An Author Must Develop (Or Already Possess) A Thick Skin

Earlier today fellow independent author Rick Gualtieri tweeted about an online petition to the White House demanding an investigation into people treating independent authors badly.

Due to the unprecedented number of online personal attacks on indie authors we petition the Whitehouse to direct the Attorney General to investigate the wide spread problem of stalking, bullying , harassment, intimidation, criminal defamation and libel originating from the websites goodreads.com and Amazon.com. There resides on these sites a gang of serial criminals who endlessly attack writers with the express intent to damage, reputations, careers and trade. These criminals terrorize writers on a regular basis and we, the victims, want it stopped.

If I may quote a previous occupant of the Oval Office, if you can’t take the heat, get out of the kitchen!

What these thin-skinned authors have to realize is, not everyone is going to bow at your feet just because you clicked “publish” on an e-book website like Amazon. Some people are going to like your book, some people aren’t. That’s life. And, speaking as a reviewer, a good deal of what’s independently published these days is nothing short of dreck.

If you’re going to get into the authorship business, you need to develop the hide of the proverbial rhinoceros. People are going to pan your book, especially if there are grammar and spelling errors. No matter how good your book, people are going to write bad things about it. Even Hunger Games, one of the most popular modern books, has over 300 one-star reviews like this one. Harry Potter’s first book also received negative reviews like this. Do the people pushing this petition really think they’re better writers than modern bestselling authors like Suzanne Collins and J. K. Rowling? I got news for you, you’re probably not. Even if you are the greatest American author since Mark Twain, you’re going to get your share of bad reviews.

Bad reviews happen. How you deal with them says a lot about how mature you are as a person. An immature person goes screaming to the nearest authority figure, saying, “Mommy! (Teacher! Mr. President!) They’re being mean to me! Make them stop!” A mature soul looks at it and says, you can’t please everyone. Then the professional author tries his darnedest to make the next book even better, especially if the bad reviews pointed out errors in a previous book. An unprofessional author, on the other hand, just keeps repeating the same mistakes and then wonders why his books aren’t selling. A really unprofessional and immature author publicly lashes out at those who write negative reviews.

Of course, not everyone is going to like my book Librarian (once I get it published). I understand that. I’m ready for bad reviews, and I hope to handle them like the mature professional author I want to be.

Heck, not everyone is going to like this post, and some might even say so in the comments. I understand that too. Go ahead, fire away. I have thick skin.

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12 Comments

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12 responses to “An Author Must Develop (Or Already Possess) A Thick Skin

  1. The petition has an error involving a comma in it.

    • That’s an exact copy and paste, so the error is in the original petition.

      Myself, I can’t throw stones, I have problems with commas myself. One reason I fully intend to hire an editor for Librarian.

  2. Pingback: An Author Must Develop (Or Already Possess) A Thick Skin | My path to self publishing Multicultural YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

  3. Every thing you brought to light is totally true. As a reviewer and soon to be published author, I realize some books I’m going to rave about and others I won’t make noise about.

    I know not everyone will be a fan of my writing but I’m putting in the highest efforts to make my book the best it can be(hiring an editor, commissioning an artist for enticing cover art, etc)

    A bad review isn’t the worst thing In the world, in fact it should help you examine your writing and you can explore what you can do differently next time.

    Great post! Had to reblog!

  4. Pingback: Five star reviews and the lazy author | My path to self publishing Multicultural YA, Fantasy and Science Fiction Novels

  5. Adam Summers

    I don’t think that petition is about actual reviews, but about harrassment from a known group of people who don’t read the books, but attack certain authors. There are some sick people on Goodreads.

    • However, the Goodreads terms of use says, specifically:

      You agree not to post User Content that: (i) may create a risk of harm, loss, physical or mental injury, emotional distress, death, disability, disfigurement, or physical or mental illness to you, to any other person, or to any animal; (ii) may create a risk of any other loss or damage to any person or property; (iii) seeks to harm or exploit children by exposing them to inappropriate content, asking for personally identifiable details or otherwise; (iv) may constitute or contribute to a crime or tort; (v) contains any information or content that we deem to be unlawful, harmful, abusive, racially or ethnically offensive, defamatory, infringing, invasive of personal privacy or publicity rights, harassing, humiliating to other people (publicly or otherwise), libelous, threatening, profane, or otherwise objectionable; (vi) contains any information or content that is illegal (including, without limitation, the disclosure of insider information under securities law or of another party’s trade secrets); or (vii) contains any information or content that you do not have a right to make available under any law or under contractual or fiduciary relationships; or (viii) contains any information or content that you know is not correct and current.

      I see no evidence that the person behind the petition has filed a complaint with Goodreads asking them to uphold the terms of use and ban the people involved.

      In short, I’m not buying your explanation.

  6. Pingback: On reviewers, authors and online behaviour | Ally's Desk

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