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.