Nathan Bransford, Author


Friday, July 22, 2011

How to Deal With Negativity

"Noticia Triste" by Bertha Worms

Originally posted March 10, 2009. In this post I say I'm not an author, but I am now.

It used to be that the worst negativity an author was subjected to were rejections or, for the fortunately published, bad reviews in newspapers (ha! Remember those? What innocent times we lived in three years ago). Even the toughest of authors struggled to maintain a level head in the face of reviews they felt were unfair. Norman Mailer, so tough his corpse could probably still beat me up, sent a letter to the publisher of the NY Times in 2003 complaining about his bad reviews.

But now in the Internet age, rather than the big dagger in the heart courtesy of the Times Book Review, it's more like a death by a thousand Internet paper cuts. If you are out there with any sort of presence on the Internet you will feel it. People will try and cut you down to size, to get to you, to leave you nasty Amazon reviews, to take out their frustrations on you.

I feel it constantly, every single day, and I'm not even an author.

But I'm not complaining! You know why? Because the cardinal rule of dealing with negativity is: Don't complain about negativity.

No one wants to hear someone complain about how they're being picked on. And the more successful someone is the less people want to hear about how they're being picked on. Who knows why. Human nature. I once saw a pack of pigeons ganging up on one pigeon and pecking him like crazy. I'm guessing the fight started when that pigeon complained about how the other pigeons were a bunch of meanies.

But once you have been picked on: try try try to care as little as possible.

This can be hard to do. It hurts when someone says something truly mean about you, particularly when it contains a grain of truth that has been blown up, distorted, or turned around. Or especially when it's a blatant falsehood, like the time someone said I looked like Chace Crawford only with fetal alcohol syndrome (Um... that's false, right? Please?). But it's so important to see the meanness for what it is: meanness. It's not even about you.

(The word "Whatever," spoken aloud, works wonders as well. So does this video.)

And most importantly: don't respond.

Okay, sometimes it's too tempting to resist responding. But if you are going to respond, there is only one way to do so: with a perfectly clear head.

This takes some self-reflection. It takes asking oneself, do I really have a clear head or am I still ready to throttle this person and dip them slowly into a pool of magma? If it's the latter, your anger will come through in your response and you'll wind up looking shrill or passive-aggressive and not at all how you are intending. If you have a clear head: the perfect comeback will present itself.

The only way to respond is through genuine humor, humility, or selflessness. Not passive-aggression. Truly funny or humble or both. If you can't bring that because you're too upset: then just don't do it. Better to put out a tough front and just not respond at all.

All of this boils down to one thing: negativity is a test of strength. If you show weakness in the face of negativity: you lose. If you show strength and character in the face of negativity: you win.

The Internet smells weakness. Be strong. Be magnanimous. Be virtuous.

And then you'll beat those &*$^@*$ into a &*(^&^$ virtual pulp.






60 comments:

L.G.Smith said...

"The Internet smells weakness. Be strong. Be magnanimous. Be virtuous.

And then you'll beat those &*$^@*$ into a &*(^&^$ virtual pulp."

Can we have Cafe Press make up some bumper stickers with that on it? Please?

Christina Lucas said...

I certainly try, try, try to not care. It can be tough. Most of all I make sure I stay true to myself and my vision. I can't please everyone, but nothing is more frustrating than when I do things just for the sake of trying to please someone else, and they wind up hating it anyway. First things first, I have to be happy with it!

Kat Sheridan said...

What I loathe are the mobs that form on the interwebz whenever they smell blood in the water. I hate the piling on, the tormenting and twittering and all that horrible stuff. The failure to recognize that there is a PERSON on the other side of your screen, who is dying a thousand times over your "clever" maliciousness. (not "you" personally, Nathan, but, you know, the collective impersonal sort of "you". You know who you are.)

Just don't do it. If it's happening, be bold and stand up and say you don't like it. Offer a kind word. Offer support. Offer to take the attackee out for a stiff shot of bourbon.

