Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Squee of Fandom

Or how not to behave badly and embarrass yourself.

Actually, I don't really have any advice on this issue. It's just something I've noticed. If you're a writer, how do you, or rather, do you draw a line between your professional persona and just squeeing over your favourite authors? My instinct tells me we probably should--draw the line, that is--and yet, I don't know  if other authors are much different from me. I like when a reader squees over something I've poured my heart and soul into. Who wouldn't really? It makes me feel good. Why hold that feeling back from our fellow authors?

In my case, I'm very likely to, and have, run into my favourite authors on the various groups I frequent. Some of those authors I was friends with and became a fan, some I was a fan and have become friends with, but the distinction is most definitely there.

My friends who write so well I have to snap up everything they put out and read it immediately are friends first. I can tell them my writing woes, and sometimes, even my personal woes, commiserate or gush all over myself and not worry about how they might take it.

Authors who I've grown to love and then get to 'meet' or chat with, always have that odd disconnect between being colleagues and inspiration for me and being people. I know. They're people. But not people as in 'my people' They are always one step above being 'my people'. If that makes any sense.

I might comment on their blog, or chat with them at some group event, while inside, I'm peeing myself and wondering if they're just being kind and think I'm actually some nut case. You know: "humour the crazy person  in case they become a stalker" kind of deal. Or maybe, they're just like me, just hoping to connect with a few fans, find out what their readers like in hopes that they can deliver more of the good stuff. I like to think most writers are exactly as they seem: kind, generous people who like to talk about what they do for a living.

If you're an author, have you ever thought about this? Do you care if the person you're talking to, who's wiggling around in ecstasy at your latest offering like a little eager puppy is a fellow author or a reader who doesn't write, too? (do those even exist?)

What about from the readers' perspective? Do you like the authors you chat with to be all...author-y, or do you prefer t the down-to-earth approach?

Not that anyone's opinion is really likely to change my own mind about any of this. As a writer, I love talking to my readers. I like to hear what they've enjoyed, and it's helpful to know what they didn't. (I won't say I like that, because really, who likes it), but I will say I always encourage it and appreciate hearing the bad along with the good. How else would I get to the stuff y'all like if I'm busy writing stuff you don't, and I don't know about it? I doubt I'll ever be other than as I am when I'm talking to readers; just me.

As for the part about embarrassing myself when I'm chatting with an author I love to read, well, I can't make any promises. I try to be professional and courteous, and act my age, but hell. If I love what you've done, you just have to realize, I'm a reader, too, and you might get some squee on ya. It happens. Bring a tissue.