Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Insecure Writer's Support Group: What Trolls Beneath


Insecure Writer's Support Group is a blog hop hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh where totally insecure writers can get together and share the things that are making us go argh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
     This week's topic is a very personal one for me so bear with me guys. I have a very bad habit of stressing about thing that haven't happened yet. This is one of those things.
     I worry that I won't be able to stop myself from reading bad reviews of my book and going into anxiety mode or worse, troll mode.
     I've trolled before (long long story and way before I started this blog) and however justified I felt when I did it, I just don't want to fall into that trap as a self published author.
     As a writer, I know how much of my heart and soul I've put into my story. I'm sure all writers have the intention of staying neutral and taking the moral high ground, but when you read a review that tears your book to shreds and then defaces on it's remains, I totally understand the urge to lash out at the reviewer on their blog/Goodreads/Amazon.
     As a book review blogger, I firmly believe that when writers, whether traditional or indie, decide to put their books out into the world, they should be ready for the reaction. Good or bad. It's fine to rant and rave about reviews in private but it's never okay to unleash on a reviewer no matter how unfair you feel the review is. Not only because everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but because one small comment always snowballs into a fiasco. As big as the blogosphere is, it can turn into a a very little pond, very quickly.
    If only theory and practice could meld together so well in real life. So, my insecurity this is month is that in a moment of weakness, I'll decide to leave a bit of feedback on a review. I'm wondering if anyone who is already published has ever thought about doing that or if I'm the only nut job around?
     Above all else, this is a plea to you guys who I spend my blogging days with, DO NOT let me shame spiral into a nutcase author. PLEASE!

36 comments:

  1. Oh, I've worried about this too. Not that I feel I'll lash out (I'm always afraid of posting something wrong online and having it burned into the internet forever), but that I'll read all of them and take some of the negativity to heart. I think that as a writer/author, we all need to develop a thick skin. We are told before we step into this endeavor that we will have some criticism and bad reviews. Some of them might be useful, giving us an idea where our story may be lacking, and that's good for developing our writing skills.

    But some of them might be outright mean, and THOSE are the ones that you will just need to ignore. I think I read on a blog somewhere about how even the best/popular books get nasty ratings. Like, look at Where The Wild Things Are--it has more than 2,000 one star ratings. So... you can't take what people write/rate to heart. Some are just being stupid or ignorant.

    Just pick yourself up and dust yourself off and keep writing. Don't let the dumb people bring you down. I, along with plenty of others from what I can see, enjoy your writing and will keep reading it. :)

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    1. I read that comment about the best books having criticism as well. Even Harry Potter and THG have so many dislikes. And Mein Kampf has a heap of admirers! Sheesh. I think I read it on Beth Revis' blog.

      I will definitely try and use the reasonable reviews as a way to improve my writing. But I can see myself getting annoyed!

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  2. Oh! This is one of those topics that split us in half -- the writer side of us and the blogger side of us! I think that negative reviews are going to hurt no matter how polite they are, but even though they're a part of growing as a writer and learning to have a thicker skin, I think it's okay to feel hurt for a bit as long as we don't last out :) We just have to keep on trucking because (like Jessica said above me, who may or may not be a genius), we can't let those people bring us down when there will ALWAYS be some good to accompany the bad!

    But don't worry, we'll be sure to keep you in line from becoming a nutcase author (although I'm almost positive you won't nee our help anyways <3), as long as you do the same for us LOL :') We'll all be tempted, I'm sure -- we just have to stay strong together!

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    1. I feel like every review I write is a struggle to separate myself as a writer and a reader/reviewer. I'm constantly struggling with whether I should try and be *nicer* but at the end of the day I can only be me.

      I'm sure there will be moments when I'm tempted to leave comments but I will keep this post as a reminder not to get too hot headed.

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  3. We won't let that happen to you, Lan! :) I know as a writer I think about these things, too. Can I stay objective, if I were putting my book out there? (uhh, that book in my head. Because there isn't one written yet.) Or would I freak out and cry over negative reviews? I have so much respect for the authors who have read my reviews and STILL thanked me, even if I wasn't gushing about the book. It's a double-edged sword for sure!

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    1. Thanks Molli. I'm counting on you guys to keep me sane. No doubt there will be some sort of rant on here if I lose my cool :)

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  4. Lan, you have the best, thoughtful blog posts! I love reading them!

    I received a bad review for a short story that I published last year. When I saw the 1 star, I made a decision not to read the review. It made me upset to see it, because I labored for YEARS on that darn short story, but it made me realize that I can't please everyone. And honestly, what's the point in reading a bad review? I felt damaged just looking at the one star; reading it would only make me feel worse about a story very close to my heart, and I just decided to try and move past it as quickly as possible.

    I think it's funny how, as people, we can have 10 good things happen to us, but it's the 1 bad things that sticks with us. I do my best to think about my 5 star reviews, and forget the 1 star. So I say, focus on those who love your stories and connect with your characters; they're your ultimate target audience anyway.

    And, BTW, I am definitely the target audience for YOUR book!

