ArmchairBEA 2014: Author Interaction & More Than Just Words

Posted May 27, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in ArmchairBEA / 29 Comments


Day two here at Armchair BEA and we are talking author interaction & more than just words. Where I live we tend not to get many authors up, but when we do, I often try and catch their readings, book signings or talks. It can be difficult when they are authors that you’ve never read or have no interest in reading; I want to be supportive of the authors that do come to this city but I also don’t want to be stuck buying books I don’t plan to read.

I’ve had some great experiences with authors, from hanging out with them at a cocktail party (Trudi Canavan, Rachel Caine and Felicia Day), to having great conversations them on Twitter (I still get excited when Megan Abbott replies to a tweet or Gary Shteyngart favourites a tweet) to awkward book signings (I’m thinking about the time Nick Earls signed a book ‘My apologises for not being Russian and long dead’). Some authors know how to interact to the public and I have to respect them.

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However there is the other side of the pendulum, the authors that should just get off social networking or take a leaf from J.D. Salinger’s book and avoid all people. Authors need to remember and accept the fact that not all readers are going to enjoy their books. I write negative reviews and I do try to be constructive when I do so but authors can get so defensive and venomous towards negative feedback that they should stop reading their reviews. I’m not just talking about personal experience, I’m talking about comments you see on Twitter or the bullying on Goodreads. I do understand this can be an issue for reviewers as well but I tend to think if you can’t handle negative feedback (this goes for reviewers too) then stay away from the internet.  I’ll end my rant there.

Moving on to the topic of more than just words, where I want to discuss a few things. Firstly audiobooks (as long as they are unabridged) counts as reading. Just because you are getting a book read to you doesn’t mean you are not experiencing it. Sure an audiobook is a completely different experience but I think it does not matter that the listener has not read the book. Our brains are wonderful and complex things, I think to read the book aloud in my head and an audio book is similar but someone else reading it. I still process it in similar ways and retention levels tend to be the same (for me anyway). I listen to a lot of audiobooks; mainly become I work on a computer all day with headphones in. Sometimes music is good, but I find audiobooks (especially when it comes to non-fiction and hard novels) can be a great way to experience a book while working.

Now there is the concept of graphic novels, I’ve seen people really take them on board and others avoid them at all cost. For those who do avoid graphic novels I’d love to know why. I worry people get the wrong idea about graphic novels and think they are all about superheroes with powers, but there are some great ones out there. If you want some recommendations check out my post where I suggest five different graphic novels to try that don’t feature super heroes.

ArmchairBEA is a virtual convention for book blogger who can’t attend Book Expo America and the Book Blogger Convention. Button by Sarah of Puss Reboots

29 responses to “ArmchairBEA 2014: Author Interaction & More Than Just Words

  1. Nordie @ Writing about books

    I have been lucky so far with my authors and havent had one pick a fight with me about a review. Mostly my reviews are positive even if I didnt quite like a book. My book review policy is so tight at the moment though I doubt I’ll get a book I dont like!

  2. Kaylee E

    Angry authors are one of the reasons I avoided author-requested reviews for so long. I’ve been lucky, but I did have an author whine about me giving him a 3 star rating on Goodreads because he saw that as a negative review and thought the review I’d written on my blog was worth more. I refused to back down and told him the best I’d do is remove all star ratings for it and let the words of the review speak for themself.

    But tell me more about this cocktail party!

    • It was a dark and stormy night… Well actually it was a Supernova VIP event and Luke Perry was out waiter. Not really but he was very friendly and offered us drinks all the time. But we were just in the right spot and the authors enjoyed our stories and just hung out with us. It was a lot of fun.

  3. So many people, and I am one of them, listen to non-fiction audio books. I’m trying to figure out why that is. For me it reminds me of really good public radio like BBC, CBC, ABC or NPR. And maybe the countless years of university i’ve done have trained me to listen to information. Who knows?

    • That was a new thing for me. I would have thought more people would have listened to fiction audiobooks. I was surprised when my little non-fiction short about John Wilkes Booth not dying in Garrett’s Barn has surpassed other fiction book in sales. I would have thought non-fiction wouldn’t do so well because they don’t in ebook/print formats.

  4. Authors can be overly sensitive because they see their book as their baby. Heck, I know of one author who was so overprotective of his work he refuses to have it published. Which kind of works against him but that’s for another time.

    I won’t lie. There are plenty of authors out there who are so self-absorbed that they cast a negative light on everything they do online and off. I’ve been writing professionally for six years and I can’t tell you how many times I run into these negative people. They are all over the social media. You just have to be careful with the authors. One suggestion I would give you. Before accepting an authors book, go to their Facebook page and read their wall. You can tell a lot about a person from their wall.

    • I understand it is their babies and I never want to upset them but people have to understand that not everything is suited for everyone. I try to be constructive. I love books, I normally give books more credit than they deserve but I’m trying to be harder on books.

  5. I used to feel guilty about listening to audiobooks when I could just read the book. I still do and I only listen to easy reads. Complex/literary reads are reserved for reading as opposed to listening, but I guess that is mostly because I don’t get to enjoy the writing in a book when I listen to it. I stay focused only on the plot.

  6. Lianne

    Great suggestions for graphic novels! I’ve been reading mostly Marvel comics but I have read a few non-superhero related comics as well. I particularly remember hearing from my brother how much he enjoyed the Scott Pilgrim comics (and, like you, how Michael Cera does not look like Scott). Will have to check those titles out at some point 🙂

    Day 2 @ my blog

    • Michael @ Literary Exploration

      I recommend it, it is a lot of fun. Have you tried Matt Fraction’s Hawkeye comics? I’m like that series.

      • Lianne

        I love Fraction’s Hawkeye comics! Definitely up there as one of my favourites from the Marvel NOW! line-up =D

  7. I interact with authors far less these days because of the venom. Certainly, not all authors are venomous. Not even MOST authors, in fact. However, the draw is less than it used to be given the drama over the years. I loved this line: “Authors need to remember and accept the fact that not all readers are going to enjoy their books.” Word!

  8. I used to be in the camp that thought listening to audiobooks wasn’t really reading, but I’ve change my wicked ways (or at least my lame thoughts). When a narrator is a good fit for the book and a good performer, its as if they satisfy some primitive need to hear storytellers around the campfire.

  9. Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

    Thankfully I’ve never had anyone be nasty towards me over a negative review but I try to be very respectful in what I have to say even if I hated it – which doesn’t happen often (the hating part). I know that every one who has ever written a book put in a lot of time and thought into their art and who am I to bash it. At the same time, not every book is for every person. Authors know this but I’m sure feel defensive of their work. Really – they should just let it go. Even those 5 star books – inevitably you will see at least a few 1 or 2 star ratings of “I hated it!”.

    Holly @ Words Fueled by Love

    • Michael @ Literary Exploration

      I love giving 1 or 2 star ratings, it can be very fun to talk about those books, I tend to bash a book in my reviews but I do try to be respectful as well.

  10. My author interactions are limited to Twitter because I live in a small town and nowhere near a large city. Boy do I get a kick out of a RT or a mention by an author, whee! It’s fun 😀

  11. Skeeter Lee

    “Authors need to remember and accept the fact that not all readers are going to enjoy their books.” It’s so true. And it’s okay.

    I came across an author rant on Amazon the other day that made me cringe. One of the reviewers didn’t like the book. I thought that her explanation as to why was well thought out and reasonable. No personal attacks against the author or anything like that. The author apparently went to everywhere site where she posted a review and ranted.

    Don’t think that he realized it made HIM look bad.

    Thanks for the suggestions on graphic novels.

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