably doesn’t agree with all of the events that happen. I mean, pretty much every story has a villain of sorts. A villain that might be manipulative, or abusive, or a criminal mastermind. But just because the author wrote them that way, doesn’t mean that character reflects the author. At all. It’s like claiming an author would murder someone because they wrote a crime novel.

I feel like people conveniently forget that when they don’t like the book. People hate the book, and then they’ll scour through and find some hint of a problem, or point out all the “what-ifs”.Then they’ll share whatever tidbit they found – out of context, I might add – and claim the author is a vile person.

Either that, or some people will idolize authors. Conveniently forget all the problems with things the author have said, and just gaze admiringly instead of opening their ears. Defend them and the things they said without actually opening their mind and considering the fact that other people might have found it offensive.

Like a book = like the author

Don’t like a book = don’t like the author

That’s how it works, right? WRONG.

not hate

Most of the time, this sort of thing isn’t about people sending hate to an author. Luckily, the torrent of abuse to authors isn’t that common compared to the sheer love most readers will show them.

A lot of the time, it’s just general opinion. It works both ways:

There’s been so many times I’ve read a book because I like what I’ve seen of the author on social media. So many times I’ve WANTED to like a book, purely because I like the person who wrote it. But obviously, that’s counter-productive. And a lie.

There’s also been times where I’ve cast a blind eye against an author’s problem because I was a fan of their books. Where I just ignored the problems because it might make me feel weird for buying their books. So many times I’ve seen people idolize authors because they like their books. But now I just…can’t do that. Again, it’s not right.

It’s been years since I realised I don’t HAVE to like an author because I like their books. Or vice versa. It took me a while to separate the book from their author. But since I did…well, it’s easier to see that authors are just people. Just another human being. Feeling exactly the same feelings as you or I. We just happen to have read some words they wrote (a bit like you’re doing with me now). 

just people

I just feel like sometimes, people are a bit too quick to jump on any words they write and pick them apart completely, whether that be in a book or on social media. Too quick to point out what is or isn’t in their stories. Not everything can be written about in one book.

They’re just people with a hobby. A passion. Like us and our reading. Just because we read a book, it doesn’t mean we agree with everything that happens in there. The same applies to the people who write them.

Plus, it’s fiction. The stories aren’t real. But the authors are real people. And we should form our opinions of them through them…Not through the events or characters they write about (or don’t write about) in their books.



Now it’s your turn!

Honestly, I feel like this discussion has been just a huge dump of words on my part, and huge dump of opinions that I struggled to word. So I kind of need you guys to help me with that now.

What do you think about people judging authors from the books they write?

Would your opinion of a book change your opinion of the author?

Do you keep the author separate from their books in your mind?

Have you ever idolized an author because you loved their books? Or vice versa?

Join the  discussion in the comments!

Until next time…

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44 thoughts on “Let’s Talk: Authors are completely different beings from their books. Remember that.

  1. Ugh, this is so true. Authors are normal human beings like you and me. It’s sad that this is happening right now. There’s so much hate towards authors just because of their books. Come on, if you don’t like the book, just write a negative review. There’s no need to be rude to the authors cuz they didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t liked the book, that’s normal but stop the hate people, stop it.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I have some authors that I follow on Twitter because I like what they post there, and they just seem like fantastic people, and also I don’t like their books. And it doesn’t stop me from liking the authors posts, and cheering for them to be successful and find the right audience for their books.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! It’s almost like how my friends don’t read my blog, but they’ll still cheer me on. Sort of. Not as impressive, but the clear difference in me in person and my blog is there. So authors should be treated the same!

      Like

  3. It is also saddening to see that people are literally attacking each other just because their favorite ships / OTPs are different and spoiling others who have yet to read the book. I mean, we are all readers who have passion for books and reading, so why hurting each other then? You value the diversity in books, then can’t you as well accept the diversity among us? Sigh.

    http://laxsourire.blogspot.my/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Too true. Sure, they might want to talk about it, but surely they could make a group chat with people who had read it or have similar opinions to them instead of ruining the experience for others?

