I need to vent, and though the topic I’m about to vent about is nothing new, it is something I’ve been seeing more frequently lately.
First, we’ve all heard that saying, “Everybody’s a critic.” It’s true. And we’re all free to express those opinions, even the negative ones. Before I go any further, let me say that I love my readers, and this post does NOT reflect on them or anything I’ve seen from them. I think it’s safe to say that all authors love their readers. What I’m about to discuss is something I’ve seen in fan groups that I’m also a part of. So, that being said, why do some readers feel the need to bash certain books? Or bully the fans of said books?
I’ve got two examples:
- Author A has written 60-ish books and has a rabid fan base for the majority of those books. Author A then writes a book (or series) that is a little out of the norm for her in terms of theme/trope. (Gasp! God forbid an artist try something new!) Fan base reception might be split 50/50, but there is a small subset of those in the negative who make it a point to go out of their way to talk down that book (or series) to anyone who will listen. Why? Why can’t they just accept that that book/trope/theme/whatever isn’t their cup of tea and MOVE ON? Why do they feel the need to continue the cycle of negative talk, not only about the book but also about those fans who actually ENJOYED that particular book? That author has 57 other books that they LOVE. Go talk about them instead! Chalk up our difference of opinion as just that- a difference of opinion- because there is no way your hateful bitching is going to change my mind. Plus, they are not helping to promote the author that they claim to love, nor are they fostering love among that author’s fan base for the work that they claim to enjoy.
- Author B is well-known for writing in a very specific subgenre/trope. Random fan of that subgenre/trope joins a fan group for that specific subgenre/trope on Facebook. That reader then proceeds to announce to the group how much she HATED Author B’s books and how Author B is a terrible person for writing such a story that the reader felt should not be romanticized or promoted in any way. Reader vehemently disputes any opinion expressed to the contrary and probably not even realizing, or realizing but not caring, that Author B happens to be an admin in that Facebook group and can see every hateful thing being said about her and her work. OUCH.
Now, as writers, (or any other type of artist) any time we share our work, which is always an extension of ourselves in some way, we open ourselves up to criticism. That’s to be expected. And we writers LOVE feedback. We love constructive criticism. Operative word being constructive. If it does not serve to help us improve our craft in any way, it is not helpful or useful. What we don’t love is bashing, bullying, hateful, spiteful bullshit being spewed from those who don’t bother to take into consideration that authors are human beings. Human beings with feelings. Feelings that can be hurt. Now, you can call me a snowflake for saying that, if you want. I’m cool with that. But what does that make you to expend your energy tearing down others? I think it makes you an asshole. #sorrynotsorry
You don’t have to love every book you read. You don’t have to love every work of art you see. But when you push your negative energy out into the world, something has to absorb it, and way too often that something happens to be a real person who has just spent their time and energy pouring their heart, soul, and oftentimes, tears into a project that now carries a little piece of them.
So, here’s an idea: Instead of spending all that time and energy on the things you don’t like, how about you spend it on the things you do like? Author A still has 57 books you can help promote. Didn’t enjoy Author B’s work? Try Author C or Author D instead. If you already know you enjoy that subgenre, you’re obviously going to find other authors and books within that subgenre that resonate with you.
So, in summary, don’t be a dick.
Much love and positive vibes,