Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Last month it was a self published author complaining about book review bloggers on her blog. It wouldn't have been as huge a deal if she hadn't named them.
The other day it was a book review blogger who reviewed a self published author's novel on his blog. It wouldn't have been such a big deal if the author hadn't showed up and started getting angry in the comments, literally swearing at almost everyone.
This kind of behavior is unacceptable. It's also rather embarrassing. Look, I get it, it hurts to get rejected. It hurts anytime someone doesn't love your writing. I mean we pour our hearts and souls into our stories and if someone doesn't connect with what we're trying to say ... it stings. Sometimes it stings more than others. Like when it's done publicly.
That doesn't mean you should respond. We need to be above all that. We need to grow thick skins and move on. The fact is: not everyone is going to love our work. There are people who don't like Tolkien. I have no idea what's wrong with them, but they do exist. There are people who don't get Cormac McCarthy. That I can actually understand, even if I don't agree.
There will always be some people who don't like your writing, or don't care for your story, or just don't get your characters. It cannot be avoided. It will happen. We have to accept that and move on.
There are three main things that piss me off about these flame wars and the behavior of these authors (and no, I won't be linking you to the posts, they're beneath this blog, and I'm sure you heard about them already):
First, it gives self-published authors a bad name. I have friends who are self-published, who are incredible writers, and who conduct themselves with the utmost professionalism on the internet and in their real lives. Please stop making them look like hacks. There is a reason people give self-publishing the stereotypical assumption of being not good enough. That reason is these authors taking part in these flame wars.
Second, it takes attention away from positive, uplifting posts that deserve the traffic that these flame wars get. The most recent one got over 300 comments, and brought more visitors to a brand new blog than any inspiring post has ever done. I understand it's human nature to stare at a train wreck, but it's sad, really. There are plenty of bloggers writing posts that deserve that kind of traffic, and never get it.
Finally, well ... I forget what my third reason was, but if I thought about it for a minute I could probably come up with ten more. Just don't do it, it's not worth it.
If you want to know more about flame wars, trolls, and internet etiquette, you can read this Wikipedia article. There is also a proposed Blogger Code of Conduct.