Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Author Rule Number 1: Don't be a dick
Okay, so I've been hanging out on Goodreads as my pseudonym lately, and one thing has become increasingly clear. There is a lot of love over there for indy authors, but there is also a lot of wariness as well. And you know why?
Nutjobs. Crazy nutjob people who've self-published something on Amazon Kindle Direct, and now think they're authors. And guys, whether you self-pub or whether you try to go the traditional route, let's get one thing clear: there is more to being an author than writing a book.
And while this isn't entirely an indy author issue, it seems to be more prevalent there. I don't know. Maybe an agent helps keeps the crazy bottled up. Or, probably, those authors who have done the hard slog to get an agent have actually picked up some professionalism along the way. But there are a lot of people who call themselves authors who haven't.
Spend any time in the GR groups or the Amazon Kindle message boards, and you'll spot them. The ones with egos bigger than their vocabularies. The ones who genuinely can't understand when they aren't hailed as literary geniuses. The ones who, having thrown themselves in the big pond, are floundering.
Which brings me to the only rule you will ever need when it comes to interacting with your readers online: Don't be a dick.
If someone doesn't like your book and writes a review saying that, this is not bullying. Bullying is a sustained pattern of negative behaviour, not a book review.
If you then stalk this reviewer, repeatedly insulting them every time they make some unrelated comment on the site, then this is bullying. Oh, also, you should not be surprised at the shit-storm you have created. And when you are facing the full force of the aforesaid shit-storm, don't be surprised when people blame you for bringing it all on yourself. Because, guess what? You brought it all on yourself.
Don't argue with reviewers about reviews of your book. That's a fight you can't win. If someone asks a question, answer it, and you're done. Easy, isn't it? Don't go off on a rant about how the reviewer doesn't understand how hard it is to write a book. Don't tell them that their opinion is worthless, because they obviously don't understand literary genius when it punches them in the face. And -- this one's been cropping up a lot lately -- when someone (even after you've repeatedly told them that you're a genius) still stands by their negative review, don't suggest they seek psychiatric help. Because I promise you, by that stage in the argument the only one giving off crazy vibes is you. Yes, you.
So put the crazy down, back away from the keyboard, and don't be that guy. Just don't.
If you're better than that, prove it.