A few years ago, Jonathan Franzen, the literary curmudgeon said he didn’t like it when fiction writers participate in the PR game. Here’s what he said:
Right now Amazon and Hachette are in a tug of war over e-book prices for Hachette titles. Amazon wants to set an e-book price much lower than Hachette wants to.
This is a simplification, but in my opinion, Amazon can set whatever prices it wants and if Hachette doesn’t like it, then Hachette doesn’t have to do business with Amazon and vice versa. It just proves that there has to be some other outlets for competition.
Meanwhile, some authors (a lot of them Hachette authors) took out an ad in the NY Times, asking for the dispute to be settled, feeling like they’re caught in the middle (which they are). According to the Guardian, one author says his book sales are down 60% percent because of the Amazon dispute.
I know Amazon’s important, but come on. This doesn’t seem like Amazon’s fault, or Hachette’s fault for that matter. It seems like the author’s fault.
The whole, entire reading public in the United States of America probably knows about The Fault In Our Stars. It was a YA book that’s now a huge movie.
What does that mean?
It means the author, John Green, now has his books sold in my local grocery store. I saw them. It wasn’t just The Fault In Our Stars, though. It was other books with John Green’s name on them, books that previously weren’t sold in my grocery store were. Because he’s a big deal. He’s made a name for himself (yes, a big motion picture helps).
But what it also means is that authors should quit complaining about where their books are sold.
Yes, I’m referring to this Medium article by Dolan Morgan. The gist is that Morgan goes to an independent bookstore and they won’t sell his indie press release. Even though he’s from the town or whatever.
Life’s no fair.
I went to a reading recently and enjoyed what the author had to say for the most part. She was eloquent and her new book sounded interesting.
But then the Q&A started. And it was horrible.
All of the wrong questions were asked.
I, being a very mature male, covered up my ears and put my head between my legs, leaning down as far in my seat as I could. The whole event had turned into a cringe-worthy farcical charade. I felt bad for the author who had to answer these questions genuinely and sincerely. She was more mature than me, that’s for sure.
Yesterday, I covered those bad, horrible questions. Instead of ruining a reading with those, the authors would appreciate if you asked something like these instead.
A great author is coming to your town to promote their new work / internet meme. They may even sign a copy for you. You loved their previous book, so you go. You want to see what they look like in person, maybe they’re reading something new. They read, you enjoy it and then comes the Q&A. This has the potential to be the worst part of the whole thing, especially when these three questions are asked.