Don’t torpedo your career. Be professional.

I wavered all day on whether to post this or not.  In the end I decided it was an important subject.

What I read this morning shocked me.  Many of you might have heard about this argument between author and reviewer.  Actually the reviewer never responded.  It was a one-way bashing.  This was only just brought to my attention today.

Back in May, a reviewer was asked to review an iBook for a self-published author.  Well, the author who wrote the book did not like his review, to put it mildly.  In all honestly, the review wasn’t all that bad.  Yes, there were some disparaging remarks like… “It reads, in fact, rather like a juvenile genre offering on the level of Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, although it does brandish a vocabulary that might challenge many pre-teen readers… until they figure out that a tap can bring up the built-in iBooks dictionary.”

The book in question made use of Apple’s iBooks Author.  I don’t know much about iBooks except it seems that with this tool you can create books for iPad and Mac.  It even gives you the ability to create an interactive experience for the reader.  Sounds cool, right?  Well, according to the author in question, he is the first to use this tool.  Or at least use it correctly.  His words not mine.  He also said, “He paved the way for others…”  You’ll soon see how ridiculous that statement really is.

The reviewer wrote, “Did I mention that all the characters in this book are teddy bears?  It is a detective story about teddy bears.”  ted

Okay, I’m not judging.  People’s premises are their own.  It’s not my cup of tea, but someone else might love a book like this.

My problem comes when the author starts hammering the reviewer with comments.  From 1 a.m. – 4 a. m. he left 23 comments in response to the review.  Twenty-three! Then, if that weren’t bad enough, he started in on anyone who dared to comment after him.  I stopped counting at his hundredth remark.  And I wasn’t even halfway through them all.  He’s been stalking the feed from May to September.  No lie.  Doesn’t that sound a little obsessive?  He never missed a chance to berate anyone who dared to comment.  Some writers wrote in to tell him he was making an ass of himself.  That wasn’t well received.  Neither was he happy when people kept asking if he was drinking, even though they added, “No judgments here.”  I found it interesting that the author never actually answered that question.  He deflected with, “What’s it matter?” or “Why do you think I’m drunk? I’m only defending my work.”  Never once did he come right out and say no.  Hmm. . .runk

 

It got so bad that the discussion stopped being about his book and instead became about him and his grandiose attitude.  Believe me, his ego is enormous.  The reviewer had to shut down the comment section finally to make him stop.

Hey, I’m all for being proud of your work.  But come on!  If you feel the need to tell everyone what a great writer you are, maybe you aren’t as good as you think you are.

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Please, everyone, do yourself a favor and learn from this guy.  Not everyone is going to like your book– plain and simple.  Not all reviewers are going to give you gleaning review.  We’ve all heard it a million times.  This is a very subjective business.

Yes, a bad review might sting.  It might hurt like hell and bring tears to our eyes.  After all, we pour our heart and soul into our writing, go over our stories again and again to make them as perfect as we can. To have someone rip apart your story in public is disheartening.  BUT– by commenting like this not only did the author make himself look a crazy person– or drunk, which is what I thought– but he went on and on about what a beautiful writer he is, and that no one knew what they were talking about.  He even went as far as insulting other writers.  It was embarrassing to read.  By the quarter mark I pitied him.unin

I’m not going to give you his name or link the article because frankly this guy is nuts. He’s probably surfing the net looking for every post about him.  I don’t need him or his specific brand of psycho in my life.  If you must see this article for yourself you can find it with little effort.

I am using him as an example of what NOT to do.

This guy calls himself a literary author.  A statement I greatly disagree with.  Literary writers have poetic prose, words strung together so beautifully they almost sing. I am in awe of literary writers. They truly have a special talent.

I am a commercial writer.  I know this about myself and I’m okay with that.  That’s my niche.  Can I rock some literary passages.  Sure.  Can’t we all on a good day?  But that doesn’t make me a literary writer.  And let me tell you, this guy isn’t one either.  Let me just say, because I do admire literary writers I will keep striving for that perfection.  However, I will never call myself a literary writer until I reach that level of poetic prose.  It’s not right.  I haven’t earned the title yet.

