Where’s Your Never-Buy Line?

Every now and again, readers will interact with authors online and kerfuffles ensue. I know, it’s so rare, but it happens. No, really.

And sometimes in the course of these festive occasions, you’ll see commentary from a reader who is so incensed, so horrified by what an author has written that there is Epic Flounce and a vow to never read or buy that author’s books again!

(Pretend there was a really impressive echo feature on that last sentence, kthx.)

I usually blink at these flounces because it takes a LOT for me to reach a point where I am unable to see past my impression of an author to the point where my reaction interferes with my reading that author’s book. And yet many, many readers online have vowed publicly to never spend another penny on an author whose opinion, even an opinion expressed thoughtfully, is too distasteful to them – though who knows if their actual purchase history follows through on that threat.

As a result, I know many authors struggle with how much of themselves to reveal on their websites, with many individuals refraining from discussing politics or news or favorite books or even television shows for fear of alienating their readership. I know more than one author who hesitated to mention whom she was voting for in the last election, because many readers see the romance community online as a politics-free zone.

Then there are authors like Suzanne Brockmann who not only wear their pride-colors proudly but donate proceeds to fund raise on behalf of her chosen causes by donating the proceeds from a recent novel – a novel featuring a gay protagonist pair. Some readers may be turned off, but there’s no mistaking Brockmann’s position. Even recently, she’s been most clear about her position on the subject, and how she feels people may react to her writing, and a whole lot of people were shocked and turned off by Brockmann’s reaction, particularly in that she assigned homophobic motivation to those who were upset at the plot of her latest book.

As I said earlier, it takes a hell of a lot for me to reach that line of Never-Buy, where I can’t see past the conviction of the author to lose myself in that author’s writing. So let’s visit the other end of that spectrum. I’ll be honest: this author’s website tripped right over my Never-Buy line.

However, let me be clear: it’s not a question of the fact that I disagree mightily with her opinion. I do, most holy shit heartily. But I know many people who do not see the same way I do when it comes to gay rights and homosexuality. I care for some people who see the idea of gayness in a diametric opposition to my own position, and when we discuss do discuss it, they try (I hope!) understand my opinion, and I try to understand theirs, even though I disagree so very very much. It’s not like disagreeing with me lands you on my shit list for life.

What I find most objectionable here is the manner in which the opinion is expressed in this particular instance. Or, more succinctly, the flying leap into the pool of WTF that this author has chosen to employ on her professional website.

On Dorchester author Autumn Dawn’s website, there’s a section called “Chatterbox” wherein she writes:

Naturally, my biblically based beliefs include “one man, one woman”
relationships. The bible states clearly that homosexuals will not enter the
kingdom of heaven. 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 is crystal clear about God’s
feelings about this. Contrary to the propaganda, I believe that
homosexuality is a choice, like stealing, like drinking, like drugs.
Addictive, sure, but a choice, one that can be overcome.

Making gay marriage legal won’t overcome their guilt, depression and
confusion. It won’t take away the pain they live with. So many children
are raped and grow up thinking they are gay as a result. Many come from
broken or dysfunctional homes. It’s the unadvertised truth of
homosexuality. Take a poll some time and see if it’s true….

I don’t share my personal beliefs with many as I’m a writer, and a romance one at that. This is what goes into my books, though. This is part of who I am.

Taking any extreme, whether you’re Brockmann or Dawn, yields some consequences, and the result depends on the reader.

But when the opinion is backed up by statements like “raped children are gay” and followed up with “take a poll…and see if it’s true,” the limit of my ability to see the narrative in spite of the author has been reached. Oh, how it has been reached.

It’s not even about royalties with me. Because Dawn says, “This is what goes into my books, though. This is part of who I am,” I don’t want to read her books, because I would be constantly wondering if any element of a book that rang oddly was a slight against homosexuality or if the subtext of any scene or thematic arc was a diatribe against gays.

The experience of reading this author’s website has tainted my ability to read beyond the author’s name to the story within the cover. I can agree or disagree with an author’s opinions and still read their books; I’ve done it before.

But when the manner in which the opinion is conveyed is so truly repulsive to me, I’m done. The line of Never-Buy has been crossed.

