Publishing is an emotional business because we’re working with writers who dig deep into their souls and pour forth fabulous books. A lot of blood, sweat, tears, money, and time go into making each book a success. And let’s not forget we’re mixing a lot of different personalities together on the playground – many whose temperatures shoot into the fever zone at the drop of a hat. So it’s only a matter of time and a perfect set of circumstances when someone’s gonna blow.
It happens. The question is, what are you going to do about it when something sucky comes your way?
I’ve already talked about going into the ozone over editing and cover design, but the next biggest source of cranky behavior happens with reviews. There’s a rather delicious brouhaha going on over at AW about some nastiness that, frankly, makes my head spin. I don’t really give a rat’s pattoot about the whole mess except to point out how a bad review can reduce supposedly sentient beings into ranting lunatics. Sadly, this is far from an isolated case.
It’s bad enough when an author has a temper tantrum over a bad review and stomps her little feet like my kids did when they were three-years old. But when a publisher gets involved in the idiocy, one has to wonder if they’re potty trained and allowed to cross the street unaided. And yes, much to my sadness, I’ve seen it happen on a few occasions.
In the age of the internet where anonymity emboldens people to commit all kinds of shameful behavior, the idea of civility and a stiff upper lip seems to be a fleeting notion. Nowadays, nothing is too outrageous or insulting, and it becomes incumbent upon the adults to shake their heads and take a step back.
Fact: not everyone will like you or your book. Those reviews may be constructive or personal attacks based on nothing more than they don’t like your publisher, your face, your politics, your religion, you nose, your beagle, and a whole host of other imbecilic reasons that includes not liking your writing. So what are you going to do? Take on the world one grumpy reviewer at a time?
Being a professional means just that. Acting like an adult, with grace and maturity, and not stooping to the third grade level. This requires that you grow a very thick skin and hold your head high. If you’re proud of your work, then let the little twerps of the world wallow in their sticky juices of discourse.
Biting your tongue and maintaining your composure takes the wind out of their sails. Tweeting or blogging “I got a nasty review” makes you look thin-skinned and unprofessional. Be bigger than that. Be better than that.