My #1 tip to authors–new, seasoned or ready to flip

Let me preface this with a little of my background. I’m a writer. I’m a published author of upward of 20 books–I honestly can’t remember how many, I’d have to go look because they all start running together after so many. But, I stopped writing sickening sweet love stories in order to be snarky and snappy and use taboo words like “crap, butt crack or asshat” without scandalizing the prim and proper ladies who read my tales. Or in other words, I went through the world’s longest most ridiculous divorce, I now hate romance and since it’s just me and the guys, there’s no reason for me to be a lady. So….while I’m currently not promoting any of my sappy claptrap, I can’t get away from wanting to write. Thus, I created this blog where I can be as bitter and cynical as I want.

And since I’m no longer writing/publishing tangled, silken webs of deceit I can share all my secrets!

Now, for my biggest secret. Oh, and yes, I know, if I truly wanted a bigger blog following I’d spend weeks or years even feeding everyone little pieces of inconsequential advise and build up to my biggest piece. However, my biggest is actually the most basic piece of common sense, and yet, so many don’t understand it. So, here goes:

DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY!!!

If your book hits the NYT or USA Today or Wall Street Journal, you can be certain it’ll also be hit by the heavy fire of the one-star review machine gun. It’s a fact. Hell, you don’t even have to make a big list. You can sell just one copy and be shot in the heart with one of those nastygrams. It’s just part of being an author and putting your work out there. Accept it. But accept it quietly.

Do not under any circumstances engage the enemy–or in this case the negative reviewer or commenter or emailer or whatever. If someone says something nasty about your book, look the other way.

It’s a natural gut reaction to want to defend ourselves or our masterpiece, but you can’t. Well, you can. Nobody is stopping you, but I wouldn’t suggest it.

Why? Because without a doubt, YOU the author, not the nasty reviewer, will end up looking like an asshat. I can’t tell you why, even if the reviewer/commenter is totally ugly or even reviews the wrong book, they still come out smelling like a rose while you smell like a steaming pile of dog crap. True story. I’ve seen the careers of more authors than I can count go up in flames over something so petty.

So my biggest piece of advice: DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

And don’t ask your friends to do it for you. I always cringed when someone defended my books under a negative review. I didn’t ask anyone to, but sometimes someone will come along and stick their neck out. I honestly wish that Amazon would close their comment on review section and leave the discussion to their discussion boards or to Goodreads. I think this leads to a lot of trouble and temptation for authors and some reviewers.

Here’s some free advice for the following places where reviews are posted:

Amazon reviews–stay the hell away!!! (It’s possible someone will buy a book based on a negative review. Weird, I know, but it happens. I’ve seen it: 1-star–“This book was too bland no sex…it all ended in a HUG. Yes, a HUG!!!!” Along comes a commenter. “Thank you. Your review was so helpful I’m so tired of having to bleach my eyes out after reading other books where so many disgusting details are given. I, myself, am an asexual creature and conceived my children myself (with the help of a turkey baster…).

Goodreads–sure sign up and “claim” your books, but don’t ever go back! It’s a dark, dark place over there for authors.

Barnes and Noble, iBooks, and Kobo I don’t even think allow comments under reviews.

Yes, some people take pleasure in tearing a book to shreds and making authors cry. There are truly sickos out there. Some people are simply being honest and the book wasn’t for them. Some of the sickos will go so far as to make sure YOU see their writing because they had to endure yours–i.e. sharing their review on FB or Twitter and tagging you in it. Yeah, it happens. A lot. Either ignore completely or if they go this far as to tag you on social media, just shoot back a simple. “Thank you for taking time to read and review. 🙂 ) Then grit your teeth and cuss them out with your mouth, not your fingers!! Do NOT comment back. Ever.

I had someone tell me once that she always commented under reviews–good and bad. She thanked the good reviewers and left the negative reviewers an apology for “not connecting” with her story and offered them the next book in the series…

My “YOU’RE INSANE” radar started screeching when she told me this. She was nuts. This only lasted maybe two books.

Folks, authors are meant to write books. Readers, read and review. Authors who are more focused on reading the review sections of their current books rather than writing their next are going to A. get discouraged very quickly; B. be more and more tempted to respond and possibly shoot themselves in the foot.

As is the theme of my song today: DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

For comments NOT left in the review section. Again, DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

  • Ugly comments left on your blog–delete ’em, ignore them or smile and say thank you for visiting your blog.
  • An ugly email telling you that you suck as an author–ignore and delete. Don’t respond. You have no idea what they’re going to do with that response.
  • Ugly statements made about you on Facebook or tweeted out into the twitterverse–ignore.

If it’s not easy for you to ignore and move on (although I’ve already told you to stay away from reviews so you must enjoy being miserable) then find a friend and vent in private. Don’t have one? E-mail me. Tell me all the ugly things that meanie head said, then get back to work!  DO NOT ENGAGE THE ENEMY.

Imma B.

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