This weekend in two of my Facebook author groups I have seen more examples of bad author behavior. Some of this didn’t make it to the first list, and some of it is the same thing taken to the next level. This is really really sad. The epidemic is spreading. Even New York Times bestselling authors are beginning to do some of this stuff.
Book bloggers and reviewers are being threatened and taken advantage of. Even death threats are being made. So, then some reviewers are slamming their virtual doors into authors’ faces. All because of the ones behaving badly which is done by a few not most. Can’t say that I blame them. In this case it makes having a good public persona and developing relationships even more essential.
Bullying is running ramped. I seriously feel like I have transported back in time into high school. Authors are doing this to each other as well as reviewers. It’s hard to watch and the masses get punished by the actions of the few on either side.
The three letter w-word seems to be popping up betwixt the communities (author and reviewer/book blogger) within the bigger community, and that is so sad! There isn’t one! We just have a disagreement and a misunderstanding at best. I think the bad behavers on both sides are using that little word too much these days–it’s a little word that leads to death and destruction and animosity. The virtual and real world is a community. We need everybody! Everyone is SUPPOSED to work together for each other’s benefit. Throwing rocks at one another doesn’t help anyone; it hurts everyone. Communities come together to work out the misunderstandings and move on!
Well let’s see what else we have going on!
This usually refers to Facebook timelines, but it can also take place on discussion forums and groups, or other social media. What happens here is an author will post their book links and other stuff on someone else’s page or profile timeline without being invited. It’s the uninvited plug so to speak. That is like inviting yourself into someone’s house and raiding their pantry when they don’t even know your name or not even saying hello. Talk about awkward! This would make somebody mad. In the real world you would be lucky that you don’t get hurt or have the cops called on you. In the virtual sense you’ll be unfriended and probably told on. Not the best way to make friends at all.
The idea behind this is to ride on someone else’s coattails to get ahead. Maybe even step on their head. That’s bad. That’ll make you sink rather than rise, and maybe even make you stink!
To add insult to injury, some authors rain on another author’s bit of sunshine by hijacking. Sometimes it few and far between to be in the light and short lived. That definitely makes someone look bad (the person hijacking).
Social Media Storm
Read this rather lengthy blog post by an Amazon Top reviewer who has just felt the heat of the wrath of a NYT Bestselling author. Bad author behavior is not just aimed at indies any longer :(. The reviewer’s review was not in any way demeaning or spiteful, but honest. The names of the reviewer and the author are in the post. So in other words, we have a big name author with an ultra big platform. This would be the worst case scenario of the social media storm. This is like a splice of the “Call to Arms” and “Invading Enemy Territory” from the first post with a twist. You can say it’s another form of “platform abuse”.
The author uses the might of their author platform to drum up ire for the offending reviewer, but they personally don’t lead the charge. When the fans go on the attack the author conveniently doesn’t know what went wrong or why everybody’s mad. This is stirring up of the proverbial hornet’s nest. Hurricanes and tornadoes start spontaneously and build strength and hit with all their fury. However, someone is going to ‘see’ online and call it out. That’s how this thing got busted!
The result of the storm is a full on bullying frenzy. It’s like a full scale piranha attack. The angry author wants said reviewer to be devoured to their proverbial skeleton. That’s not what your author platform is used for! It us used to sell your next book and to broaden your reach! Also this scenario reminds me of high school. This is the nerd that told off the cheerleading captain or the football star for picking on another kid, and the rest of the senior class jumps on said nerd, steals their lunch money, gives them a wedgie, and stuffs them in the trash can in front of the rest of the school. Does anyone want to he his or her friend? Nope.
Just like valedictorian or the senior superlatives list, that’s all the NYT bestseller list basically is. Although it is nice, but that shouldn’t be your main goal for writing–it should be the fulfillment of a dream and connecting with readers! There is much more to high school as well!
The Entitlement Epidemic
The sense of entitlement among authors is excruciating! It’s really sad. In this sense I think we have stepped even farther back in time to the terrible twos. When authors don’t get what they want they go into a public tantrum. Sure everyone hopes their book is the next big thing. Sure no one likes getting a negative review, definitely if it’s exceedingly harsh and insulting. In that case don’t feed the trolls (review from part 1). Getting a good honest review that can help you and readers is better than getting phony glowing reviews.
But having the sense that readers and others ‘owe’ you something is a bit much. Pitching a tantrum in real or virtual public about not receiving what you want is even worse. Being kind and saying please and thank you goes a long way. Minding your manners goes a long way too. Acting like the spoiled two year old is going to help you or anyone else. The world doesn’t revolve around you. It doesn’t owe you anything. You can’t have proverbial ups just because of whatever you think fills in the blank.
Buying Book Reviews
There is some controversy around this issue, but it seems to be sliding to the bad side. What makes this particularly “bad” is that you are paying $999 for guaranteed good reviews. This isn’t the same thing as book awards, Kirkus Discoveries, etc. You are guaranteed an honest review, but not a good review. There is that nagging sense of authenticity here. It my honest opinion it’s almost like paying for followers on Twitter. They’re not “real”. Paying for Twitter followers is bad, BTW. Rumor has it that a pretty famous author has bought book reviews and is now experiencing some backlash. If anything, it’s going out of style and is beginning to go bad like month old milk.
From a thrifty standpoint, I could go on a top-notch blog tour, edit another book, or tons more with that much money and meet some real people to connect with. The moral of this is if it smells funny don’t eat it!
That about does it. I hope there won’t be a Part III to this series…