Cover Story: A Whole New Playbook
Matthew Quick talks about the Hollywood publicity machine, straddling the line between adult and YA, waiting for limos with Jennifer Aniston, and keeping one's head with a burgeoning fanbase.
MQ: I started to get too many emails, and a lot of offers for speaking events. A year ago I had the time to [answer them], but now I don’t. … When I’m talking with somebody, I want to be present 100 percent. I’m not good at having clipped, business-like conversations. That’s a good quality overall, and I think people respond to that. But I couldn’t be me with everybody who contacted me, and that was very hard for me. I didn’t just want to write “Thank you” like a robot 100 times a day. That didn’t feel right to me, so we got a booking agent to handle my booking.
It was hard, too, on Twitter; I just went one-way. Unfollowed everybody. They’d write really beautiful things about my books, but I can’t spend all day responding to everybody who writes. … It’s important to create that barrier between friend and fan, for my own mental health. I really like a real relationship. I’d much rather have an hour-long conversation at a bar than sent texts or Tweet. It starts to stress me out. I’m not somebody who’s great at multi-tasking. Between Twitter and Facebook and email, I have so many voices in my head, I can’t tap back into me. Part was pragmatism, and part was to send that clear message; I will get personal fast, and sometimes people think that means that they can just drop by my house or write me a long memoir about their life. …
I love hearing from people who are moved by the books. But on a grand scale it can be overwhelming. … YA author John Green would say, “It’s impossible for me to write everybody back, so I don’t write to anybody.” Now I get it. BB