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Sunday, June 23, 2013

When Authors behave badly on the Internet

Ten years ago this month, my first romance novel, Revelations, was released. I thought everyone would love it. Would send it to the top of the New York Times best seller's list. 

That didn't happen. Everyone didn't love it. I didn't get glowing five star reviews on Amazon and you know what -- I was OK with that. Before I started writing novels, I had been a full time journalist. And this was before the online comments, back when disgruntled readers would call you or email you. Their comments ranged from -- you don't know what you're talking about to you're stupid. 
A thick skin was developed pretty quickly.

Here's what you need to know as an author -- everyone isn't going to like what you write. Even if you love it, every reader who picks up your book or downloads your ebook, is not going to like it. If someone reviews your book and it's not a five star review (I don't believe in saying positive or negative reviews because we can learn from everything someone tells us) don't argue with them. 

This. Makes. You. Look. Like. An. Amateur. 
This. Stunts. Your. Sales. 

Think about, the best of the best don't argue with people about their opinions about their books. 

I read reviews, but I don't respond to them. You know why? I believe if your respond to the glowing five star reviews, you have to acknowledge the dim one star reviews. I appreciate both -- but if I spent all of my time online fussing with people about their opinion, when would I have time to work on my craft and finish my books? 

It's wasted energy to argue with someone who doesn't like your book. The only thing that will accomplish is that the reader(s) will not like you either. 

Some examples of what not to do (names will be withheld): 
  • WOW.. I am the author of********** and although I cannot please every reader I know for a fact that this book is a GREAT book that I put my all into. Now being that you said you're not a fan of urban tales I think you should read the descriptions and or before you purchase a book that is in the URBAN fiction category you should download the sample to see if it something you would enjoy reading! Thank you for taking a chance on my book, but I'm an artist and I'm sensitive about my craft!!
  • ******** issued a blog entitled "Dear Negative Reader" where she addressed a growing number of readers on the Internet that was expressing disappointment in the series's changes. In the blog ******told the readers that "life is too short to read books you don’t like" and that if they found that the current subject matter pushed "you past that comfortable envelope of the mundane" then "stop reading" and speculated that some of the readers were either "closet readers" or comment based on others' opinions. The blog entry was negatively received by some readers.
  • I am think you skimmed the book, sitting in an auto place, worry about big bad men sniggering, and didn’t bother to see why the characters did things, just took surface reactions. You are keying into ******POV, which at many times is not accurate to what was really happening.
Charlotte Stein wrote it best in the post: Authors Behaving Badly:
Here’s a sample of some responses you should never give to a bad review:
“Dear Mr Reviewer, I’m sooooo glaaaaaaaad you hated my book. And your review was just great! In case you can’t tell, I’m being sarcastic. You STINK. You are a senile, buck-toothed old mummy with bony girl arms, and you smell like an elephant’s butt! Not sincerely, BB Author.”*
But the one above? Yeah, it’s obviously a terrible response to a reviewer. Absolutely terrible! I mean, the author has called the reviewer an elephant’s butt! You can’t get much worse than that. Even the silliest of authors would know that’s a bad, bad response. 

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