Author friend Michelle Rowen told me last year–to my face, no less–that she loves it when I go off on one of my Jane Porter rants here on my Janeblog. She thinks its hilarious. Even when I sound positively crazy.
She should like this one. Because I’m going to tell you what’s wrong with the world. At least, the writing/publishing world.
Another author friend of mine, who shall go nameless, but lives across a big ocean is disgustingly successful in her genre. She’s won oodles of awards and sold a gazillon books, books that are really beloved by readers and writers alike.
So what’s the problem?
Recently she got a rude reader email about one of her books and there was no reason for it other than this reader (who claimed all her friends felt the same way) wanted to make my friend feel bad.
The thing is, reader critics and armchair reviewers, its easy to have an opinion but damn hard to write a book.
The thing is, writing a proper review is also very difficult but sending an author a private nasty gram is just too easy in today’s cyber age. Anyone can pop off a mean, virtually anonymous, email. Anyone can open a hotmail or yahoo account and froth at the mouth. What’s tough is sharing your thoughts without the fake name. Sharing your thoughts–in public–with your real name and your real email and your real contact info. Because that’s what we writers do each and every time we have a story, essay or book published. We put it out there. With our name. With our reputation. We don’t–and can’t–hide.
One, writing is our career.
And two, we have balls.
So to my dear friend across the ocean–the ‘reader’ that emailed you her helpful thoughts on why your book sucked and how you should be a better writer, just remind yourself she’s probably not published and probably very jealous that you are, and sadly, the world is full of people who want others to be as unhappy as they are.
I do feel sorry for these miserable folks. It’s sad that they’ve got to attack others and break people down instead of build them up, or God forbid, learn to think positive thoughts, but that’s how it is. It’s easier to wallow in misery than fix problems, including problems that require self-evaluation and change. It’s easier to lash out instead of focusing on yourself. But the unhappy people in the world aren’t going to go away, and we writers aren’t going to be intimidated or wounded and quit writing.
We writers aren’t going to please everyone. Nor do we have to save folks that don’t want saving. We don’t have to be perfect, either, or even write perfect books.
All we have to do is please ourselves.
Please ourselves, and oh, be happy.
Maybe it’s not easy, but it’s a heck of a better goal than flinging feces and shooting off nasty grams just because we can.
16 Comments / Add Your Comment →
What a great rant:) I agree that too many people have too many opinions and believe those opinions should be told no matter what. They really need to learn to shut up. I feel sorry for your friend, please tell her to keep up the good work of writing:)
Amen, sister! 🙂
I wouldn’t say I find the rants hilarious, rather I found them insightful, honest and interesting. This is one of ’em. 🙂
The readers who hate me much prefer to spout their venom publicly. Usually on Amazon. It’s bothering me less and less. I simply imagine that they are inbred in some way. Possibly drooling on the keyboard.
Good job, Karyn, I loved your rant. You are right, in this day & age it is so easy to fire off a mean, nasty email–it even happens to bloggers. So far, I have been lucky–nobody has left me any mean comments about anything I have written in my blog–although one was questionable, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. It takes courage to write and pour out your guts & heart. Keep writing–I heart you!
Oh, my gawd, I mean Jane not Karyn!!! Crap!!! Jane, jane, jane!!
Hear, hear! People really need to think before they act. Especially when they try to break down someone else’s work, simply for the sake of being mean.
Jane, people that would get on a site and unload while using a pseudonym are just plain chicken. Of course, this comes from someone who blogs under a nom de plume ;-), but everyone’s an expert till it comes time to face that empty page, day after day after day, and to persist till they finish a book.
You’re right. It’s easy to sit back and throw rocks when the rock-throwers wouldn’t dream of doing it to anyone’s face.
To quote my Australian friend Julie-Ann, go on, you good thing.
Jane, your friend is also my friend and I agree with you 100% — that letter was nasty, mean-spirited, gratuitous and cowardly.
It shrieked of a writer who was incensed that our lovely friend had succeeded where she’d failed.
And I LOVE what you said here:
“What’s tough is sharing your thoughts without the fake name. Sharing your thoughts–in public–with your real name and your real email and your real contact info. Because that’s what we writers do each and every time we have a story, essay or book published. We put it out there. With our name. With our reputation. We don’t–and can’t–hide.”
You are SO right! Good on you, Jane. We need to stick up for our friends.
I am new to your blog. We met briefly at the publicity summit in NYC back in October. I am also new to writing professionally. After working really hard to write and get a book published the idea that some anonymous person can just go off and insult you/me/yourfriend/ really ticks me off. You know the old expression, if you don’t have anything nice to say keep your mouth shut or at least have the guts to reveal yourself.
Good rant Jane…I agree, and particularly liked the flinging feces… = )
Now I’m really scared for my book to come out!
Jane, this is so true – “So to my dear friend across the ocean–the ‘reader’ that emailed you her helpful thoughts on why your book sucked and how you should be a better writer, just remind yourself she’s probably not published and probably very jealous that you are, and sadly, the world is full of people who want others to be as unhappy as they are.”
Misery just loves company. Don’t accept her invitation to join her. I’d even be tempted to send her a rejection letter. Or at least write one. Then burn it and blow it away.
Life’s too short to pay attention to mean people.
Totally agree with you, Jane. Writing a letter saying basically, “You suck,” is sick. It’s worse than than ‘anonymous letters to the editor’ which I don’t think are even permitted anymore.
It’s also just plain tacky and says far more about the writer than the person who received it.
You tell ’em!
Hi Jane, we met in North Oahu, Turtle Bay, by the rocks, checking the surf, 2005? I asked you questions about writing a book.
I would really like to have some tips from you on how to get started. I have material for two books. I’m a Dad with 1/3 of a dozen kids, sounds like a lot huh.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Totally agree with you. The internet is great for building bridges and connecting with people, but it also serves as a tool to tear those things down. You’re right, it’s just all too easy to be anonymous.
Great rant! The reader’s critique reminds me when others say, “I’m going to write a book someday!” And they think it will take about a weekend, received the call after one submission, and have a NY Times bestseller six months later. Basically, they have no clue. Madelyn