Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Being An Author Gets In The Way Of Being A Reader

As an author, you are supposed to read more than most people or at least that's the excuse authors tell themselves to justify their binge reading.

I've always been a big reader all my life. I've enjoyed reading romance novels of various kinds since I was twelve years old. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, general fiction, erotica, and sometimes just anything I can get my hands on.

When you become a published author, though, it becomes more difficult to read. Not only are you suddenly very aware of grammar and spelling mistakes in everything. You're also hyper aware of character development, pacing, cliches, and more. It's next to impossible for you not to have an opinion on everything you read and sometimes your knowledge destroys your enjoyment of something you would otherwise like.

Once you form an opinion, though, you are not supposed to share it. Everyone suddenly sees your opinions through a lense. If you leave a five star review, then you must be trying to kiss up to other authors or be in cahoots with them to help them sell books. If you leave anything lower than a five star review, you are out to destroy other authors and you're viewed as petty and jealous.

I can't even have a personal goodreads account out of fear that someone will associate it with my author name. One of my favorite things about reading most of my life has been sharing those books with others. I've never had people in person that I could share the things I read with. No one I know is a big reader.  I've always had to turn to the internet to find other people that love books.

I still leave five star reviews for books I love on occasion and I might write blog posts here and there about books I read and loved. (I am kind of bursting right now, excitedly, wanting to write about a few books I read recently that I really liked.) But even this is considered controversial. Every time I write a five star review or recommend a book on my blog, I get worried that it might be taken wrong and I might be one of those authors who gets in trouble for it.

It's weird. As authors, we are supposed to love reading books and love writing books. We are supposed to eat, breathe, and taste words. They should be everything to us.

But having an opinion on any of those words? No, authors aren't allowed.

I get why this is a rule. A lot of us are too close emotionally to other authors and to books in general to give unbiased opinions. We are sometimes depending financially on whether certain books fail or succeed.

It's just hard when you want to connect with other readers again like you used to. There's suddenly this wall up and you're on the other side, the author side, and you can't go back.