Question: Do You Judge Authors By Their Online Identities?

Posted May 14, 2015 by Carmel in Question / 35 Comments


I fondly remember the first time an author commented on one of my reviews, followed me on Twitter, shared my post on Facebook, re-tweeted me, replied to a status update of mine on GoodReads, asked for an interview, submitted a review request, etc. And, I still experience a minor rush to this day even though it’s now five years later. That being said, social media isn’t all rainbows & unicorns, and as I’ve progressed from my humble beginnings, I’ve also become more aware of online faux pas. Whereas before I used to proclaim ignorance—oh, I’m a total noob, maybe it’s status quo that authors don’t respond to my reader inquiries—while as now… I judge.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m well aware that they are busy people with real lives, 9-5 jobs outside of writing, and that it’s a competitive market, but sometimes I wonder why some of them even have an online presence. I’ve lost count of how many authors I’ve witnessed getting pissed off at fans in a Facebook thread on their walls because someone DARED to ask about their series reading order, or when the next installment was coming out. I mean, C’MON! Aren’t you in the business of selling books? Why wouldn’t you point a potential reader in the right direction to facilitate them to buy your titles?

More recently, I had an author block me on Twitter because I tagged her in a 3 star review for one of her novels. First of all, on a rating scale of 1-5, 3 is AVERAGE, and secondly bad form! I get it, receiving negative feedback blows, especially when it’s about your precious baby, but as long as the post was constructive, didn’t attack the writer personally, and listed off likes/dislikes, how does that merit getting blacklisted? Unfavourable reviews sell books too! We don’t have to be BFFs, a quick “Thanks for reviewing!” would suffice. Instead, you’ve just lost a reader for life, ooh—and I’m going to tell ALL of my friends about my crappy experience too.

Occasionally I’ll binge read an author because I want to get caught up on their series in time for the next release, so I’ll make a point of crossing one title off my TBR pile each month. I treat all of my reviews equally, so even though these are older novels, I’m still going to tag the writer on Twitter. Ok, so twelve months go by, I’ve purchased all of the installments, and I haven’t heard a peep from the author. Not even a measly RT of one of the x-number of 5 star posts I’ve shared. I’m sorry, but I am no longer interested in your upcoming publication.

Have I been at this too long? Grown jaded? Am I a bitch? Or, can you relate?

Do You Judge Authors By Their Online Identities?

Carmel Signature

Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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35 responses to “Question: Do You Judge Authors By Their Online Identities?

  1. I totally agree, some authors just don’t seem to realize that their little rants on social media,etc only hurts their sales. I find 3 stars to be good as it means you liked it but just not wowed by it. I have read a lot of good 3 star books. 🙂 I have only had one author email me complaining about my rating on her book and I didn’t understand since there were several comments on my blog about how they wanted to read evidently my rating wasn’t hurting a thing!

    Some authors need a thicker skin if they are going to be a business where people critic their work. 🙂
    Stormi recently posted…M9B Two for Thursday Book Blitz – The Reaper’s Rite Series by Dorothy Dreyer with Giveaway #T4T

  2. I like the philosophy that reviews aren’t for the author, so I don’t really care if they notice mine or not. I don’t tweet them or send them links though either – only to a publisher or if they directly sent me the book. In general though, I do judge based on really bad online behavior. If I hear an author has been badgering readers/bloggers, then I am very likely to not read their books in the future.
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Sign Up Now: Favorite Color Blog Swap

  3. I’ve not really had any negative response or interactions with authors (yet) but I’ve seen them be nasty to others online. Luckily I don’t read those authors anyway. LOL Well the one that blocked you I’ve read and I don’t understand why she did that cuz a 3 star review is not bad. But some think it is.

