The Last Tweet

So while I hate to admit it, in all seriousness, I am kind of famous.  I am a quasi-celebrity.  And while it can be fun in concept, that comes with some baggage.  Lately, two people responded negatively to some comments I made on Twitter / Facebook.  Nothing too overdramatic, mind you.  Nothing insulting.  But still, the thing that comes with being sort of famous is that I don’t have the luxury of internet anonymity.

Oh, sure.  I’m anonymous.  Nobody really cares much what I have to say.  But some people might, and that’s a problem.  It’s a problem because as a writer, I want to first and foremost be judged by my books, not by my personality, nor my personal views on politics, ghost hunting, or space piracy.  Even the most minor comment can discourage or offend someone, and frankly, I don’t see the benefit in irritating current or potential fans.

That’s the problem with the multi-media age.  I’d rather not trade on personality because there’s no guarantee you’re going to like me.  Paul Stevens, my first editor at Tor, didn’t like me when we finally met face-to-face.  By then, we’d been working together long enough though that it didn’t matter.  And Paul did learn to like me eventually.  Still, I am not arrogant enough to believe that you will like me if you met me.  There are plenty of people that don’t.

And you shouldn’t have to like me to enjoy my books.  Who I am as a person, what I believe, what I hold dear and what I deride, none of these should be particularly important to you, the reader.  But when I offer opinions, when I throw thoughts both casual and controversial out there into the internet, I’m forcing a choice on some people.  It’s not a choice I believe they have to make, but some will feel that if they dislike a tweet or a blog or a facebook entry that maybe they can’t like what I do.

It’s just the nature of things.

But I don’t want to be a part of any false equivalency, even if unintentionally.  I don’t want anyone to mistake liking me with liking my books.  Or disliking me with disliking my books.  Or disliking an opinion I hold with . . . well, you get the idea.

If I’d have my druthers, I’d probably just avoid saying anything on the internet at all, but that’s not practical.  Pure anonymity is no longer an option.  But I can do my best to limit my exposure, to avoid confusing myself as a person with myself as a writer.  So I’ll still be out there.  I’ll still tweet and offer wry Facebook comments.  I’ll still pop in and post entries on this lovely site.  But it’s going to be fairly innocuous stuff.  Stuff like what I’m working on and maybe a movie or TV show I really like.  I’ll be happy to announce booksignings, talk about writing, and mention when I have a new book coming out.  But everything else…that’s private property.  That’s who I am on the inside and you don’t need to know about it.  Especially if it discourages someone out there from enjoying my book.

Unlike nutty folks like Dr. Laura and Ex-Ms. California, I know that what I do isn’t a right.  You don’t have to buy my books.  I’m lucky to get paid to do this, and I’d rather just play it safe.  Or at least, let my artistic expression speak for itself.  It never annoys me when someone doesn’t like my books.  But the idea that someone might not like my books because they don’t like me, that bothers the hell out of me.

So carry on, internet.  I’ll be here, even if I have a lot less to say.

Fighting the good write, Writing the good write,


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  1. Posted November 6, 2010 at 12:07 am | Permalink

    Sorry to hear that you’re backing away from Twitter, but it’s understandable. It’s a tightrope walk to network and stay professional. I always enjoyed your late-night gaming tweets, though. It was really cool to get to know you a bit through Twitter, see the imaginative mind behind some of my new favorite books.

  2. Posted November 6, 2010 at 12:39 am | Permalink

    I have had the same things happen when I did a few radioshows, but in reverse. Some folks hated me on the show, but when they met me they were like… whoa, you are different. It was strange for me since when I do the radio thing… I am still ME. Just weird… I do get worked up on the radio a bit.

  3. Michael B
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    F them. The first thing you learn is that the creator and the creation are different. It’s awesome if you like both, butthat doesn’t happen. I read your blog and several other authors’, but I’ve read and now consciously avoid them. Some authors are, to be honest, whackjobs. And, try though you might, there will still be people who dislike you. Sorry. I personally disagree with some of your positions, but (unsurprisingly) you write them well, so it’s still worth reading.

    Keep being you. It is, after all, what makes the “you” that writes the books we enjoy and buy. 🙂

  4. Posted November 6, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Please don’t let a few unhappy people discourage you. I love that platforms like Twitter and your blog allow me to read on, beyond the books (which I really enjoy, btw). These places allow your fans to reach out and you to connect back, and I think that’s fantastic. For every 1 person who may take offense, I bet there are 10 people who are totally geeking out over the chance to have a two way conversation with an admired author.

  5. Rippley
    Posted November 6, 2010 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    What the Fuck? No!!!!!! I blast criticism and remarks at you nearly everyday for a good part of a year, and you never backed down. Now, because some jerk at SYFY, the most worthless network in the world, or some potential “fan” doesn’t like what you have to say, you are going to back down. Fuck a duck???

    I hate when authors act all nice and stupid to appease the dimwit crowd. I want to hear your OPINION. I think you have a good thing going here. Come on!!!!! You should spout more opinions: “Batman is magic. There is no such thing as time travel. SyFy sucks!” It’s just an opinion. If they can’t handle opinions, they probably don’t know how to read anyway.

    I enjoy your books. Sometimes, I think you could do better. But reading blog and twitter and facebook pages that’s what keeps me coming back for more. I’m going to buy your next book, guaranteed, because I want to read more of the ridiculous shit you say on the internet. You might say, “I hate Syfy…” but you watch SyFy day and night. You watch Ghosthunters for gosh sakes. I mean, you must be a true masochist to watch that show. How about your direct all your “vicious” comments to @DillingerDave (that’s me). For example, “@DillingerDave Why are people such bitchy little girls? Corporate networks can defend themselves. They don’t need their zombie minded fans doing the job for them. I’ll even shorten my name to something simple @?. Give me the heads up and you can vent to @ALM if need be.

    Seriously, You shouldn’t feel bad about writing an opinion of the internet. You should feel bad because you don’t say enough of it. And because you play boardgames. And because you are a hopeless egomaniac. And because you won’t re-release a published copy of your greatest epic of all time. And because…well the list goes on and on. Whatever, nevermind, you won’t listen to reason anyway.

    • A. Lee Martinez
      Posted November 7, 2010 at 1:08 am | Permalink

      A passionate response, Rippley. And one that gives me something to think about. It is indeed a complex issue, and you make some excellent points. Thanks for daring to make them and not holding back.

      I don’t know exacly why you think I should apologize for board games though. Board games are awesome.

  6. Posted November 7, 2010 at 1:57 am | Permalink

    Rippley always leaves the best comments.

    It’s terrible when someone judges someone else based on one little thing rather than considering your whole body of work.

    There’s no way that someone who has read more then just one blog, or tweet of yours could be cynical about your excellent body of work.

    I bet Dickhead Magee or whoever couldn’t create a piece of fiction that inspires anyone. You do good work. Keep doing good work. I want to read that space Squid monster book super bad.


  7. Rippley
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 1:12 am | Permalink


    Fine, no need to apologize for the board games. “Board games are awesome” if they keep you writing.

  8. Posted November 7, 2010 at 1:34 am | Permalink

    So long as we can still occasionally talk about monster/syfy movies through the twitter….

  9. Nolly
    Posted November 7, 2010 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    For whatever it’s worth, I met you first, enjoyed chatting with and listening to you, and then started reading your books. (At Mysterious Galaxy here in San Diego.)

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