To my utter shame, I've failed to do this on more than one occassion, prefering to avoid bringing the mob wrath down on my own head. No more. No mas. Never again. Good people (and your blog followers tend to be good people, Nathan) need to pledge somehow to stand up in the face of these, um, goobers (I actually have a much stronger word for them, but it's too early in the day for swearing).

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

Standing up to Goobers...now THAT needs to go on a t-shirt.

And on an unrelated note...I love the G+ button!

Suzie F. said...

Love this!

Amy Saia said...

There's going to come a time when each of us receives negative criticism, but then it's only negative if we spin it that way. There's always something to learn=positive.

Put it in your journal, or in a word doc that you can delete afterwards. Or, eat a cookie or something. Actually the best thing to do is to put it in your work. Then sweet revenge is possible. Oh, sweet, sweet revenge.

Bret Wellman said...

It is so bad to because people can hide behind their computer screen, so they don't have to face the consequences. Some people are real monsters on the inside, they just don't show it in public.

Jim Hamilton said...

You can also take solace in the fact that award winning books have been roundly rejected: http://jimhamilton.info/2011/07/22/award-winning-novel-rejected-by-26-publishers/

Suze said...

First of all, what a great post.

Second,

'so tough his corpse could probably still beat me up,'

laughed out loud

Third,

'it's more like a death by a thousand Internet paper cuts.'

Nice.

Finally,

'And most importantly: don't respond.'

Where was this post two weeks ago?

Ah, well. Thanks for it, now.

Janette Dolores said...

So true when you say to recognize that the meanness isn't even about you.

I endured a similar situation recently where meanness is a kind word for the behavior flung at me. (Classlessness would be more spot on.) Anyway, after weighing my response options, I chose silence. I understood that the offensive behavior wasn't about me, but reflective of the offender's own state of being. I've learned that the best way to deal with bullies is to get out of their way. Once they can't feel better about themselves by picking on you, they'll move on. My bully certainly did!

Thank you for this post, Nathan. Have a lovely weekend.

Bret Wellman said...

I just read Kat Sheridan's post and it made me think. Someone should build an anti hate mob. Could you imagine how frustrated these hate mongers would be when every time they try to hurt someone, that person is defended by a mob twice the size? The person getting attacked would be ever gratefuller I bet.
It would be like the freedom riders taking on the westboro baptist church. Epic!

Cathy Yardley said...

I agree: there's a lot of negativity out there. But there are so many bad reviews and so much snark-filled vitriol out there, it all sort of blends into a loud buzzing noise. Most readers, I've noticed, ignore it. It's when the author comes back and goes looney with anger that readers can't seem to forget it. If you can respond with class and a sense of humor, even the worst review can win over fans, a la the "Pregnesia" response on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books. Otherwise, it seems best to just hang out with loving, supportive friends... who will prevent you from posting anything. :)

tamarapaulin said...

It's a relief sometimes to get criticism, after spending so much time bracing yourself for it. Good reviews make me feel almost as anxious as bad ones. I'm afraid my head is going to swell up, leaving me vulnerable to a future implosion.

D.G. Hudson said...

Interesting how appropriate this post from the past is, in light of all the negative internet activity that's been done since this was posted in 2009.

We've seen some of the burnouts when responders didn't have a clear head. I still don't like the mob mentality (or is that community mentality) which sometimes raises its ugly head.

I've had to use the three day rule myself which saves me much face. i.e., Wait three days to see if you still feel as passionate about it before responding. Usually you will have cooled down enough by then to formulate a better response or you'll ignore it. BTW - this is tough to do sometimes, I admit.

Valerie Rieker said...

Words full of wisdom if I ever heard them! Not just for the writing or the internet world, but for the... whole wide world.

Darley said...

Spot on. You have to avoid reacting, falling into the trap that's been set for you, and then saying something you'll regret.

A lesson for life as well as writing.

Mieke Zamora-Mackay said...

I picked up so many thoughts from this post of yours. Thank you.