Where’s your line? What trips it? If you don’t want to be specific, that’s fine, but when dealing with efforts toward public branding of an author’s name online, where’s the line of Never-Buy for you as a reader?

 

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Melissa says:

    Hi I usually lurk but this issue gets to me.
    I will admit that my never buy line is fairly easily crossed but since I do not as a rule visit author websites or celebrity sites in general it is not usually an issue. So far all of my problems have been related to what i think is authors acting unprofessionally towards their customers. And this is by no means a position I reserve for authors, I left Sprint after five years because the one time I had a problem the customer service people were rude and dismissive and I thought screw it, I can get better service elsewhere. The point is that when I see authors berating their customers it puts me in mind of poor customer service reps. Sure sometimes the customer is a douchebag but telling them that is still not a good idea.
    Overall, most of the authors I have sworn off of were authors that i had planned to buy or didn’t really like anyway so it was no real loss but I know myself well enough to know that if I see an author acts the fool online it will color my perceptions and prevent me from losing myself in the book.
    I apologize if this rambles. I haven’t been to bed yet and it’s like 7:00 eastern so my brain may be slightly fried ;)

  2. 2
    KTG says:

    Well I don’t think Miss Dawn has actually MET too many gay people, cause last I checked, the ones I know aren’t feeling at all guilty for their sexuality.

    I think what peeves me the most are the assumptions she makes about something she obviously has little or no knowledge of. I feel a little sick to my stomach after clicking on the llink and reading that.

    Definitely on my DO NOT BUY list.

    Kathryn

    Spambot ill14, how appropriate!

  3. 3
    Emmy says:

    I have a fairly low flashpoint. My line is here====>.

    This works out because my book interests are wide and varied. There are so many authors out there cranking out so many books that I have yet to hit a point where my TBR pile is empty, never mind think, “I’m so bored and there’s absolutely nothing else to do that I just HAS to read this person’s book, even though I already decided not to.”

    I think that people’s discretionary spending is getting less as well, which also helps weed out what they’re willing to spend money on. If the throw-away dollars were plentiful, sure. But if all you can afford are a few books a month, why waste that money supporting someone you don’t particularly like?

  4. 4
    Barb Ferrer says:

    ::boggles::

    There is just not… enough… coffee… in the world.

    You know, everyone has their own opinions and everyone is (or should be) allowed to express them.  Just as I reserve my right to boggle and wonder what the hell someone is smoking to put forth such blatant falsehoods as fact.

    But that doesn’t really address your question, does it?  I’ve only once had a personal Never-Buy line tripped:  and it was when another writer was incredibly rude to me, in public.  *shrug*  Is it fair?  Probably not. Is it rational?  Probably not.  But I can’t help it.  I can’t look at that author’s books without remembering the sting of how it felt to be so completely disregarded.

    As far as how much an author should reveal of themselves to the public—well, that’s completely to them and I firmly believe that no one has the right to say how much is enough or not enough.  On my blog, I don’t get overtly political, but I think it’s safe to say that if you read it regularly, it’s not difficult to figure out where I stand.  On other issues, it’s very easy because I don’t exactly keep my mouth shut.  You’ll see me stating a lot of opinions and thing is, these are all things that in some form or another do find their way into my writing.  Maybe it’s because I write in the contemporary genre.

    I wonder if authors who write in sci-fi or fantasy or historical find it easier to keep their “selves” hidden as it were?

  5. 5
    Ruth says:

    My no buy line is crossed fairly easily as well. Generally, the thing that trips it is gay rights. I don’t have an issue with people saying “I don’t believe that homosexuality is right.” Whatever their religion has taught them is their personal business. I do get mighty pissed when they want to apply their personal religion and it’s “ideals” to those of us who are not of the same mindset or when they want to deny basic equal rights to others. If you think being gay is wrong, then don’t be gay but don’t tell other people they can’t. Or say things like children grow up to think they are gay because they were sexually assaulted. Umm, ok. That lady goes straight to the no-buy-ever list.

