The Book That Was Forgotten
There was this book once that I read and thought, meh. Didn’t go back and touch the author’s other stories and instead moved on.
About a year later, I saw a book that interested me. I bought it, read it, and thought, it’s okay. Not amazing, but definitely good enough to read through a couple more of the author’s books.
I later discovered that I’d already read one of this author’s books because it had been saved in my ebook.
I don’t remember this author’s name, only a few vague details about the books.
The Book That Was Hated
Then there was this other book I once read that I thought, wow, this author is a sexist, bigoted asshat.
Never bought a book from that author again.
I do remember that author’s name.
The Books That Are In Question
Now, obviously, if I had a choice my books would be remembered and liked (can I say loved?). That would be the best outcome. But in the decision between Hated or Forgotten, I’m torn.
On the one hand, if a reader forgets me, then if they somehow stumbled upon my work at a later point they could very well given me another shot, another chance to win them over. But they might just always forget my name, never mention me to their friends, never spread the word about my books because they just didn’t care enough about them. I wouldn’t have sparked anything in them, not with my worlds or with my characters, that was strong enough to entice them to dream.
On the other hand, if they hated my work, they might do things such as leave a scathing review, rip me apart on twitter, boycott my work, get my books black-listed on websites, etc. Yet, it would mean that my name and my books are searched, are looked at. And that attention will undoubtedly lead to people who do like my work to find me.
The Books I Hope I Write
I guess being forgotten is the easy way out of the question. Hiding behind mediocrity because that way leads to safety. Or perceived safety, since every author deals with readers disliking their books.
I think the recent situation with J. K. Rowling has turned the tide for me on this question because it harkens back to that Batman quote: “You either die a hero or live long enough to be the villain.” So no matter what, attention will beget attention and ultimately there will always be people who don’t like what I write and wish others didn’t as well.
So, in conclusion, I guess I would choose to be hated, even if that is the more difficult decision. But, hells, I hope that doesn’t happen.