Well, it looks like I picked a peach of a time to start a blog segment about being a writer. Yeesh. At least I’m not hurting for topic material?
So, in case you somehow missed it, last week brought about a flip in the usual trend of reviewers calling out authors-behaving-badly, with the birth of a lovely website called “Stop the GR Bullies” (‘GR’ stands for Good Reads). And no, I am not going to grace that mess with a hotlink, sorry.
The basic gist of it is a team of anonymous butthurts (“we’re not authors, really, seriously! We just have all this free rage and vengeance for reviewers of books that we liked… ‘as readers’.” Mmm-hm.), who got together and made a “shaming” site for mean widdle reviewers who didn’t like their favorite books and were mean ol’ meanies about how they said it.
Thing is, they’re not only naming and profiling these reviewers they feel are “bullies” (and oh, how I hate the way that term is being abused in this situation), but as some kind of punishment, they’re also posting (without consent) the personal information of these reviewers: real names, photos, info about their families, speculation on fitness as parents, specifying reviewers’ RL workplace locations, daily public habits and places they go, etc. Clearly, this information is posted as a threat or intent to stalk, harass, and/or bring offline harm to these reviewers.
As of Tuesday night, someone had already acted on those threats, and one of the Good Reads reviewers in this site’s ‘lineup’ received a threatening anonymous phone call.
There is so much wrong with this, I can’t even. Look, I’m a writer and all, but shit like this makes me too emotional and ragey, and I very quickly stop making sense. It’s a problem I have – if I try to explain just what is wrong with this and why, I will quickly cross the line from ‘blogging’ into ‘online journaling,’ and believe me – we do not want that. Besides, several other bloggers have summed it up far better than I can.
The only thing I do want to add is this:
Please. Please, reviewers and readers – never feel apprehensive about reviewing my works.
First off, because I genuinely do want your feedback, even if it’s to say “this sucked”! The worst thing a book can get isn’t a scathing review – it’s NO review. Apathy is the enemy, man.
Will my feelings be hurt by negative reviews? Damn skippy. Will I be telling you about it? Fuck no! That’s what my husband, my mom, my therapist, my writing partner, and my dog are for.
Second, I’m a reader, too. Becoming an author doesn’t change that. And as a reader, I’ll be damned if I’m okay with fellow readers and reviewers being threatened or silenced because they’re not “sweet” all the time. “Well-behaved women seldom make history,” and all that.
Do I want to outline here what I think are The Rules? Hell no. I’d love to be able to just say, “don’t be a dick,” but apparently even that gets lost in translation. So I honestly don’t know what to say.
Except that, from an author’s standpoint, please don’t judge all of us by the behavior of the loudest problem. Especially self-published authors. God, we already have such a steep mountain to scale, and then douchebags like these ‘Stop the GR Bullies’ idiots make it even harder to be taken seriously.
Damnit, for my first Writerly Wednesday, I wanted to write about how I think Chuck Wendig is a dirty messiah genius, and about how I think the muse is a big, fat, crock of donkey-poo. Instead, I’m blogging about how, no, really – even though I’m self-published, I’m not crazy, at least not in *that* way, and please read and review my stories all you want! I believe in minimal to zero author interaction with regards to reviews.
And comment! It’s all good!
Finally, yeah, I do kind of want to say, “don’t be a dick.” But that’s more on the writer-end of things. Reviewers are allowed to be as dickish in their reviews as they want – they’re there for the readers, not the writers.
Is that an unfair double-standard thing? Maybe it looks like it, but I don’t think so. After all, we writers have already had our say – we wrote a story and put it out there, with the expectation that not only will someone read it, but they’ll give us money to read it. Look, we’re not just ‘artistes‘ playing with our ‘precious little babies’ (*BARF*). In the end, we’re ultimately sellers of a product. Do you see Starbucks flouncing and trolling and bitching out customers when they express dissatisfaction with their latte?
Seriously, writers? Chill the fuck out. Please. Or hey, don’t. Because you know what? There are plenty of us no-names with perfectly good senses of humor and great stories to tell down here at the bottom. And we’re just waiting to fill your slot on someone’s TBR list.
P.S. If you would like to be one of my first reviewers, I do have a short story out on Kindle, Nook, SmashWords, and ARe. It’s short, very smutty, very fluffy, and very cheap (I believe in pricing things from a reader’s standpoint, and I’m usually not interested in paying more than a buck-fifty for something under 20,000 words.). However, if you’re actually interested in reviewing it, on GoodReads or your blog, and you can’t/don’t want to cough up the pocket change, I’ll be happy to send you a pdf. Contact me below or privately before my next blog post goes up (this Friday), and you’re on.