    I also do not support organizations that deny entry to members based on sexuality. I haven’t been able to support the neighborhood Boy Scouts in years and it kills me, but I will not spend my hard earned money to fund an organization that excludes gay members. It’s certainly their right to set their membership standards, but it’s also my right to refuse to contribute to them in any fashion. My son will not join the Boy Scouts unless that policy changes. I have a list of all the major groups and companies that funded support for Prop 8 in California and I won’t do business with them, either.

    It’s not just gay rights, though. Seeing the way Jennifer Crusie acted in the wake of the CE debacle turned me right off of her. Haven’t (and won’t) purchase anything by her ever. And it’s not some form of “watch me punish you, you evil harpy!” so much as I like to feel good about the things I purchase and I couldn’t feel good about buying a book by Crusie or this Dawn woman.

  6. 6
    Lorelie says:

    many readers online have vowed publicly to never spend another penny on an author whose opinion, even an opinion expressed thoughtfully, is too distasteful to them

    Actually, the emphasis I placed in there is my tipping point.  Because thoughtfully to me includes politely, and with respect.  If those things are missing, I’ll drop into never again zone.  Luckily, this has never happened with an author I’ve been devoted to. 

    Many come from broken or dysfunctional homes.

    This is actually kind of hilarious to me.  My mother grew up in a two-parent, perfectly “normal” home. She’s gay.  I grew up in a fairly dysfunctional home and I’m hetero-married with three children, living in suburbia.  Ms. Dawn would brain-melt.

  7. 7
    Cat Marsters says:

    Hmm.  That doesn’t look like a very smart move to me: it’s basically going to alienate a lot of people.  It looks pretty unprofessional.  Then again, maybe alienation is what she’s aiming for.

    I don’t exactly have a Never Buy line in terms of making a point about nevah evah supporting an author whose views disagree with mine because OMG if that bitch is gonna say stuff like that then I’m gonna tell everyone to nevah evah buy her books… because I’m not 13 any more.  I’m capable of separating an author from her work.

    However, it’s unlikely that someone with an attitude like the author cited above is going to write a book I’ll enjoy.  And maybe she has a point about warning readers up front.  My attitude to readers who swear against me is similar: If you think my opinions or tastes are so abhorrent, you probably wouldn’t like my books anyway, so save us all some angst and don’t bother.

    Spamfilter: enough13.

  8. 8
    anonymous says:

    I don’t think you’ll get much debate here on this particular topic…because I’m assuming anyone who believes what this author believes (or anything close to it) won’t come posting here. That would be like walking into a minefield.

    I will say this: some people raped as children DO take on the gay lifestyle. And I can totally understand the reasons why.

  9. 9
    Pengie says:

    There are things that will put me off an author, but usually if the writer is good enough I’m willing to keep reading their books. I met one guy a few years ago who totally dismissed my compliment on his writing because I was serving wine at an event. I thought he was a jerk, but I still loved his books.  Good writing tends to trump authorial personality.

    Maybe that’s just because the really vile things, things that racism, sexism and homophobia, tend to infiltrate the writing. Even if the author never comes out and says ‘gay people make me feel like barfing’ there’s usually something unpleasant woven through their story.

    (Which is weird, because I’ve read stories with sexist or racist main characters and never thought to associate the belief with the author. Other stories – leave me feeling greasy.)

  10. 10
    GrowlyCub says:

    My no-way line is very easily tripped and the list of authors never to be bought again is inexorably getting longer.  Occasionally, I think I was better off before the internetz forced the moron behavior of some folks down my throat.

    In some cases, I was disenchanted with the direction in which the author was taking in their writing anyway and it wasn’t a big loss (Coulter, Crusie), but in others I do occasionally get twinges of wanting to read again when their work is praised all over, but won’t because of the complete idiocy the author displayed in public (Deb Smith).

    I totally agree with Melissa about the analogy she made about customer service.  In the end, authors want our money.  Maybe they think I’m an idiot for expressing my opinion, but it’s still they who want me to buy their books, so I feel they ought to at least be civil to their customers.

