Less complaining, more thanking

More and more authors are flying off the handle and complaining about reviewers, bullies, trolls and more. They are making grand blog posts, or emotional videos about how mean people can be. They remind us that it isn’t fair to get a bad review, or that people can be so nonconstructive in their review, and the author doesn’t think it’s right. The problem is that before these gestures, those authors aren’t getting bad reviews. In fact, their books do quite well.

So why do they do it? Why do they make grand statements and try to “teach the bullies a lesson” about how to treat authors? To put it bluntly, they do it for the attention. We’ve all heard the saying “any publicity is good publicity.” These authors seem to be willing to sacrifice their work and their good name just to get themselves and their work out there. Of course, more often than not, these authors cannot handled the reactions and end up pulling themselves off of social media, remove their books from publication, and dissolve the career that they worked so hard to start in the first place. Please don’t mistake this as an over-generalization, but see this more as an observation.

As both an author and reviewer, I dance a fine line between being kind (because hurting feelings really does suck) and being honest (because how is an author going to grow if they don’t know where they need to improve?) I preach about honest reviews, but there are times that I am honestly afraid of hurting someone and burning a bridge. I have seen what an author crazed by a bad review can do first hand, and I have seen how mean reviewers can be when they think an author needs to be knocked down a few pegs.

Every author dreams of their books gaining fame and notoriety, even the introverts who could do without the attention. There is nothing wrong with that. We work in a world where vampires can blend in perfectly with humans, where fairies and dragons really exist, where the geeky girl can and will get the hot guy every time; our world is truly a wonderful place to be. It can get frustrating when an author has created such a fantastic world and no one seems to be paying it any attention. The lack of sales and heartache can sometimes be overwhelming, and it can sometimes drive an author to extremes.

An idea can seem really great in the beginning. Either they’re frustrated with the lack of readers, or they’ll read a post about an author getting bullied and they want to speak their mind. The sarcastic authors think that a deadpan post about the lack of attention, or what authors really want from reviewers is the way to go, their readers will get it.  The emotional/ sensitive authors think that a crying plead for kindness will be understood by their readers. Typically, their readers and friends really do get it! It’s the outsiders that come across it while strolling across the web, and the trolls that are just waiting for drama that don’t. When a book is doing really well and the author starts complaining about how bullies and bad reviews suck, there is a disconnect that many people don’t understand. A misunderstood post can be the death of an author’s career.

I hate to see an author get destroyed over a stupid mistake like that, so I decided to write this blog post. You know, every time I sit down to write, I wonder if that day will be the day that my work gets discovered. I wonder if the right person will pick up Celine, or one of the Becoming Night Touched Shorts and decide that I am talented enough to hit the big time. I’m positive that all of us do that. We just have to be patient. I recognize that I may never be the next Laurell K. Hamilton. Harper and the others may never get the opportunity to get their time on the silver screen. You know what? That’s okay. I am so grateful for every day that my books are on the market. I am grateful for every person that decides that my work is good enough. Joe Schmoe out in Hollywood or Jane Doe at the big publishing house in New York may never see my work, and that’s just fine with me, because they aren’t my audience. It’s you, the person reading this, that I am writing for.

So I would like to challenge every author out there. Instead of making a video or writing a blog post complaining about negative reviews, or the lack of sales you’re getting, take a few moments to thank the people that are reading your work and those that do think that your work is good enough. I hate to see another author make a silly mistake.

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About Maegan Provan

I am an indie author and proud of it. I try to update as much as humanly possible, but I'm a busy bee.

Posted on March 2, 2015, in Blog Monday and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. What a great post. I’ve fallen into the habit of complaining. Not about readers and reviewers or sales, but just complaining in general. Most of it doesn’t make it onto the internet, but the negativity is still so destructive. I LOVE what you said about being grateful every day your books are out there for people to see. Instead of worrying that my books aren’t being read, I’m going to focus on the pure awesomeness of having the opportunity to write. These are very exciting times where everyone has the ability to publish. We should all be grateful to the readers out there (even the ones who give out rough reviews). Without readers, where would we be?

    • Tricia, you know I’m right there with you. Sure, I complain just to complain some times, but there are things that shouldn’t be said online. One can’t say something stupid then wonder why people get mad.

  2. I admit, I’ve been tempted to wade into the fray on a number of occasions. A few times, I’ve wanted just to get noticed, burn the bridges and go down in a fight.

    Then my common sense kicks in — I’ve been in the fringes of some ugly flame wars, the first one was when The Militant Writer posted ‘The Talent Killers’ complaining about agents. The second was #QueryFail when agents blasted writers. Both were fiery bloodbaths that blew my mind. The Goodreads Bully battle was another infamous flame war, though a bit more contained.

    I had my ’15 minutes of fame’ when one of my books hit the UK Bestseller’s list for Romantic Suspense. It was the best six weeks of my career. The book climbed it’s way from no-where to #3 for 5 glorious days in 2011. I miss those days, but at least I had them. I get some odd reviews, and some wonderful letters from my readers, all very normal for writers.

    Getting “15 Days of Infamy” (these dustups seem to last about 2 weeks) just isn’t worth the aggravation. I’ve learned ‘don’t feed the Trolls’ is a mantra to live by.

    I prefer to be pleasant, if a bit cynical, over infamous. Just don’t tell that to my friends on Goodreads, they think I’m infamous already. LOL

    Still, good advice, Megan — good post!

  3. A great post!

    I share your fear of leaving bad reviews, and if I can’t rate a book a four or a five I pretend I haven’t read it and move on (avoidance much?)

    I have managed to avoid most of the wars and battles by being oblivious (I sadly really AM oblivious most of the time). My trouble sometimes is being greedy. I remember when one reader was enough to set my heart a flutter. Now I see 70 and think “so what? So-and-so has three hundred” (i don;t see 70 that often, btw 😉 ) then I have to smack myself and say “hey, remember when? Quit being greedy!”

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