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    1. Thanks Camille. I usually just write a whole bunch of stuff that I'm obsessing over at the moment :)

      I don't think I could resist reading the 1 star reviews. No matter how hard I tried. I know it's bad for me but I just can't help it! I know exactly how you feel when you say we only seem to look at the negatives. I got lots of good feedback for my MS and all I heard was "it's too much like THG"

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  5. Oh, yes, I'm always tempted to respond! I don't; you get kicked off Goodreads for that.;-) Seriously, you do need to develop a thick skin, as Jessica says. You're right to say it gets all over the Net. As a slush reader for ASIM I put comments on stories I read, as do the other slush readers and while most people appreciate the feedback, some show what thin skins they have, including some who are already selling their fiction and complain bitterly on their blogs. No point. I do read all my reviews, I just don't keep the minority which are bad. ;) If I didn't have a thick skin I would long ago have dropped off Goidreads, where I have - literally!- had every score from one star to five for the same book!

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    1. Developing a thick skin in definitely the key. Which is probably why I should read the 1 star reviews and process them and then learn to live with them. After all, thee are some incredibly popular books which I personally didn't like. So I shouldn't expect everyone to like my book.

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  6. I don't look forward to those days when I have books published and have people hating on my books in their reviews. But, I have no intention of responding to them, either because reviews are for readers and books are for writers. As much as it will hurt, you have to at least not let anyone publicly know how much it hurts. I don't think they intend for the authors to even read their reviews most of the time, so they have no idea what damage they're doing.

    I say just don't read negative reviews because they'll do more harm than good. If it means you read it and you got into a fight with the reviewer, and then lost a bunch of readers because everyone saw what a freak you were for arguing over someone's opinion, then it's not worth it at all. People aren't always going to like your books because you're not writing for everyone, and since anyone can read your books, a lot of the wrong people will get their hands on them, unfortunately.

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    1. You have such a great way of stripping down a problem to its core. I should print out the mantra "reviews are for readers and books are for writers" to remind myself what it's all about.

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  7. Yeah, you either have to a) get the thickest skin in the world. b) completely avoid reviews, or c) and this is the hardest, read the bad reviews with an open mind to improve your writing.

    I'm terrified of people reading my stuff and being mean. I get horrible comments on my Goodreads reviews all the time and even though I can think of some great comebacks I just let it go and refuse to respond. It's sooooo hard but it's not worth it.

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    1. I fully intend to read the bad reviews with the intention of improving my writing. I just have to get that thick skin first!

      You're so good to shrug off the comments on Goodreads. I don't think I could. Especially since I believe so strongly that reviewers should be able to say whatever they like.

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  8. *HUGS* Aw! I'm sure you'll be fine. I honestly think the safest thing is, even if you *DO* read them, never, EVER comment. Even if you mean to come across as 'thanks for the constructive criticism', it'll still make the reviewer uncomfortable, and there'll always be someone with something to say about.

    I think you're clever than you give yourself credit for. I'm sure you'll be fine when you get there! *MORE HUGS*

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    1. Thanks Sarah! I am smart enough to be worried about my crazy behaviour!! LOL. You're right, I would be weirded out if I wrote a negative review and the author showed up and commented. Even if it was harmless.

      Sometimes I think I'll just stay away from the internet altogether afterwards. But then I remember that I can't just become more of a hermit and avoid everything!

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  9. Thankfully, I haven't come across an author that bad mouthed me on a review they didn't find too pleasing. (I hope I didn't just jinx myself) But I've seen other bloggers that had. It's a scary feeling on both sides. If I didn't love the book, I always try to point out why it didn't work for me, along with some good points if any. I never try to purposefully lash out on the author or the book, but bad reviews do come with the territory of being an author. If you want to be an author, I think it takes a great deal to be so, because in this business you have to be thick skinned, or you won't survive. Not everyone is going to like the book, and people's opinions will vary. I hope I don't come off as too harsh, but I've been seeing a lot of authors recently behaving really badly to us bloggers, and it always feels unsettling. That being said, I wish you luck on your writing career, and hopefully you'll have a better experience! :)

    Thanks for stopping by, and great post!
    @ Livin' Life Through Books

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    1. Luckily, I am not popular enough for authors to notice the not so complimentary reviews I write. For the books that I don't feel strongly about either way, I'm always able to be objective in my reviews. But books with really horrible themes of abuse and the like really annoy me and I can't help but say some harsh things! Some of that stuff that has gone down on Goodreads is terrible. What really gets me is how clueless and self righteous some authors are. They just can't see how much good bloggers are doing for the business and how amazingly honest and forgiving most bloggers are. I suppose I have the advantage of being a book blogger myself to remind me to pull back when I get too emotional!

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  10. Oh my, the author drama! I wrote a negative review once on Goodreads and the author commented. She thanked me for reviewing her book and I think that's really cool, especially because she's a young author. I try to make my negative review as polite and respectful as possible, but I can see that authors may still feel hurt because of my words. I agree with you, Lan. If you let your book out in the wild world, everyone has their right to have opinion. One moaning tweet from an author can lead to epic disaster.