    In the case of Brockmann’s Q&A on Barnes and Noble, I felt she was dismissive and disrespectful to all her readers.  Will the vast majority of readers care?  Probably not, but I do and that means, no green for her or her causes, which is a shame, because I am absolutely for gay rights and gay marriage, since I could care less what other people do in their bedrooms and I don’t think anybody should be treated as a second-class citizen because of it as long as it’s consensual and both parties are old enough to understand what they are doing.

    So, another author joined the list.  :(

    As for the other author mentioned.  I’d never heard of her.  She’s entitled to her opinion, but I think she’s wrong, uninformed and I wish she’d become enlightened.  I won’t buy her books now, but I wouldn’t have anyway most likely.

  11. 11

    Whoa

    I’d say I have a fairly high threshold for differences of opinion, as long as those differences are expressed thoughtfully.  But, oh, man, does that every stampede like a herd of crass and crude cattle over it.

    The fact that I have a high tolerance doesn’t mean I won’t buy someone’s books if I disagree with her point of view, but it’s mostly because I won’t *like* the books.  There are lots of books I don’t buy because I won’t like them—whole subgenres full—so it’s not all about the author’s opinions!  I can’t think of a single author I’ve run into that I *was* reading and *stopped* reading when I can found out about a kerfluffle or opinion.

    I won’t go see Tom Cruise movies, though.  I want him to stop getting work because the more work he gets the more he can go out on talk shows, etc, and spew his horrible beliefs about people with emotional and mental difficulties, and the more credibility people will give him.  So maybe my threshold isn’t all that high.

  12. 12
    Lisa H says:

    Piers Anthony and his repulsive “Firefly”
    I had read scads of his stuff in my teens, and then drifted elsewhere.  A couple of years ago, I tried to read him again, and started with his Incarnations of of Immortality and was thoroughly offended by his chauvinistic, nasty, scathing comments about a not-very-fat character in “Bearing an Hourglass”

    My brother-in-law recommended and then pushed and pushed and pushed “Firefly.”  I finally borrowed it to shut him up (SO glad I didn’t pay for it!).  The main story wasn’t horrid.  However, the *crap* Anthony wrote about the 4-year-old girl raping the “helpless” adult man was beyond belief.  It was too explicit and too detailed and too well-realized. IckIckIckIckIckIck I wanted to puke but the rage choked it off.

    It was bad enough reading that part of the book, but the afterward/apologia in the paperback version left me feeling tainted in an entirely different way.  Waving the “It’s just fiction” banner doesn’t fly for me here.  If Anthony was fishing for reactions, then he is icky and manipulative, and here’s mine:

    Not only will I never buy another Anthony book,  I will never again read anything with his name on it.

  13. 13

    When an author writing fiction bludgeons me with a particular POV on an issue, where the exposition goes far beyond what’s necessary to advance the storyline, I usually stop reading that person.  That’s more because of the poor writing quality though than the issue. 

    I will say I’d have a hard time reading a historical by a creationist author who has cave people co-existing with dinosaurs—and doesn’t label this as fantasy. 

    I also won’t be reading Miss Dawn’s novels.  Ignorance is a real buzz-kill for me.  Life’s too short to waste my time that way.

  14. 14
    Phoebe says:

    There are a couple of “never-buy” authors for me, although neither are in the romance field, nor is my no buy from the quality of their writing.  First, an award winning [male] author – I read his books until he made a comment on a talk show basically to the effect that he wrote downward of what he was capable in order to be accessible to more readers.  My reaction then, and still, was “you arrorgant prick.”  The second never buy is totally based on prejudice and is embarrassing to me.  I hope to overcome it someday:  After learning that a certain author had participated in a murder when a teen, I could no longer enjoy his/her books.  And I had previously really liked them! It’s best *not* to know anything about the authors.  Books should be found under cabbage leaves – just like babies.

  15. 15

    Suzanne Brockmann – I love her books, and I won’t deprive myself of them because she lost it on one message board once. I’ve been caught out more than once by making a remark I thought was clear and it turns out people took it another way, then got myself in worse because I tried to explain – but Brockmann’s opinions are more or less sound, I love her books and I’ll continue to buy them. As it happens, I don’t think she was accusing people who didn’t buy her book as being homophobes, but I bet she’s received some hate mail since “All Through The Night” came through (the first mainstream romance centred on a gay couple will do that).

