Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Ask me anything . . . except that

By April Moore

"Go ahead, ask me anything."

There may be a few people who probably shouldn't tell the world to do this. Let's see . . . Ted Cruz . . . Vladimir Putin . . . and certainly a number of authors who also frolic with controversy. The Q&A session will undoubtedly involve some are-you-ready-to-answer-that? questions. It's probably not a good idea, unless you're willing and prepared to answer everything; the good, the bad, and the ugly.

So I was a bit shocked when E.L. James, author of the 50 Shades of Grey series, did a #AskELJames on Twitter June 29th. I don't know if I should admire her bravery, or slap her silly (which I wouldn't mind doing anyway). Did she really put herself out there like that? To be tarred and feathered?

It started out with some tame questions about whether or not she preferred coffee over tea; or what movie she was going to see next. Then things got interesting. Finally. People tweeted some hard-hitting questions regarding the controversial topic of her books: "Have you considered writing The Trial of Christian Grey given that you portray him as a rapist and abuser?" 

It really got ugly.

And . . .
As you can imagine, James didn't respond to these inquiring minds and instead, took to blocking them on Twitter. Obviously, James doesn't have to answer certain questions and many tweeps were downright vicious, which dominated the event. Did she expect this? It's no secret her books and her writing ability has been the center of criticism for years, so it's not surprising the Twitter Q&A didn't go well. 

As writers, we put our words out there to be read, analyzed, and interpreted. Not everyone will take to it like bees to honey . . . and if you set yourself up, you may get stung.


JC Lynne said...

Hahahaha! I saw that feed and waited with baited breath. Either she had never met Twitter or is really the dimmest person on the planet. It was a hilarious (I know, I'm a bad person) bloodbath no matter how you feel about the topic. I'm still giggling.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Look at it this way....E.L. James just got another big boost of publicity because everyone on the web was buzzing about her Twitter Q&A. The new one "As Told by Christian" is #1 in Books (paperback and Kindle) on The first book in the series, published in 2011, is #215 in Kindle books and not much worse in hardcover and paperback.

The bullying and e-abuse was horrific and shines a big spotlight on the cruelty that roams the web in the flimsy disguise of righteous critique. I'm sure E.L. James is "crying" all the way to the bank. I just hope she doesn't have to spend any of her dough on bodyguards now.

No matter what anyone says about her writing abilities or her choice of genre, she has captured an audience, and she mostly likely understood exactly what would happen when she opened up that dialogue on Twitter.

So far I've resisted reading any of James' novels, but I'm weakening. :D

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