Recently, a rather unpleasant post by an author on her Facebook page came to my attention. It pretty much amounted to a kvetch about how her latest book didn’t do as well as she wanted and that her readers asked a lot of questions that they should just put through Google.
On the one hand, I can see some of her side of it. Yes, I’m sure being asked some of the same questions over and over again can get tiresome. Does that give someone the right to be a dismissive jerk to people who have probably paid good money for at least one of his or her books and want to buy more? In a word, no.
And why? Because it’s not only snooty and ill-tempered, it’s self-destructive to an incredible degree of stupid.
The author in question made an additional point in her post that she would have done well to consider: being a successful writer today is about a lot more than just writing. The relationship between author and reader can sell books every bit as much as the quality of the writing itself, and putting that connection through the shredder amounts to career suicide.
And a nasty sentiment with the longevity of the written word is just the way to do it.
What should have amounted to nothing more than a passing thought is now a matter of public record. Even with the post gone, it’s been archived on different sites and blogs, just waiting to come up when her name is typed into–yup, you guessed it–Google.
That’s a lot of brand damage that could have been avoided with a prepared e-mail to answer those repetitive questions. Or direction to a site FAQ. Or, y’know, a couple deep, cleansing breaths and a polite response.
Because as much as she complained about her latest book’s debut, I have a feeling the next one may do a whole lot worse.