    Autumn Dawn – just checked my TBR, and I had one of her books on it. It’s gone in the “out” box. Someone with that kind of opinion is unlikely to write a book I’ll want to read. Because opinions seep through in books, even if you’re writing books set on another planet. It doesn’t usually bother me, but what she said is too extreme for my taste. I think everyone should make their own mind up about it.

    That Bible quotation is often given as ‘proof’ that God condemns homosexuality. It doesn’t, not really Corinthians is one of the “history” books, which are more about the laws at the time of King David and thereabouts. “Fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, male prostitutes, sodomites, thieves, the greedy, drunkards, revilers, robbers—none of these will inherit the kingdom of God.” We’re all doomed! “Sodomites” are people who engage in anal sex, which isn’t entirely limited to men. Translating it as “homosexual” is anachronistic and misleading (imagine!) And later, St. Paul (also in the Bible!) says, “But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (v11). No longer shun such people. Let their sin, or poverty, etc. be your opportunity to lead them to Christ.” So you decide which one you want.

  16. 16
    amasour says:

    There’s a handful of writers I flat out refuse to have anything to do with, and every last one of them was for acting so horribly unprofessional, it blew me away. My sister reviewed a book, once. It was a bad review, she hated the book-but it was also a solid review, and made fair and valid points. But, the author showed up with his friends and harassed her to death. They were ugly and vindictive and so trollish by the end it was astounding.  One of the trolls was an author I had to that point supported-but for no reason at all, she got involved and harassed my sister as well, all for one little review from a reader that is a pretty quiet voice in our neck of the woods.

    The other one I despise is a flat out bully. She yells at her readers, she attempts to guilt them when they don’t buy as many of her books as she thinks, she terrorizes and harrasses and alienates, and refuses to listen to any opinion but her own. Our falling out, I tried to politely point out I was sick of the American-bashing in her journal. She defriended me, blocked me, and refused to give me a chance to say anything after that point.

    I don’t care if writers have opinions, so long as they’re professional about them. But I loathe, despise, and detest a writer who thinks he is better than his readers and has no qualms treating them like crap.  My readers mean the world to me, in my little corner. I refuse to ever support a writer who acts like a nasty little princess.

  17. 17
    Maria says:

    My never buy line normally is very hard to get crossed. My list of will not buy is kinda short. I read what I like and very rarely go out of that comfort box. Which is good for me, being a newbie to the romance genre Ive got awhile to catch up. Though if I found out one of the authors I currently read, behaved like this, I would drop them like a hot potato and purge there books from my library. Most likely by donating them since no book showed be destroyed. This issue bothers me to know end. I only visit authors websites to see when there next book is coming out. I try not to go past there. For this reason.
    After reading that expert from Miss Dawn. I am glad I dont read her.  I would never buy a book that she reviewed, wrote, commented on or contributed to.  I understand that she believes thats who she is. But what a limited narrow minded point of view and she shows it be voicing it to her readers and pontential readers.
    Maybe the internet isnt for everyone. But honestly just because this women is a writer, dosent not exclude her from general costumer service as someone else mentioned.
    Her readers are her costumers, and personally, I would see her butt fired if she pulled that with me any where else and encourage my friends and family to avoid her at all cost too. Im the type of person who will drive the extra few miles for gas just to avoid exxon/ mobile.  I havent bought from them in years. Hell I wont even stop to use there bathroom.

    I guess when that personal line is crossed I go to extremes to aviod the person/ situation.

    M
    simply46

  18. 18
    J L Wilson says:

    I appreciate a heads-up on authors who have opinions I don’t like, so in an odd way, thanks to this author for expressing herself. I now know what to avoid. Almost all of my books have at least one gay couple in them, usually as friends to the heroine, since I myself have many gay couples who I count as close friends. Write what you know, right?