    I agree if an author is not going to interact with readers online why be online. They don’t have to have meaningful conversations with everyone that posts on their Facebook or @ them on Twitter but a RT on a review or a Thanks is just polite.
    Jennifer recently posted…Read It, Track It – Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

  4. I have to admit that I do, but I try not to judge too harshly. If there’s news of an author behaving badly or doing something mean to a blogger I won’t read their book. We take a lot of our time to do this hobby and we don’t deserve to be treated badly. So I will definitely judge on that.

    I can understand though that if an author is super busy and can’t communicate and answer every tweet, but there’s so many authors out there that do really try so getting nothing at all from one is kind of weird. The whole point of social media is being sociable with others.

    FB is one site where I think some authors need to learn etiquette though, especially with posting spam to pages. Authors that do that without asking will never get me to read their book, and it’s gotten to the point that I don’t allow others to post but still get messages.

    I think a lot of us have become more jaded as we blog because of what we deal with. Then again there are so many awesome authors out there that really make it worth it.
    Kelsey recently posted…Review: Shutter by Courtney Alameda

  5. I can relate, Carmel. I am not doing reviews long enough to notice if they don’t respond about my review tweets. I mean I might do one of their books and they might not be really busy and not on Twitter for a period of time. I guess it would be different if I did a whole series of reviews and never got any response especially if I knew they were on Twitter all the time. Or maybe I just have been lucky with getting some responses, so I don’t expect anything and I’m always excited when I get any response. That’s one of my rules for life. Expect nothing; be grateful for everything. I’ve been really busy and not as Twitter aware for the last month myself. 🙂 Anne

  6. It really is hard not to which is why, as awful as it may sound, those authors I really love, I try not to pay attention too much to their online activity. I would hate to stop reading them because they were being a jerk in some form or another. But when I do hear about authors behaving badly, it does make me not give their books a second glance. There really is no excuse for it especially like in your case where your review wasn’t disrespectful or tactless.
    kindlemom1 recently posted…Blog Tour Book Review, Giveaway, and Excerpt: Once Pure by Cecy Robson

  7. I try to avoid the drama but some authors make it difficult. On the other hand sometimes I think things get blown out of proportion so I try to base my reading on the book not what others are feeling about the author at the time
    Kristina D recently posted…Book Review ~ Side Jobs

  8. Mary from BookSwarm  

    My first response: Yes. Yes, I do judge. Second part: I do realize that people have bad days/weeks, so I try to cut them some slack after my initial WTF!

    But, yeah, they’re in the business of selling books. What they say and do on the interwebs is their public persona. I’ve blocked an author and haven’t read her again after she got really snippy with me for daring to misuse a noun as a verb… This was a couple of years ago so I don’t remember the exact exchange but I did say I was being facetious, and she got all rude and up in my virtual face. Come on, now. It’s not that serious.

    So, yeah. I’ll cut you some slack but I’m judging.
    Mary recently posted…Author Interview: Darynda Jones (plus giveaway!)

  9. I know I do. If an author has a good online presence and especially if they interact with readers, then I am more likely to want to read more by them. If an author doesn’t respond to my tweet, I won’t be offended, but if an author does, they get bonus points when I’m choosing where to spend my book money. And if an author comes across as a dick in social media, I will blacklist them from my personal reading list.
    Megan recently posted…Review: Kiss and Tell

  10. I try to keep in mind that authors have lives and their career can’t be their only life with most stuff. But I’m also a Scorpio and that means if one offends me I may eventually forgive but I will never forget. If an author acts like her/his fans are shit I’m going to judge them right back. Not emailing back doesn’t bug me much but things like doing a giveaway and then giving the winner or the blogger who’s stuck in the middle the run around… really bugs me. I won’t name names but that exact situation is the reason I stopped doing promo for a big name author. Why would I promote someone who can’t follow through and gets vague or snippy when I ask if the prize from 4 months back was ever going to be delivered? Ugh.

