The question I posed myself today (and one that I don't think I will be able to fully answer) is this:
When it comes to people reading your content, does the content matter more, or the author? Is there and actual Author VS Content "battle"?
The reason why I started thinking about this is unsurprisingly related to my personal experience. If you've spent any time on this website, you will know that I am editing my first novel The Eight Lights. The book is not out yet and few people have had access to its previous versions.
On top of the edits for The Eight Lights, I am also working on another novel, Lightbringer, that I publish on my Patreon .
That is not it; I started writing the sequel to The Eight Lights, and I write as many short stories as possible.
The reason why I'm listing all these projects is because, as you notice, none of them have been fully released to any audiences. Nevertheless, some people decide to engage, follow my social media, support on Patreon, subscribe to a number of my channels and read my blogs. I am forever grateful, of course, but still bursting with questions, the main one being, why?
The answer I reached is that people decided to support the author of the content, rather than the content itself. I like to think that my passion for what I do led some people to become interested in something they have not even seen yet. But that cannot be the sole reason. I started thinking that maybe it is something about me or my online persona that makes some people interested in what I could come up with.
I think of myself as someone who looks at the products or the performances, rather than at the people involved; for example, I don't care if an athlete I follow is an a**ho#e, as long as they do well in the sport I'm following. Maybe that author is really rude, but their books are awesome, so I don't care. Yet, I noticed that not many people feel the same, consciously or unwittingly. In many cases people are so upset with their idol's behavior, political views, or actions outside of their field, that they stop following them.
Then, I thought a little more critically about myself, too. Am I really immune to this effect? Well, I have been 90% immune throughout my life, but not completely, and that 10% of non-immunity, is packed in the past few years.
I love social media. I use it carefully, it has never overtook more important aspects of my life. It also allowed me to dive deeper into the personal life of... everyone. You know the saying "don't meet your heroes"? Well nowadays we "meet" them all. This allows us to humanize our idols, which is something that I think is fun and healthy, but it also gives us the chance to learn of every little mistake, misspoken statement, unsavory remark anyone has ever uttered.
We learn more of the negative aspects of people we love and follow without knowing them. So maybe I did stop watching movies with certain actors in them. Maybe I don't fully enjoy an event where certain musicians perform... I don't like that it happens, but it does.
So, what is it that I care about the most? The content or the creator of the content? Is it the book or the author?
Well, in my case it's mostly the content, but I feel that knowing about the author makes it so that I would enjoy the content more, or less. Imagine reading a book in a semi-dark room. An author that you love would be like that night lamp that accompanies your adventures, and an author that you hate would be like that stain of coffee that covers 3-10 words every page making you struggle to read along.
I still believe content is king, but I learned that the author is probably almost as important. I don't mean to say that an author should create a fake persona to appease a potential audience. On the contrary, I think an author should showcase their real personality (within limits - it's the internet after all) so that a potential audience who would like them, would eventually gravitate towards them, and enjoy the content more.
That is why recently I decided to put myself out there more than I ever have in the course of my life. You'll find me on YouTube talking about history (in my own, very not-PG-13 way), or Japan. You'll read me on this blog and my Japan-related one. You'll talk to me live on Twitch while I play videogames, cook, or just chat. You'll watch funny videos of my dogs on TikTok. In short, I try to put myself out there as a person, so that people could learn about the author before the content (especially because my novels are not out yet.)
What do you guys think? Who wins between Content and Author?