I hate drama. Absolutely detest it. I hate encouraging drama. I hate acknowledging it (especially on the blog, though some instances of stupidity truly get me fired up, as you've seen in the past). And yet despite my aversion to encouraging such pettiness, I find myself craving to step up and post about this since it pertains to both readers and writers (published and unpublished too). I think we can all learn from this situation and walk away as better people from it.
When I think of authors interacting with fans, I always get this warm and fuzzy feeling inside. It's so nice when one is granted the opportunity to connect with her/her favorite author whether it be via Twitter, email, or in person. Usually, they're so sweet and kind and you want nothing more than to give them a HUGE hug for making you, the reader, feel like you mean something (even though you're usually both complete strangers). For those of you who do that, please continue! Your attitude definitely affects whether or not I buy your next book. Being nice to me means I might even buy your book if the most recent was not as enjoyable for me.
...Then there are instances like today that make me hate interacting with authors. These sorts of interactions make me see red. Smoke streams out of my nostrils as I begin breathing fire. If I could, I would probably turn into a chupacabra or a kraken and eat some unsuspecting sailor or animal in an attempt to calm my rage. Fortunately for humanity, I cannot.
Authors are, contrary to popular belief, human. They have wants and needs and get mad, just like the rest of us. They are also particularly vulnerable to the comments people make about their books, which is what I will be discussing today.
So yeah, it happens. An author receives a not so happy review and/or comment from a reader. Sometimes the reader means harm. Sometimes they're simply providing some constructive criticism. And sometimes, they don't mean anything at all by the random, flippant side comment they made along with all the praise they showered upon the author.
Whatever it is the reader did, the author has a few different ways to react: A) Ignore it and bottle it up; B) Ignore it and rant to a trusted friend or two (which is what most sane authors do); and C) Confront the reader about it (DON'T DO IT).
Earlier today, I was lurking on Twitter, procrastinating from reading a not-so-great book I'll eventually need to review. That's when I saw Aly (blueicefiesta) make a comment about drama. So, curious, I investigated.
Apparently Cassandra Clare decided to confront a fan pertaining to her flippant comment about Clary being a bitch. I won't post the entire conversation here, but from what I read, CC was extremely unprofessional in the way she approached the situation. Granted, it IS hard to discern the tone most people have while online, but the way she phrased her response definitely came off as -- *gasp* oh the irony -- bitchy.
Basically, CC decided to make a general statement about people labeling heroines as bitches and whores. Okay, fine, I can understand why she would do that. I have a problem with the ease most people -- myself included -- use those terms and phrases when describing a female, whether she be real or imaginary. I hate how the male characters in the stories can act the same way and go relatively unscathed when analyzed by readers. I truly believe where authors are coming from when they complain about that.
What I was not okay with was how she then proceeded to publicly confront the reader who decided to make a comment. Not only that, but she responded in a snooty fashion (check her Twitter page here) to her FAN. So snooty, in fact, that she upset her fan. She then proceeded to be rude to her friend who decided to stick up for the first reader, all while claiming that she should not be silent about this sort of topic because she needs to set an example.
That's what pisses me off. If you have a problem with something someone says, suck it up. You're an author. You're expected to receive the bad with the good. And if you feel the undeniable urge to discuss this with said reader, the best approach would be to not publicly humiliate him/her, but to contact them privately. But really, ignoring the situation or venting to a trusted friend is the best approach.
I do not think people understand the repercussions of being rude online. EVERYONE will hear about it... whether or not you're famous or infamous. You're particularly vulnerable when you are famous. Crap like this can ruin one's career, though I don't think it will hurt CC much considering how popular she is.
What makes me even angrier is the fact that CC is a YA author. She has so many fans and most of them are teenagers... teenagers who bought HER BOOKS and made her as famous as she is today via word of mouth and such praise. She should be setting an example by being the better person in this situation. And, if she wants to discuss such a topic (such as heroines = bitches), then she should do so generally instead of honing in on one or two people. She claims that's what she was doing, but it's clear that the reader's comment about Clary is what sparked her drama llama fest. At least, that's how I interpreted the entire conversation.
In my eyes, she was being a cyber bully. It's not right to make anyone feel that way.... which happens to be the point of this post. When confronted with a negative statement about your work, be professional about it. Either ignore it, or, if you're a glutton for punishment, politely ask the negative nancy why they felt that way. By being so rude, you're alienating your readers and turning potential readers away from your work.
To those of you who have dealt with an author reacting in such an immature fashion, I just wanted to tell you this one thing (which happens to be what an author friend, who shall remain anonymous, stated):
"Not all authors are douchebags about negative comments."
And it's the truth. I hate when authors do something like this and make the rest look bad. Just ignore the ones who are; they're not worth your time or money.
As for me, I was never truly a huge fan of Cassandra Clare's work. I was going to give her new series a shot, but I'm not even interested in reading that now.