Grow Up


I thought I was done talking about the writing business and the assholes that seem to permeate it but apparently I was wrong. If you had asked what my next gripe would be focused on I would have told you either editors who think they know everything or Amazon and their screwed up dashboard and royalty system. I am more shocked than any of you to find that I am not upset with either of these things.

Sometimes writers are complete assholes.

Pick your damn jaw up off the floor and let me explain.

A friend of mine (who shall remain unnamed) made a post on Social Media about some blowback she received. Apparently a blog sent her a copy of a book to perform an unbiased and objective review on. She happily read and reviewed the book. I have read the review and it is fair, she did not care for what she read but she did not denigrate the work and she even encouraged people to read it and form their own opinions.

The author was not pleased.

She received an email from the author who wanted information as to who gave her the review copy. The author also questioned her review and her qualifications to review another person’s work.

If you have been reading my essays for any length of time you know have little love for reviewers and critics. That being said I have respect for the ones who do the job fairly and take the task seriously. But a review/critique is just ONE PERSONS OPINION, it is not the word of god and it is not by definition “Right”.

Sorry, this is not about reviewers.

Writers need to grow up. You might think I am speaking about new writers but the reality is there are very few writers I am aware of who could not do with a bit of armor. And this first and foremost goes for me. I take everything personally, even if I know the reviewer or critic is just being an asshole there is still a part of me that cringes and wonders what I can do to make the unhappy person happy again. Or I am filled with white hot rage and desire nothing more than a trip to cyberspace where I burn down their digital crops and salt their electronic soil!

Then I smack myself upside the head and move on.

Writers are vain, writers are fragile, writers are sensitive, writers are thin skinned, and writers need validation. To make it short and sweet, writers are needy little bitches who will always forget the one hundred positive things said about their work and run to their pillows crying over the one mean thing.

Josh included.

I allowed myself to quit writing for months because one asshole had some horrible shit to say about my work. To be fair he is and was a mediocre writer in his own right but it still made me feel lower than low. I am still ashamed to admit I allowed one person that far into my head, but these essays are about the truth I will never try to paint myself in a favorable light because the truth is embarrassing. To name it is to claim and I was whinny bitch who didn’t just man up and move on.

We as writers need to be the bigger man or woman, or at the very least we need stop being idiots. When you make a stink because somebody who you don’t know, and will probably never meet, was mean to you all you are doing is showing the world your ass. I know, I've done it and I still feel like an idiot about it.

Don’t directly engage the negative reviewers and critics. When you see a negative review on a blog, Amazon, or Goodreads take it in stride and do not respond. If you can’t fight the urge to do that one thing then at least keep it in private. For the love of whatever gods you may or may not believe in keep your tantrums off the internet. Nobody needs to see that mess and in the end all it will do is make you look bad. Remember it’s not the reviewer or the critic who is trying to sell their work it’s you.

Look what I am trying to say in this rambling bit of nonsense is BE PROFESSIONAL! I am not saying you can’t speak up for yourself and I am not saying that you as the writer should roll over and allow the words of the reviewer to sodomize you. What I am saying is be smart about it, use you words to fight back. You are a fucking writer aren’t you? Then write, keep writing and ignore what the worst of the reviewers and critics say.

But do not ignore them all.

For every five asshats writing reviews and critiques there is that one jewel. These people are to be treasured, nurtured, and used. These are the mostly fair and balanced reviewers who attempt to look at things objectively. When you locate one of these wonderful people pay attention to what they have to say. I am in no way saying change what you do to please them but consider that they may have some fair points and that you may wish to try some modifications. But don’t make changes you feel are wrong, they may be the best reviewers ever but they didn’t write or edit your work.

You are a writer. You are an artist or sorts. But if you want people to read what you have to say then you need to draw them in and not push them away and the fastest way to push someone away is by being a brat. Don’t act like a child act like an adult, we have no bed times and we can eat all the ice cream that we want.


- Josh


Josh Hilden

When I was born on August 3, 1976 in the great state of Michigan the hills shook and the sky was swept with fire. These were portents of the greatness for my future that was written in the stars ... I'm still waiting for that greatness. My name is Josh Hilden and I am many things. I am a husband, a father, a son, a friend. These are all important things but at my core I am an artist and the medium that I work in is words. I am a writer of Horror, Science Fiction, Drama, and Role Playing Games. I worked for Palladium Books ( and Third Eye Games ( before striking out on my own and founding a small press publishing company Gorillas with Scissors Press ( I also work for Fat Goblin Games ( In the everyday world I can be found spending time with my family and friends. I have been married to my lovely wife Karen since 1996 and we have six amazing children. We tend to be a family of unabashed geeks and gamers who were geek before geek was chic. If you are really interested in me I am very active online with a personal and a writing blog along with a plethora of social media outlets. If you have any questions or just want to chat hit me up!