I loved your line about the internet smelling weakness. I agree with LG Smith, there should be bumper stickers for that.

Heather said...

@Brett Wallman - Kinda like the Patriot Guard Riders protecting funerals from hateful protesters?

I don't know if you've seen their work, but it's incredible. I'm sure you've heard of that... certain organization who likes to protest military funerals for unrelated issues. What they do is stand guard outside of the funeral, blocking with bodies, motorcycles, music, and American flags.

It's not only protecting the family, but it's a tear-jerking honor of the dead.

It's funny how the internet mimics life.

I like the idea, myself.

Anonymous said...

lol that's a funny blog topic.

jesse said...

Nice (re)post.
There's nothing to gain by fighting on the internets. Debate is one thing, but it's pointless to even give attention to childish attacks. Those sort of over-the-top comments are rarely about you (the receiver) anyway.

Ishta Mercurio said...

I love the way you ended this. And I have a sense that some of the negative response to your own efforts at self-promotion are still weighing on your mind.

I don't know if trying not to care is the answer for me, though. How can we help but care about what someone says about our work, or even what is said about us personally?

On the other hand, I agree that there is truth to the adage that you can't please all of the people all of the time. And realizing that, I think, and also coming to terms with it, are the key to dealing with negativity. At least, that's how it is for me. I have to be true to myself, my vision, and I also have to accept that not everyone is going to agree with me or like what I have to say.

When I find myself getting upset, I often realize that it's more out of wanting everyone to agree with me and like me and my ideas than anything else. But that just isn't possible, because everyone is different from everyone else. One man's insightful blog post is another man's stuff and fluff. In order to get over the negativity, I have to embrace the fact that everyone is different, and that everyone has different opinions, and that that is the way it is supposed to be.

Sometimes, though, I have to resort to punching a pillow. ;-)

Ishta Mercurio said...

Also: "Meanness. It's not even about you."

YES.

What others say, no matter who or what they are talking about, is more a reflection of them than anything else. I agree with this 100%.

Also, punching and throwing pillows is good. :-) They're not mutually exclusive, right?

Anonymous said...

semi-disagree. there is the sort of "review" which is breathless, often riddled with misspellings, and factual errors that begs for correction. the person who posts this sort of "review" generally does so to be contrarian ie., "everyone else likes this book, I'm gonna - going to - tell the world why it suks!"

you are correct about the larger attitude of non-engagement. but what I don't - still don't - understand is this idea that the internet is a two way street ... except when someone criticizes you, and esp. when it's unwarranted or wrong (facts, spellings, etc.) I don't see any loss in engaging someone who is both wrong, and willing to broadcast it. what's good the goose / gander sort of thing.

the type of reviewer who waves their big ass around the net really - really - hates being corrected. the problem with non-engagement is that these nasty internet "reviews" tend to bob in search results like non-bio-degradeable plastic. the one review I'm thinking about has consistently been the fifth, never less than the tenth search result. this stoic attitude that you suggest doesn't deal with that. you've spent 4-5 probably more years working on your book, and with one careless post someone splatters pigeon poop all over it.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

It helps to have a group of writing friends you be honest with. A safe place to talk, cry, and rage makes it all easier.

Martha Ramirez said...

Aw man I was looking frwd to watching the video u posted. They took it off.:(

Nathan Bransford said...

Sorry Martha, I fixed it and re-posted. It's there now!

Diana Stevan said...

Love your post on dealing with negativity.

Matthew MacNish said...

FWIW I think you look like Tom Brady, only with better vocab, nicer hair, and a much more crisp orange.

I'm going to email you.

R.D. Allen said...

"Or especially when it's a blatant falsehood, like the time someone said I looked like Chace Crawford only with fetal alcohol syndrome (Um... that's false, right? Please?)."

LOL. That's very false! I bet that person was just jealous of your wit. :P And your hair, which, as Matthew MacNish pointed out, is very good hair indeed. xD

Even your old writing makes my day, Nathan! :D

TeresaR said...

