okay, i have something to say.
first, you should read this blog post and the following comments:
booksandpals greek seaman
oh wait. you probably already read it, huh? you know, due to everyone linking to it on twitter and facebook and forums and blogs. because that's what happens when authors royally screw up and go batshit crazy about a negative review. they get held up as an example of what not to do. and so they should be.
i'll go on the record now and say the reviewer is right, and the author is wrong. no question. the author went crazy, and even after that, the reviewer was professional. i'll also say i applaud the first commenters who stuck up for the reviewer and gave the author a few slaps. that probably needed to be done too.
but 50 or 100 comments later, i started to squirm. 300+ comments later, i was crawling out of my skin. maybe it's just me, but when i see an author's comments devolve from outrageously defensive to simply outrageous to finally just swearing/screaming in frustration, i start to get concerned. i read the first few comments with an eyeroll (authors need thicker skin. sheesh!) then a cringe (wow. she sounds... off.) and finally worry (where did the author go after that final "F-off!" comment? is she okay? what if she tries to hurt herself?)
maybe that's just my overactive imagination, but it's not the first time i've seen an author go wild, get flamed and disappear in a flash of obscenities. and every time i see it i think - i hope that person is okay. regardless of the bad behavior and the well-deserved smack down that follows, i do think there's a point when the flaming crosses a line into something else. (i won't use the word "bullying" because it's become a buzz word that's losing it's meaning. that's another blog post, another time.)
it just surprises me that members of the online literary community - the same community that embraced the "it gets better" message in a big way - can forget to be kind... even to people who don't seem to deserve kindness.
wow, i sound like a mushy sap in this post. i should confess: most people in my “real life” – particularly those who know me professionally – would tell you i have little tolerance for thin skin and irrational behavior.
i’m not telling anyone they shouldn’t comment or tweet or write their own blogs on the topic. i’m all about freedom of speech! do what you will. i’m only suggesting… maybe take a closer look at these cases when they come up and ask – has someone already said what I want to say? Does the target of this flame seem unstable? If I’m really still angry, what is the best way to fire back?
personally, i would suggest: don’t buy the authors’ books. refuse to read their words. as a writer, i can think of no greater punishment. beyond that, it’s just boxing the ears – painful, abusive and occasionally bloody.
of course, there are exceptions. some behavior is so consistent and outrageous that it deserves equally relentless berating online. (i'm looking at you, Charlie Sheen.)