Sunday, June 22, 2014

Why I Appointed My Husband as a Troll Buster

I’ve been preparing to have my book enter the world for months, researching how other writers handle things like combining marketing with writing a new project and how they handle the inevitable BAD REVIEW.
Luckily for me, a few months back, my husband appointed himself my Official Troll Buster. He will read my reviews for me and then pass on ones he thinks I might want to see.
Now, let’s just get something straight. I’m not a prima donna writer. I can take constructive feedback with the best of them. So here are some reasons why I am happy my husband—God bless him—is my Official Troll Buster when it comes to people who have things to say about my book and me online.
Not everyone is going to love my book.
Heck, not everyone is going to even like it.
Okay. Let’s get down to brass tacks here: some people might even—GASP—hate it.
There, I said it.
Bully for them.
And here’s an earth shattering revelation: I don’t like every single book that comes my way.
There, I said it in public.
I don’t like every award-winning, NYT bestseller that sells a million copies. Some, yes. All, no.
Reviews are not constructive criticism.
I’ve heard writers say, “Well I like to read my reviews in case it helps me improve for my next book.”
That made sense to me.
I thought really long and hard about whether it would be worth reading negative reviews simply to become a better writer and then I realized … nah. Nuh uh.
Because here’s the thing, unless someone is able to provide constructive criticism of my writing in a way that I can use and learn and improve from as a writer—well, then I’d rather not hear it.
Fact.
I have a process that garners me invaluable feedback from the first time I let another person read my work.
First off, I have early readers — other novelists I trust who read my books early and give me feedback.
After that, I have a writing group. Supergroup is an amazing group of insightful writers and readers. I trust them completely. They tell me what works and what doesn’t long before I send my manuscripts to my agent and editor.
And the last level of feedback my books get is the incredible editing from my editor at HarperCollins. She is amazing. She is the best of the best in my book. I trust her and will listen to what she has to say. By the time my book hits the world it has been reviewed intensively
This is not my circus. These are not my clowns.
Internet trolls are not your average normal people. At least I hope not.
So I repeat this to myself: this is not my circus, these are not my clowns.
In other words, I’m not involving myself in someone else’s crazy.
I’ve got enough crazy to handle in my own life. I don’t need to invite someone else’s in.
In the good old days, it took time for someone to write a letter complaining about something I had written in the newspaper. It took time, effort, energy, and even money (the stamp) to put their thoughts on paper and send them off to me.
As a result, most of the letters I received were either well thought out arguments or discussion points or just plain crazy. It was easy to distinguish between the two.
Nowadays, any drunk fool who had a bad day can blather on about what an idiot I am and then hit “enter” or “post” on their keyboard and BOOM! Their comment is sent directly to me. And if I hadn’t been raised in the critical world of journalism, it might crush my tender little writer’s ego. But thanks to editors at newspaper, I shed that ego years ago. But that doesn’t mean I want to invite trolls into my world.

Writer friends: Do you read your reviews?

Reader friends: Will you not buy a book based on a negative review?


6 comments:

Aimee Hix said...

This is not my circus, these are not my clowns.

We need this on shirts. :)

Kristi said...

Word.

John McFetridge said...

This story tells you pretty much everything you need to know about online reviews:

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/jun/20/stephen-king-doppelganger-joyland-emily-schultz

Kristi said...

i love this John! So great!
Stephen King is awesome. I just met my editor for the first time this week and while we were talking I brought up King and she said, "Steve King is so generous." And I laughed -- only someone who knows him would call him Steve. So cool.

tom combs said...

A friend of mine received a harsh and intellectually deficient review of her non-fiction work.
There were blatant misrepresentations plus an acknowledgement that the reviewer had only 'skimmed' the book).

Puzzled as to why someone would submit such a careless, inaccurate and damaging review I scanned the individual's other reviews (readily accessible on Amazon). Each and every one was negative and borderline vicious.

As a younger man it would have made me angry - now it primarily saddens me. "Trollish" reviews are not the thoughts of happy people.

Kristi said...

Tom,
you're right -- sad.
My husband has a great saying "consider the source."
obviously a miserable person. we should almost feel sorry for him or her, I guess.