Before the Internet and the induction of digital authors, there were still many print authors, but unless you were personal acquaintances with an author, you didn't typically have a lot of insight into an author's personality or life outside their novels. If you had questions or praise about their latest work, you could send them a letter or email and hope for a reply, or hope for a local book signing where you could make the most of the few minutes you'd have with them.
Today's Digital Author
Nowadays, authors are typically much more visible to their readers. They have social profiles and personal blogs, maintain newsletters, join online chats, and have many other ways they are able to connect with readers and fans, often instantaneously. Due to this, readers are learning more and more about not only the author's personal lives but also their writing process, personality, thoughts on past works, and much more.
I have personally connected with several authors online, from following their social pages or newsletters to joining live online interviews, and even reaching out personally on Tumblr (and even receiving a response back to my questions!).
However, not every interaction and insight has been positive, and it's left me wondering what other people's experiences with digital authors have been and how they feel about these personal connections to authors. Take one of the world's most popular authors, J.K. Rowling, for example. Since the Harry Potter series has ended, she has taken to the press, Twitter, events, and a variety of other platforms to reveal some extra information about her series. For example:
- Neville Longbottom married Hufflepuff Hannah Abbott, and she was to become the landlady at the iconic Leaky Cauldron Pub.
- Harry himself made sure that the portrait of Snape made it into the Headmaster's Office, but she doubts that he ever went to speak to it.
- Voldemort’s death broke the curse on the Defense Against the Dark Arts teaching position; now a wizard or witch can hold it for more than a year.
- She regrets the end relationships and feels Harry and Hermione should have been together instead of Ron and Hermione.
- Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is approved as canon.
- That Hermione was never written as white. Rowling tweeted “Canon: brown eyes, frizzy hair and very clever. White skin was never specified. Rowling loves black Hermione.”
- Through Twitter she has revealed that there was a Jewish wizard at Hogwarts (Anthony Goldstein, Ravenclaw), that there were LGBT students at Hogwarts, and that there were students of every religion . . . except Wiccans.
- The existence of world-wide wizarding schools, and that American non-wizards are referred to as no-majs instead of muggles
- In 2007 she revealed that she'd always viewed Dumbledore as gay.
- These are just some of the revelations J.K. Rowling has announced. To see more details on these revelations and to see a full list of other post-Harry Potter announcements, go here.
As someone who grew up reading the Harry Potter series, I initially loved the insight I gained into the series. Namely, I loved the snippets of back stories, information about the writing process and revisions, and insights into the futures of some of my favorite side-characters.
However, as time has gone on, I've begun to appreciate the insights J.K. Rowling reveals less and less, and in fact, some of the more recent revelations have started to hurt my love of the series, and I find myself wishing that she would now just let the series rest. (I don't think I'll ever recover from the Cursed Child.)
For the most part, I love the connection I have to these digital authors, and it further strengthens my loyalty to themselves and their work. However, there are those instances where I feel like the authors reveal too much or times when they have personalities that are rude, or completely crash with mine, and hurt my view of their work.
Let Us Know: How Do You Feel about Your Digital Connection to Your Favorite Authors?
Do you enjoy following or interacting with authors online? Has interacting with authors online caused you to become more or less invested in their work? Are there things that you like or dislike that authors do online? As a whole, do you think the instant connection authors now have to their fans is benefiting or hurting them as a whole?
We'd love to hear about your personal experiences! Let us know about your best and least favorite interactions with authors.
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