Disconnect

It’s the first Wednesday of the month again, time for a post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I’ll skip the optional question this month. Instead, I’d like to talk about a strange disconnect I’m experiencing between writers’ books and their personalities. There are two writers I want to discuss. Both write fantasy – one of my preferred genres. Both are bestsellers. Both have blogs. Let’s call them writer A and writer B.

Writer A has a very interesting blog, full of personal tidbits and humor. Occasionally she posts free fiction on her blog. I subscribe to her blog and enjoy it. Not so much – her fiction. That could be hit or miss for me. I like some of her books and dislike the rest – they are often too dark and gritty for my taste.

Writer B at the moment is my favorite fantasy author. I love her books, all of them. I own them all and re-read them occasionally. Each re-reading infuses me with pleasure. They invariably lift my mood. I want more of her. I would’ve been a faithful subscriber to her blog as well, … but her blog is on Patreon. She only allows people to read it if they pay her. And the more they pay, the more content is available to them.

Such a greedy attitude towards her readers feels at the very least disrespectful. I don’t want to pay for reading a blog. In my view, it goes contrary to all marketing conventions. Moreover, it upsets me as a reader. I want to know more about what’s going on in her life and her writing, but I’m not prepared to pay for the privilege, although I buy her every book as soon as it’s published. I feel like she is failing me, even insulting me on a personal level, but I still want to read her books. Do you ever experience such a disconnect? Does a writer’s personality and behavior affect how you view her fiction?  

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26 Responses to Disconnect

  1. I struggle with this question. A range of artists (from multiple genres) have done things that I believe are just plain wrong. And it does (rightly or wrongly) taint the way I look at their work.
    I suspect that I would struggle with Writer B – but that is a very personal decision.

  2. Denise Covey says:

    Good question, Olga, and timely. I see why you feel disrespected by Writer B. What a fan she’s missing out on, but I guess she’s not bothered if you’re buying her books. I guess I’d be tempted to stop buying them, as there are plenty of good books around, new authors to discover etc etc. I don’t understand the first thing about Patreon except I read years ago it was to be discontinued. Obs, that didn’t happen.

  3. patgarcia says:

    Hi,
    Whether your favourite author makes her blog available to all is her decision. i don’t think any reader has the right to tell her how she should run her blog. Have you ever asked her why she does that? Maybe, there is a reason that you are not aware of.
    If it bothers you that much, then stop purchasing her books and write a letter telling her why. I do know that some authors require that their readers pay for their blog because they are tired of spams or unserious people leaving comments that are disrespectful.
    So, for me, if i see something that I want to read and it costs something, i would accept it if I want it badly.
    No one should have the right to force an author to do something they are unwilling to do. Authors have rights to.
    Shalom aleichem

  4. spunkonastick says:

    If she’s not on any other social media platform, then that does feel cheap and petty to charge. I agree with what Pat said above – let her know.

  5. Steph W says:

    That does sound frustrating. I think being accessible is really a boost for authors, regardless of how much extra ca$h can be made if they lock themselves behind a pay wall. Strange.

  6. I know artists who have a Patreon but they are also online elsewhere. I’d be put off by the request to pay.

  7. Charlotte (MotherOwl) says:

    I’d sure write a letter (or e-mail) to writer B asking for the reason behind Patreon-gated blogging, but then I’m stalwartly for free information, free sharing of knowledge and so on. I would be curious as to why, and no, I would never pay to get access to the blog.
    That said I read books for their contents, for great stories for experiencing something I could not do elsehow. I do not give two hoots (maybe not even one) about the writer, and can many a time not even tell you the name of the writer of books I love dearly.

  8. Loni Townsend says:

    I hesitate to chime in just because I don’t know what Writer B’s life is like. Maybe they are struggling with bills we don’t know about and are looking for a way to stay afloat, and the only way they know how is to monetize their only resource–their words. I don’t know what the situation is to really decide how I feel about their actions.

    And I identify with Writer A. I try to keep my interactions light while I don’t hold back in my writing. There’s some dark stuff in there. I wouldn’t want to scare people with my personality. 🙂

  9. cleemckenzie says:

    Hmmm. Interesting. I haven’t run into this kind of issue yet, but now that you’ve posed the question, if I do, I’ll be giving the matter some thought.

  10. I haven’t run into this issue, but I wouldn’t want to pay to read someone’s blog articles. I would just enjoy the writer’s books and not follow their blog.

  11. Erika Beebe says:

    Oh wow! What an emotional roller coaster. I would feel at odds too. This writer should want to reach as many avid readers he/she can. I’m sorry.

  12. Lee Lowery says:

    How disappointing. I don’t, and won’t, pay to follow anyone on Patreon. I support authors by buying their books. The few I follow have free access on blogs and/or Facebook.

