Authorial (Mis)Conduct

There’s a helluva long thread over at Dear Author regarding another author/e-publisher behaving badly. Karen has a few crumbs, too. The whole thing makes me sad–the mudslinging, the back and forth. Some of the alleged behavior is so terribly Jr. High.

But the really sad part is, at least when it comes to the over-the-top and unethical alleged behavior regarding Amazon Reviews, I can kind of understand what motivates it. Authors are sensitive creatures. We get freaked out easily. I totally understand that first rush of horror and anger when you read something that seems to threaten or disparage your work. It seems so unfair!

Sitting in front of a computer as much as we do, it’s easy to get sucked into the Internet and imagine that it actually matters (see my irrational mini freak-out over the other Bettie Sharpe, below). The important thing is to step back, relax, and remember that the only graceful response to a negative review–if you must respond–is, “Thank you for reading and reviewing my work. I hope you’ll enjoy my next story more than you enjoyed this one.”

Kinda makes silence look appealing, doesn’t it?

Yeah, what she said: Shiloh Walker has a calm and collected post on the matter. Want to read more? Go there.

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5 comments on Authorial (Mis)Conduct

  1. Angelle says:

    Amen, Bettie.

    It’s silly to argue or fight negative reviews. You just can’t win, and you only end up angering the reviewers / readers.

  2. When you get a bad review, try to remember this: everyone likes something different. This means that no matter how good your writing, someone won’t like it. That might seem like a depressing thing to say, but I think of it in the opposite manner—if it’s inevitable that someone will dislike your work simply due to differences in tastes, then why sweat it when it happens?

    Okay, you’re now thinking, that’s easy for me to say, I’m a reviewer. But I used to be a freelancer, and I’ve had my share of both good and bad reviews. I know just how much it hurts even when you know it doesn’t really matter. But ultimately, remember that you’re in control of your work. See what people have to say about it, good and bad, and decide for yourself what you agree with and which things you plan to change (or not!).

    As a writer, I know people are entitled to their opinions. As a reviewer, I know that my review is my opinion—and that’s all it is.

  3. kate r says:

    it’s beyond the strange and addictive power of a soap opera. I’m trying to keep my mouth shut–no need for more omigodding or interpretations–but it’s so hard.

  4. It’s impossible to please everybody every single time. Trying to do so, expecting to do so? It’s a certain way to drive yourself nuts .

    And we’ve already got enough driving us crazy just living, right?

  5. sherry thomas says:

    Yeah, it’s been a strange, unsettling spectacle, hasn’t it?