I thought this week's topic was kind of cute and rather fun. When you read a book do you write to the author afterward? Unless I know the author personally, then no, I don't.
But I don't do it. Why? Well, for starters, who am I to judge them or their vision? Just because I didn't care for it does not mean others won't think it's the bees knees. I read a bestselling erotica ebook author this week and while her writing was well done, I did not care for some of the details she wove in.
You've read my descriptive sex prose and think that's the pot calling the kettle black?
No, not really. I may write some very racy, sometimes raunchy stuff, but at no point does my work read like a porn movie put into words. And yes, even though my work has been called porn (and smut) by a few, I know the difference because I actually watch porn. Perhaps, those people who called my work porn haven't ;-)
Since picking up the ebook bestseller I mentioned, I can now say I have also read very well written porn. Mistake me not, I thought it was porn and not erotica. But, let's clarify, that is only my opinion.
Case in point - our very first trip to a Hollywood Hustler (HH) store when we were in New Orleans in November. While completing my overpriced purchase, the cashier asked if I wanted a plain bag or a bag from their store. I laughed out loud. What the hell? I'm on Bourbon Street on a Saturday night at 10:30 and I'm worried what a stranger will think of an HH bag?
"Nah, you can use your bag, it not like you carry midget porn or something and I need to be embarrassed," I said.
"Actually, we do carry midget porn. But it's classic and very well done."
My point, in a round about way of explaining, is there will always be a market for stuff in erotica I would prefer not to read. Just like the huge market of the adult film industry will have thousands of titles I'd rather never, ever knew existed. Do I intend to write to the author and tell her I would have liked it better if she cut out such and such gross parts? No, I don't.
Perhaps she has a male dominated readership. Perhaps some chicks like the over the top fantasy scenarios that don't have any basis in my reality, and frankly have a bit of an ick factor for me. It's got to be floating someone's boat or it wouldn't be selling.
Back to my original statement from above -- who am I to judge? I can think of no other way to look at writing to an author with any type of criticism of their work. If it's an author I know well, I will point out typos, grammar, and plot inconsistencies if I have the time -- and if I know they would want to know and might fix the mistakes. I've also told them in emails the things I really like about their books.
But mostly, if I have good things to say, I will write a review -- even if I don't know the author. First and foremost I am a reader and if I liked something about a book, I will happily point it out for future readers. If I don't care for it and I don't know the author, I'll keep my damn mouth shut.
As an author, I will not always be able to make every reader happy. There will be those who hate my style, dislike my voice, can't stand my characters, and think my plot sucks. I accept this. But I hope with all my heart, if a reader dislikes my work to the point they'd say "hate", that they choose not to write to me and point out what they hated.
How about you? What would you do if you received hate mail regarding your work? Or have you ever sent a letter to an author that was borderline hostile?