About Author Bashing

Yuna Final Fantasy X-2

A few people commented about a crack I made in the pragmatic dos and don’ts for writers I posted yesterday. Specifically, I mentioned how authors “show” a face online as part of their persona or marketing tactics.

Yes, there are authors (who shall remain nameless) who criticize or comment about other people’s work, etc. in a negative fashion to garner attention. This is different than pointing out an inaccuracy or thinking critically. Even then, sometimes that’s open to interpretation. No, I am *not* naming names or citing examples. Some of these folks are simply people with quirky personalities who target others. A few do this to stand out from the rest of the crowd, thinking that that’s their niche or their angle.

That, dear readers, is not me nor would I ever advocate that you be a jerk online. These authors? Have reputations. Have lost contracts because of their attitudes. Have untold complaints. Their negativity is noticed by the rest of the industry and, as I’ve said numerous times before, you do have to watch what you say online. This is especially true if you are a new author because you do *not* know where you will end up or who you’ll wind up working with. Go to enough cons, meet enough people, and you’ll hear the stories. You don’t want to be “that author.” Several years back, E.E. Knight warned me about reviewing other author’s books and advised that I be diplomatic even when I don’t like a story. It was the best advice I ever got. Now, some of the people I’ve reviewed are folks I consider friends, mentors, and co-workers. You just never know if someone may be in a position to help you out some day.

The other thing about posting your dirty laundry is this: I’ve been in online marketing for many years and the law is *just* catching up to what we’re posting. You can proclaim to be angsty and ironic all you want, but if you’re an *ssh@t, then be prepared to live with the consequences. Yes, people get sued over Tweets, arrested over FB pictures, and judged/rejected for their comments. Publishers, editors, and agents are NOT dumb! So neither should we be!

There’s a lot of advice and editorials out there on blogs, websites, social media, etc. about writing, the craft, and the industry (including mine). You and I know that this advice doesn’t replace the act of sitting down in a chair and focusing on the work. You can talk and talk and talk about what writing is or isn’t, how you prefer one author’s flavor of advice over another’s, etc. but at the end of the day? All that matters is your work. You have to choose how you want to be a part of the community but — like any other industry — you’ll fare better in the long run if you’re professional and not a diva. Acting like a speshul snoflake is not the same thing as being bold or having confidence. There’s a big distinction. If you have to put down someone else to make yourself feel better about your own work? Then I say you have a big problem because the reason why you’re cutting into another author has nothing to do with them and everything to do with you.

Or, to put it bluntly, I have zero tolerance for bullies who try to bait people into nerd rage. Isn’t being a writer hard enough? If someone has a problem with another author, why is it so hard to talk to that person? Seriously. We’re writers, but we can’t communicate?

We all go through bouts of insecurity. This is normal. I cannot name one author I’ve talked to who has not felt insecure about their work at one point or another. Don’t look to any other writer for advice — including me — if you’re freaking out about your work or what someone else is saying about you. Trust yourself. Have faith that you love your stories (or games) so much you’ll do anything to learn, edit, and revise. You got into this field for a reason. Own it. When jealousy rears its ugly head? Write a new story. When you freak out because X is selling more copies than you? Write a new story. When you worry about your online popularity? Write a new story. Your path is your own and sometimes writing advice will distract you from that journey. Ideally, it should complement what you’re working on and not be a distraction from your own words. If you’re making a living selling writing advice that’s one thing, but if you want to sell novels? You have to write one first.

The only way you will ever feel like you’ve accomplished something is if you actually start plotting, planning, and working your way towards whatever it is that you want — regardless of how long it might take. That is persistence and that is crucial to being a writer. Believe me when I say that there are people who will lend a hand if you need it — but not if you have to cut, hack, and burn through relationships to get there.

Wow, almost 800 words later and I haven’t even gotten to the part where I’d rather be focusing on my readers…

    Mood: Recovering from angsty, crabapple day.
    Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: One-half of one-half of one-half. Fill me up!
    Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Pending my ability to break the space-time continuum.
    Yesterday’s Projects: Game, Short Story
    In My Ears: Nothing
    Game Last Played: Final Fantasy XIII, Kittens in a Blender!
    Movie Last Viewed: Ironclad
    Book Last Read: Broken Blade by Kelly McCullough
    Latest Artistic Project: Crystal cluster bracelet in silver
    Latest Release: Strange, Dead Love for Vampire: the Requiem

Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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