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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Techno Saturation and Author Interactions

Continuing with my technology discussion from last week - I wanted to focus this week's post on how technology has made authors more accessible to fans.

When it comes to celebrities, I don't really get star-struck. With the exception of Trent Reznor (NIN), I rarely get tongue-tied or awkward if I encounter someone famous. (Living in a big city for a decade meant that I did have some encounters with celebrities over the years.) But when it comes to authors, all bets are off! I get so excited when I have an opportunity to meet authors whose work I love that I often say and do stupid things.

With technology making authors more accessible to readers, the amount of interactions I get to have with my favorite authors has increased dramatically (of course, the awkwardness factor decreases when it's not a face to face interaction). From twitter chats to forums and emails, I have found that many of today's authors are making themselves more available to their fans. Which in many ways is really great. Not only does it show appreciation toward fans, but it also helps aspiring writers see that whether you are just starting out or are supremely successful, we all face common struggles and road-bumps that get in the way of our work. What comes to mind in this regard is a post I read from one of my favorite romance writers who admitted to having hit a major snafu in her current ms and was having trouble getting the motivation to continue. A sentiment most aspiring writers have felt at some point.

So being more accessible makes authors appear more in tune with their readers as well as more like "real" people with "real" problems. As great as it is, I can see how being so available can be a problem as well. For example, some fans not being able to draw a line between appropriate and inappropriate requests and behaviors - or perhaps feeling so comfortable with an author that, if ever there was a face to face interaction, assumptions are made and the level of familiarity is too high.

Although I think it's great to have a window into the lives of many of my favorite authors, I wonder how much is too much? What do you all think? Is reader/author interaction a good thing or bad thing? Is it possible to have moderation in this techno saturated world?

In other news, I also have an interview up at the wonderful Anne Michaud's blog - go check it out!


  1. I do praise Twitter for how accessible famous people have become (one of my favorite YA writer is actually following me...*faints*), but it's true that with all this technology, people's boundaries lessen. I'm on the commonner side of the fence, but it must be a hassle being told/asked ridiculous things...*crosses fingers* I'll ever be able to know what it feels like some day:)

  2. It's inspiring to find out that our favourite people have their own struggles and issues. But I can see where boundaries would be breached. It's easier being on the other side of the fence - watching the effects of social media play out - then actually being subject to it. But will you still e-mail me when you're famous?

  3. To be honest with you Angie, I wonder if the internet if more a Pandora's Box rather than a gift at times.

    Why? Well as an author yourself, you've probably more aware of the situations that some people find themselves in, after all lets face it everyone can do something silly and then rue it in the long run.

    Whereas before, the mystique remains. Now? Well lets just say that its quick and easy to ruin a hard built reputation in seconds.

    A well thought out post and a lot of fun to read.

  4. Yes, I've seen reputations crumble after a rant or two!

    Famous? Who's famous? lol - you guys crack me up!

  5. Excellent post as always Ang, I always look forward to reading your blog each week. :) Personally, I generally feel pretty dang sorry for famous people. An actor was here not long ago and all I could see where swarms of fans and paps and all I could think was, what if the guys just wants a beer in peace? I simply can't imagine.

  6. I love that the internet gives us a peek behind the curtain and lets us know that authors are still like those of us struggling with the craft. Most people are savvy enough to understand limitations, but there will always be wackos. Internet or not.

  7. Opps! I deleted Pat's comment by accident - here it is - so sorry Pat!
    As usual, an interesting idea has sprung forth on your blog and you ran with it. I'd hate to have my privacy breached. I have no idea what it must be like for famous people who are bombarded by fans via technology and face to face. Definitely think you're right about it though. Technology has made famous people way too accessible to fans. They need their privacy too.
    A very interesting blog again.