Thursday, July 16, 2009

Brain Donors

Maybe it's just me, but I've noticed a lot of really stupid behavior lately.

Here are some of the dumbass characters I've recently run into on the World Wide Web.

THE ONE STAR WHORE - Some folks go on certain review sites and feel the need to bash stories with one-star reviews. Why? I can only deduce some over-inflated sense of self-importance that compels a percentage of the population to see their diatribes on the internets, sort of the equivalent of a giant refrigerator door. Look what I did, Mom! I'm a negative prick!

JOE'S RESPONSE - Negative reviews amuse me. I don't complain about them, or try to have them removed, because I believe rational people can come to their own conclusions about whether or not to read something, and aren't influenced by poorly-worded hate-fests. I particularly love the reviews from people who got the book for free and then feel the need to warn folks against ruining their lives by making the same mistake they did and reading the offending material. I bet your family can't stand you.

THE SPOILING CRITIC - Getting professional reviews is important to writers, and it comes with the territory that a certain amount of them will be negative. But some asshole critics think their job isn't to rehash and rate, but also to spoil major plot points in the book.

JOE'S RESPONSE - Those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, critique. Those who can't critique well, spoil. How frustrated a person do you have to be to want to ruin someone else's potential enjoyment? Perhaps we should ask the folks at Kirkus that very question.

THE CONTEST MOANER - I was recently a contest judge, and some folks took exception to my list of "don'ts" I recently blogged about. They feel I'm not fair.

JOE'S RESPONSE - Don't enter contests. If your story is good enough, find an editor who will pay for it. But guess what? If you do the things I mentioned not to do, you won't find an editor. Also, someone is knocking on your door. It's Life, and he's holding a big sign that says "I'm Not Fair." Maybe you should let him in and get to know him.

THE WOE IS ME AUTHOR - We all know the publishing industry drops books and series all the time. They have a myriad of reasons for doing this, many of them impenetrable. But whining about this in public, no matter how much it stings, is asking for sympathy, which is pathetic.

JOE'S RESPONSE - You do not get future book contracts through sympathy. Yes, the publishing industry is often unfair, and sometimes downright idiotic. But airing your dirty laundry isn't the way to fight back. Fight back with great writing. We all get kicked. But we don't have to acknowledge it. After sincerity, the thing all people must learn to fake is confidence.

THE ENTITLEMENT JUNKIE - These folks seem to think they deserve some sort of success, and like to spout the Conspiracy Against Them and publicly wonder why they aren't getting what they're due.

JOE'S RESPONSE - No one deserves anything. There is only luck and hard work. Once you feel you're due something, or that people are keeping you from getting yours, you're on a slippery slope that usually ends in obscurity.

THE GREEN FAIRY - Envy is a disease. It's easy to look at other writers and compare yourself to something they possess; money, fame, awards, print runs, bestsellerdom, talent. It's also easy to take pot shots at these writers, while secretly (or not so secretly) wishing you were them.

JOE'S RESPONSE - Your race is with yourself, not with your peers. Never compare yourself to another writer for any reason whatsoever. Once you start wishing for someone else's career, you aren't tending to your own.

THE ME ME ME - The definition of a bore is someone who talks and doesn't bother to notice if anyone else is in the room. Writers may be more self-absorbed than most, but they shouldn't mistake this for being so fascinating that every other word they speak is "I."

JOE'S RESPONSE - If you're in a conversation and more than half of it is coming from your mouth, it isn't a conversation--it's a monologue. If you're in a conversation and the only questions you ask are directed at yourself, I pity the poor saps stuck in your orbit. At least have the decency to pass out cyanide capsules when you walk into the room.

THE INSULTER - Nothing says "I'm pathetic" like name-calling. Yet some folks feel the need to hurl insults, and direct criticism toward the person rather than the comment. This, like many of the above, is a result of the Internet, which buffers accountability. As such, some folks feel it is okay to be rude little twits, because they're protected from being socked in the mouth.

JOE'S RESPONSE - If you wouldn't say it to a person's face, don't say it on the net. Ideas and opinions are a lot of fun to discuss, defend, and attack. But once it becomes personal, you've lost control, and lost the discussion, you asshole.

THE SELF-PUBBED MARTYR - There's nothing wrong with self-pubbing. But the majority of the writers in the world won't equate it with traditional publishing, for too many reasons to be discussed here. If you want the respect of your peers, it isn't going to be by logically presenting your points and calmly discussing why their views are irrational, any more than intelligent discourse saved anyone on the Trail of Tears. And bemoaning your lack of respect in the publishing world is just a rally for more people to attack you.

JOE'S RESPONSE - If you want the respect of your peers, get a traditional publishing contract. Personally, I think peer respect is useless, and trying to join a club that doesn't want you is futile. Stop trying to convince the world you're relevant. The world will ultimately figure that out for itself.

THE KNOW IT ALL BLOGGER - This guy spouts advice and opinions like he's God's Gift to the World, guising his superiority under the banner of "being helpful."

JOE'S RESPONSE - Thank this man profusely, and buy all of his books. The latest is CHERRY BOMB, now on sale...