Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Five Things Many Authors Don't Want That I Do

Every author daydreams about their novel one day becoming a bestseller and eventually turning into a movie. I'll admit that I've had fantasies about the trailers for my books if they were turned into movies and all of them are set to the background music of Lacrimosa by Mozart. (I'm obsessed with that song and remixes of it.)

What a lot of authors don't daydream about is the following.

1. Fan-fiction

A lot of authors view it as stealing their work. They have a copyright on those characters and worked hard to create them, so they don't like anyone else using them.

As long as the fan-fiction isn't being sold for a profit, this is absolutely fine with me. It would mean that someone loved my writing so much that they continued to day dream about it long after they finished reading the last page. They thought about it so much and it was so real to them that they created a whole new story revolving around them.

I don't know if anyone could pay me a higher compliment than that.

2. Parodies

One of the first things I do when I fall in love with something entertainment-wise like the Twilight novels, is look for parodies of it on you tube. It usually entertains me for hours.

Because honestly, the people who find parodies the most entertaining are the ones who know something about a book series (for instance), not the ones who don't care about it. Something isn't funny if you don't understand it.

The more parodies being made of something I created, the more people care about it. And the more I get the chance to giggle at myself.

3. People That Hate My Characters/Book

As I've said before, I am a fan of the Twilight novels and movies. A long time ago, I joined several fan forums for the series. You'd think fan forums would be the one place where you are safe to discuss your love of Twilight without being mocked. That's so untrue. There's so many people on those forums who absolutely hate Twilight.

And yet those same people go and see every movie. They've read all the books and they spend all day posting on fan forums about it.

Because even though they hate the Twilight series, their hatred of it is a type of love. They love to hate stuff Stephenie Meyer created and therefore, they buy it all, so they can get that dose of hatred all over again.

I'm not saying everyone who hates Twilight is this way, but if you go on fan forums and meet someone who hates Twilight, but still posts on fan forums every day, they definitely are this way. And there's lots of them!

Even if you're a fan of my work because it's fun to hate it, I'm glad that I'm giving you your own type of enjoyment out of it. It's an unusual way of showing you care.

4. One-Star Reviews

I have yet to receive a one-star review. And to be honest, I'm a bit nervous about getting one, one day.

But at the same time, I know that once I do, my reviews will appear more balanced than they do right now.

Before I purchase a novel, I always read the one star reviews and if there isn't any, I'm more skeptical of the four and five star reviews. After all, enough people must not have reviewed this book to get a good overall impression of it or there would be more one-star reviews. There is no such thing as a book that is universally loved.

I think the Harry Potter books are pretty perfect, but I've met a ton of people who hate them. Either they think it teaches witchcraft or they think the characters and storyline are filled with cliches. Like Dumbledore, the wizard with a long beard and pointy hate and glasses . . . . it's true, it has been done a bunch of times. I don't view the books as cliche, but I've been told many reasons as to why a lot of people do.

One-star reviews honestly often convince me to buy a book. If I think the reasons they are complaining about the series are petty or the one star reviews have horrible grammar and spelling, but at the same time are complaining about the book having horrible grammar and spelling, then I kind of laugh at it and buy the book anyway.

Once I have some one-star reviews, I can thank those people for helping me sell books and keeping my reviews balanced.

5. Controversy

This is a big one that many authors are afraid of. I've been tempted to tone down parts of my books so as not to offend people.

Yet controversy isn't bad. Like hatred, it gets people to care about your novel. It makes them curious as to why so many people were offended by it and what they will think of it. It gets them arguing and discussing your novel with new people.

It even gets you on the news if it's well written enough.

And it shows you are capable of creating a vivid story that can touch people. A novel must feel real to the reader in order for them to be offended by it.

I've never read a novel by Dan Brown, but I probably will read something he wrote someday. Why? Because so many people have been outraged by his work that I am curious.

It's a very similar reason as to why I decided to read the Harry Potter novels. I probably would have never heard of either series if it wasn't for people I've met being offended by it.

The worst thing you can do to an author is actually to never talk about their book. Whether you loved it or hated it, the more you talk about it, the more you advertise their book for them for free.


My point is that these things aren't as bad as they first appear to be. It's rare to find a truly popular book series that doesn't contain all five of these elements or at least most of them.


Anonymous said...

Fan fiction wouldn't bother me, but parodies might hurt my feelings. I haven't received a one-star review yet either, but probably because my book hasn't made much of a splash. Unfortunately, my book hasn't sold well enough to inspire parodies, haters, and controversy. I'm bracing for that first one-star review, though.

T.J. said...

I agree with all of your points. ALthough I couldn't give you a one star review. Sorry.

I loved Dan Brown novels. He can be long winded at times, and a bit histrionic, but overall, I enjoyed them.

Hopefully, sometime soon, I will have these to point at and say, "See? I touched readers."

Mel Chesley said...

You know, I agree with all those points and I hope for some of it. I am waiting for the bad reviews, or one star reviews, for that balance. Not everyone is going to love my book. I don't want everyone to love it.
I'd like the fan-fiction as well. I used to write fan-fic, but never shared any of it. But I felt it helped me with my writing.

Good post. :D

Robin Breyer said...

Very well said. Nice post. Lots of good info to think about. Like you, these things don't bother me. So far the closest has been my one book that got it's first rating at 1 star. I honestly didn't care that they didn't like it and rated it bad, hey, they went to the effort to rate it, but it was the first one. C'mon. Anyway, this fits with the old Hollywood adage that there is no bad publicity.

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