I always remind authors and publishing pros to be aware of their online presence. On twitter and Facebook, you’re no longer a “civilian.” You’re a public figure. Therefore, I warn against slamming people in the media, criticizing books or other authors, and more often than not, my advice is to hold your tongue.
But today, I had the pleasure of reading Sophie Littlefield’s two-part blog post addressing Alan Cheuse of NPR. He recently offered his summer picks, all predictable household names that probably didn’t need the bump. All were great books (especially GONE GIRL by Gillian Flynn) but they were safe bets that, most likely, were chosen with his own public persona in mind. It’s NPR. Even if Alan’s favorite book of the summer was the latest Charlaine Harris or Nora Roberts, he couldn’t let anyone know it.
I don’t want to get into my feelings about how genre fiction is treated in the media (Sophie takes care of that for me). Instead, I want this post to highlight an exception to the rule. I would never advise an author to publicly object to a reviewer’s picks or criticize a book’s media coverage. But the way she presents the facts and states her opinion – which she reiterates is her personal opinion – opens the door for discussion, which is what blogging and community building is all about. This could also, potentially, be used to leverage some additional press.
(Sophie, if you’re reading this, send the blog posts to Sarah Weinman and the rest of the industry folks)
Not everyone can pull this off, but if you’re an author who has difficulty censoring their online presence, this would be one way to vent without damaging your public persona. But tread lightly.