Another week, another flame war on social media. This time the dust-up occurred because YA author Tomi Adeyemi thought romance icon Nora Roberts had chiseled in on Tomi’s titling turf. You can read the backstory here. Tomi apologized, Nora issued a statement, and onward we trudge, after 72 hours of misery, strife, and discord in Author-ville.
My experience of Nora Roberts is that she is kind, honorable, generous, and hard-working. I know this personally, having signed at her store several times, and seen her in action at conferences. She couldn’t spell “petty” if the nuns wrote it on the board for her in pink chalk letters a foot high. She has no need to poach creativity from anybody.
Tomi is 25 years old, the author of one very successful book, Children of Blood and Bone, and I have never interacted with her personally. She’s probably one sorry young woman as I type this, and clearly, she didn’t have enough experience with traditional publishing to understand that Nora’s title was submitted BEFORE Tomi’s book was a gleam in any editor’s eye. The ladies apparently had a chat. Tomi’s a little better informed now.
Oopsie. I hope all concerned can get on with writing great books for very large and appreciative readerships.
What stuck with me though, is that I saw many authors piling on, and by writing this post, I am arguably doing likewise. Some authors quietly admitted, “I once posted something publicly that I thought was a in a private group…” Or, “I posted in a private group, and somebody shared screen shots even though that’s against the rules…”
Then comes the question, “How are we supposed to deal with this if/when it happens to us?” The consensus is, a published author has to be on social media, but even being exceedingly careful–Nora did nothing wrong, her PR is in the hands of pros–you can be flamed, trolled, and mobbed.
I ask myself, “Who benefits from a social media environment where bad behavior is amplified immediately and loudly, while good behavior seldom is?” I don’t think the authors involved see this as an author-win, their readers probably don’t see it as a reader-win, but Twitter and Facebook? They scored enormous upticks in traffic, and that’s a win for them and their shareholders.
I want to stay connected to my readers, and social media helps me do that, but I no longer want to support ecosystems where the human neurological predisposition to negativity is hijacked into maximizing profit for those sitting safely on the sidelines. So I have some questions for my blog buddies: How important is it that your authors have a social media presence? How do you know about our new releases, if not from social media?
I love my readers, but I want to hang out with them in flame-free environments. And because the holidays approach… to one commenter, I’ll send a Noveltea Pride and Peppermint tin (which is fun even if you don’t drink tea).