    I think sometimes people forget that authors are human too. It's not cool to moan in Twitter... but we human make mistakes I guess. Awesome discussion post, Lan! :)

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    1. I keep getting stuck in the middle of my own opinions. I totally get that authors are humans and reviews that say mean things about authors aren't okay. But saying something awful about an author and writing a negative review which points out why a book has horrible themes and the like are two different things. Some authors think bloggers bully them because they say that the book is terrible and don't recommend that people read it. If everyone was forced to be "nice" all the time, even when they're unhappy, we'd all be very repressed.

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  11. I don't know how I'd react if I ever got far enough to be able to receive a bad review. I'd most likely cry. A lot. I hope I wouldn't say anything online though.

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    1. I'm not really a crier. I'm more of a fighter. So I can see the danger I will be in with a bad review!

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  12. I'm not a writer, but I definitely know that nervous feeling of putting your best effort into something and hoping others will receive it kindly. I think what's important is to realize that with every author, regardless if they are published or indie, is going to get a bad review(s). No matter how good a book is, someone out there is going to not like it for some reason or another, so I think as long as you are mentally prepared to accept the fact that not everyone will like your book, you will be fine! (Of course, I hope most people will like it though!)

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    1. I'm trying to mentally prepare for bad reviews at the moment. Its strange how we have to prepare for the worst but No one writes posts on how to cope with great reviews and overwhelming success! Maybe dreaming is less important than preparing for reality.

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  13. I wont let it happen!!!! If you get upset about a review, just feed your remorse to me and I'll take it from there, and flip out on them for you that way you have no worries. Problem solved! *wink*

    No but seriously, I understand where your coming from. As humans, we're all hardwired to defend and protect ourselves, our ideas, and our beleifs. It's only right for you to want to lash back. What we must all understand is that though we may want to do something, we shouldn't. If you feel you are about to say something you shouldnt, just stop, cut off the computer/close the window, and stay away for a little bit. Then go back and check out all your amazing reviews. It's sure to make you feel better. Remember that your book's great, but it's not going to be for everyone, so you will get bad reviews. Just accept them, hear what they say in terms of criticism, and perhaps use it to help make your next book greater, but dont take it to heart.

    If that doesnt work, my first offer still stands!

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    1. Sherre! You are so funny. I think the next worst thing to a writer flipping out is getting their friends to flip out for them!! Expect a huge whingey email from me though when I get a bad review.

      It's so silly to think that I might get a 4 star review with one minor criticism and that criticism will be all I will focus on. Sucks.

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    2. Ha! You're probably right. I'll be here for the email.

      I completely understand. I feel the same way. It's like when you have a deep talk with a boyfriend/guy/husband/whatever. They say all these nice thngs about you and then one day they say something like, "I love you to death, but sometimes you're just so darn emotional"...all you focus on is the fact that you're too emotional and he must hate you! Ha! It does suck.

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    3. Yes!! That is totally it. How insecure are we?? Gotta work on being tougher.

      Before the whinging email, I have to email you about love interests!

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  14. If I ever publish- If I ever publish I will be happy someone is talking about my work. I am sure bad reviews would rip a hole in my chest, but I doubt I would comment on anything good or bad. Lately I happen to know people who are getting published, I feel strange saying, 'I don't want to review your book. It will make me want to be biased because I want you to do well.' I think what a lot of people don't get is that our blogs we sometimes run like a business, and if you mix that with personal stuff it gets testy... Well I have spiraled out of any kind of point I was going to make. Just remember that any press is good press, but lashing out is never a good thing.

    Beth ^_^

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    1. All press is good press isn't it? That's a really good point. Sometimes I will read a book just because people say it's so awful.

      I hate the thought of running my blog like a business as well. I'd love to review as many indie books as I can but there's just not enough time. I don't want to pressure any of my blogging friends to review my book either. I've been in that position and it's sometimes awkward if you don't completely love the book.

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  15. Great post! Negative reviews are hard to write AND read! I am now more cautious when writing negative reviews and try to bring out the positive aspects in the novel. I am not a writer but if I ever decide to become an author I think it is important to be emotionally strong in terms of reviews.

    SeeitORreadit

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    1. I've been trying to write good negative reviews for a long time! I handle it better when the characters don't do things which make me want to scream. I would totally understand if someone has this kind of problem with my book. Which I why I am trying as hard as I can not to write stupid characters!

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  16. It's tough when someone hates your book. You WANT to respond. But really, it's not the end of the world. I've had my fair share of them. If someone doesn't like your book, it's because he wasn't your target audience. And if he's just being mean, that's his problem, not yours.
    You can handle it. I know you can.

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    1. That's a good lesson to remember. Sometimes people are just being mean. I don't think I'd ever write something that incites that kind of anger and I would be able to brush that off pretty easily. I just have to keep telling myself that I will find my target audience eventually!

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  17. I can't imagine being a book review blogger. I'm kinda blunt, and I'm afraid people would lynch me. And who wants to hurt other writers' feelings? Not me...

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    1. It's not easy being a book blogger but it's so rewarding. I have the utmost respect for book bloggers and their commitment to telling the truth about how they feel regardless of the repercussions. I don't think I've ever met a book blogger who goes out of their way to hurt a writer's feeling.

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