Are you feeling good?
Are sales of your book decent?
Have you given away a lot of free copies?
It’s pretty awesome isn’t?
So … have you looked at your Amazon and Goodreads reviews yet?
I will wait right here while you go do that. Doesn’t worry I have some classic Calvin and Hobbes stuff I can read while you peruse your feedback then we can talk.
15 minutes later
Hey put that gun down!
We can talk about this. I swear everything will be alright.
You just did the one thing that is the greatest cause of first time authors never writing and publishing anything again. My friend you read the reviews and actually expected them to be fair and honest. It’s okay, don’t feel stupid. We have all done that and we have all felt like we were beat to death by a crazy walrus.
Have a drink and relax.
Let me tell you one of the truest things I have learned in all of my years of writing and publishing.
“Most people are assholes when protected by the internet.”
I am by no means saying that everyone is an idiot or an asshole. There are many fair and balanced (fuck I hate that phrase) people who post reviews online. But for every three fair reviews I have received (not good, a review does not have to be good to be fair) I have received one trolling piece of shit review that seems to imply I rape babies and eat the livers of kittens. I have been told that my writing is the worst thing, the absolute worst thing, the reviewer had ever read. I guess this means that said review has never read 50 Shades of Grey.
Okay I will be honest I hate 50 Shades of Shit and I make no apologies for it but for the most part unless I really like a book or story I will never review it, I really think it is the height of bad form for a writer to trash another writer. That being said we have all done it even if we wish we haven’t.
Take reviews with a grain of salt. By this I mean you absolutely should read your reviews once but if you think a review is stupid then it most likely is. I have read some serious criticisms of my work which are completely valid and have actually helped me. I just finished reediting the entire Shores of the Dead series and reuploading it to Amazon mostly based on reviews that said the story was good but the editing was rough.
Because of that I have a better product.
In the converse I received a review a few months ago where the reviewer freaked out because there is a lesbian love subplot. I have no problem with the person not liking it, different strokes for different folks and all that. But I have a hard time when a person latches onto less than 1000 words of text and decide they ruin a 55,000 word book that they claim is otherwise awesome.
It’s fucking baffling.
Another thing that seems to happen more often than you would think is the partial reader hater. These geniuses read one or two chapters, decide that the tale just isn’t for them, and then proceed to review the ENTIRE book based on two chapters. The very first review I ever received for the Shores of the Dead Book 1 was a one of these partial reads. The person received so many negative comments from subsequent readers (people I have no connection with) that they pulled the review.
But that almost never happens. Some people just get off on ripping people and trashing their creations. As trite as it might sound I honestly believe that many of these haters are truly jealous because you actually published a book and all they can do is bitch and moan.
This doesn’t necessarily mean your work is good (your work could suck hard) it just means that these people are jerk-offs. So don’t get a swelled head, every writer needs to improve their craft no matter how experienced they are. Don’t believe me? Stephen King says the same thing. Love him or hate him he IS the success index.
All of that being said and filed for future reference, or ignored I have never claimed to really know what I am talking about, here is another list. This list is my recommendations for how to handle horrible criticism.
Ignore Them – Seriously the best thing you can do is ignore the assholes on the internet. But if you are like me you won’t be able to do that, you will in fact obsess on every little thing that is said and each will feel like a knife to your heart.
Do Not Engage – You’ve read the comments and they hurt, I get it they are going to hurt. Do not respond to them. Do not answer them on Amazon, do not dance with them on Goodreads, and for the love of all of the gods and goddesses NEVER fight with them on Twitter or Facebook. It’s not worth the headache and it takes time from writing.
Don’t Whine – You may be tempted to take to your blog or social media and whine about all of the people who are being mean to you. If you do this I will never talk to you again or read anything you write even if you win fabulous awards and cash prizes. You may be hurt and angry but bitching too much about it online just makes you sound like a whiney puss-hole. If someone dicks you over and you bitch about it that’s one thing, I do it all the time. But whining because someone hurt your feelings … just don’t do it.
Write More – The best revenge on the haters and armchair writers is to write as much as possible. Just keep getting your work out there a circulating. Make money and get good reviews. Besides if you are like me creating content gives you a natural high.
That’s it kids. That is all I have to say about dealing with the assholes online. Notice I am not mentioning “Legitimate” reviewers and bloggers. Some are good and some are bad but on the whole I could care less about them. Although I will say there are a few who are amazing. They provide incredible feedback and are amazingly fair.
Next time will be the last installment of this series. We will be discussing what comes next and what I hope you have learned from reading all of my bullshit. It will be a wrap up of MASH like proportions … or maybe LOST.