Thursday, November 13, 2014

Being Switzerland: Bad Behavior of Book Bloggers vs Authors Pt. 2

I posted part 1 of this blog on Tuesday and talked about book bloggers behaving badly. Today I'll talk about authors behaving badly. This really is nothing new. I came across this  Cavalcade of Literary Jerks, which is a funny, but true post about famous authors behaving badly, such as James Joyce, Charles Dickens and Norman Mailer. I highly recommend the read.

Anyway, as I stated in part 1 of my blog, as a published author and also a Vine reviewer for Amazon, I have been on both sides of this coin with regard to the head butting between bloggers and authors, therefore I am Switzerland.

Here is some examples of how authors shouldn't behave, and again, I'm using no names as the badly behaved and their victims  need no more attention.

Authors:

  • Commenting on bad reviews. There are MANY authors who have done this. Just don't. Whether you're being polite or not, it's just a bad idea (but yeah, especially if you're going to be rude and basically call people stupid). Don't blog it, Facebook it, Tweet it. Back away from the reviews. When you put a book out, not everyone is going to like it. Some people will hate it. It's a fact. Get over yourself.
  • Just because you send a blogger your book does not mean they have to review it. Period. If you do not get a review, even if you were promised one, let it go. Definitely don't post a "hit list" of bloggers on your blog telling people they are horrible people. Do not start a flame war with bloggers. This is a bad idea that will sometimes end with you losing your Goodreads account and some of your credibility and brand you as an "Author Behaving Badly."
  • Always tell your spouse it is not okay to respond to bad reviews in your defense. Especially do not let him call them "psycho" when it is a well thought out and not at all harsh review just because it is a bad one.
    • This same author's assistant then attacked another blogger because she changed her review from 4 stars to 1 after the author complained that it only got to #2 on the NYT list and after what her husband did and stated she would never read her again. Do I agree with the star change for that reason? Not necessarily. But once again the key here is DO NOT ENGAGE.
    • As an author you should probably not let on that you know all the above is going on by posting about it on Facebook.
    • Both author and husband apologize, but blogger now receives threats from rabid fans via email and voicemail. One even told her to kill herself, yet author won't tell her fans to back off. After someone on her Facebook page suggest she make a statement, author refuses and says she doesn't want any more comments about it on her page. O.o
  • Contact reviewers privately upon a bad review and guilt them into deleting the review, amending or raising and then "teaching" authors that this is the thing to do. Also, stating publicly how funny it is that while they may have given you a bad review, you are the one holding their money. Not very classy or ethical. And yeah, someone did that.
  • Don't be an arrogant douche. Don't make yourself out to be more than you are. You can be proud, you can brag, but know when to shut the hell up. Don't tell readers and fellow writers to fuck off.
  • One self pubbed author went on a Goodreads rampage a few years ago apparently trashing those who reviewed her book poorly as well as fellow YA authors. She then created sock puppet accounts (many from what I understand) to give her book 5 star ratings and give other authors 1 star ratings. Then she outed a blogger by posting publicly her real name, husband's name, email address, etc. Yeah, don't do any of this.
  • Seriously, keep comments about reviews off Twitter. Especially with your agent. Especially don't say you're going to go like all the good reviews and get all your homies involved.
  • Know who you can trust or make sure you are sending the email to the right person. One author sent a scathing email about a reviewer to a couple close friends. Somehow the review ended up getting it in her inbox. She was not amused as it called her a stupid cow. She does apologize, but, um er...
  • Don't act like a crazy psycho and ruin your career over bad reviews. I cannot reiterate this enough. Yes, I believe this has been done.
  • Do not stalk a reviewer who gave you a poor review. Then do not post on your
    blog how you did this and actually showed up at her house. Scary.
  • One author actually stalked a reviewer who gave him a bad review, found out where she worked, drove from London to Scotland and physically assaulted her by hitting her in the head with a wine bottle from behind. 
So...the above is behavior you never want to engage in as an author, traditionally published, self published, no matter.  As you can see, all but one of these have to do with receiving bad reviews. I will reiterate this about bad reviews...YOU ARE GOING TO GET THEM. It's a thing. It  happens. Don't contact the blogger, reviewer. Seriously, this is just not a good idea.

The other one, don't treat your fellow authors like shit. We really are not competition. We are in this together. We should work to help each other make it in this crazy and cruel business.

Stay sharp. Stay focused. Stay out of prison.
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John Messina, Personal Injury Attorney

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