    I don’t mind if authors express themselves. They’re clearly telling people, “this is who I am. Avoid me if you don’t like it and come find me if you do.” She’ll appeal to a large segment of the reading population who may purchase a book only to find there are gay people in it (like mine—I don’t over-emphasize it, but they’re in there, by gum). This way her purchasers won’t be surprised…

  19. 19
    Katie M. says:

    Hmmm, having read both of the links, but none of either authors’ books, I would have to say that while I may be disinclined to buy Ms. Dawn’s books, Ms. Brockmann’s response was the one that really made me not want to buy her books.  In terms of politics, I absolutely agree with Brockmann and not at all with Dawn, so for me, I guess it’s not always about the idea expressed as it is about how it’s expressed. 

    Brockmann’s response to the reader question seemed really antagonistic and patronizing, which I didn’t think was warranted by the question.  It seemed to me like she wasn’t even replying to the question itself, but to some imagined criticism.  So that even if I may have agreed with the content of her response, it was really the tone which made me not want to buy her books (and although I strongly disagreed with the content of Dawn’s explanation, it seemed like she really cared about answering the reader question honestly and not getting snippy).  Maybe Brockmann did feel attacked by the reader question, which colored her answer, but for me, it was incredibly off-putting.

    Before reading this, I would have said that if an author can write, then that trumps personal issues I have with them.  Now I’m gonna have to say that only applies if I’ve already read something by them – if I’m turned off personally before I even get to your writing, then I won’t even give you a chance.  It might make me miss out on some good books, but if I can’t forget about it while reading, then I’m not going to get a lot of enjoyment out of the book, etc. anyway.

  20. 20
    Sana-chan says:

    Usually my “never buy” authors are ones I’ve never read, who did something to turn me off before I ever picked up one of their books. And actually near the top of my list is an author who posted on this website a few years ago. I don’t remember exactly what she said, but it was roughly “hahaha, I don’t care that you as a reader don’t like my books, I’m still laughing all the way to the bank.” It was just so goddamn smug and distasteful that not only did I want to smack her, but I decided then and there I wasn’t going to ever spend money on one of her books. I don’t like to flounce though, so it wasn’t something I announced, just a personal decision.

    I did consider checking one of her books out from the library as an alternative. But then I actually read one of her short stories in a book I bought for another author’s story, and I was so underwhelmed with her writing that I’ve never had any desire to read anything else by her.

    I also have a couple authors on my never buy list, simply because their writing has gone so downhill that there’s no WAY I’m spending my hard earned money on their stuff.

  21. 21
    ev says:

    I have a line and it usually takes a bit to cross it, depending on the issue. She has crossed it.

    As for Suz Brockmann’s Q&A, things don’t always come across on the computer the way they were meant. I read it as, those who have previously read her books and refused to deal with All Thru the Night as being the ones who have the problem. But that is MY interpertation.

    I don’t like it when someone starts throwing the bible at me- since it is not a book in my library, don’t expect me to think it is the be all and end all of the way I live my life. She would probably have a heart attack knowing that not only do I have a step-son who is gay, but *gasp* we go out to the movies and I hang with his friends and it’s me he tells his problems too.

    And I have always accepted him the way he is. Which is the underlying factor here. She is incapable of accepting people for who they are unless the bible tells her it’s ok. That will then work it’s way into her writing and it’s not something I can read. So she has made my list. I have to check my tbr pile.

    I realize my comment may anger some, but I am not an author, so it doesn’t bother me. It’s my opinion. And I don’t degenerate anyone who does read the bible or try to live by the precepts within it. It’s just not my thing. My poor Catholic husband doesn’t know what to do with an agnostic wife, atheist daughter, wiccan daughter, one son who married a woman of Jewish faith, and his gay son and other “normal” son. Ok, that is what we all refer to him as- and for us- it is a family joke. Because we are all different but don’t care. We have more arguments about political standings than we ever do about religion or beliefs.

  22. 22

    My never-buy line is pretty clear:
    I do not give money to people or groups that will use it to harm me.

    Thus, no known Mormon writer will ever get a penny, after their tithes were used to cut the ring fingers off of thousands of married couples.

    No known fundamentalist will get a penny.

    No sexist, rapist, murder or other such.

