Thursday, August 06, 2015

On following authors on Twitter

I love Twitter. I do. It's a great source of news, especially of upcoming books, events, giveaways and a place where I have access to articles and videos and blog posts. I follow a lot of bookish people: authors, book bloggers, publishing professionals, booktubers etc. And for the most part, I love it. 

I remember falling in love with a book or an author's body of work as a young child and I was never able to fully verbalise to those childhood favourite authors how much I loved their books or why.  Not like I can today anyway. It doesn't take very long to search Twitter and find a vast majority of authors whose books I've read and loved. And while sometimes I find myself too shy to talk to them specifically, that doesn't happen often. At the very least a more generic 'Loved X by X' and tag them in it will suffice.  

The Good

And sometimes I follow an author and they are more awesome than I would ever have hoped for. And I can eavesdrop on them having important or hilarious conversations with other people and they drop their 90s rap references of mention their love of a cultish or iconic thing that I too love or call out something ridiculous and I think to myself 'we are so meant to be best friends' In fact, I do call many authors who I first knew online as real life friends having met them at different events and things.  And it's cool. 

I feel incredibly lucky about my place in the UKYA community. It feels small (in comparison to, say, the US blogging community!) and welcoming and I do see a lot of the same people and I've been incredibly lucky that I'm in this position to be friends with lots of awesome people. I think YALC was a great indication of this recently. There were so many great people coming together and bringing lots of passion and excitement into one place and it was an explosion of awesome.

I love Twitter for it's thoughtfulness and its silliness. It isn't all intellectual talk (though I do love that!) some of it is gifs and cat pics and 1D fangirling and GBBO. And that's amazing too. I love getting to know certain authors in ways that I wouldn't normally have access to. 

I love the informality of Twitter. And how everyone can just jump into things and be included. I love how I become more aware of certain authors I wouldn't normally pick up and I think to myself 'this person is HILARIOUS on Twitter, I really must buy his/her book' That's one of my favourite things about Twitter.

The Bad

But then there are those authors where I love their work ... but I follow them on Twitter and I find their tweets problematic. I'm not talking bad spelling or grammar here, it is Twitter after all.  I'm talking about some of those people who say and do things I don't agree with and it makes me slightly sad that I know these authors in certain ways that I wouldn't normally have access to.  

There have been quite a few authors who have tweeted things they shouldn't and have faced backlash for them in large ways. I'm not really talking about those authors. Obviously I have opinions on some of that but I find it more upsetting when things happen on a smaller level.

When authors are overly aggressive in their arguments or react to situations in certain ways or tweet things that I disagree with strongly, I am so very disappointed.  And I'm not saying I want everyone to agree with me, I'm just saying that I'm disappointed to learn about the differences between us, especially in cases where I really wanted the author and I to get along. When authors voice their opinions on Twitter and I think 'just no' it makes me very sad. Especially when I had previously looked up to these authors or really loved their stories. 

And it makes me feel uncomfortable. And while I try my very hardest to separate my feelings about the author from their stories, it can be hard. There are authors who, once I get to know them a little more on Twitter or in person, I become that little bit less enthusiastic about reading their books. I think to myself 'I'm starting to dislike this person based on my interactions with them on Twitter, and that makes me not want to prioritise reading their books.' That isn't to say I don't read them. Many times I read a book by an author who comes across very badly on Twitter and it's a complete surprise. 

I think that's part of Twitter's charm.  Making me realise that these authors are all just people. And I have to think of them in more complex ways. They are more than just the authors of stories I've loved. They have their own experiences and opinions and mannerisms and I'm not going to get along with all of them, even if I really, really wanted to. 

The Confusing

But it doesn't end there.  There are also those authors who I love on Twitter. I adore who they are and what they stand for ... and yet I read their books and I'm not particularly wowed. This is the worst for me.  I can't honestly recommend their books, I can't shout about them. I can't tag them with my reviews of their books. But I do still write them and I hope for the best. 

Several authors have reassured me it's okay to dislike their books and I know I shouldn't feel bad about this, but I still do.  I feel bad that I don't love books by obviously awesome authors. But I don't always. And that's okay. Not every book is right for absolutely everyone. For these authors, I still follow them on Twitter and I do what I can to promote what I do love: them. I might tweet about their newspaper articles or interviews or book trailers or upcoming books. Just this week I bought another book by an author who I adore but haven't particularly loved their previous books with the hopes that this might be the one I fall in love with.  I'm ever hopeful. 


  1. You make great points! I always feel bad reviewing books from authors that I've spoke to on twitter if I didn't like the book! I get over it of course but it's very disappointing. Great post! X

    1. Yeah, it can definitely be a little strange. I still do it too. :)

  2. Brilliant points. A lot of the 'big' authors I follow on Twitter are quite quiet, but I've been lucky in that the talkative ones usually have opinions that mesh well with mine. If they don't, I tend to unfollow them and just stick with the books.

    1. Even when an author quietly disappoints me, I usually still follow him/her on Twitter. Some I haven't though!

  3. Brilliant post - like you I feel really disappointed when I really like an author on Twitter but don't quite on with their book. I certainly have a habit of burrowing my reviews of books that didn't really work for me or where I've pointed out more things that I disliked than liked about a book and even more so on Twitter. It'll literally just get what my blog auto Tweets and nothing else - and I'd never tweet it to them.

    I've had one where I couldn't finish the book, I tried so hard to persevere but simply couldn't - I still adore the author, but I'm keeping very, very quiet about the book itself.

    On the flip side I LOVE Twitter, I love that it kind of levels the playing field, I love that we get to see authors as people and not just someone to idolise, they're people we can interact with and form friendships with and that's all kinds of awesome.

    1. Thanks for the comment, Jesse! Yes, I find myself not overly committed to promoting the reviews where it's not quite positive, especially when I follow the author on Twitter. (and yeah, I'd never tag the author to a negative review!)

      Twitter can be wonderful though. I do love it.

  4. I RELATE TO THIS SO MUCH. It's amazing to reach out to an author you love and have them respond - I respect authors so much more when they acknowledge and appreciate their readers.

    It's such a bummer when authors are straight up rude or entitled or above their readership… and it's even worse if they're authors whose books you've read and actually liked. Sometimes I have to separate the book from the author because of that, like I can't let their awful personality taint the book for me. And anyway, in general I want my money and time to support the people I believe in & actually like, so when an author turns out to be a terrible person, I don't feel too bad about not reading their books. :P

    And you're so right - there are definitely authors who are just so funny, socially/culturally aware, etc. and it makes me want to love their books, so I guess that's good - it makes me a more generous reader because I go into a book wanting to give them the benefit of the doubt haha. Anyway, I'm just basically echoing everything you've already said, so I'm glad I'm not alone!

    1. I wouldn't say that I've come across any authors on Twitter that I found overtly rude or entitled or to be a terrible person! Not yet, anyway. The quiet disappointments I'm talking about are like at least three levels below all of that! :)

  5. This is such a wonderful post. I love following authors on Twitter, for the most part, all the ones that I've followed are amazing people, and I always get a buzz if they connect with me in a miniscule way!

    I totally get about the confusing thing - I think it's because Twitter connects you to an author on a different level, and you feel like you know them as a person, so to not like something they've worked hard to create is heartbreaking!

    1. Yeah, it's definitely an eye opener realising that authors are just people too :)


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