"Don't complain about negativity" is excellent advice. And it applies to everything else in life too, not just authors who get mean reviews. When I reopen my Facebook account, I'm going to quote you on my page. :)

Anonymous said...

This is a good post and very true. I hope I can add that the second part of dealing with negativity--besides ignoring it--is to continue creating. That gives a satisfaction that criticizing will never have.

Here's what surprises me, though: Why are so many authors and writers on goodreads? That place is a nasty nest of negativity, for my work and others'. As an author I won't even touch it...

hmlashelle said...

I just love this! Well said, Nathan.

Angela Brown said...

This is a very helpful post, especially since as writiers, we have to deal with both positive and negative energy from so many places. Another thing to add is that it's so easy for positivity to float under the radar, but negativity can be viral. When someone gives it and the response is the same, it just makes things worse.

Lani Longshore said...

A friend told me she congratulated Herbert Blomstedt on a rave review of a concert by the SF Symphony. She said he smiled and said, "Oh, is that what it said?" He never read reviews - he did the best he could to create beautiful music and let it go.

mapelba said...

In this process of trying to become a published author, if anyone says something negative to me, I just remind myself that no one is as critical of me as I am. And if I can still create something and keep going in spite of the attacking chatter in my own head, then nothing anyone else says is going to stop me.

Might hurt of course. Might make me angry. But at least my childhood made me an expert at ignoring bullies.

marion said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie Soul said...

I find that when I feel like slamming someone that walking away for a day helps. If I still feel like that a day later, then I make my commentary, but I've had a day to make it as witty as possible. But I never have because my trick has always worked.
The other thing I do, is when I feel like the negativity is beating me down, I go shopping. Nothing like retail therapy to help brighten the mood!

popsicledeath said...

Comment too long for this box, so made a more in depth blog post (if anyone cares, but why would you?).

In my opinion the problem isn't negativity, but that the internet is a place where like minds can congregate. This means the 'meanies' team up, but just as bad are the 'be nice' crowd that also persists. Either way, the real problem isn't whether something is negative or positive, in my opinion, but the vapid, ignorant opinions that are given voice online. Being nice isn't the answer, but being intelligent and informed and having perspectives and comments with weight. It's easy to be negative about the negativity, fight fire with fire, but ignorant, shallow 'positive' comments, responses or reactions are just as useless, and arguably just as harmful as all the unmitigated negativity that people love to focus on.

Solution: don't be ignorant and shallow, and those not being ignorant and shallow will understand where you're coming from and respect your opinion, whether it's 'positive' or 'negative' are for those to argue that can't see beyond such shallow labels.

Anonymous said...

What the general public should be aware of, too, is that nowadays many online book reviews are laced with a hidden agenda. They don't seem that way. The authors of the reviews will say they aren't. But there are people getting perks for writing reviews on amazon, according the the quantity of their reviews, not the quality. There've been recent scandals that prove my point well. And there are online review sites that cater to one particular brand or style they love and trash everyone else. And they trash/roast everyone else on purpose and the reviews are there forever. And what about those review sites that have advertisers who are publishers...and they review the advertiser's books? Conflict of interest? They don't seem to think so. I just hope readers are cautious.

In other words, the reader must truly be aware of how things work on the Internet. There are no rules; people set their own. It's more complicated than is seems and you have to read between the lines and do a little research when it comes to online reviews.

Did I mention the great reviews that authors' friends and family leave? Did I mention the snarky negative reviews that other authors leave in order to hurt their competition?

All readers have to be wary these days of all reviews and ratings. A great deal simply aren't accurate.

Anonymous said...

"Here's what surprises me, though: Why are so many authors and writers on goodreads? That place is a nasty nest of negativity, for my work and others'. As an author I won't even touch it..."

Because there are nice, decent people on goodreads, too. You're right about negativity. But I think a good deal of the readers are honest and care about the books and the authors. And, frankly, some of the negative reviews help more than hurt.

