Because this is 100% a hill I will die on.
A post was made in a group I’m in reminding people to be kind (which is an oft-heard refrain as of late – I don’t understand how we got to a place as a bunch of grown-ass adults where it needs to be repeated so damn much lately… I digress…)
Basically, the post reminded the group goers that authors and narrators frequented the group and if you have something to say about a particular book be it critical or praise that you have a right to say what you want just please be mindful that the people who wrote it or recorded it could be watching…
To which someone basically responded that the post reminded them of some meme about authors being fragile creatures.
I responded with the following:
As one of the aforementioned authors… there is a vast difference between these two types of reviews:
1. I didn’t like this author’s writing style, it just wasn’t for me. I felt like the writing was (repetitive, too verbose, not verbose enough – whatever your preference I’ve heard it all)
2. I didn’t like this author, in my opinion, she’s trash. Her writing is absolute garbage and nobody should bother reading or listening to her stuff. It’s a waste of space on the internet.
1. is honest and constructive. 2. is abuse and says a lot more about the reviewer than the reviewee.
A lot of people like to whine that reviews are for other purchasers and not for authors but just how does anyone expect an author to improve if they don’t know what you all want out of them – so yes, a lot of us read the reviews and if several mention the same deficit we try to improve the reading or listening experience for you guys in future installments but calling us authors names and telling us we’re fragile creatures or snowflakes, or whatever?
Come on. We’re people, and contrary to popular belief we’re allowed to have feelings. Your words are allowed to shape us just as ours affect you but yours are personal to an extent where ours are not.
Tl;dr – kindness costs nothing.
As someone who in the last two years I have been getting A LOT of the 2nd type of review I just have to shake my head at the absolute audacity of some people.
Okay, so cool – you’re allowed to have whatever feelings you want about what you read but we aren’t allowed to have any feelings at all even though we wrote it?
This goes beyond having a ‘thick skin’ as an author because there’s a certain component to that which is also true. What this boils down to is ‘it’s not what you have to say about what I created, it’s how you say it’
You don’t have to be an absolute shitbird about something you didn’t like. You can be kind. And yes, this is a hill I am 100% going to die on and I have absolutely zero fucks to give what other big-name indie authors have to say about authors not being ‘allowed’ to read their reviews because 1. fuck that, I do what I want and 2. not responding to a negative or hurtful review is one thing – an author should absolutely never do that – but not reading them? Not taking the opportunity to put the finger on the pulse of your readership and what they desire enough to please your audience – what kind of business model is that?
For Christ’s sake – JUST BE NICE! Why is that so fucking hard in this industry?