Before I got my first book contract, I supported myself as a marketing consultant and personal publicist to some minor celebrities. That experience taught me a few important things about what it means to become a public person – a few things all authors should take into consideration.
Recently an uber-successful thriller author (who shall remain nameless for the purposes of this blog post) took to his/her FB fan page to chastise his/her fans for wasting his/her valuable time with questions like “what is the reading order for series x?”. Later comments and posts to responses from fans who were offended by his/her rebuffs spiraled out of control, until his/her publisher asked him/her to remove them. This he/she followed up with yet another public post about how said publisher made him/her remove the posts, and how he/she had no regrets about his/her behavior, adding that he/she should have the right to set his/her own boundaries when it came to public interaction.
Well, here’s the thing. If you are going to invite the public to support you – literally, and figuratively – you are going to have to accept some hard truths. And the biggest truth of all is that once you accept that public support, you owe that public an unending debt.
That’s not to say you can’t draw boundaries around your personal life. You absolutely should – but those boundaries absolutely cannot encompass anything having to do with your books or your writing endeavors. If your fans ask you questions about your work (and this goes for all entertainment professionals, everywhere), no matter how trivial or inane they may seem to you, you owe them an answer. You also owe them your gratitude, the continued expression of your art, your personal time, and most of all, your grace.