    @anonymous: there is no “gay lifestyle.” There are people who are gay. And they live all sorts of lives. Lumping me, my 16 year old daughter, the 30ish samba instructor who works for FedEx, the 50-something director of the Gay & Lesbian Center and Miss Trixie Thunderpussy (of the Memphis Thunderpussies) into the category “gay lifestyle” is ridiculous.  Also, if molestation/rape were the cause, 80% of women would be lesbians.

    @Lynn
    You’ve confused Chronicles (Old Testament) with Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians (New Testament). Paul is very clear that the sexually immoral (anything except het marriage) do not go to heaven. Which is only a problem if you follow that god.

  23. 23
    Jacquilynne says:

    One of my pseudo-jobs is as a music critic, specifically focused on country music, and this is sometimes an issue there, as well. As a pretty liberal even for a Canadian liberal, the political leanings of a lot of American Country singers are pretty far from mine. Not to mention there exists a few of them who have done some pretty offensive sorts of non-political things over the years. When I’m reviewing the music, I can’t let that matter, unless it’s visibly informing the music itself, and then I have to review the record in that context, but try to do it without the context of my personal reaction to their politics.

    When it comes to my own reading, or my own music purchases, or my own other purchases, I generally follow a line of ‘if it shows up as part of the product or experience then I stay away’. So, if I lived in California, I wouldn’t be looking up whether the owners of my dry-cleaner gave money to the Yes on Prop8 campaign, but when my favorite Chinese BBQ place put up posters advertising a ‘no on gay marriage’ march in restaurant itself, I stopped going there. I’ve heard that Curves is run by a fundamentalist who puts a lot of money into anti-abortion campaigns, but in the individual outlets, the only campaigns that I see running are pink ribbon breast cancer causes (which I also have issues with, mind you, but it’s not quite the same thing). Similarly, just knowing that a writer was ignorant and bigoted about gay rights and gay marriage wouldn’t necessarily put me off of their books, but if those issues came up in the books, parroting the authors own ignorant views, I would stop reading them.

    This may be a slightly head in the sand approach—it’s okay for my gym membership dollars to support anti-abortion campaigns so long as the fact that they’re doing so is not visibly shoved in my face, etc—but for me it’s the most workable line. I have little interest in, and less time for, looking up the moral positions of every company I do business with. Unless it’s in my face as part of the experience of using a product or service, I choose it ignore it. Chances are, if I did the research into a competing product, I would similarly find owners, board members, senior employees, etc, that offended me just as much.

  24. 24
    Ellie says:

    My never buy list is pretty easily crossed—-I have little enough time or money to spend on books.  Why spend it on books that I won’t fully enjoy because the author’s behavior tainted my opinion of her writing.

    As others have said above, it’s not the author’s opinion itself, but how the author states the opinion that bothers me.  I don’t know many authors’ political opinions but highly doubt that would stop me from buying their books. 

    On the other hand, I agree with most of what Suzanne Brockmann has said, and she definitely crossed over into my never buy list.  She used to be one of my favorite authors, but lately I’ve had more and more problems with her books and was not enjoying them much.  I kept buying for two reasons:  (1) I wanted to find out what happened to characters I’d been reading about for years and (2) I wanted to support her because I respected her outspokenness regarding issues I really cared about.  I liked that she took what must have been a huge risk to her career and wrote the first mainstream book featuring a gay couple.  She put her money where her mouth is and wasn’t hesitant about expressing her feelings.

    I think the reason I’m so angry about her comments now is because I did have so much respect for her in the past.  Her comments at B & N were dismissive and condescending.  IMO she was talking down to her readers.

    Moreover, she deflected criticism with accusations of prejudice.  I have no idea if any of the posters were homophobic, but I didn’t see anyone expressing any homophobia in their posts at all.  For Brockmann to impute prejudice on these posters with no justification (unless the justification occurred somewhere else such as them sending her emails) crosses the line for me.  I think what makes me angriest here is that if she is receiving hate mail or if there was more going on than what was on the screen it’s getting swept under the rug because I will never believe Brockmann again.  It’s belittling to the causes Brockmann stands for to turn criticism of her writing into criticism of gay rights.

