So, as we’ve seen in the last year, when it comes to public meltdowns, few manage quite like authors do. I suppose it was inevitable that eventually lists would start to appear. For instance, Goodreads has a handy feature that allows you to see which books have been shelved under a certain title – in this case that’s ‘authors behaving badly’ which you can see for yourself here: http://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/authors-behaving-badly
Interestingly, there is also a poll where readers can vote on the worst behaved authors: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/20953.Badly_Behaving_Authors
As you would expect, the same couple of names keep coming up – Kiera Cass, who , together with her agent Elana Roth, publicly called a review a bitch and urged readers to manipulate ratings, is currently occupying the number one slot.
MR Mathias is a close second. For those of you who have never come across Mathias before, he’s a self-published author who took exception to a post of his being moved to a more relevant forum by the folks over at Fantasy Faction and proceeded to have a very public meltdown where he took to Twitter to announce that the mods at FF were ‘Nazis’ and threatened that until he got an apology he would keep telling people they were Nazis for ‘days and days’ and claimed that his books couldn’t possibly be self published because he was apparently outselling Terry Brooks and Robin Hobb. Sometimes I wish I made this stuff up, but sadly, no. You can read the whole thing here if you wish: http://fantasy-faction.com/2012/the-man-who-thought-he-was-king
Another self-published author, Melissa Douthit makes an appearance four times in the top twenty, and I can’t say I’m all that surprised. After getting herself banned from many writing communities on the net, including AbsoluteWrite and Goodreads, Douthit notoriously ‘outed’ a reviewer – publishing personal information and pictures online. Her reason? Four months previously the reviewer had given a one star review of Kiera Cass’s ‘The Selection’ – I blogged about it at the time https://clairewriteswords.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/here-we-go-again/ More recently, thought, there has been a lot of speculation that Douthit is behind the bullying website STGRB as detailed on Anne Somerville’s blog http://logophilos.net/blog/index.php/2012/08/the-unbearable-unravelling-of-sockpuppetry/
Rebecca Hamilton, a previously unpublished writer who started up her own press Imortal Ink also made the list, although I’m not sure about this one. Yes, Hamilton had a bit of rant and made a fool of herself on the internet (mostly when people over at AW asked her about her experience in running a publishing company. None. And her qualifications for the job. Also none.) but since she was speaking as a publisher, and not an author, I’m not really sure if she should have been on this list.
Jamie McGuire who attacked authors who commented that her book seemed to be endorsing domestic violence, is also on the list, as is, rather unsurprisingly, Caroll Bryant. Emily Giffin is also listed following her reviewer bullying behaviour earlier this year.
So, why did I bring this up?
Well, the point I want to make is this – the internet is forever. When you say something, no matter how quickly you retract it, it’s there for good. People will always be able to see it, and they will remember. Those angry comments posted at three in the morning will show up on searches of your name for years to come. The very public arguments you have with strangers, reviewers and other authors will be screencapped, reposted and blogged about by others.
When I read this list I wasn’t in the least surprised. I wish I was, but I’m not.
The point I’m trying to make is that behaving like an ass online will always come back and haunt you. It will damage your reputation and those rants will follow you around for the rest of your career.
All of these authors have something in common – they have all reacted negatively to reviews and comments about their books (or in Douthit’s case, someone else’s book) and it’s created entirely the wrong sort of interest.
Something I can’t help but notice is the number of self-published writers on that list. Now, I’m not saying that self-published writes are more prone to hissy fits, but I think self-published writers often don’t have the network in place to stop them doing stupid things like this. With the immediacy of response available now, comments are posted seconds after they are written. This means that by the time the writer has cooled down, it’s too late.
You spend months, or even years working on a book, why then would you do something stupid to tarnish it? Doesn’t your book deserve better than that