Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Sad Case of Zoe E. Whitten

Yes, it has happened again. Another author has opened her mouth and created a shit storm. Only this time, she decided to go out in a blaze of glory. In her own terms. Now, I'm not condoning what she said. But neither am I going to jump on the recent bandwagon of slicing and dicing the newest author who is "behaving badly".

Authors Behaving Badly. It's not new. Nor is it all that surprising. We see individuals say and do thoughtlessly mean things on the internet all the time. But authors are supposed to, for some reason, live to a higher standard. We are supposed to turn a blind eye to the snarky reviews that not only trash our work, but us as people. At least if we want to sell books.

But what nobody tells you about this business is how HARD it is. How disillusioning. And what I've heard from others who have been in it far longer than I, it doesn't get any easier. Sometimes it just seems easier to say, "This is it. I quit."

So I challenge you all, when you see these kind of rants, to consider that maybe, sadly, that author has no place else to turn. Instead of spewing words of hate and then going to Goodreads and Amazon, making up reviews to further the discord, offer that author a small bit of kindness. Even if it is by not pressing the comment button. And then say a small prayer of thanks that you have those around you to whom you can turn when things just seem to get to be too much.

I know I do. And to my fellow Muses, I can only say thank you. For being my rock. My friends.


Sharon S. said...

One of my favorite authors said this about reviews:

Author Ilona Andrews sums it up this way:

What about negative reviews, the ones that make you cringe? Say nothing. Say nothing, say nothing, say nothing.

But what if they said this unfair thing…

Say nothing.

But they brought up a really good point…

Say nothing.

If you argue with the review, you look unprofessional. You are a weakling who can’t take criticism.

If you agree with the review, you look unprofessional. You are sucking up in hopes of future positive reviews.

You can’t win. Remember the guiding principle: if you are an author…you are not a person. You are a representative of a brand. If you have to say something, if you just can’t help yourself, say, “Thank you.” You must find your inner customer service representative, smile, and say, “Thank you so much for taking the time to read the book.”

It is really, really difficult to find that customer service representative sometimes. So if you can’t trust yourself to smile and say thank you, say nothing.

Thank you or nothing. From the business point of view, there is no third choice.

Madelyn Ford said...

Exactly. I wish some authors would take this wonderful advice. Sadly, some can't hold their tongues and it quickly becomes a train wreck. What I wish is those who are observing such scenes not encourage these tirades but just let them die a quick death.

Nathan Bransford compared it to a mob mentality and I think he is right. There are some people who enjoy the failures of others. And there are some who just get caught up in what is going on. It's pathetic to watch both sides.

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