Sunday, June 10, 2012

Being A Writer Does Not Make You Right

I haven’t written a blog in a while. This is due to the fact that my usual ranty self hasn’t had much to say. I have given it some thought, and I asked myself what’s been going on in the writing part of my world. This has mainly led me to think about writer decorum.

 As self publishing grows as an industry, I am finding the writer world a less and less savory place. I didn’t expect the voraciousness and self righteousness that comes from slighted authors. At least not on this level.
Let's imagine, let's create - not hate (corny, yeah? I don't care.)

There are a number of authors, mostly self published, that are attacking people who have opinions, albeit negative ones, of the author’s work. That’s right, attacking. I would define “attacking” seeing as people are going to deny that this is even happening, but it has and does. I have no need to point them out further, if you want to find them, look on Amazon for yourself.

This is simply unbecoming behavior.  

On my blog, I ask everyone simply be respectful and to not post unfounded hatred. Have a differing of opinion? Fine. Want to use sarcasm? Great. Snarky personalities are always welcome. But, for the entitled, I-think-I’m-God’s-gift-to-the-literary-world I have 3 words for you. Get over yourself.

 I have had a number of negative responses to my blog, but the fact of the matter is, they are someone else’s opinion, and I choose to respect them. What good would it do if we all wrote and published material that only got decent or good reviews? How would we grow as writers if we didn’t have someone out there telling us ways to improve? If your sales are really that great, then you shouldn’t worry about the handful of naysayers. If your sales aren’t doing that well, then take a look at your work.

I'd post pics of hating authors, but don't want to call anyone out.

In no other field will you find a craftsman berating potential clients telling them that they are idiots or not entitled to their opinions. Along with my many other talents, I refinish furniture. If something doesn’t sell, I don’t immediately jump down the throats of buyers saying that they don’t know what they are talking about. Instead, I go back to drawing board. I work harder. I hone my craft. I get better. I study. And then, I make something new. If you respond to downright negative reviews, you are doing nothing but starting a back and forth that is not going to resolve itself. It’s just like name-calling.

I expect this kind of behavior from the spoiled brats of my generation (I apologize on behalf of them). We tend to have this entitlement issue. We think we deserve something just because we exist. We are not willing to work for what is ours. It’s like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum because they didn’t get their sweeties and candies. Really? Not everyone likes your work? Get over it. Someone gave you 2 stars? Get over it. A bunch of people gave you two stars? Hire an editor.

What? You think you are the first writer to have toiled tirelessly over some “great work of fiction” to have your dreams bashed by some reviewer? HA! Don’t make me laugh…

And there is one more thing… these group attacks? Oh, they make me livid. Reading is supposed to open our minds to new things, to expose us to a world outside of ourselves, to help us escape…and yet there are people (generally friends of the writer) out there mass attacking reviewers for having opinions! And I’ve read the reviews under attack, most of them are completely valid. I feel like I’m taking a step backwards into high school and the sheep mentality. Didn’t your parents ever say, “If they told you to jump off a bridge, would you do it?” Since when did writers become so cliquey?

This goes beyond writing and professionalism. This certainly crosses the line into being a decent human being and an individual. Please, have some integrity. Integrity is one of the few things that can’t be bought or sold in this world. You cannot ride the coattails of someone else’s integrity. This is not the Salem Witch Trials. Let’s not burn anyone at the stake because one person points an accusing finger. We don’t need that kind of blemish on our profession.

You actions have reactions, make sure they count in the right way.


  1. What more can I add?

    as you've said, this tendency for writers to attack reviews is growing out of the self-publishing industry. Why? Well, for one, they don't have a publisher telling them when discretion is the better part of valour when they get all uptight about a review. But the other part is that anyone who is traditionally published has been through the rejection process - and grew thick-skin because of it.

    Too many authors who self-publish (not all, but many) have never submitted work to a publisher and haven't had to deal with rejection. A portion of them also don't use beta readers and/or editors (gasp!) and publish on the basis of their mother's opinion their work is great (hardly unbiased). So sometime a negative review is the first time someone has said anything harsh about their baby.

    In my opinion, that's not the way it should be. If a written work is all that it can be, the writer should have been subjected to so much criticism pre-publishing that a negative review is water off a duck's back.

  2. I love this post. Thank you, Ciara, for sharing on Twitter!

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ashley. I don't have a lot to add, other than I agree with you completely. I've shared it on twitter. I know that almost EVERYONE I associate with, be it author or blogger, will agree with this post. Unfortunately, there are unprofessionals in every field.

  4. ::slow clap::

    Seriously. Well said.

  5. I never really puzzled over why a lot of authors are like this but I definitely agree with you. The publishing route forces authors to thicken up quick or else. Any author who responded back with the mentality of a toddler, I'd boycott and spread the word.

  6. Thank you for this. I am both a reviewer and an author. (Self-pub'd)
    As a reviewer, I've given DNF and 1 or 2 star reviews. I've explained carefully why. I've been fortunate, that I've stayed under the radar with those. Even on Goodreads. (Yeah, that's where the gang-ups seem to occur most. There and Amazon.

    The best reaction from an author to any review is nothing or a simple, "Thanks for your honest review." If it's not an honest review, people can tell. They'll think little of the reviewer and highly of the author. I personally ascribe to the idea of no response at all. I say thank you when asking to be reviewed, and usually tell them I don't respond to positive OR negative reviews.

    I have been fortunate that the very few reviews I have recieved have been 4-5 star. All by people I never have met or asked to review. Three of them are in the Top 50-1000 Amazon Vine Reviewers.

    All this to say; Thank you for writing this and reminding authors to be very careful of what they say to reviewers. You can and will find out that you've just burned some pretty big bridges, regardless of how "lowly" the reviewer appears to be.