It’s Monday once again my friends. Time to dust off my soapbox and climb aboard. This rant will be brief, as I am right in the middle of a project, but I thought I’d take a short break to share with you my latest hobby/obsession. I like to call it GoogleWreck or IdiotSearch, and I have lost many hours of what could’ve been productive time to this. I just can’t help myself, they make it so easy. The main focus of my mindless pursuit is, of course, the writing industry. This is not only because it interests me, but because some writers seem so prone to show their asses on the web. Never before have I seen so many people act like assholes over poor reviews. And to be fair, it’s not just the writers. I have even seen some small presses fall into this trap, engaging in flame wars on the net that have forever marked them in my mind as a press I will not submit to. Ever.
Those of you who don’t spend much time chatting with and following other author’s may think you don’t know what I’m talking about but, trust me, you do. You know those friends on facebook who regularly air their dirty laundry right there on your timeline? Sure you do, we all have them. The Drama Hounds who will give every detail of their last fight with so-and-so and other info that makes them look like an asshole. The best part is when they give some vague status update about how pissed they are at someone, only to refuse to give the details to commenters. I’ll DM you, it’s private. Really?!! Then why did you bring it up? Asshole.
Back to the writers. I am friends with a large number of self-published authors who run blogs and put out their work in e-format. The majority of them are very professional and though I may not enjoy their writing (Some I do, some I don’t), they really seem to be making the extra effort to show the world that they take their craft seriously. There are, however, a few that haven’t gotten that memo. These people are a goldmine of amusement for the rest of us. From Amazon to blogs, these idiots can be found grumbling and insulting their own reviewers in meltdowns that become very spectacular. I was recently a target, where my constructive criticism was met with a Fuck You and a question of whether or not I was getting laid regularly enough. As if the only reason I might take exception to an illiterate blog post was that I was sexually frustrated. Well thank you! You are so right, I shall correct that problem immediately. If you claim to be a writer wanting me to buy your book and the best defense you can come up with is, You suck Poopyhead! Get Laid!, then you aren’t much of a writer at all.
There is one particular person in the horror industry that provides more entertainment than most. The writers will know who I’m talking about without my having to say names, and the rest of you can find it in the comments section of my post about David Boyer, if you are really curious and willing to do the work. Anyway, this poor guy is so delusional and obviously unbalanced, that scores of websites have been developed for the sole purpose of mocking him. This may sound like a cruel case of cyber bullying to some of you and I guess in a way it is, but if you spend just 5 minutes looking into it, you will see he brings it on himself. He goes looking for it, attacking random strangers in such offensive and strange ways that they eventually retaliate. It is actually through mindless perusal of his antics that I have found so many others worthy of my new hobby. Thanks man, you bring me much amusement. I love your rambling rants and hollow threats. Congrats. You are the train wreck that the rest of us can’t look away from.
An individual writer who acts like a whiny bitch is only hurting him/herself. But what about when the head of a small press does it? Not only do they hurt the reputation of the company, but the reputations of the writers they have published. This is a bit more heinous in my book. One such publisher, a former facebook friend of mine, recently posted email correspondance between himself and a blogger who criticized his publication, in a note on facebook. This was not posted under a personal account, rather the account bearing the name of the press. What sticks out most in my mind is this:
- The email by the publisher was barely literate, including none of the proper spelling, grammar, capitalization or punctuation that one would expect from someone who calls themselves a writer and an editor.
- Open threats made to the blogger. Physical threats.
- The fact that he openly aired his dirty laundry to potential submitters and readers alike.
And here’s what happened. I lookied up that blog site and read what the blogger had to say. I then looked on Amazon at the reviews given to the publisher’s work, where I was able to see how badly he reacted to negative reviews. I made the decision then and there that I would never submit to that particular small press, nor would I buy his books since he didn’t seem to have even gotten to first base with the English language, let alone made it his bitch. I dropped the publisher on facebook and added his mortal enemy The Blogger. Why did I add the blogger? Because he was articulate and made sense. He’s snarky and a bit mean, but then again, so am I. You see how well that worked out for the small press publisher? Yeah, not at all.
You should never defend yourself to reviewers. Who cares if they didn’t like the book. If your work is good, it will stand up to negative comments. King has gotten plenty. If your press is being blogged about in a negative light, you should ignore it. Who cares. Going on to their site and making an ass out of yourself will only show how unprofessional you really are, and prove the bloggers point. If someone is questioning your press, defend it professionally, as my own publisher did here http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=164644 when questioned at the Absolute Write Water Cooler. Notice how respectful he was? He tried his best to answer questions, even when the tone of the question was negative. Good job Stan! I am proud to work with you.
I guess what I am saying is this, if you are a writer or publisher trying to sell your craft, don’t defend yourself to reviewers. Keep your blogs professional. Though the tone may be light and unconventional, atleast use your damned spellcheck! And don’t air your dirty laundry to the public, whining for support and throwing juvenile insults toward the evil bloggers that have hurt your little feelings. Flame wars may get hits to your website, but they don’t sell books if you end up looking like a trainwreck. For those of you who still think it’s okay to show your ass on the net? Go for it. There are teams of bloggers just waiting to make your unique brand of crazy, their platform to mock you. And I will happily read it. You make it just a little bit easier for the rest of us to sell books. 🙂