It must be a time of change in my life. So many new and wonderful experiences! Ones I have only dreamed of or completely out of the blue.
For years, I was the fan girl. I was the one who would go all nuts over the idea of meeting my favorite authors. Respectful, yes, but still giddy with excitement and tongue tied should I ever cross their path. I knew I’d have butterflies in my stomach, and I’d relive our conversation over and over in my head.
As I got older, I tempered this reaction. A little. I’d be respectful still, but the excitement would be less superficial. I’d have a question or two in my head, ready for the asking. Things about the books I’d been wondering about for a long time.
Now, however, the shoe is on the other foot. I’m starting to get fan girls of my own.
It’s a shift in thinking, going from the admirer to the admiree. It gives me pause when I have someone giddy with excitement that I followed them on Twitter. That they would feel special because I took the time to follow them back, say welcome to them by name.
That someone whose writing they admired acknowledged they existed.
It does come down to that, the more I think on it. As authors, we hope to have legions of readers. Most of them will be nameless, faceless entities that we have no direct connection with. But they have a connection to us through the words we’ve chosen to put on paper. That we took time out from our day to say hello.
Social media is a game changer for authors. Finally, our readers can interact with us beyond a random letter in the mail sent to our publisher. They can follow our day to day postings, ask us how new books are coming along, find out where we’ll be and when.
And watch us fall flat on our faces.
Our readers, our fans, are watching us. As long as we stay true to the image they fell in love with, they’ll stay loyal. They’ll tell their friends, with a rush of excitement, that we followed them back or mentioned them by name. They’ll promote our books better than we ever could.
But if we betray that image, come across as spiteful/mean/ungrateful/whiny, they’ll turn on us. They’ll go from being ecstatic to questioning why we’d say that. And, if their friends come to them in awe about how we mentioned them as well, the one we turned off will tell them about our other side.
It’s a shift in mentality, really. To recognize you’ve gone to the other side. You’re now the one on the pedestal. How long you stay there is up to you.
2 thoughts on “Changing Gears”
Hi Kate! Interesting blog, as always. I disagree about the pedestal though. Writing is a calling, one of very, very many. It’s just what we call our work–that’s all. I don’t believe in distance when telling a story. I want my reader to sense me in their ear, to hear my voice, see my expressions, feel the tale in their very bones as I sit at their elbow. Probably a holdover from my tutoring days! 😉
As ever, Cynthia Ley (“Perfect and Other Stories,” forthcoming soon “Tales of a Twisted World”)
The pedestal isn’t of our creation as authors, Cynthia, but one that our fans/readers put us up on. There is a certain amount of celebrity that goes with the job once you get published. Simply put, people see you differently when they learn you’re not a wanna be writer, but a published author. They read our work, and create an image of who we are. They buy our next book, and follow us on social media. They get a thrill because we interact with them. They may not understand the work aspect of it, how hard it can be to get our words down. To them, we’re a step above.