I think that in an author’s world, a certain amount of ego is not only a good thing, but necessary. When you spend months or years writing your novel alone, you sometimes need to tell yourself how great an author you are, how wonderful your story is, and how much your fans will love it – or you may not make it to the end of the writing process. Being an author can be very lonely and solitary work, and if you don’t share your story during the writing process, you may tear yourself down with self-doubt and criticism. That being said, there is definitely such a thing as too much ego.
Authors (and other celebrities) must realize that their “fame” and success are due to their fanbase. That’s not to say that authors should try to write only what they think their fans will want; they should still write what they love and then find an audience who will appreciate. In my opinion, anyone in such a position needs to be gracious of their fans. Without fans, their work will not sell and they won’t be able to continue doing what they love. I remember sending fanmail to actors as a child and how excited I was when I would get an autograph back – especially personalized ones! I fortunately have never run into a position with an author where they were ungracious toward their fans, but I have had an incident with a filmmaker that turned me off to his films.
Growing up, I wanted to be a filmmaker, and I sent fanmail to two directors whose films I loved, looking for advice and encouragement. Understandably because of how busy they were, both had their secretaries respond. One secretary sent me a heartfelt letter wishing me success and included more than 100 pages of photocopied articles where that director discussed his filmmaking technique, stories, and provided advice for aspiring filmmakers. The other essentially blew me off and said that the director was too busy to communicate with fans. That same director also once told his fans that his films were “just movies.” The first director was Peter Jackson, who I still admire to this day. He continues to be a source of inspiration for me, both through his films and what I have learned of his processes. The other director was George Lucas, and I have no desire to watch another of his films.
Have any of you had experiences with authors or other celebrities who don’t appreciate their fans?