    That said, authors who frequently praise their peers’ work or who are friendly and attentive (within reason, of course) to their fans always get my support. Even when I haven’t read their work.
    Rhianna recently posted…Review: Rat Queens Vol. 2

  11. I’ve only been blogging a year and I’ve not really had any negative responses or interactions with authors (yet), but I have seen them be nasty to others. I do understand they have lives outside of writing, but it is nice to have them say thank you for a review whether it’s an older book or new release. I don’t usually tag an author unless it’s a more resent release, but I will do the publisher if they sent me a copy.

    I try not to judge, but it is hard these days when so many people (authors & bloggers) don’t know how to properly act online. It’s like social etiquette has gone out the window.
    Angela recently posted…Guest Post: Stacey Kennedy – Witches Be Burned (Tour) ~ Excerpt/Giveaway

  12. Even after reviewing for almost 3 years, I still get fan girly at times when I hear from an author. When a few my favorite authors friended me on twitter, I was really beyond excited so I know what you mean. However, early on, I got really negative feedback from an author that had written one of the worse books I have ever read. I even said in the review that I hated writing a bad review, but couldn’t help it. I could only find one thing I liked about the book and I did say I liked that. Well she tore me a new one as they say-both on twitter and in an email to the blog owner(PureTextuality)And thankfully she didn’t put up with her and defended me majorly. To this day it still bothers me. BUT I try to stay honest and sometimes books are just that bad! From what I understand she is notorious for this, especially on GoodReads-you can bet I will never read anything by her again!

  13. I’ve never understood why an author would have social media accounts and not use them. If you don’t have time, hire a VA! Heck, I bet a rabid fan would do it for free! And a simple RT or thank you means so much to fans that it’s silly to ignore them. So guess I’m trying to say that yes, I judge.
    Terri recently posted…Bloggers Ed – First Impressions

  14. So, I feel like a co-conspirator in this case. I actually saw the tweet and asked you about it. SO SORRY. I did not mean to cause any drama. The author involved really took me by surprise. I’ve read one of her books and thought it was okay and it happened to be in the same series where you gave her a 3 of 5 Stars. The book I read, I also gave a 3. It was well written but didn’t grab me. However, as bloggers, authors and readers should know, a 3 by me might be a 5 by another reader. It all depends on so many variables.
    And yes, I do judge an author by their online behavior. The thing is I judge everyone by their on line identities, not just “stars”. If I don’t like what someone I’m following is doing/acting, I just unfollow. No big deal. In this case the author and another author made it a bigger deal than it needed to be.

  15. I’m quite lucky, I haven’t had an author outright block me (yet) so I’ve had fantastic oppurtunies to speak to some of my favourite bloggers. That being said, I have noticed that some authors have written certain comments or tweets that have irked me. Most specifically: ones that attack reviewers. I tend to get pretty offensive about those. Luckily, they’re far and few inbetween.
    Lily recently posted…All the Rage: Review

  16. The most unprofessional thing an author can do is argue with a reviewer over a bad or average review. Period. As for the rest… A well-bred individual would say “thank you” for a review & feature, etc. The lack of acknowledgment is only understandable if that author is buried in work and genuinely unaware of what’s happening. I guess it is possible, although nowadays everyone checks in on their social accounts at least once/week. It’s the advisable thing to do. Don’t get too upset, Carmel. In the end, not everyone has manners 🙂
    Ramona recently posted…Book Marketing Mistakes

  17. I’ve only had one bad experience with an author and that was years ago when I posted my review link on my fb and tagged the author in it. She usually would share the post on her fb page but she didn’t mine and within 2 minutes shared someone else’s review on her fb page and in big letters wrote, “This is how you write a review.” So I read it…my review was 5 paragraphs long and I thought it was really good…this one that she liked so much was 1 paragraph long and said nothing about the book’s story line. I just didn’t get it. I unfriended her and haven’t read her books since.

    I’ve since seen authors go ballistic over 2 and 3 star reviews and even go as far as to tell their street teamers to go and click “not helpful” on a bloggers Amazon reviews because she dared not like one of her books. I never read her again either.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Review: Grill Brush by Inspired Grill Instruments

  18. I think I must still be more in the noobie end of the spectrum when it comes to author on-line presence. I don’t expect acknowledgement or notice, but when I get it, I’m tickled pink.