  25. 25
    Tara says:

    I’ve got to ditto a lot of what’s already been said here. I have put a few companies on my “Do Not Buy” list, but I’ve never put an author on it. Not exactly, anyway.

    I’ve seen a few online to-dos which moved authors from my “Never Heard Of, Never Bought” list, to my “Never Gonna Bother To Buy” list. The reason is usually not so much moral outrage, as knowing that there’s so much better stuff out there to spend my money on. I’m sure Ms. Dawn is correct that that sort of stuff does go into her books. I have plenty of other sources for that sort of ignorant shit.  I’m not going to spend my precious book dollars on it. Same goes for some of the horrendous subjects other commenters have said some authors have written about. Thanks for the heads-up. Now I don’t have to waste my money on their crap either.

    When it comes to romance novels, my preference is for “smart, funny, sexy.” Yes, that’s slightly redundant, because for me, smart is sexy. Stupid is never sexy. For that matter, stupid is never funny. That’s why I can’t imagine Crusie ever making it onto my “Do Not Buy” list. Certainly not for one off-the-cuff joke and a thoughtful follow-up. (See: funny and smart above.)

    As for Brockmann, I didn’t click through to her online kerfuffle, so I can’t really comment specifically. I have been known to blow a mental gasket now and then when I care deeply about something. It sounds like she may have wandered in that direction. I’ll probably click through later and check it out.

    So, of the three authors mentioned, one’s (still) on my “Auto-Buy” list, one’s (still) on my “Buy Sometimes” list and one moved from “Never Heard Of” to “Don’t Bother.” That’s about as deep as I can get on my first cup of coffee. Time for a refill.

  26. 26
    Charlene says:

    My standard for my never-buy list seems to be different from everyone else’s: if the author consistently gets easily verifiable facts wrong, time after time, book after book, I’ll stop buying. It tells me that he/she does no research and does not respect either his work or his readers.  I once threw a book across the room because the writer had Germany invading Poland in December 1941. (No, it was not alternative history.)

    The only author I’ve stopped buying for any other reason is Orson Scott Card.

  27. 27
    Marilyn says:

    I would have said that my line had more to do with disrespect than politics. I would have been wrong. I’ve never heard of Ms. Dawn, but can’t imagine reading anything of hers now. I recently decided not to buy anything else from one of my favorite authors. She has shown a blatant disrespect for her fans. Going so far as to say, that if you don’t like her books now, it’s because you’re reading them too fast.  She threw a little hissy fit on Center Stage that made me lose all respect for her. Being rude to the very fans that put her on the bestseller list, book after book.  Will she still hit the bestseller list, yes. Will her contract still get extended for an obscene amount of money, probably so. But I’ll have the satisfaction of knowing that I didn’t help line her coffers. I know how to hold a grudge, I haven’t spent a penny with Exxon since the Valdez incident, geez that makes me feel really old. :-)

  28. 28
    Jane O says:

    This is why I don’t want to know much of anything about authors, particularly those who write books I enjoy.

  29. 29
    Rosie says:

    I usually blink at these flounces because it takes a LOT for me to reach a point where I am unable to see past my impression of an author to the point where my reaction interferes with my reading that author’s book

    Me too.

  30. 30
    pamelaM says:

    This may be a little off the subject but also an important point in getting to that never buy again stage.  About a year ago I joined the bbs of one of my all time fav authors.  She had just released a book that I was looking up on Barnes and Nobles and I read some really bad reviews.  I couldn’t imagine any loyal fan not loving any of her books!  Unfortunately, there were six or seven bad reviews from very loyal fans. 

    When I mentioned this on my next visit to the site,  I was totally slammed by the guy in charge of the bbs and some of the members.  I wasn’t being mean or bitchy, I WAS CONCERNED!  Not one person mentioned the book.  The only thing they zeroed in on was MY mention of the bad reviews.  All I was looking for was a little reassurance that she was still our reigning queen of the dark…that the new book was yet another masterpiece!  Anyway, after that my whole perception of this author changed from Author Goddess of the Universe to eh, I wonder if she’s as pissy as her employees and fans.  I don’t RUN to the bookstores to get her newest releases anymore and I don’t go to her bbs.

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