We hear a lot about author behavior, but we examine the behavior of people who read their books less often because there’s a commercial component in there, an assumption that buying a book brings a lot of entitlement: probably more than actually exists, in fact. If I buy a book I am entitled to the contents of that story. Not control over what an author writes or how he or she chooses to tell his or her stories. Are you with me so far? Good.
I’m going to set forth hypothetical situation.
Julie Q. Author writes a book. She sells it and gets it published. Most reviews are good. There’s one reader, let’s call her Melinda, who really hates this particular book. Melinda blogs about it. She visits everyone else’s blog and talks about all the reasons she hates it. She makes it a crusade to be the one-lone-dissenting voice in the wilderness. And that’s all fine, right? It’s her opinion.
However, it’s unrealistic to believe that Julie is never going to get wind of what Melinda has been saying. Well-meaning fans are likely to send her links and offer to inflict a smackdown on her behalf. If Julie is classy, she says, “No, I’m not acknowledging this. She has a right to her opinion.”
So far, everything is fine, correct? The world is operating as the world will.
But what about if Melinda starts hanging around Julie’s blog because Julie runs a lot of contests. Do you think Melinda should be asking for free stuff when she hates Julie’s work? How does Julie handle this?