Here's an example. I always check out this one snarky romance review site when I'm shopping for romance. I know the excellent A reviews on this site are going to be books I'll hate. I also know the D and F reviews are going to be books I'll love. Sometimes bad reviews work the opposite way for authors.

Mira said...

This is a very excellent post. I absolutely love what you say about the internet being a place where you can develop strength and character. I think that's very wise.

When it comes to my writing, I am so sensitive it's ridiculous. I can stop writing all together if I get the slightest negative comments, so I've already decided I won't read any reviews. And if I get ganged up on, I think there really is an easy solution. I simply won't read what people write. They can't hurt me if they can't get to me. It's not like in real life where someone can stand in front of you and yell at you. I can simply choose not to read comments, etc. and let people do their thing. The idea that my writing could become a target is really scary, and that's the way I think I'll handle it.

But as sensitive as I am about my writing, I'm the reverse when it comes to being targeted for blog comments, etc. I have occasionally been targeted on this blog here, and I'm terribly ashamed to say that I usually enjoy it. Trolls are fun. I like to get into a battle of wits with them, which is great fun for me, because I can usually win by subtlely mocking them. But I've realized this is not a nice thing for me to do, it's mean, actually, so I've stopped and usually just ignore them.

Although - a good way to deal with trolls is to try to communicate with them. This works surprisingly well. They often just want to feel heard, and when I'm able to do that, we can often find a meeting of minds.

I thought what popsicledeath said was interesting. I've noticed that the internet mob can cut both ways. I've seen mob hostility attacks, but I've also seen alot of love and adoration given to people in huge quantity. In fact, I think I've seen more adoration given out than the opposite, which is not what I would have expected.

The internet is a very interesting place. It gets at the heart of the human character, both individually and in groups.

Thanks so much, Nathan - this is a terrific post!

popsicledeath said...

Anyone who thinks review bias or nepotism in literary industries started with the internet are deluding themselves. If anything, at least ALL voices can be heard now, instead of just the power-voices one would have to vie to be on the good side of.

I would argue bias is far less than it used to be in just about every industry with the advent of the internet, where all voices are heard. Giving everyone a voice means giving that voice to both good and bad, or rather those who one prefers have a voice and those one doesn't, which I think is the issue. See a bad review, pretend the internet is teaming with those out to get you, and wallah, delusion is born.

Mostly what I see is writers whining when everyone isn't nice to them or their friends. Who cares if some random nobody gives you a bad review on an internet review site, where it's their right to give any review they want, along with all the people giving positive reviews. I see everyone railing against the 'negative' reviews, but nobody saying ALL reviews should be stopped by consumers since the internet is just too unchecked. So, people basically just want the ones they didn't like to be removed?

All writing will be disliked by somebody, somewhere, and one can either keep complaining and whining about isolated incidents that don't fall in the favor of one's personal choosing, or get over it.

Sure, everyone wants to spin conspiracy theories about how review sites are bias, well, yeah, and always have been, probably less so, as internet outcry is as strong or stronger a force than internet sink campaigns (alleged).

Or people say high ratings are unfairly boosted by friends and family, but unless you're an orphan and social leper, cry me a river. Oh, let me guess, you'll all instruct YOUR friends and family to NOT write any positive reviews anywhere, right? Just to stay above such a dirty tactic? /eyeroll

The most ridiculous is the notion that other writers are ganging up on you to sink competition. The professional writing world is pretty small. No sane, legitimate author is risking their reputation to run around publicly besmirching up and coming writers to ensure their legacy stays intact. At the very least, how many professional writers do you think will sit around wasting their time writing negative reviews on every site they can find? Really, you don't think 'real' writers have better things to do (like their day jobs, heyo).

Basically, writers who make it in the industry learn to not be so sensitive, learn to not make everything about them, learn to not personalize any feedback, learn to understand a natural disaster halfway across the world isn't some cosmic conspiracy to threaten their dreams. Well, okay, or at least learn to not do it all the time, to the detriment of their writing and legacy, to the point they look like children; hard for this generation to resist with the lure of the internet.