      Like

  4. I definitely agree with what you wrote here, Ashleigh! It is unfair to judge an author because of their books or judge a book because of the author, because that isn’t really giving them/their book a proper chance. Although I know what you mean about feeling uncomfortable about liking the book but perhaps not being a fan of the author… so yeah, I do need to keep working on making sure I keep books and authors separate in my mind! I don’t think my opinion of the book would change with my opinion of the author, unless if I found I disliked something about the author and whatever I disliked was clearly coming through in their books…
    This is such an interesting discussion, and definitely one that isn’t talked about enough! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think it becomes a bit harder when it comes to not wanting to read a book because you don’t like the author, or don’t agree with something they did. To some extent, I think that’s alright, because a lot of people won’t want to spend their money supporting someone who they don’t necessarily like. But when it comes to the opposite way round, automatically hating an author because you didn’t like their book just seems a bit prejudiced., really. Because maybe they’d have liked the book if it was a different genre, and then they wouldn’t be hating on the author? So many different circumstances can make someone dislike a book, and more often than not, they have nothing to do with the author’s personality!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a great post. It’s kind of sad that any of this has to be said, but you said it perfectly.
    I remember seeing (I think on Tumblr) people who liked The Mortal Instruments being criticized because of accusations of plagiarism and just generally not being a good person directed towards Cassandra Clare. It’s so ridiculous. People can like her books without thinking it’s okay for her to plagiarize or whatever else they have against her, you know?
    I don’t know, I just think this whole thing is ridiculous. You can like books without liking the author and you can dislike books while liking the author. No matter what though it is definitely not okay to send personal attacks and hate mail to the authors, my god. I don’t know how anyone can think that’s okay.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cassandra Clare was one of the authors I was thinking about when writing this! I used to love The Mortal Instruments (not so much anymore) and still love The Infernal Devices, but I’m not that huge a fan of her. I don’t hate her. But the whole plagiarism thing put me on edge – though honestly I don’t know much about the story – and on twitter she used to tweet spoilers of her own books all the time so I unfollowed her. But that doesn’t mean I automatically no longer like TID.
      And then there’s authors who I follow on twitter purely because they seem like such nice people, but I’m not too bothered about their books. It doesn’t change my opinion.
      At the end of the day, sending hate to an author (or anyone) is never a good thing. It’s never Okayy and never should be.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Not to be obnoxious, but plagiarism is one of the few exceptions I make for caring about the author’s personal life or habits. I wouldn’t boycott an author for having a political opinion I didn’t agree with or something, but I 100% would boycott an author if it were known they were making money from stealing other people’s ideas. Plagiarism is a big “no” in the writing world and not something I would want to support. Of course, the fact that an author plagiarized one or twice is not necessarily an indication they have plagiarized everything they have ever written, but personally I would not be interested in reading any more of their books. I would rather support the writers they have stolen from.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Yeah I’d probably be the same to be honest. When it comes to Cassie Clare, I’d already read her book and couldn’t really do anything about it. I haven’t bought a book of hers since though and that’s probably part of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I can totally understand that. I hadn’t found out that she was accused of plagiarism before I had already bought some of her books. I honestly don’t know if I’d support her in the future. Part of me doesn’t want to support an author who plagiarizes, but another part of me kind of feels like at the level of success she’s at, it wouldn’t make much of a difference at this point. There are other reasons that I’ve struggled with too, but I don’t feel like writing an essay haha

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I also read one of her books without knowing about the plagiarism accusations.I didn’t really like it and stopped reading her books because of that and only found out about the plagiarism later. I’ve read enough about the accusations that I personally believe they’re founded, but I also don’t go around yelling at people who do read and like her books. 😉 I do think, however, there’s a strong divide between people who believe she’s a plagiarist and therefore won’t touch her books and people who like her books and therefore will not believe she’s a plagiarist. I have yet to encounter anyone in the camp of “Well, she may have plagiarized but I enjoy her books anyway.”

          Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s ridiculous. The author is not the book. It would be physically impossible. So I tell all those that hate the author because they didn’t like the book = get over yourselves! It’s a freakin book, for crying out loud! If you hate it so much, write your own, then see how you feel when ppl put you down and send you death threats because of a STORY you wrote.
    Books aren’t real. People and authors are.
    How can anyone do this? It makes no sense! It’s completely illogical.
    (As you can see, I feel the same way as you do)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ahahah I love your comment! 😀 It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d say to someone 😆
      I know books are meant to make us feel ALL the emotions, but when it comes to disliking a book, people can just take it a bit far. IT’S FICTION. DON’T LIKE IT? LEAVE IT THEN. Quit bringing it back up and picking it to pieces *rolls eyes*

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You’re right. This is extremely important right now. I only joined the online bookish community this year in May and…I love it, but I’ve also been seeing so much hate. A big one I keep seeing everywhere is everything with Sarah J. Maas and her books. She’s not the only one, but a big one. Another big thing now is diversity in books.
    Anyway, people need to CALM DOWN. I’ve seen hateful “reviews” on GR about book/series endings and they’re CURSING OUT THE AUTHOR?? It’s also like part of the bookish community thinks that THEY control how the stories should be, that the authors have to cater to what THEY want… If you didn’t like something, you can comment on it in a professional manner. No books will get it right for 100% of the populations tastes…
    Honestly, when I find an author that has multiple books I enjoy and write well for my tastes, I notice. I appreciate it. But I also realize they ARE human beings. And all human beings have flaws and feelings that you are no part of, unless they are happy feelings! Now, if I find on social media, or something, that they are hateful themselves or discriminatory, I will avoid them… But that has not happened, yet. Authors tend to be open-minded and kind, at least from my m/m and YA novel experience.
    I am in the midst of gathering thoughts about a similar kind of post as this. Stuff I wanted to talk about. It’d be too much in a comment and I may have to break it up into a couple posts or something. But it’ll come!
    Great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Sarah J Maas hate is exactly what started this discussion from me! She’s one of my all time favourite authors and has been for years, so to see people sending her death threats because one of the books didn’t go their way? I was so shocked. It’s sickening to see people react so badly when a book doesn’t go the way they want it too! No book will have the scenario every reader wants, so the author has to write what THEY want – which is the purpose of them writing in the first place!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DEATH THREATS?? Okay, I didn’t know it had escalated to that degree… Just because they didn’t like where the story went?? I just…how can you do that…?
        But yes to all you have said.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Unfortunately so. It’s the first thing I saw and just thought “woah what the hell?!?” :/ Luckily the rest of her fans stood against it and started hash tags showing their appreciation and were sending her their love, so hopefully that outweighs the negativity!

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I was disgusted at the amount of abuse I saw on Twitter over the weekend and at this point, I honestly want nothing to do with Twitter right now. It’s never okay to harass, threaten, or verbally abuse anyone.
    Now I fully believe that you should always separate the artist from the art. Just because you don’t agree with the author or don’t like them as a person doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy something wonderful that they have created.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too! I’ve always loved the book community, but lately the amount of hate and arguments going around have made me want to shut off all social media and be done with it. There’s no excuse for such hatefulness :/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. None at all. Along the same lines with the instigator for the hate, it bugs me to see authors being harassed about not having enough diverse characters. Now let me explain for one second, yes I think there should always be a cast of diverse characters but I think the issue may lay with publishers not printing or representing diversity. It’s not like authors decide what gets published. Sorry if this was unrelated, it’s something I’ve been thinking about all day

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree! Not every author can have a diverse cast of characters, and it’s up to the author what they write. If they felt pressured into writing diverse characters because people send them hate until they do, then the characters will misrepresent diverse people. So it’ll just end badly. Yes, YES to diversity. But NO to blaming every single author who doesn’t have a diverse cast. That’s just counter productive. Maybe share and praise the books that have it instead?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I agree 100% authors are people too and they write the book that comes to them. They are not a wish granting machine and I hate seeing them being treated like that. I think you lead a great discussion this week! 💗🙌