  13. Jemi Fraser says:

    I’d never pay to read a blog either. I’ve never visited Patreon either. I support by buying books but not paying for those other things. Each to their own I guess, but I’m with you on the disconnect.

  14. I have supported podcasts on Patreon, but that’s a different situation. Podcasters (mostly) offer free content, plus extra for those who help keep the podcast going financially. As an author, I would feel–icky, I suppose, asking people to pay for anything other than my books. Unless I start offering courses, etc. We’ve trained readers to expect blog content for free. Hmm…it’s an interesting question.

  15. emaginette says:

    Depending on the writer’s platform, someone else could be writing the blog, twitter, etc. posts. AND, marketing is marketing. The industry is about making money. The persona we see from afar is not the writer.

    They are the creators of magic that take us away for a while. That person is still there, but like most of us writers, they may be shy and not want to be one-on-one with anyone.

    Hope that helps.

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  16. Diane Burton says:

    Wow. What a dilemma. I didn’t realize you could put your blog on Patreon and require people to pay to read. Learned something new. I don’t know what I’d do in this circumstance.

  17. soniadogra says:

    It is sometimes difficult to separate the individual from their work and one aspect of their personality spills on to their work. Why should anyone who is so popular with their writing charge for the blog. I am curious about that.

  18. Jenni says:

    This is the first time I’ve heard of a blogger asking for payment. It sounds like Writer B is the better writer, so maybe that’s why she’s asking for payment. I don’t know that I’d stop reading an author if I found out they weren’t a nice person. I often go through that with actors. I love their movies–and then I see them interviewed. And yikes!
    I’m not surprised that Writer A is better at writing a blog. I think blog writer is different than fiction writing, and you can be good at one and not the other.

  19. Juneta says:

    I had that happen with a favorite author who was trying to trademark the word Dark because it was part of her series and it was for many other authors as well, and some before her. If she had won, everyone would have to move that from their series of titles. Thank goodness titles cannot be copyrighted and single words cannot be trademarked. It changed the way I felt about her, although I still read her, but not in the voracious way I had up until then. It murdered my love and enthusiasm for her fiction. Gradually, if not immediately, I seldom look her up unless her book pops in front of my face. Yes, I still buy but long after the price has dropped and don’t feel compelled to buy and read.

  20. denizb33 says:

    This is a great topic for a blog post! I’ve been meaning to write one of these “can you love the art but not the artist” posts for ages — there seem to be so many examples. For the most part, I can separate the art from the artist, if it’s simply a matter of political views, for example. But if an artist was convicted of a terrible crime, I couldn’t look at their art (music, writing, etc) in the same way.

    Patreon is different, though! I’m not sure how the writer you mention is using it — if all the author provides in return for the support provided through patrons is blog posts, that seems unfair for fans of the author’s work that miss out on those posts.
    Some of the creators I support on Patreon take the time to provide separate updates — personal messages to the patrons, but also blog posts and other content provided to the public, enabled by the support of their patrons.
    Patreon is a great way for artists to earn a regular income. Patrons can donate as little as one dollar per month or one dollar per item created, and that all adds up to a consistent stream of support for the creator (in between shows or chasing grants or all the other myriad ways they need to source funding).

  21. Interesting discrepancies. The pitfalls of marketing and hiding behind masks.

  22. No, I wouldn’t pay to read a blog but to each his own. I love lots of books but don’t know the authors and don’t feel it’s all that important. But that’s me. Lots of folks want to know more and more of the authors, and I for one, am not that interested in sharing. LOL Extrovert to the extreme! LOL

  23. yvettecarol says:

    That’s an interesting question. Does an author’s personality influence whether I read their fiction? No. But, I think, the same as you, that if a writer wanted me to pay to read their blog I would be peeved. To me, blogs should be free content available to all.

  24. Julia Quay says:

    I watched an interview of a favorite author once, and was brokenhearted. His answers were disjointed, practically incoherent. He picked his nose (!), was unfocused, and by the end of it, I was convinced he’d hired someone to write his books for him.

    Authors are human. They make mistakes in judgment, same as the rest of us. Take the lesson Author B is offering you because one day you’ll be the famous author in the interview chair. Remember then how you felt now about paying for a blog.

    And please, no nose-picking.

  25. Widdershins says:

    I wouldn’t pay to read someone’s blog, but if it was their main source of writerly income I certainly wouldn’t begrudge them a single penny … nor would I put my blog behind a paywall, that’s not what it’s for, nor do I spend enough time with it to even consider monetising it.

  26. Does a writer’s personality and behavior affect how you view her fiction?— Interesting question–I’m never really interested in authors’ lives and the their processes–more in their books, so I haven’t had this happen to me a lot.

    I’d never monetize my blog–personally, my blog is my community and it would be an insult to readers to ask them to pay for blog posts. My blog friends have been so supportive of my writing, and that’s more than I ask, already.

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