You Never Know Who's Reading

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's Wednesday, which would usually mean me dissecting Lost. I'm currently mad at Lost for not only ending, but doing it in lousy way, so instead I give you this:

Last week (and a few posts down from this one) I did a review of Joanna Philbin's "The Daughters". Well, somehow Ms. Philbin's publicist stumbled upon my blog post and passed it along. Now it's on her Facebook with a link back.

The Internet is just frickin' cool! The connection points it makes possible are things we don't even think of when we're writing these posts (at least I don't think of them).

It also makes me feel sorry for the people who use their blogs as a way to vent their frustrations and name names, then don't understand why they can't get anywhere in their chosen field. One far too popular version of this is yet-to-be published writers who not only post in detail about their rejections, but give names and detailed opinions of the people who do the rejecting.

I'm not talking query stats - I've posted those myself, but they were all anonymous and I didn't cut and paste the letters for all to read. What I'm talking about are the blogs devoted to rejection where someone posts EVERY SINGLE form letter and takes them all personally. They're somehow under the assumption that only the friends who pat them on the back and stroke their ego will read it.

It's the In-ter-net, people. Words travel.

You've probably read one or two of these posts and they all go something like this:

OMG, Agent Snooty McPrissyPants is such a loser! My writing is totally awesome; everyone who's read it has said so! I got a rejection in like twenty minutes! They SOOOOOO didn't read the submission - at all. If they don't want clients then they should just say so! The joke's on you McPrissyPants! One day, I'll find an agent who isn't a total moron and who isn't afraid to publish something other than vamp-were-faerie porn! I'm just too much for you to handle.

Yeah, you probably are too much to handle, but not in the good, ultra-talented kind of way.

In one post (and the hundred or so that came before it) the writer not only maligned an agent who took the time to send them a form rejection (when most have transitioned to the "no response = no system because of replies like this), but they also insulted writers whose chosen genre is fantasy/urban fantasy/ horror, etc.

What's worse, thanks to things like Google alerts, the people you're railing against know exactly who you are. That means they most likely don't want to have anything to do with you. Ever. You didn't just burn your bridges, you burned the building materials before the construction crew even showed up.

The other variation is the published author meltdown, which usually happens in a very public forum like Amazon. Maybe they've got writer's block or maybe they're having a bad day, but all the ones I've seen have something in common -- one bad review sets them off.


We're talking authors who may have multiple good reviews, and even may have a couple of not so good ones that flew past their radar. For some reason that one lousy start on that one negative review sets them off, and when they go off, it's a short fall straight off the deep end.

Inevitably, the author will create a "sock puppet" to defend their "favorite author" by calling into question the sanity and intelligence of the person who gave the review. They'll pitch an epic fit suggesting that not only did the reviewer not read the book in question, but they only gave it a bad review due to some personal agenda.

Both of these scenarios come to a head when the rant goes viral - and it almost always does. Someone will tweet, someone else will post it on walls, and within 72 hours, what could have been a tiny indiscretion that was quickly forgotten turns into a multi-day, several hundred comment incident. (Don't believe me? Check Fandom Wank one of these days. Their archives are a trainwreck timeline for online meltdowns. <---- Try saying that 5 times fast.)

If you want to go off, so be it. Type it out and go crazy - then hit DELETE, not POST.

Something to think about any time you stick a known name in post. Eventually, someone's going to find it and whatever light you paint them in will be applied to you under greater scrutiny.

8 Chiming In:

Terry Towery said...

Good post, Josin. God, if I had a dime for every time I've hit delete after typing something that felt *really* good at the time. Generally, I delete anything negative that has a name attached to it.

I'm way to sensitive of my (presumed) future in this business to let one little hissy fit derail things. Good advice. :)

Terry Towery said...

Uh, the "to sensitive" above should, of course, read: "too sensitive."

Sorry. I hate typos. ;(

Ted Cross said...

Perhaps a few thousand people talking about you isn't all bad! Even if what they are saying isn't great, a few more eyes may find their way to your books.

Lydia Sharp said...

I totally feel ya on the "connections are great" type comments. I am still amazed by how many people just... find me somehow. And then link me to... things. All over the internet. It's kind of scary/cool.

And btw, this comment is made of awesome:
"Yeah, you probably are too much to handle, but not in the good, ultra-talented kind of way."

Just saying. ;)

Josin L. McQuein said...

Awee, that's okay Terry. Typos are forgivable on the blog. I'm not Snooty McPrissyPants. (I have, on occasion, been Snarky McPrissyPants, but PrissyPants are very uncomfortable. They scratch.)

Ted, if you're going to have people look you up, it's usually better to have them looking for a good reason rather than to seek out your faults.

Lydia, it's my sooper skrit ambition to be too much to handle in the good ultra-talented way one of these days. (I guess posting that kind of blew the sekrit part, huh?) ;-P

Dave Lucas said...

Two interesting facebook articles are posted on my blogspot: one has a link so that you can determine how safe your facebook info is. The other is one of the "how to delete" guides!

nothankyou said...

hahahaaa! this cracked me up.

Angela McCallister said...

Wow. It's those darn Type-A personalities! I've never been that devastated or angry about a rejection. Sure, it's frustrating to get them in general, but I can't imagine singling out any.

And you make a very good point about not knowing where your words will end up. Our degree of separation is shrinking drastically.

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