Dougie Brimson. Author, screenwriter, serial moaner.
I love Amazon, it is amazing. Not simply for the fact that it offers brilliant prices on just about everything but because it’s where I sell most of my books. Not just in the UK either, but around the world.
However, my favourite online retailer does have a dark side and it is one which all authors need to be aware of; the forums.
As an idea of course, a place where readers can talk about books is brilliant. Not just to enhance the experience of readership but also because a lot of people like to support authors and promote new ones which is not something to be sniffed at. Conversely, it is also a great way to let people know that you might not have enjoyed a particular book as well as hopefully, providing an explanation as to why. This however, is where the problems can sometimes arise.
Now I always advise authors to avoid responding to reader reviews and especially to comments for the simple reason that reviews are an individual’s opinion and are generally posted for the benefit of other readers. And whilst they can be incredibly useful to authors for all kinds of reasons, they are not written for them/you/me.
There are inevitably exceptions to that, the primary ones being to thank someone who has been particularly complimentary or point someone who has loved a book in the direction of a sequel if such a thing exists. However, when someone posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, bite the bullet and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain. For the forums are also home to all kinds of trolls. And literary trolls like nothing than a sniff of a stroppy author.
As a result, before you know it you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can be very personal indeed. They can also be relentless as literary trolls hunt in packs. And don’t think they will confine their activities to Amazon either. Oh no, upset the trolls and they’ll fairly quickly be rubbishing you on Goodreads as well as various other sites. And those attacks can go on for weeks, months, even years.
Indeed, so bad can they get that they don’t just damage the book, they can easily undermine the reputation and even confidence of the author. I know of numerous authors who have actually withdrawn their books from sale because they can’t handle the abuse they’ve received. Occasionally, they have got so bad that the police have had to become involved.
Quite what drives these people on escapes me. Although I suspect both jealousy and sad, empty lives have a lot to do with it. However, to delve into the psyche of these bullies gives them exactly the kind of power and importance that they crave so it’s far better to simply laugh them off, ignore them and simply keep churning out good solid work. Because ultimately, that’s what they want to stop you doing, which is ironic given that they all claim to love books.
Dougie Brimson is the author of 15 books, the bulk of which are now available as eBooks. These include the thriller, The Crew (the most downloaded football book of 2012 which is now FREE), its sequel, Top Dog, which is soon to hit the big screen and the new comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.
Details of all books as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!
My name is Dougie Brimson; author, screenwriter and lover of all things blokey. This is my blog.
In the main, it will feature my opinions, provide the odd bit of advice or possibly be nothing more than a good rant just to get something off my chest but it might occasionally contain words and thoughts that are best described as provocative. As a consequence, please be aware that what you might read may not necessarily reflect the true opinions of the author but are instead, designed purely to illicit a response of some kind.
However, if you take offence to something you read or is inferred, too bad. If you know me, you should know better anyway and if you don't, please feel free to go elsewhere or better still, either email me to voice your concerns or simply leave a comment! I will always respond.
Either way... lighten up. It's only the bloody internet.
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