Authors, Readers, and TikTok…oh my

I jumped into TikTok last month, determined to master the newest craze that’s supposed to be the answer to marketing books. All I can say is….sheesh. It’s just another platform filled with conflict and drama when it doesn’t have to be. Readers being attacked by authors because of reviews. Authors being attacked by other authors because of a marketing plan they don’t agree with. 

To quote my latest MC: Son of a motherless goat.

Seriously people. We’re supposed to be professionals. That means if you would not act in a given manner, or say something to a colleague in the office (that brick and mortar place we all used to go to) then DO NOT SAY IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA. And if you would act like this at work, I’m really glad our paths have not crossed.

Because this is not professional. This is why “they” sit back with smirky little smirks on their smug faces and go “yeah, romance writers aren’t real writers.” Is it so inconceivable to people that others have plans and ideas and success that doesn’t match their own? If it works for them, great. If you don’t want to do it, great. Don’t. No one is going to make you. Here’s where you practice the age-old wisdom of “if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

That doesn’t prohibit polite questions. That doesn’t mean you’ll get answers, but we should all be open to questions that are asked out of a desire to learn. I’m really surprised that we have to go over this. We are a community. We should be lifting each other up because there are enough people trying to tear us down. 

And I can’t believe I even have to say this…do not attack readers! Reviews are not written for the author. They are written for other readers. They are the communication tool given to readers to say “hey I loved this book” or “hey I didn’t love this book.” Yes, we all hope our reviews are mostly the first but we must be willing to accept there will be some of the latter. And when there are, you say “Thank you for reading my book.” Because guess what? They read your book! 

There will be unfair reviews. There will be the readers who buy the zombie book and get pissed because the book was full of the shambling dead. There will be readers who buy the erotic novel and get horrified at the explicit sex. There will be readers who DNF and then leave a scathing review about whatever it is that made them not finish.

Suck it up. It’s part of the job. 

If you can’t take criticism, even harsh, unfair criticism, then you’re in the wrong business. This is a business of rejection and if you’ve been lucky enough NOT to discover that going into the publication of your first book then you’re the unicorn in the industry. If you want to be unconditionally loved, I suggest turning to a parent or sibling. If you want to publish books, I suggest you get a thick skin. People hated Shakespeare, Hemingway, Angelou, Socrates, Rushdie, and Irving. Grisham, Rowling, King, Roberts, and Patterson all have their share of rejection letters and scathing reviews. 

If you think you’re going to be the exception, think again. 

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