Happy Monday, writers! I hope you’re in for a truly amazing week filled with lots of productivity and words that thrill you and chill you.
So, unless you’ve been living under a rock—or perhaps you’re not on Writer Twitter—you’re aware of a bit of an indie-publishing scandal nicknamed #CockyGate or #ByeFaleena. Yeah, it’s a doozy.
I am actually not here to discuss Faleena or her trademark. All of my sentiments have been shared either here or by other people. What I want to discuss today is the negativity that has been brought about because of the whole cocky hoopla, and the negativity I’ve seen in general. In fact, I want to discuss it so much, it’s become an impromptu three-part series.
The Root Cause
When you find yourself tempted to lash out at others, I urge you to take a second and figure out why. Usually, at least in my experience, the why has much more to do with me than it does the person to which I intend to give a lashing.
Let’s look at the whole Faleena thing as an example. If you watched the odd, desperate video she released and then took down, you might have paid attention to when she addressed someone rather specific. Now, they didn’t have a name, but she did say that this person was someone she had been in a writing group with, someone whom she had shared their works with her own newsletter subscribers, and that the whole reason she went for the trademark was this one person. She said, and I quote: “You know who you are.” The rest has gone down in some astounding Twitter history, but the gist is, there was a root cause for her actions. Her actions were not okay, mind you, but instead of evaluating why she was hurt by this person and working to resolve this one issue with that one person, she wound up alienating a large sector of the romance writing community…and perhaps ruining her own reputation in the process.
I think if she were honest, Faleena might even say she’s gotten herself in a shit storm she wasn’t prepared for because she basically lashed out with this trademark thing. Of course now she’s in no position to really admit that, but there’s a lot of evidence that points to her flailing about as all of this settles.
What can we learn from her mistakes?
Don’t lash out. See, if you haven’t noticed, the internet isn’t exactly a forgiving place. As a writer, everything you post online is your brand. Your reputation. Your work.
You will be wronged.
You will be hurt.
You will be slighted.
You will want to shout from the social media rooftops that the wrongdoer is an asshole. But, this rarely works out for anyone. Are there times for it? Perhaps. Maybe if someone is being abusive. Like, really abusive.
The best thing to do is just block, mute, and move on. Be better than the asshole.
[All of this is a moot point if your entire shtick is to be an asshole, like those waiters at Last Resort restaurants. In which case, keep on keeping on if that works for you.]
Sort Rudeness from Constructive Criticism
So, you know that we writers aren’t supposed to read our reviews. At some point, you won’t. But, let’s be real here. We read our reviews. We wait on them like a kid at Christmas who was really, really good and expects that toy they’ve been asking for all year. Only, lots of time we find out that our dad didn’t get his Christmas bonus check and instead was enrolled in a Jelly of the Month club…but reviews aren’t guaranteed because of a sale.
(I should know.)
We see our sales. We see no reviews. We covet reviews. When we see one come in, you bet your ass we read them.
But…maybe you lashed out at someone because you hadn’t read this post yet, and suddenly you have a 1-star review that just says your work is shit and no one should buy the book. It sucks, but there isn’t a lot you can do about it.
There is one thing you should never, ever do: never respond to negative reviews.
Especially never respond to a negative review with your own bullet point list as to why they are wrong and your book deserves 5-stars and that you’re going to blast them on Twitter and petition Amazon to take the review down and…just stop.
Now, if you get a string of bad reviews and they all pretty much had the same issue…then maybe that is constructive criticism.
Listen to constructive criticism, do not listen to rudeness.
The writing community is filled with wonderful people. Amazing people. Talented people. Jealous people.
That’s right. I said it.
You will find people who want to say something negative about your work simply because they haven’t published a book yet and you have. Or maybe they have published and you haven’t, but you have more social media followers, or more blog subscribers…there’s a million reasons for anyone to be jealous of anyone.
The best thing to do is keep on keeping on. I’m telling you, that mute button is a wonderful thing.
Don’t Listen to Your Negative Nancy
Guys, I’m not talking about depression. Depression and mental illness aren’t something you can control on your own, and those voices are impossible to ignore without help—and sometimes not even then.
I’m talking about that little voice that creeps up now and again telling you that you aren’t good enough or that you don’t deserve the life you want. That voice is stupid. That voice is also stupidly loud sometimes.
Writing is lonely and hard and defeating at times. It’s easy to look at someone else’s work and say I’ll never do that. If I can’t do that, then what’s the point? I’ll just quit.
For instance: I’d love to have a vlog. If I had an ounce of true self-confidence, I’d dump the blogging platform for vlogging in a heartbeat. I see other indie authors with these insanely popular YouTube channels, and I know that a chunk of their writerly income stems from their channel and you bet your ass I wish I had a piece of that pie.
But, if you’ve even read a few of my posts, you know I am terribly introverted and the thought of putting my visage on camera and speaking…well, I’m already shaking. That’s just not in my deck of cards. I’ve wondered more than once if an Indie in today’s landscape can be viable at all without a YouTube channel, which is silly. If all of us had a YouTube channel, subscriber numbers per channel would probably plummet.
When I first got into this arena, everyone said GET A FACEBOOK, GET A FACEBOOK, GET A FACEBOOK. And, so I did…but I never utilize it. I hate it. So I technically fail all the time because I have this thing I don’t use. Why bother with a social media platform if I don’t take advantage of the most popular platform out there? Why not just give up?
If I only had a nickle for every time a similar thought has crossed my mind.
My point is I’ve come up with at least a thousand excuses as to why I should just stop writing. I’ve listened to them once, but I came back and I have no intention of going anywhere again. We all have our bad days, but tell your Negative Nancy to shut up and let you finish that chapter.
Remember: When you’re online, you are responsible for the types of things you read and hear because you have the power to distance yourself from it. You can’t control what someone else says, but you can control your reactions and whether you choose to be around their curmudgeoness. Don’t give a single inch of room for someone else’s negativity (or your own!) to seep in and poison your creative well.
All that said, I hope you have a fabulous week. Be kind to one another. There’s plenty of evil and meanness without contributing to it!
So, my amazing, dear, sweet, lovely, talented friend Jewel E. Leonard is once again hosting a slew of lovely people on her blog as she counts down the days to Possession’s release, and today was my day to guest post! Check it out!
Also, check out Jewel’s Twitter account and wish her well on Possession’s release—and get your copy! I had the pleasure of reading it already and it is AMAZING! ❤ ❤ ❤
Please be sure to show her some love for this amazing book’s birthday!
Okay, really now, goodnight!