How Authors’ Openness on Social Media Makes Reading Better
I read Vicious only three days before I received a copy of Vengeful in the mail. I didn’t have time to hotly anticipate the sequel, not really. But I’d been rooting for this novel for months—because I had watched V.E. Schwab write it.
There’s a lot that’s toxic about social media, for authors, fans, and reviewers alike. But one thing that’s really rewarding for readers and aspiring writers is the transparency that many published authors have brought to Twitter and Instagram about the writing and publishing process, in all its good, bad, and in-between.
Thanks to them, I am headed into the industry with a much more realistic view of what might happen next than if I hadn’t followed them over the last few years. Thanks to them, I know that I am not alone in thinking that writing books is hard.
Schwab’s feed in particular has really helped me look realistically at what my desired future of writing books full-time would actually look like.
The truth is, VENGEFUL took so much out of me, and I really haven’t recovered. I still feel hollow, and bone tired. I just want to sleep and savor.
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) September 2, 2018
And for the last several months, I’ve watched as she started over completely on Vengeful. I watched as she laid out the pages on the floor. As she struggled with tours and releases and working on a book all at the same time. She was very open and honest about all the struggles that came with the process.
This window into the world of books hasn’t always been there. It’s enabled by social media and the added closeness between readers and authors that it brings. Even now, many authors are hesitant to share as much as Schwab does about her process and the difficulties of the publishing world, the struggle to write sequels, the pain that comes with juggling the many deadlines that will result in many published books.
A very well-known author once followed me JUST to DM me and offer the unsolicited advice that I was being too honest/open, and that I should reconsider because it would hurt my sales. https://t.co/eeS1kmTSKO
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) September 7, 2018
It makes what Schwab does all the more special. I wasn’t really there with her as she rewrote Vengeful, but I and other readers felt like we were part of this. And so for months, I have been rooting for Schwab. I have watched her agonize over this book, consider cancelling it, and finally finish the new draft. And now the book is out and in my hands, and it feels like such a celebration. A victory, a win. For all of us.
Holding this finished book is made all the more precious by the fact that earlier this year, I wanted to cancel the book, give back the advance, so certain that I'd never find the right way to tell the story. https://t.co/mXrkmnzJly
— Victoria/V.E. Schwab (@veschwab) September 5, 2018
As a writer, the resource of seeing living full-time writers work their way through novels is immensely valuable. And as a reader, it lends even more beauty to an object that I already highly valued. I can hold a book and feel the months that went into it, and feel thrilled by its existence.