Ms Sobrato blogged the other day that she feels like she is doing something right when people have strong emotional reactions to her books, be they good or bad. This principle is often derived from Revelations 3:15-16 (KJV):
I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot.
So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.
But truthfully, is being polarizing helping an author? Is the test of whether she is really writing a believable, heartfelt tale whether your readers are hot and cold? Wouldn’t you rather get a C grade than an F grade? If I was lukewarm about an author I may try her again, particularly if that author got some good reviews. If I hated an author’s work passionately, I probably would never buy or read another of her works.
This is true for me in the case of Ronda Thompson. Her book, Isn’t It Romantic, received an A review at AAR. I went to an extra effort of tracking this down through abebooks and paying more for the shipping of the book than the book itself. I thought it was probably the worst romance I had ever read. Thompson’s hero and heroine were completely unlikeable and Thompson had some the crudest, least appropriate language come out of the heroine’s 11 year old mouth that I had ever read. Since that time I have never been able to read, let alone buy, another Thompson book despite any positive word of mouth.
But, being passionate about something is likely to get readers to talk and if you believe in the theory of any publicity is better than no publicity, then polarization is important. So, readers how do you feel about author’s whose books have totally turned you off – are they being successful? Would an author rather have lukewarm responses than hot or cold responses?