If you can't take the heat, at least learn to not whine as you're wilting in the kitchen if you're going to insist on staying. Sure, there's nepotism and bias and even vindictiveness. But you know what the best tool at one's disposal is for rising above all that? Writing better.

Sure, there will always still be coastal bias or that one idiot bashing Charlotte's Web as crap in an amazon review, but by and large writing better is not only what protects your legacy and success, but what makes the dissenters look like fools. Whining and complaining it isn't fair, though, just makes everyone think maybe the 'negative' and 'mean' commentary may have a point.

Anonymous said...

"Mostly what I see is writers whining when everyone isn't nice to them or their friends."

With all due respect, you're an amateur.

These online reviewers have agendas. It's not innocent, it's not real, and it's geared toward promoting themselves as power-bloggers.

The best reviews, by far, come from readers, good or bad. Which is, in fact, something that's wonderful about the internet.

Anon 11:40

popsicledeath said...

With all due respect, Anonymous, I find little is due if the best you can do is pick one sentence out of what are admittedly long posts, quote it out of context, just to insult me. And then go on to state things I also stated.

"These online reviewers" also include readers, don't they. Or, wait, you're proving my point by taking isolated incidents in a vacuum, highlighting them and speaking about them as if it's the norm, and then pretending there's an epidemic of negativity.

In reality, the internet has opened up the voices of far more good, positive and supportive voices than the negative, as Mira points out. The real difference is in fact that people in general (keeping in mind writers are people too, sometimes) focus on the negative, self-serving bias takes over, and suddenly it's a gosh darn conspiracy, man.

Nope, sorry, there's not a conspiracy against you. There's not even enough of these isolated incidents to call it a trend or movement or epidemic. It's writers reading a few bad reviews, honestly probably just from readers who are ignorant or aren't, but just didn't like the book, and not being able to internalize the fact that sometimes people just don't like what they write, or maybe their writing just isn't very good... so, the next best solution is pretending it's some vast negative conspiracy and they're just an innocent lamb.

It's not that scary. There's a lot of good, mostly good in fact, and genuine bad reviews, and a few bad apples (but probably more good apples with blind, ignorant praise). But it's not a conspiracy, trust me.

Cynthia Vespia said...

Great post, Nathan.
Yknow what they say: "The only bad publicity is no publicity at all."
At least if they're commenting on your work it is being read. You can find something useful in even the most scathing of reviews.

Jaycee Adams said...

I will not accept any negativity as being valid unless it comes from someone who puts his nuts on the line to say it.

By that I mean, most people don't want to put their name on something that will get back to them, but there are those who aren't afriad to give a name because the name they give cannot be tracked back to them.

If they put something which CAN be tracked back, something which WILL allow "fair and just retribution" so that their reputation will suffer if they have been unfair, then chances are pretty good their criticism is valid.

Frex, I get plenty of whack-jobs leaving nasty comments about a particular article on my site, but they're anonymous. A few leave names (and even phone numbers) of real people in an effort to SEEM non-anonymous, but they are still, in actuality, hiding. I haven't had any yet who have created an account to use to leave their nasty comments, but if they did, I'd take a look a that account and determine with my vast internet experience whether it was a real person or just something bogus.

But if someone posts with a valid account, and I can determine that potentially leaving nasty-grams in return WOULD have repurcussions on them, then I accept that person as genuine, and MAY have a point. I don't automatically backlash on them, of course, but figuring out who is even worth your time to worry about saves a ton of time.

You wouldn't argue with a bot-net, would you? Think of comments from unverifyable sources to have come from bot-nets, and ignore them, because they can't be reasoned with.

Doreen Buchler said...

Being literally brand new to blogging, your post is exactly what I needed to see and will be referring back often I am sure. Thank you for your words, experience and positive outlook.

Anonymous said...

"But it's not a conspiracy, trust me."

LOL...you have so much to learn.

Anon 11:40

J. T. Shea said...

Bertha Worms!? Yikes! I bet it's a self-portrait. I'd be a bit negative too with a name like that. Where DO you get those pics, Nathan?

