Wednesday’s Words: Where’s the Line?
This past weekend, I had a potential reader write to ask me my race.
Before your eyebrows shoot into the stratosphere, let me explain why. She’d read a review of Brush Strokes and wanted to purchase it. However, she (I’m making a gender assumption here; apologies if it’s incorrect) feels strongly that she can only support black authors of I/R (interracial) fiction. The letter was very eloquent and not rude in any way. She simply needed to know my race so that she could purchase my book. Now, please understand this. I applaud her integrity. I think it’s amazing that she’s willing to stick to her morals that strongly. However…
At what point does an author stop owing a (potential) reader information about themselves? My race isn’t ambiguous in any way, shape or form; I don’t hide it. I attend conferences; pictures of me are posted on my Facebook page. However, what comes next? Do authors of m/m fiction have to prove their gender…or at least the fact they’ve had anal sex at least once in their lives? Do authors of BDSM fiction have to prove that they live the lifestyle or at least, practice it in the bedroom?
When I was a kid, I wanted to write to Stephen King sooooo badly to tell him how awesome I thought he was. I’m dating myself here, but this was pre-Internet (at least the Internet we think of today). I had no idea how to contact him, other than through his publisher, and thus a letter was never sent. (Dear Mr. King: if you’re reading this by some miracle, I still do think you’re amazeballs!)
I love being on social networking venues like Twitter. But this situation has led me to question if maybe, we’re a little too close to authors (or celebrities, whathaveyou) these days? When did their personal lives become our business?
I have a policy that I respond to every email (not spam! lol) sent to me. If you take the time to say you’ve loved my book, hated it, or something in-between, I will respond. I asked Twitter how I should respond to this lady and here are some of the (many!) awesome replies:
I love my friends and fans.