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I hadn’t given it much thought either until recently. It can be hard to keep them separate, since the words came from the author’s hand, but they’re definitely separate things and people can get carried away!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. In general, I do not care about authors’ personal lives or opinions at all. (Same for musicians, directors, etc.) To me, the art is completely separate from the person, and if the art is saying something I find worthwhile or interesting, good. I’m not going to boycott a work because the author said something I didn’t like on Twitter or something. (I do make exceptions for various circumstances. I wouldn’t necessarily want to support a convicted felon or a known rapist or something like that.) However, in terms of personal opinions or personal habits, I don’t care. It’s probably impossible to find someone in the world who shares 100% of your opinions or whom you like 100% of the time, and I think that’s fine. The same goes for idolizing authors. I may like authors as people, but every author writes some books that are better than their author books. That’s fine, too.

    I’ve also been thinking and posting about topics along these lines recently. There’s been so much backlash against authors portraying things people don’t like. But, as you said, writing a character who says nasty or racist or sexist things is NOT an indication that the author agrees with the things that character is saying. I also don’t think the book needs a narrative voice or a wise character or whatever who says “That was mean and sexist! Character A shouldn’t have said that!” Not everything needs to be a moral story with the moral clearly spelled out. I like to believe readers are intelligent and can use context clues to interpret the novel, without characters directly pontificating on right and wrong for the reader.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t have worded it any better myself!
      There’s only a few authors who I follow to see their general thoughts etc, but other than there’s I usually just read the books and that’s that.

      As for the character thing – can you imagine how boring (for want of a better word) books would be if all characters had the same personality/beliefs as the author? Most authors are generally nice people, so if they only wrote what THEY believe in…well, there wouldn’t be many villains in stories, to say the least. There’d hardly be anything to write about really. I doubt any author agrees with their character’s beliefs 100℅

      Like

      1. I only follow a handful of authors on social media, and perhaps I’m in the minority, but I really prefer it when authors use their blogs, social media, etc. to talk about their books, books in general, the writing process, and related topics. I unfollow authors who talk a lot about politics or their pet social issues, even if I agree with them on the topics. It’s just that, you know, I’m following them because they wrote a children’s fantasy novel that I like, not because I want to hear their thoughts on US economic policy. I’ll follow an actual economist for that kind of thing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, a lot of the authors I follow do talk about the actual writing process and gives hints about their books more often than not. Sure, they mention their everyday lives too…but their everyday lives are mainly just writing the books.

          Liked by 1 person

  10. I think if you really like a book it tends to suggest that you would have at least a few things in common with the author, and you are more likely to get along with people you have something in common with. But even if that’s true its only a meeting point, and if you don’t like the subject that’s just ONE thing you don’t have in common. You have to very careful with artists of all kinds because we tend to short cut with language, I find myself saying I don’t like a particular actor and I quickly qualify with either in their typical role or in their media persona. It is useful to know if you tend not to like the typical style or genre of an artist be it books or performance, and to avoid their art, but making judgments on their personality based on their work is primitive thinking. Was Bram Stoker a vampire, people actually believed he might be, people can be crazy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great post, Ashleigh! I agree that you shouldn’t judge a book by it’s author. I mean, A Game of Thrones has incest in it, that doesn’t mean Martin supports incest. I’ve also come across books that I enjoy but I don’t like the author as a person (based on how they behave on social media). The fictional story is not the real life person who wrote it. People seem to forget that….

    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! I’m glad you agree 🙂
      I think a lot of the time people forget it’s a fictional story. They need some sort of bad thing/shock factor to happen otherwise people won’t want to read about it, there wouldn’t be a “problem” so there wouldn’t be much to read about. If the author was talking about that kind of thing and supporting it in a real-life story, that’d be a very different situation. But fiction? People take it too seriously sometimes :/

      Liked by 1 person

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