Neither has he.brill

How do I know this?  Because he posted twenty-something passages from his book to show how beautiful his prose was.  That’s right. To prove the reviewer wrong he posted SO many passages he practically posted the entire book. In all honesty, he only cemented the reviewers remarks.  Unfortunately I can’t give you examples because he is probably searching for those too.  He IS that insane!

My point of this post is not to harp on what a crazed nutball this guy is.  Really it’s not.  Rather, I’m using him to make a point.  And here it is…  To show how our name/brand can easily get destroyed.  By acting in this way this guy has no shot of ever going traditional, if that was ever a dream of his.  Nor will anyone ever review another book for him.  As a self-published author reviews are important.  Hell, they’re important for all of us.  They show readers how much others have enjoyed our books.  Without reviews this guy has single-handedly annihilated his sales.  To prove my point let me ask you this:  would you ever leave an honest review of one of his books?  I sure wouldn’t.  He probably does the same thing to readers who’ve purchased his book– if they dared to give him any less than five stars– as he did to the reviewer.

If any of you are ever tempted to respond to a troll or a bad review…stop

Take a minute to breathe.  Count to ten.  Think about what you’re doing.  Whatever works for you.  You could be committing career suicide.  Just move on.  Let it go.  I’m sure there are others who love your book.  Concentrate on the positive, not the negative.

In this internet age it is so easy to type something fast and press send, thinking you’ve cleared your chest.  Don’t do it.  Stop.  Move on.  You’ll be better off for it.  If you’re ever tempted, remember this guy.  Of course once this dies down you’ll probably never hear about him again.  He’ll fade into obscurity.  And rightfully so.  No one likes an author who’s full of themselves.  They are ugly people.  Frankly, this guy gives us all a bad name.  For the average reader who doesn’t know any better this guy could seem like the norm.  God forbid!  For instance, in his comments he kept talking about “his art”. How he has “creative license” to do this or that.  It’s not that far-fetched to think that some people might think all creative types are the same.

Help me prove them wrong.  Help me show readers that we are nothing like this guy.  We are professional.  We are strong.  We can take whatever rejection or bad review that comes our way and learn from it, be the bigger person.  Together we might be able to undo the damage caused by this looney tune.

Have any of you been tempted to lash out at a bad review or harsh comment?  What did you do to rise above it?  Leave a comment below and share your story of acting like the professional author you are.  Then tell us what you really wanted to say. :-)  You are safe here.  We’ve all thought about it.  We just know better than to act out our rage online.

 

Building your audience with Triberr

Let’s talk Triberr.

For those of you who don’t know about Tribber, let me briefly explain.  Triberr is a social media site for bloggers of any kind.  It’s especially great for writers.  Once you join you will choose what “tribes” you’d like to belong to.  By doing a quick search you can find a tribe for just about anything.  Each tribe has a chief.  And the chief is the one who allows you into his/her tribe if he/she is so inclined.  Some tribes have certain “followers” limits– meaning on Twitter, not your blog.  If you don’t meet that number requirement you will receive a polite, “Check back with us when you reach x-number of followers.”  Don’t get discouraged.  Most don’t have a limit.

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When choosing your tribes you want to look for the ones that have the longest reach.  Some tribes have a combined audience of 500K people.  Where as others may only reach 50K.  You would think, the wider the net the better the tribe.  Not always true. Sure, joining a tribe with a big following is great.  But don’t simply discount a tribe for their numbers.  Some tribes have lower numbers but are better sharers.  All tribes have to start somewhere.  Keep in mind, the larger tribes fill up quickly.  It’s better to get in on the ground level and keep a firm footing. Then when the audience grows to a half-million people you are already a member.

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What’s In The Trunk?! A group story with Prose & Cons

The Prose & Cons blog address says it best: a unique and portable magic. Books. They can make us stay up late at night, miss our train stop, forget our problems, or teach us something, as in Mia Thompson’s post Six Things to do when Attacked or Abducted. That magical little book can transport us to breathtaking Rio de Janeiro, as in Conrad Turek’s post Ascending, or propel us to the future, to a world we do not know, or throw us back to an era long ago.  Books make us laugh, cry, or shiver with fear. We fall in love with characters we read about either by relating to them in some way, or by wishing we could be more like them.