    I also don’t do much tagging and all that so that’s probably why I go below the radar for the most part. I generally tag if it was a book I was requested to review and I tag the person who requested it- publisher, organizer, author.

    I don’t think I’ve been blocked or ignored, but my reviews do range into the 2s and 3s on occasion.

    Ultimately, I think there can be a lot of motives for one action or lack of action and on-line can be tricky interpreting these. I try really hard to give the benefit of the doubt just like I want in return. And…some days that works for me better than others. Haha!
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist #Review

  19. I have not had a bad experience to date, but I’ve also pulled away a lot from social media and my blog. I still post from time to time, but not as much as before. I was so pulled in by the newness of blogging and now I just do what I want and don’t really pay attention to what’s going on around me. I’m out of the loop a lot of the time so maybe ignorance is bliss in my case?!?

  20. Okay, I’m going to chime in with my thoughts, and I’ll be coming at this from both an author AND book blogger perspective.

    Do I think an author should find the time to interact with their readers?

    As an author, yes I do. It’s important. In fact, whenever I see Tweets directed at me, or reviews posted for my books, or someone asks me a question about what I do … I get a little giddy–though I also feel sick to my stomach when I spot a review, until I’ve read it and realised it wasn’t as bad as my head made it out to be. What can I say? Writers are insecure.

    As a book blogger … Yep, same applies here. I used to NEED authors to comment back to me when I used to book blog. And yes it stung when they didn’t. Damn, it still stings now, if I ask a bigger named author a Q and they don’t even acknowledge it–and I’m not talking about writing advice; I’m talking about asking them about their books that I *was* thinking about reading, but hey, if I don’t get an answer I need prior to making the final decision, then … <<I don't know how much of this attitude comes from my having book blogged, or if I'd feel this way coming in from an author-only angle.

    On the PA angle: I get that authors need help sometimes. Especially those who are contracted to the hilt and have numerous & simultaneous deadlines to meet. However, as a READER, it always makes me feel slightly less interested in what's being said on a Facebook page, when I know it's not the author whose page it is doing the talking. Not sure how others feel about this, but I strongly feel there still HAS to be *some* interaction on there from the author themselves. I mean, it's all well and good to shoot out post after post asking random questions (FBs scheduling facility makes doing so a breeze), but personally I feel we don't really have a right to expect others to come along and comment on what we say if we aren't going to even acknowledge that they have. So there're my thoughts on that angle.

    On reviews? Dude, ya really wanna get me started on those? I've had AH-MAZEBALLS reviews. I've also had downright shitty reviews–including the one liners that go along the lines of 'What the fuck did I just read?' and speak loud enough volumes to make even the hardiest author cringe. When I first set out as an author in 2011, those shitty ones STUNG and I'd ponder over them for a couple of days wondering what the hell I'd done wrong in my writing. It took only a few months for me to boot my hide out of that habit, and instead of running sulking from negative reviews, I began reading them for common factors, because whilst not everyone is going to like your book(s)–fact–if the negative reviews are touching on the same issue over and over, it would make me pretty arrogant, ignorant AND stupid not to take note of those issues to focus on improving in future books.

    As for responding to reviews: I used to be all like *gush gush*, dude liked my book, they are THE BEST person on the planet and I LOVE THEM!!! But then you come to realise that other, more established authors aren't licking the soles of the readers who left a good review and you start to feel a bit silly. I think the issue with authors responding to reviews is: a) there are so many mixed recommendations that none of us are totally sure which is the correct way for us to react, and b) we all feel a little bit awkward accepting the praise. Authors are weird creatures. I've had people I know stop me in the supermarket to tell me they read my book and enjoyed it. At that point I turn into a turtle and start shrinking into my shell, and then I realise they're staring at me, Mr B is staring at me, and I was supposed to say thank you instead of hiding from these folks. So, in *some* cases–certainly not all–the authors just don't know how to respond, and in *some* cases, authors are advised by their publisher/agent to stay away from the reviews and not respond at all. Personally, I do try to at least RT a review of my books, and if I'm at my laptop, it'll get shared on my FB, too.

