I’ve talked about how authors should react to bad reviews several times in previous posts. But I’ve never talked much about how authors should react to other authors who make negative comments about them. I think I touched on this once. But not very often.
And that’s because it doesn’t happen often. Most authors I know are always willing to support their fellow authors…this even crosses genres. I’ve shouted for a few YA authors I love, and they’ve done the same for me. It’s a small, civil, pleasant circle between writers, which makes it all the more worth while.
But every so often there’s one bitch that ruins it for everyone. An author friend e-mailed me yesterday afternoon about how another author has been making fun of her and posting snarky, negative comments about her in public. First, my author friend was floored. She never expected this kind of behavior from another author. Second, my author friend wasn’t sure how to respond. My friend, whom I love dearly, isn’t shy. Her first instinct was to go after the bitch and bury her. A perfectly normal way to react, too.
Thankfully, my friend e-mailed me first and we talked about it on the telephone for almost an hour. I talked her out of responding to the negative comments with a counter attack. I believe that when you are attacked by another author, to respond with a counter attack would just promote more negativity. I told my friend that it’s not worth the time, the energy, or the e-ink. Anyone who is a professional and has even the slightest amount of decorum won’t pay attention to the author who made the attack. If anything, people will think much less of the author who made the attack. Besides, why give the author who made the attack an ounce of free publicity? In some cases, I think the few asshole-authors out there who do attack other authors are looking for free publicity. And why should they get it?
I’ve been through this myself a while back. It only happened once, with an obscure romance author who has more mouth than book sales. And I was shocked that another author whom I’d never even met would attack me in public for no apparent reason. Without knowing a thing about me, she attacked my writing, my books, my background, and even my personality. At the time, my first instinct was to go after the bitch. But then a good friend of mine I’ve mentioned before, a literary agent who’s been in the business for over 30 years, talked me out of it.
So I passed his advice on to my friend yesterday. And she felt so much better. Though I’m still sure she wants to fight back, I think I talked her into just ignoring the negative comments and moving forward. And now I’m passing this advice on to anyone who has ever gone through a similar situation. Like I said above, it doesn’t happen often…most authors know how hard other authors work and they wouldn’t even think about attacking another author in a personal level. But when it does happen, the best thing to do is simply ignore it. Nine times out of ten the author who is making the attack will eventually disappear and never be heard from again anyway. In the past twenty years, I’ve seen that happen more than once, too.