Do You Support the Art, or the Artist?
Something has been happening more and more often lately that’s left a bad taste in my mouth. Both with authors I’ve loved for years and new book finds. Regardless of what the author means to me, it never ceases to disappoint and frustrate me. Because deciding what to do is hard and this situation sucks!
Here’s how it goes:
I read a book. I love it. I read more by the same author and like them, too. I begin to look up to the author, to respect them. And then I see something or another that just makes me lose all respect for them.
Maybe the fame goes to their head and they start doubling the prices for their books, without increasing the length or the quality – or the quality gets worse. Maybe they have no respect or appreciation for their fans. Maybe they hate on or sabotage other authors. Maybe they have a really strong belief that is completely misaligned with one of my own, and use the money I’m giving them to support it.
But whatever the situation, I suddenly wish I didn’t like their books so freaking much. I don’t want to stop spending time with their characters, living in their book’s worlds. But I can’t comfortably support the author anymore.
It’s a debate that’s been happening a lot recently: do you support art, or the person that makes it? Is to support one to support the other?
In the Media
It reminds me of when a scandal breaks about a celebrity: just because a singer did something stupid on their personal time, does that mean we can’t listen to their music anymore? If a company’s CEO donates money to a cause you’re against, is it still okay to buy from the company?
I see this debate with actors in particular. Just because they have a certain view, does that mean they aren’t also a good actor or actress? Should they still be allowed to do their job even though people don’t agree with their politics? After all, if people don’t want to buy tickets to their movie, they may not get cast in another.
It’s everyone’s personal choice.
Sometimes, I will continue to read an author’s books, but won’t promote them or endorse them. I can still read the books of an author I don’t agree with without feeling contradictory. But that’s how I feel, and I totally get how others feel icky doing this.
It can be hard. Sometimes my issue with the author stems from how they sell their books, so I really want to do what I can not to buy them. Sometimes, that means giving up a series I enjoy. Sometimes, it means finding workarounds.
Yes, you can legally read an author’s books without giving your money to someone you don’t respect. This sometimes mean they still get paid, but I’m not giving up money that I could spend on food or bills.
I don’t want you to walk away from this post thinking I don’t want authors to get paid because their views differ from mine. It’s not like that at all. But I’m just out of college. I’m in an entry-level job, at a small business, no less. Buying books is a big luxury for me. I can only buy a certain number of books each month, and I want to hand my personal funds over to authors I respect.
That being said, there are other ways to read an author’s books, and I felt stupid when I gave up on authors without considering these.
- The library – I cannot believe I forgot, even for a second, that getting books from the library was an option.
- Borrow from friends – Both hard copy and (some) ebooks are lendable between friends. You can alternate who buys what or send your friend the dough for half, if they wish.
- BookLending.com – This site has been my savior towards the end of the month when my book budget has run out. It’s basically a matchmaking service for people with Amazon lendable books and people who want to read them.
- Kindle Unlimited or Prime Lending Library – This is probably what most authors would support the most, out of these options. I believe authors get paid a royalty or something for each borrow, similar to how music streaming services work.
I’m really curious as to your feelings…