Image from Dishin’ the Dirt with My Friends

Where will your next book take you? Image from Dishin’ the Dirt with My Friends

Eliza Cross posted 20 Great Books That Sparked an Early Love of Reading and reminded us why we fell in love with books as children. Holly West gave us all a gift with her post Good Summer Reads. When someone recommends a book, they are passing along its magic. The book touched them in some way and they want to share that experience with us. I’m sure our resident clinical psychiatrist, Dr. Suzana Flores, could analyse why, as she did in the comment section of her post Childless by Choice.  But I won’t attempt to guess.

As a writer, I love when my stories take a hard right turn to somewhere I never expected. Or when my characters behave in a way that shocks, frightens, or makes me laugh out loud.

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When is a writer an author?

When does a writer make the leap to author?

This is a question I’ve pondered for years.  I know what “they” say.  By “they” I assume it means industry standards.  They say a writer becomes an author once they become published.  OK, let’s use that standard.  Does that mean traditionally published or self-published?

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First let me say I am not bashing self-publishing.  I’ve thought about it many times myself.  Please do not take this as an attack because it’s NOT.

So, you stay a “writer” until you get a book deal from a publisher.  OK.  Well, what if it’s a brand new publisher that no one has ever heard of?  Does that count?  Obviously if you’re lucky enough to get a deal from one of the “Big 5″ you have definitely morphed from writer to author.  But why?  Because you were in the right place at the right time? Continue reading

Real Life Serial Killers– What makes them tick?

The serial killer has become wildly popular in crime fiction.  Maybe they are so fascinating to us, as readers, because they are complicated creatures.  They are deliciously bad.  We, as writers, are told never to make our antagonist (bad guy) all bad, or our protagonist all good.

Dr. Hannibal Lector is a perfect example of this.  Especially the one depicted in the television series, Hannibal.

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Dr. Hannibal Lector– played by Mads Mikkelsen– is a brilliant forensic psychologist and culinarian (although some of the ingredients in his dishes are questionable).  In one scene we see his soft side with Dr. Alana Bloom, and in the next, he is slaughtering people and arranging them in dramatic convoluted poses.  Far beyond what is necessary to end their life.  He’s an artist when it comes to designing a shocking display for the FBI.  Yet, part of me loves him!  Why?  Because nothing is black and white with him.  He’s justified in his actions, which makes him a perfect character.  However, in the real world the serial killer is a frightening creature.  And one I never want to come in contact with in a dark alley.

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Create Tension and Suspense. Keep the reader flipping pages!

I just completed the first draft of my latest novel, the sequel to Timber Point.  The working title was Dancing In The Shadows.  However, after completing the novel I thought of a title that fits better:  Silent Betrayal.

I often post about what stage I’m at in the process.  Therefore, today’s post is about creating tension and suspense in your thriller.  (Or in my case, make sure it’s done correctly during editing.)  Keep readers on the edge of their seat, flipping the pages.

I came across an article about this topic.  If you haven’t read The Kill Zone blog, I highly recommend it.  These tips were posted in that blog, but I added my own flair to them.  The expository is mine to help you better understand.

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1.  Condense your setup and backstory.

Nothing is worse than reading ten pages about nothing.  All fluff.  Or hearing about the protagonist’s entire life story.  The author should know the story, but your reader doesn’t need every small detail.  However, IF parts of the backstory is relevant to the story line– keep it.  Just make it as short as possible.  Give the crucial elements your reader NEEDS to know without the fluff.  Add emotions, yes, but don’t let it lag along for pages and pages.

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Please don’t base your success or failure by what you read on the internet

I don’t normally bash other people’s posts.  If you own a blog you have the right to say anything you want.  Right?  Well, in this case no.  And I’ll tell you why.

I was reading a post (I won’t reveal what blog or the author because that wouldn’t be right) where a young writer stated…  She read an article about authors who have “made it” and they said they wrote 1000 words per hour.  Well, I don’t know where she found this article or what it actually said, BUT she ran with it.  Advising all new writers to set their word count goals to 1000 words PER HOUR!  That’s right, 1000 words per hour.  No excuses.  Her words, not mine.

As I read this post I couldn’t believe the so-called advice she was giving to new writers.  It got my hackles up big time!

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