Last week, Forbes ran an article titled, “The Aloof Author is Dead, Long Live the Writer.” I encourage you all to read the full article, but in brief, it addressed the disappearance of barriers between readers and authors. Before, famed authors would emerge for a handful of speaking events, and this would be readers’ only opportunity to get to know the authors they loved and admired. These authors were aloof and felt no obligation or loyalty to their readers. They wrote for themselves.
Now, most authors are being pushed to do more events and embrace social media, eliminating all barriers between them and their audience. Most authors need their readers and will do anything to please them, and fear nothing more than alienating them or receiving negative backlash.
I can’t see Hemingway or Faulkner worrying about Amazon reviews or driving two hours to a library to speak to an audience of 10. But times have changed. There are more books published now than ever before, creating more competition for readers’ attention. Rather than a book taking years to publish, each page pressed and bound by hand, I can have a book for sale on Amazon in less than a day. So with these changes in publishing climate, come changes in author’s approach toward their career.
I see a lot of authors complain about social media and the expectation of transparency. They don’t want to share their day to day experiences with their readers or go to great lengths to meet their audience. If they’re talented enough and their publisher puts enough money behind them, sometimes, they can get away with it. But more often than not, ignoring the demands of readers has a negative backlash.
For a reader to feel like they know you as a person, means they’ll be loyal to you and your books. They’ll forgive you if a book you publish isn’t up to par. They’ll come out to your events and tell their friends about your books. They will be your brand ambassadors. If you act reclusive and aloof, you will be easily forgotten, and another author will receive their loyalty.