No, in case readers are wondering no it wasn’t me–at least, that I am aware of ;). With that knowledge out of the way, here we go.
Everybody knows that little tidbit about as you do right it seems like no one or few people see what you’re doing or up to. So it is until you screw up. I mean REALLY screw up. Yeah. Everybody and their friends and family seems to know. The Twitterverse and the Blogosphere and all related online universes seem to buzz with the notion that you screwed up, how you screwed up, the responses thereof about how everybody reacted to how you screwed up, etc. All eyes are on YOU. Not the attention you had in mind.
It may be funny to read the said scenario above, but it isn’t so funny if you are the person who screwed up and become the reason said scenario above occurred. The best way to avoid said scenario it not to screw up.
I know everyone makes mistakes here and there, but doing something you know is wrong in the online community or in the community you’re a part of is where the rubber meets the road here.
This is not a backwoods-related post since backwoods stuff rarely occurs online, so that’s not the community in question. Rather, it’s the indie author community I am a part of.
The scenario: indie author gets a bad review and has a public meltdown. Online. Concerned online neighbors begin talking about the said meltdown. I’ll write about all kinds of bad author behavior on my other blog Newbie Author’s Guide next week. To read the indie author’s public meltdown post click here. Click here to read more about another blogger’s reactions to the said meltdown. I found out about the meltdown by another concerned online author neighbor. See how that works? How far has it gone since? What makes it really scary is that I have seen this person online and have connections with this person. Not extremely close where I talk to him all the time, but I have bumped into him a time or two online.
The reviewer has apparently removed her review from Amazon. I guess he won that round. But, in the wake of kicking that offending stone, he just buried himself in a rockslide. Didn’t do anything but harm and harm his public image.
There has been a rash of posts written about how authors should deal with negative reviews. Yes they suck (the reviews). Yes they hurt our delicate egos. Yes nobody wants them. But guess what? We can’t make everybody on the planet like our work. Even popular books like Harry Potter and Twilight have people that hate them. Even the greatest writers of all time have had negative reviews. No one is safe. No one is exempt. It’s a matter of when and not if. That’s the price we pay for sharing and going public. We have no control over other people’s opinions. Could this rash of related blog post be in accord to the indie-author-in-question’s meltdown? Probably.
We do have control over how we act toward other people. You don’t want to be a cyber-bully or an author-douche.
And guess what? The reviewers’ opinions are mostly geared toward other readers and for the sake of other readers’ possible reading experience. There are some cases though where a reviewer my be writing to the author and they usually make a note to the author in the review. We learn and grow from them. And, any critique at all may actually HELP a reader’s experience–been here done that. Sometimes a negative review or reviews can actually encourage a buy just because curiosity is aroused–speaking of others here. If you read both good and bad reviews for something you get the whole picture. If you have a public meltdown and attack the reviewer on Amazon, your blog, Twitter, you have just sealed your fate. You may have just helped yourself get on thousands of people’s “Never Buy” list just by not being professional. That’s one list you DON’T want to be on.
Occasionally though there are scathing reviews left by rival authors for attack, but they’ll get their comeuppance. Other reviewers may just be plain nasty for no reason. Bad online behavior does come out sooner or later. The best course of action? “Don’t feed the trolls” and “Don’t attack the reviewer”. Have your tirade or pity party elsewhere offline and in private. No one will ever know. If you need to talk to friends, do so privately where no one else can see. If a reviewer makes a comment on an author as a person and don’t know them, what do they know? They are in the wrong. You don’t step in; another reviewer might and call them on their bad behavior. Let others do it for you. It’s the safest thing to do. Don’t call upon your minions to invade said offender’s domain though. Somebody’s gonna know! Then YOU are in the wrong. You don’t want to be there!
If I have learned anything by watching this, its what can happen if you act unprofessionally at any time. Everyone’s gonna know. What you do will affect your public image. It takes a lot of work to build it, but it doesn’t take much to destroy it. Funny how that works!