Last week was all over the place.
I'm not going to speak the sender's name, though I know it, nor am I going to spend all that much time refuting the ridiculous accusations that were levelled my way. They're untrue and so wild as to be vaguely amusing. I'm simply going to use a part of this email to highlight what not to do as writer when folks review your work, and why I think it's generally better to keep mum about it all, even if it hurts.
I'm one to talk. I tend to poke fun at it, because humour is how I deal with things that make me sad. You know, once the depression has been reigned in to acceptable levels and the alcohol has run out. I kid. But never do I attack a person directly for their opinion on my work. Because that's their opinion. Being a complete dick won't change their opinion.
Anyway, here's the part of the email that made me raise my brows rather than giggle:
Also, someone has a lot of time on their hands.
Like I said, I'd have no idea what the hell this person was going on about if I hadn't received a, "Heads up, this person turned out to be a colossal dick and I'm sorry." note ages ago from someone who knows the guy. And yes, it's a guy. You're making your gender look bad, dude.
Anyway, first, let me say right from the off, I am not afraid. My life is a giant ball of stress right now. I haven't been training martial arts in months. I'm up for the fight, if that's what it comes down to. I will also involve law enforcement and the media if I must. I will fight. Like a fucking devil. I'm not scared. I'm annoyed. I'm pissed. It's never good when I'm pissed.
Secondly, writers, please don't send threats to folks who provide opinions on your work. Even if they didn't like it. Even if their opinions hurt. Here's the thing: the minute your work becomes public, public discussion is inevitable (unless you're never read, which is, well, the worst case scenario). It's going to happen. Some folks will really like it. Some folks will absolutely detest it. Some folks will feel completely ambivalent about it (ambivalence is the worst, I think!). And yeah, it hurts when folks hate on the thing you crafted with so much love and care. But them's the breaks.
Note, this is completely different from people attacking you as a person. Though one's writing can feel very personal, and any dislike of it might feel like a personal attack, it absolutely is not. It's just what it says on the tin - an opinion about something.
Also note, I don't think I trashed the writing. I certainly offered my opinion on where I think it faltered, and how it might have been improved, was I do with all books. Would folks disagree with me on those points? Sure. I would expect so. That's the nature of discussions about these things.
Now, I'm not well-read enough to have people trash my stuff (though I'm almost expecting a flurry of one-star reviews now in retaliation for the crime of reading a book and having an opinion about it), and only have a single one star review (as of the writing of this. We'll see what happens since this email was sent and ignored) which confused me more than anything. I didn't retaliate or threaten that reviewer. I instead had a little sob over a small glass of whiskey and then continued with my life. As a coping mechanism, it wasn't the worst. Now that review makes me smile, because I'm still so confused by it.
Anyway, I've often heard stories of authors behaving very badly, but I've never been at the scene of the crime before. Now here I am, being threatened for having an opinion by the author whose work I had that opinion about. This is a new experience for me. On the bright side, I'll be recording everything that happens. If nothing else, I'll have some stories for when I can finally have drinks with friends again.
It might snowball into something pretty crass. I'm not cowed. I probably won't back down, even if I probably should. Though, honestly, if the worst thing to happen is a flurry of terrible book reviews, I'll probably just roll my eyes at the stupidity of it all and carry on with my life. If lines are crossed, though, I will be bringing my fury. I'm not in the mood for arseholes. I will not tolerate attempts to make me afraid.
I'm too old for that bullshit. I'm too cranky.
Right, there's stuff to do today. I'm off.