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.