Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Bullying and Writing...

Bullies and writing…

Sadly these two things go hand in hand for some reason. Why? I have no clue. Maybe it’s due to frustration, or maybe jealousy, or maybe boredom, or maybe a twisted combination of all of this. Let’s face it; no author is EVER going to write that mythical novel that EVERYONE regardless of age, sex, reading preference, sexual heat preference, and genre preference is going to rave about. If one author managed to do that they would be at the top of the food chain in the industry and would own it. But that’s NEVER going to happen. There are a million plus readers out there…with a million plus ideas that make up a good story. I’ve read tons of stories/books that left me scratching my head and asking…and this was published why? Whatever the reason an editor, agent, combo of the both have found the things published, worthy of publication. They see something we don’t. And stories I’ve been less than thrilled with have been adored by other readers…again it’s a taste thing….

Authors for the most part (yes I’m speaking on behalf of all of us to a certain extent) try to write the best story they can in hopes of 1) seeing it published and 2) in hopes to entertain the reader. We agonize over every word, plot points, flow of the story, heat level (if it applies you don’t want to turn people off, but you don’t want to disregard those readers that love it steamy) and characters (their development, their personalities, their foibles, their journey…the whole kit and caboodle) and then we put it out there and hope for good feedback…It’s a long process from start to finish—meaning publication if one is lucky enough to get offered a contract. Does it hurt to get the bad review…well, of course it does. Especially, if it seems like the bad review comes from nowhere with nothing backing the bad review except spite from the author.

But bullies and snide comments are seemingly becoming part of the process the writer now has to deal with. For the record, several years ago I was caught up in the bullying in the blogosphere. It was a horrible experience. You’re being attacked by people that don’t know you at all, they have no clue exactly what has happened, or the circumstances of what is going on…these people just hop on the bandwagon of bullying and things get seriously out of control. Many were making judgment on only part of the story, not bothering to do their research, or worst yet, just getting involved because they could. I was called all sorts of names, and labeled. The low point or the scariest point came when I received a private email from someone with a Google street shot of my home with the words, I couldn’t hide. Yeah, let me tell you that caused me some serious pause.  And why was all of this happening you ask? I was a listed author with a publishing house with a dubious rep and it was decided that if you were published by this house you had to have the same thought process as all of the other authors. What they didn’t take into consideration was 1) I had a life outside of writing and 2) I wasn’t living online and wasn’t part of the whole nasty thing that was taking place. Again it didn’t matter, mob mentality set in and that was the end of that…until a big hitter in the industry got involved. You don’t know how quick things can change with a well know NYT Bestselling author takes up for you, or how quick the bullies back down.

This blog was generated because yesterday I got no less than three emails from friends about deleting my Goodreads account. Now, I haven’t experienced anything that I researched (and frankly I was shocked by what I was reading) and at the same time extremely frustrated. Here we go again I thought. And then the next thought that crept up was WHY? Why do people have to do this? Targeting writers, purposely leaving behind bad reviews for the sake of being nasty? WOW, just wow was my first thought…then sad, how sad that this is how these people chose to spend their time. And how much bile and energy it must take to be so mean.

Bullies sadly aren’t obviously a playground/park kind of element any longer and regardless if you’re a teenager, elementary school, or an adult, this kind of behavior is debilitating and hurtful. On top of that the new cyber world allows for this kind of thing to happen more often. There is anonymity online, you can blend and comment anonymously, or under a fake name. For the record once again, I’m not deleting any of my social network site profiles. I’m not going to hop on one side or another on this situation at Goodreads and frankly I’m sad that authors are being bullied over there that a bullying culture has developed. My suggestion to anyone being bullied is not to engage. 1) You’re not going to get your point across, those engaged in that activity aren’t interested in your POV, and for the most part they’ve made up their mind. 2) Put your writing to better use, write your stories. You’re not going to write a story everyone is going to love or appreciate; there are millions of readers out there with varying tastes and likes and not everyone is going to get you as a writer and not like what you pen…and guess what? That’s okay; you don’t need to strive to please everyone. If you get a bad review, learn from it. I’ve gotten less than stellar reviews, I read what the reviewer had to say and tried to “fix” that issue in the next story I wrote. And remember 3 star reviews aren’t bad reviews. It’s middle of the road, it’s an okay read, most review fall into this category. If you find yourself a target of a group of reviewers that are going to spam your page, report it of course but don’t stress yourself. It’s not worth it. And anyone with a brain in their head who really wants to read your book, will regardless of the review…

For those of you that find it okay to pick on people. Maybe take a step back and ask yourself how you’d feel if the situation was reversed. If you’re so unhappy with your life or your situation don’t take it out on anyone else, that’s not going to fix the problem. As for not liking a book, you don’t have to like it and you’re free to share those ideas and thoughts. However there is nothing wrong with doing that with tack and diplomacy…and guess what it’s a free country you don’t have to read that author again if you so choose. But, targeting writers is just plain mean and childish. And really, what do you gain from it? Probably not a whole lot would be my guess. I certainly can’t see going to bed feeling a sense of satisfaction for pulling people down simply because you can.

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