Oh, Get Over Yourself! a rant.

For simplicity the numerous people I have seen do this, will be rolled into one person for this post named N.V. The examples are general.

I follow a lot of authors, on Twitter, on Facebook, on blogs, etc. They are unpublished, self-published, traditional, fiction, non-fiction, The point is, this disturbing trend goes across the board. But the ones I have to call out, are the self-published authors.

What are they doing that is so bad?
They are becoming rude.

So lets take N.V I started following him/her a few months ago. I found their discussions interesting. I learned a lot. But then things started to happen that made me wonder why was I still following them.

Little things like:

From N.V blog:
A reader commented. “I really was inspired by this post. Point A made me really think.”
NV’s response. “Point A, what? That wasn’t the important bit. Do you really know what you are talking about?

On N.V Facebook:
N.V posted. “Did you read xxxx last post on her site? She is bragging about her latest award.”
NV posted “So xxxx thinks she is hot! Ha! I am better than her!”

Do you see what is going on? You have a right to brag, you have a right to be proud. But at the expense of other?

Before you think I have been attacked by one of these authors and this is a case of sour grapes. No, sort of. I did post a response on Facebook to one of these authors. And they posted back, twisting my words around. As if they wanted to get me into a forum flame war. I ignored them. That’s how I handle trolls and that’s how I handle that behavior.

But after that happened, I noticed more authors doing this. Mainly self published. Ugh.

What I have noticed is that all of them have reached their personal goal of success. Maybe they have quit their job, or maybe they have sold 10,000 copies. But that is where it starts. Not every successful self published author does this, but the few that have make the rest of us look bad.

I have to say this to them: You are a big fish in a small pond.


So you have a website that gets 50 hits a day. Big deal.
So you have twenty books up on the Kindle. So What.

This doesn’t give you the right to look down at the rest of the authors out there and your readers! I am not talking about looking down at us “little ones”, but some of them have started to attack the “big names” too. And when they attack their fans, that makes me cringe.

I know it sounds like I am only attacking the self-published authors. Some of you might argue that it sounds like it’s okay if you are traditionally published you can get away with this behavior. That does not protect you either. A rude author is a rude author.

Look at Harlan Ellison, some people consider him rude. He is abrupt. I can’t see him starting a flame war on a blog (for one he is not on the Internet.) He backs up his points and argues. He doesn’t insult someone just to get the attention (he will insult, but after the conflict has started). Most of  his controversies are rooted in good points. He is famous.  I like his work. And there are many that are turned off by his behavior.

Being a success, no matter how you define it, does not give you the right to be rude. Maybe they want the negative attention. I really hope they start to think before they respond. Because I have stopped following them because of their behavior. Which means, I will never support them by buying one of their books.

And if I stopped, how many others have too?

Q&A: The Stalker Reader

Question: Help!  Someone please make a post for me and for other writers who might be dealing with this situation because I am too close to the problem to be objective about it.

If you’ve been receiving emails every day for about two weeks from the same person who isn’t necessarily being rude but is obviously wanting to keep you answering them with questions like “What kind of house do you live in?” or “What is it like in the U.S.?” or “What are the color of your cat’s eyes?”  I mean, these emails have nothing to do with your books, but you suspect the person is lonely and probably wants to reach out and communicate with someone but you don’t have that kind of time to email this person every single day, then what do you do?

I don’t want to be rude.  But do I have a choice?  Is there a form letter I can send out? 

Answer: I wanted to have your question answered as soon as I could and later I’ll make a post on Author Etiquette. Most people on here might not know what Ruth means by form letter. This isn’t some cold letter that you copy and send out. In the last year that we have been conversing, we have made a dozen or more form letters. What they are, are letters written to answer emails that would otherwise make you send a heated email cussing the rude reader off for whatever reader reason. Our letters aren’t a publisher’s rejection letters.

First, they are written when you’re not upset. Second, they can be modified to answer specific points in the readers email, which you should do if it doesn’t invade your privacy. And third, it provides a credible, professional image.  

I’ll use Ruth’s questions for an example.

Dear (Reader’s name);

Thank you for your emails, however, I am uncomfortable with your line of questioning (or as Dave suggested, due to work / family commitments / time restraints, etc. I am only able to speak  you on the writing/reader basis.) If you have a reading or writing related question please let me know (at your email or you can place a blog address here). I also have an author blog at (address), feel free to visit and comment.


(Your name)

Of course modify this for your writing style. I’m more formal in my letter writing then, Ruth. And I open this Q&A for anyone else that might have a better solution. Anyone?

Yes, Authors DO Feel….

As writers we tend not to discuss our feelings, but rather to analyze them like a third-party and then hand them off to a character to feel for us; or at least a good portion of us do. To that end, we tend to be in denial,  at least publicly, about many of the emotional ups and downs of publishing, including those terrible book release jitters.

Whether it’s your first book or your third, when you put a book out it’s the same as taking a little piece of yourself and holding it out to the world for approval because, no matter what you write, some part of yourself is embedded in the words.  And what if “the world” doesn’t like it? What if they reject it, or sneer at it, or call it “trite”, “cheesy” or even “terrible”?

Though we smile and say, “oh, it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if no one likes this; I’m writing for me.” We do care.  Just like everyone else, we want to be accepted and loved, and that extends to our words because our words are part of us, and a rejection of those words is a rejection of ourselves, and who wants that?

Even worse, what if we have fans who liked the other book(s) but hate this one and suddenly turn their back and forsake us forever?  What if we lose what fan base we’ve established? What if? What if? What if?

The what-if’s make it the worst. When there are too many possibilities, the imagination can shift into over drive and make up all sorts of terrible scenarios.  After all, that overactive imagination is what prompted us to write that book in the first place, so why shouldn’t it be running full tilt now?  How do you stop it?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t “stop” it, only distract it. I can try to “logic it away” by pointing out that the world won’t end, that it’s unlikely my five fans will hate it so much that they’ll walk away, and if they do, then I can surely go find five more somewhere else. And, just because they don’t like the book doesn’t really mean they don’t like me. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of an author whose every single book I’ve love, love, loved.

But logic can only go so far, and in the end the best way to work through it is to just work through it. Talk about it, write about it, blog about it. Break the “rules” and admit that you’re not an unruffle-able being with a stone heart and skin so thick that every sling and arrow bounces off it. Sure, we might think we’re supposed to be, we might be following the examples of industry leaders who sail on with their perfect persona’s in place, but I’d be willing to bet that even the calmest and coolest of the cool has lain awake at night, staring at the ceiling and wondering “what if?”

After all, as a writer words, and feelings, are our craft, so why are we all trying to hide from them?