The Vandal blogThe further you journey into the world of literature, the more you become aware of just how ‘bitchy’ so-called armchair critics can be.

To the average avid reader the aforementioned notion doesn’t even enter their minds as they are happily drawn into the story they are reading and the characters that inhabit it.

But, when that reader becomes an author, the literary rules of engagement take on a sinister new aspect. You become the immediate target of mindboggling invective and bile, usually aimed at your work from a group of people on open forums who hide behind avatars and pseudonyms. These people (I use the word ‘people’ here simply because they are fellow human beings) are semi-literate individuals who lock themselves away from the world and reality in their bedrooms.

While I cannot speak for writers in languages other than my own, I firmly believe that we all need to stand shoulder to shoulder defending one another from this constant barrage by these cowards who believe that what they are saying actually matters.
I experienced just such an attack last year when my first novel finally appeared for sale on a major book purchasing online site.

In all innocence I started a ‘reader’s comment thread’ on the site for anyone who had taken the time to buy and read the end product of all my, and my editor’s hard work, simply for feedback.

Oh boy, what a fool I was!

Within a few hours the thread was bombarded with a level of pure hatred and vile comments from those shadowy individuals across the planet. Thankfully my editor came to my rescue and took most of them to task, unfortunately re-directing their vicious attack towards himself.

What really got to me was the fact that none of them had actually bought and read the novel from cover to cover. Instead they had used the free downloadable sample chapter as ammunition for their vicious attack.

Since that unfortunate incident I no longer participate in any kind of ‘public forum’.

I now belong to a writers group set up by my publisher where any criticism about my work, and there is a lot, is constructive, not destructive. Both myself and my publishers learned a bitter lesson from my innocent delving into ‘open forums’.

Is it any wonder that so few authors are willing to participate in any form of public debate of their work, when the literary equivalent of low life muggers are hiding in the shadows of the internet poised to strike?

I think not.

Today’s Guest blogger: Jack Eason – author of “Onet’s Tale” a science fiction novel, published by IFWG Publishing


Books By Derek Haines
Derek’s Vandal Blog
Derek on Twitter

Written A Book Lately?
Tagged on:                     

6 thoughts on “Written A Book Lately?

  • 20/06/2011 at 11:10 am

    I can't remember where I saw the quote 'People who have given up on their dreams will ridicule yours'. I think it fits in cases such as your experience with the forum.

    Constructive criticism is one thing. Hate filled bile is another.

  • 20/06/2011 at 11:40 am

    Hmm.. I know few of you like hiphop but I'll quote the rapper Lupe Fiasco here:

    Have you ever had the feeling that you was being had?
    Don't that sh*t there make you mad? They treat you like a slave
    Put chains all on your soul and put whips up on your back
    They be lying through they teeth, hope you slip up off your path
    I don't switch up, I just laugh!

    They're haters! They'll pull you down because they can't do a thing but criticize for the sake of criticizing..but like Kanye West says,"If they hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up."

    Or try listening to Be Somebody by Fort Minor. Yeah, hiphop makes you feel pretty good and confident at times :)))

  • 20/06/2011 at 12:11 pm

    My editor put those low life's in context when he said they can be categorised as 'Criticasters'. Look it up in any worthwhile dictionary. :)

  • 20/06/2011 at 12:26 pm

    I agree I've also been hit by people trawling forums just to make mischief.

    I put it down to pure jealousy, my books have sold over 20,000 copies, theirs are probably picking up dust in the bottom of their closets!

  • 20/06/2011 at 12:40 pm

    Thats one of the unfortunate things about the ease of todays information technology, I think. People can hide behind their pc's and make the kind of comments they would never make face to face. Cowards one and all!!

  • 21/06/2011 at 4:43 pm

    I've never understood the propensity for individuals to rate or read a book on any website if they simply haven't read it in its entirety. Good ratings or bad, you simply can't effectively talk about something if you haven't experienced the whole thing.

Comments are closed.