Bret Wellman, good point. The old saying about street angels and house devils can now be updated to street angels and screen devils. Anti-hate mob? Good idea.

As we say in Ireland, feck the begrudgers! (Please note careful spelling...)

Great video too, Nathan. Great girls and cars! Now, what was its message again?

Pam said...

Great advice - I learned to do this so well in my day job, because although I'm invested in that work I don't let it "define me" the way I do my writing. Trying to translate it into my writer's life has been harder, but worth it.

Jennie Allen said...

Thank you for this. I am a new author with stuff coming out this fall and this is a constant fear. I just have to quit or I can't enjoy any of it.

Liz Fichera said...

There's mean and then there's constructive. It's usually easy to spot the difference. With mean-spirited comments, I find the best thing to do is ignore them. By acknowledging them, you give them a reason to exist.

blueroses said...

"All of this boils down to one thing: negativity is a test of strength. If you show weakness in the face of negativity: you lose. If you show strength and character in the face of negativity: you win.

The Internet smells weakness. Be strong. Be magnanimous. Be virtuous."

Wow! I love this! Every adolescent "facebooker" or kid in general should MEMORIZE this quote! This one is for keeps and is going up near my computer!

Great post! Thanks!

Conor Neill said...

My 4 year old daughter in the car speaking with her 2 year old cousin yesterday:
She "My favourite rabbit is white"
He "No, its black"
She "Daddy, he is telling me that my favourite rabbit is black and it is not, it is white"
Me "He is teaching you an important lesson in life".
She "But my favourite rabbit is white"

Julia Munroe Martin said...

"A thousand Internet paper cuts" -- which can even come from complete silence or simply comparison.... working to be strong!

Laura Pauling said...

I learned a long time ago not to blog, email or tweet when emotional because sometimes I'd say things without that clear head and then regret it. Great advice.

Anne R. Allen said...

I'm late to this party but it's an important subject:

Be aware there are Amazon review trolls who routinely try to bring down a successful author's star-stats with bogus 1- and 2-star reviews.

Rumors are that some of them are paid by "rival" authors. You can recognize the trolls because all their (very short) "reviews" have the same syntax, plus a similar log in name, and it's obvious they haven't read the book. The criticism is often stuff like, "this has too many words and it's too long. It's the worst book ever written."

If you see any reviews like this of your favorite authors, report the reviewer for abuse (there's a handy button.) Amazon needs to know how to recognize this particular type of spammer, so the more reports, the more likely we can get these guys.

Anonymous said...

Whever somone criticized me and I feel really hurt by it I remember this part of a buddhist quote i read somewhere:
"These reported events are like an arrow shot at my heart but it lands at my feet.
I choose not to bend over, pick it up, and stab myself with it."
It really does help. Cause I can sure do more damage with that damn arrow than the one who shot it in the first place!

mackenzie said...

I feel like people write bad reviews on purpose to try to get under someones skin. I was reading home direct reviews and I couldn't believe some of the reviews. I have used them and I never had a problem. I think you should take bad reviews with a grain of salt. I never let other people bother me.

Anonymous said...

Glad you wrote about this. I haven't published anything, but I am an avid reader and I love Goodreads. But some people on there are just unbelievable bullies. I once made a comment on a horrible review of a book that the reviewer even admitted to not reading. It was directed at the author who supposedly spamed her 'advertising' her book. The hate in that review was really worrysome and the number of followers this person had was even more concerning. Most of her reviewes were on books she hated. And she seemed to get so much pleasure from getting her 5 minutes of fame.
I thought "oh, get a life", but then again, if I were the author, I'd probably feel awful, as this was not a review about the book at all...so you start on a wrong foot at Goodreads - it may really screw you up.
Now I TRY not to read any amature reviews until I read the book myself (they do influence me as a reader)
Wish they didn't.
And I wish people could start ignoring the obvious hateful reviews of people who have nothing better to do with their own lives.

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