Like millions of people in this world, I was bullied in elementary school, middle school, and high school. Treated like crap on purpose for reasons I will never know.
Does this bother me? No.
In all honesty, I’m now friends with some of the people on Facebook and they are all wonderful adults who I feel blessed to know.
So why do I bring it up now? Well, because of the simple fact of the trend plaguing our world: author bullying.
When I first started writing I knew that with publication would come bad reviews. Novels are subjective, people read them in different ways, and sometimes what someone loves, another person hates. It’s an inevitable fact of life for any author—the one-star review that stings and punches your gut. But, what I didn’t count on, probably because I hadn’t heard about it was reader/reviewer bullying.
Bullying???? At my age?? And, just because I’m an author???
Suffice it to say, I was confused when I started coming across blogs about this very topic, and it took a lot of research and learning to fully grasp that it’s actually a really big problem in the writing/author world. All it takes is just a single twig to snap. Just one bad review by someone on a mission to destroy you for no reason, just one opinionated article you write that pisses off a lot of people, just one revealed skeleton in your closet, or just one tiny expressed opinion that people disagree with and BAM! You’ll find yourself in a chaotic mess that could very well drown you.
As of now, I have yet to be a victim, myself, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen in the future.
I have never understood the people who sit behind their computers and get their rocks off by posting hateful words towards another human being just for the fun of it like it’s some game and they are the master of champions.
Of course, I know there are going to be one and two-star reviews on every novel for various reasons: too many grammar mistakes, not enough depth in a plot for their taste, a shallow character, or the usual, the novel just didn’t speak to me. However, those aren’t the reviews I’m talking about. I’m talking more of the paragraphs full of colorful metaphors explaining how much they hated the novel. Bold, caps locked, cuss words, and hate so harsh, you shy away from the comment even though it has nothing to do with you. Some of these bullies even take it a step further and post comments on good reviews, attacking the innocent readers for their praise of a novel they so greatly loathed. They don’t care what they are doing, they hated a novel, and they believe everyone should hate it too.
Through author Anne Rice, I came across STGRB, a website dedicated to stopping the bullies in their tracks. I haven’t joined the site, but I have read through some of the articles and have done research on things posted. One article was recently written about authors getting one-star reviews from trolls for being overweight or not pretty enough to be an author.
Through my research, I’ve found other blogs and seen Facebook rants between authors, bashing each other on their writing and novels.
And, let’s not forget what happened to author Lynn Shepherd after she wrote that infamous article bashing Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling, and *gasp* adult readers who read YA. After her opinion was made public, the backlash against her soared to hundreds of 1-star reviews on all her novels for no other reason than she simply pissed people off.
Now, granted, as a fan of Harry Potter and an adult, I, too, was offended by Ms. Shepherd’s words. However, the thought of publicly bashing this woman never crossed my mind. Leaving a one-star review on her novel, having never read it, just seemed more like just performing another wrong. And, we all know that two wrongs, don’t make a right. Not to mention, in order to leave a review, I would have had to purchase one of her books, and I don’t read that genre. Of course, the irony in this whole thing is that in order for a person to leave a bashing review they had to purchase the novel. So, even though it wrecked her ranking, she made a bunch of sales.
But, back to my point.
In another story, I came across, a reviewer took the bad review to a whole other level in Catfishing the author. Yes, Catfishing. Of course, I’d heard of the term before. Poor men and women who are conned by people online pretending to be someone they aren’t for fun and sport.
But, catfishing an author? For what?
Apparently, for nothing other than the simple kick of ruining someone’s day and reputation for no other reason then they just wake up and want to damage a life that day. A woman using someone else’s name on Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon attacking an author and stalking anyone else who reviewed the novel.
At what level does a persons’ behavior just become too odd to even remotely comprehend?
I just don’t understand, and I’m sure I never will. I suppose all I can do is hope that something like that never happens to me, and if it does, I pray that I have the strength and resolve to get through it with my chin up—knowing people can sometimes be just harsh and mean for no other reason then they are evil people.
6 thoughts on “Bullying an Author #writerproblems #writing #amwriting #writerlife”
Does this site by Anne Rice give ways to stop the cyber bullying?
I don’t know. But, I do know you can report the person to them. If you click on some of the links, they actually have lists of names of the worst offenders on Amazon and Goodreads. People who just do it for sport. And, if you contact the site personally, they will get in touch with you on what to do.
Interesting. Thanks for the info.
And, I don’t really know if there is a way to stop them. People are just out to be bullies. Plain and simple.
My question is this: from a writer’s standpoint what does it really matter if someone decides to wallpaper the net with one star reviews of a book? I’ve personally never let a review – good or bad – dictate what I would and wouldn’t read. And I’ve definitely never refused to read a book because someone online called the author a fat cow or because some anonymous troll spewed something hateful about them.
One thing I’ve finally learned – after years of dealing with bullies and trolls of my own – is that writers sometimes have a tendency to get caught up in their own drama and lose sight of the bigger picture. Do READERS – not trolls and not jealous/vengeful/bored internet bullies with nothing better to do than tear people down – enjoy your books? Trolls work tirelessly to seem powerful and like they can destroy lives but the truth is, nobody cares what they think. That is so important to remember. Trolls want you to believe that everyone agrees with them when they say you’re whatever hateful term they’re using that day. But the truth is nobody cares what a troll thinks because – reality check! – nobody cares about YOU. I don’t mean that in a sad, “woe is me, the world sucks” kind of way. I mean, most people have their own lives and problems and concerns and they just don’t have the time or desire to get into yours and it’s just silly to get bent out of shape over an opinion someone probably doesn’t care enough to have.
How do normal, everyday readers react to your writing? That is what matters. If you’re a good writer and you produce entertaining, engaging work then there’s really nothing any reviewer or troll or online bully can do to your career except maybe help get your name out there even more. As far as giving you a bad reputation, you’re a WRITER. You’re the one writing your story. It doesn’t matter what they TRY to make you look like. What matters is what picture you paint of yourself. Express yourself and let the truth about you be known and it won’t do any good for the trolls or hateful reviewers to try and damage your reputation. You could even use their attempts as a way to showcase your creative abilities. Laugh at them, Make fun of them. Link back to the posts they’re trying to use against you and add your own post. Like a picture of your cat taking a dump on a printed copy of their review.
Everybody knows the net loves cats.
Thanks for stopping by Cris!! I’m sorry that you had to deal with trolls. But, it sounds like you’ve mastered the best attitude toward the whole thing. And, you bring up a really great point. It really shouldn’t matter what a troll thinks or does because, yes, as you said, Joe from down the street really isn’t going to care much about the happenings of my daily life. LOL. As long as they keep it to the computer screen and don’t harass in any other manner, like coming to a home, calling on the phone, or harassing family members. I have to say, also, as in the case with Ms. Shepherd, in order for those people to leave those 1 Star reviews they had to buy the book. So, even with the review, she got a sale and a royalty out of it. LOL