For most of us, writers’ that is, writing a book is a lifelong dream and actually seeing that dream come to fruition through publication, whether traditional or independent, is a personal success story. Of course, all authors want to sell “gazillions” of their success, but that doesn’t always happen. The truth is every author struggles throughout his or her journey, and most struggle their entire writing career. We get frustrated and more often than not life is inconsiderate of our goal. However, regardless what happens we want to finish that book; it’s an itch we must scratch. Like any other artistic form of expression, it’s the need to create and share our thoughts, opinions, fears, aspirations, life experiences and imagination that drives us to put pen to paper or click the keyboard. And, for most of us, there’s more to the stories we tell than just entertainment.
For me, every book I’ve written has a thread of truth to it, which means either the idea for the plot or a specific scene or character was based on something or someone in real-life. And, of course, there’s the research. Which brings me to the reason why I’ve taken the time to write this post… Book Reviews. Well, I should correct that and say: reviews of any artistic medium.
My girlfriend (bestie and published author) called me today and our main topic of discussion was book reviews. She told about another author (friend) she knows who was verbally crucified by a bunch of “haters” crusading as reviewers before her book even hit the shelves. Of course, some reviewers are given pre-sales copies, but that doesn’t explain the rest. I don’t know how a review can be posted when a book isn’t published yet (which means you didn’t actually read it). I’m guessing telepathy? Mind-melding? Because you’re God? Spock?
After my girlfriend hung up, I decided to check out the author’s book reviews on Goodreads. And just when I thought I’ve seen it all…I was dead wrong. What is everyone going to do, lynch the poor woman? And, no, I won’t reveal the author or the book title because she’s suffered enough cruelty.
It’s a book, people… A BOOK.
Adding to this, Goodreads and similar sites need to take responsibility when it comes to the profanity and the aggressive nature of the “supposed” reviews. That type of crap should never be allowed.
There are people in society who love to hate and these people, for whatever reason, use the internet to take their frustration and hatred out on others. It’s been proven, and the stats are available, that people are more likely to threaten, berate and bully others via their computer because (as far as they’re concerned) there are no repercussions. The internet provides anonymity, distancing the predator from his or her potential prey. But if they were standing in the same room as their victim, they’d be less likely to say anything; fear of retaliation. And these people will use any excuse and any means to spout their cruelty.
Every author I know, including myself, have had a bad review at some point; it’s part ‘n’ parcel to putting novels out there; it’s the risk we take. But what no one prepared us for is the ugliness—the threats. Some authors have actually received death threats. Seriously, what the f*** is that?
Again, I say… It’s a book, people… A BOOK.
A review is one person’s opinion, nothing more and nothing less. Period. And everyone is certainly entitled to give an opinion in our “so-called” free-speaking and free-thinking Western society. But what should never be tolerated is a reviewer threatening, berating or bully the author, painter, movie director, musician, et cetera. Just as the reviewer is entitled to give an opinion the creator is entitled to write the story they want, paint the picture they want or direct the type of film they want.
There will always be villains and heroes, there will always be right and wrong, love and hate, envy, racism, political fallout, sexism, war, religion and so on—it’s called human nature and it’s a part of our history. We are imperfect beings: emotion driven and able to reason. That’s what separates us from the animals and forces us to make, hopefully, the correct decisions—to strive for better understanding—and it’s how we learn from one another. Throughout history mankind (humans) have loved to tell stories—fictitious stories. That is how we pass on our knowledge, morals, and culture. The spoken and written language is literally who we are.
So, you can love a book, or you can hate a book but don’t shoot the author. If you can’t be fair and polite (polite being the key word) with your review then don’t say anything at all. The reviewer should defend the author’s right to share his or her imagination, to share their passion regardless of personal angst or what the reviewer perceives as wrong.
And for all those "reviewers" who seem to think it’s their God-given right to threaten, berate and bully, I dare you to write a book and publish it. I dare you to put your heart and soul to paper and let the world see.
The world isn’t a cruel place it’s the haters that create the hostility, and nothing will change unless we learn to respect one another.
I dare you to: ‘Walk a mile in my shoes’.