Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mid-Week Rude Awakening: The Internet is Forever

Originally, I intended to write a post regarding deadlines, but an event a few days ago prompted me to rethink my plans for this week. It seems a self-published author took offense to a reviewer's 3-star rating of her book and posted--not one, but several--scathing replies on the reviewer's blog. (Don't ask for the link; I won't contribute to the poor girl's idiocy.)

There are two lessons to be learned in this tragedy. First of all, authors must remember that not everyone is going to like your work. Every reader opens a book with a set program of experiences, biases, and expectations ingrained in his/her DNA. As authors, we hope to manipulate the reader's emotions. To do so requires a strong voice, and the very reason your work might resonate with one reader will be the exact same reason another reader hates your work. That's the nature of the beast. Deal with it.

But the far bigger lesson to take away from this week's Twitter drama is that regardless of how you feel privately about someone's opinion of your story, you must always maintain a public persona of professionalism, tact, and sanity. To blow your stack and then demand the site's owner remove the post serves no purpose. Anyone with Google can find your deleted words in a "cache."

So whether it's about a review, an author who got a better deal than you, an editor who done you wrong, or that thing your husband does that seriously has you considering murder, if you must spew venom, do so to trusted friends. Face to face. Do not record your bad behavior for posterity. If you must write your feelings for them to have weight, write on paper and burn it afterward.