    Reactions to bad reviews should be a whole post of its own. Seriously. Those who act poorly to a review they didn't like don't deserve the readers they have. I hate that the behaviour of certain authors over the past year, or so, have given book bloggers a reason to be leery of author interactions. I hate that the Internet makes it so easy for mobs to be formed and libelous sander to be tossed about. I've been on the receiving end of unwarranted shitty behaviour from an author (as an author myself) and it sucks a$$. Some dude asked–no, BEGGED me to take a look at his new book. I wasn't going to agree because I was real busy, but Mr B told me I should cut him some slack because he was a newbie author, so I gave in. The book arrived. There were too many writing issues for me to concentrate on the story. So I PRIVATE messaged him, explained why I hadn't read on, and offered to help. Next thing I knew, he'd publicly posted my feedback on Facebook, labelled it as a review, and formed a lynchmob of 'supporters' opposed to what I had to say. Then the Tweets about me began, and the blog posts. And then a really shitty review of Darkness & Light with a one star rating. Took a while to sort out, for realz–especially as I never once responded to any of the comments made by him or his mob.
    I've seen certain other authors behave in similar ways, too–all too often. They complain about a one or two star rating, and THEN INCLUDE A LINK to said review. Talk about an invitation to their readers to step in and take action. How do I feel about this? I think it's a truly shitty thing to do. Does it matter if someone rated your book a 1*? No. You should look at the positive side of it that someone gave your book the time of day and then had enough of an opinion about it to post their thoughts. End of.

    "Unfavourable reviews sell books too!" <<Yes! Yes, they do. Just look at Fifty Shades, right?

    "We don’t have to be BFFs, a quick “Thanks for reviewing!”" <<But … but CAN we be BFFs? Can we? 😛

    Okay, I'm gonna quit waffling now. I need coffee. (Ignore the typos–no caffeine in my system yet)
    jabelfield recently posted…Merry May Blog Hop: Come #win #prizes, people!

  21. I think there is a lot of gray area when it comes to authors and bloggers. Personally, I don’t ever tweet an author a review, even a 5 star, unless it’s for a tour or other promotional reason. So if by some chance they stumble upon it, great. If not, no harm done.

    But yes, it bothers me when they get too defensive and/or go on and on about it. I am not “quick” to write off an author, but if the situation escalates, then it’s something to think about.
    tonyalee recently posted…Let’s Talk: Blogger to Blogger | Blog Design

  22. Though I tweet the author on every blog review, I don’t have expectations of authors to respond in any way. When they do, I’m appreciative and think it’s courteous as well as good business. Conversely, when they don’t, it’s not an issue as I haven’t a clue about what may be going on in their worlds.

    I’m fortunate to have never had one of those negative interactions with an author on social media. I try to keep an open mind but it’s difficult to not have it affect my reading choices when I’m made aware of an author behaving badly. I watched one of my favorite authors make the mistake of responding to a petty post from a reader and it escalated to something ugly (not because of what she said…just the fact that she chose to interact). However, there are authors I won’t read because of really atrocious behavior in social media…it’s just tough to not think about their actions and remain objective while reading their stories.

    It’s a tough world out there for writers, especially if they’re doing it alone. I’m just not going to judge a non response as bad behavior, only what they do put out there on social media.
    Jonetta (Ejaygirl) recently posted…Audio Review: Sweet Release by Pamela Clare

  23. Nereyda from Mostly YA Book  

    This is why other than the automatic tweets set up from bloglovin, I no longer tweet my posts or tag the author/publisher (unless I’m asked to). I just can’t help thinking that it’s fucking rude when they ignore your tweets, especially for a gushing review. ESPECIALLY when they seem to interact with everyone else. Is it because I don’t kiss their ass that they ignore me??? I’m not on twitter much so I rarely interact with people, but I can’t but being annoyed when authors have time to post countless pictures of their cats but can’t even bother to favorite/RT or say thank you to your tweet.
    Nereyda recently posted…Audiobook Review: Overruled by Emma Chase

  24. Maja (The Nocturnal Library)  

    I remember the overwhelming excitement I felt when Markus Zusak replied to my review tweet. He was SO kind! It was just a few words for him, but it meant the world to me. From that day, it’s sort of a golden rule for me – if Markus Zusak, in all his brilliance and glory, can find the time to tweet at little old me, so can you and you and you and everyone else.

    I’m kidding, mostly. I really don’t need authors to reply to every review tweet. But there were times when I invited authors for an interview or a blog event or something and they didn’t even reply. Or they replied tersely, rudely etc. I don’t do it on purpose, I promise, but I do stop supporting those authors. Why would I dedicate an entire day on my blog to someone who can’t even be polite?

  25. Yup, I definitely judge an author on their online behaviour and the way they conduct themselves. For instance, I love Patrick Ness’s writing, but I unfollowed him on Twitter due to some offensive things he posted after a fan asked him a rude question. I actually don’t tag authors for reviews unless they’re overwhelmingly positive, because I know some prefer not to have that negative criticism. Nope, you’re not being a rude bitch!
    Jeann recently posted…Read Play Blog #11 – My Gaming Setup

  26. I do, to be honest. I mean, if they have an online presence, and it comes to my attention (I rarely if ever actually check it out, mostly if there’s some hot topic about it/them or I’m hunting for clues about some series of theirs or something).
    Mouthing off or generally ahole moves/lines tend to influence me toward not reading that author’s titles. If they have some stellar snark or humor and wits going on in their online presence, that’s very likely to get me to read their title sooner rather than later.
    It might not be fair to allow their online presence to influence my desire to do or don’t read their works and when, but I’m only human, lol.
    Livia recently posted…Indie Flutters: Forbidden Surrender by Priscilla West

  27. I haven’t really thought about this at all! But I recently started tagging the authors (and narrators to audiobooks) every time I post a review on my blog AND they have liked, RT’d and some even went out of their way to message me thanking me of the review. Okay so these were glowing reviews but still! I really love it when they do. However, if they don’t RT, star, or even message me I’m still fine with that. Sure, I will fly over the moon when they go out of their way to do all those things but I don’t really think it’s a big deal.

    However, if I messaged an author directly asking about a series, I would expect a response.

    Unfortunately, I do judge an author by their online presence. See, if they are rude to fans and even non-fans then they are not the type of authors that I would read. I have read about author bad behavior and other horror stories and I think those authors are just not worth my time. I actually have one author that I have read and because of her bad behavior really steered me away from her books.
    Zeee recently posted…Bookish Discussion: What’s in a Name?

  28. I don’t really notice if my posts are shared or re-tweeted or whatever. I don’t follow all the authors I read (my FB feed is way too long already), so I don’t always tag them in my reviews. But when they do, I like it very much.
    I try to keep away from the fights on social media, and the few times I have looked for who it was, it was not someone I knew.
    But I have never stopped reading an author whose books I enjoy because of her behaviour or lack of it. If one would attack me, yes, perhaps then I would, it depends on how good the books are.
    Aurian recently posted…New additions to my addiction

  29. I don’t expect authors to respond to me. In fact I get a bit embarrassed when they do. What can I say? I’m an introvert. I find it awkward.
    What I don’t like is when I like an author’s online persona and then I don’t like their books!

  30. Nicole from Feed Your Fiction  

    I do think that some authors are more active on social media than others, so maybe that’s why the one author never retweets your reviews? Or some authors just try not to pay attention to reviews – good or bad – because they freak them out. I’ve heard some authors say that. But getting blocked for tagging on a three star review? Why?