The Internet Can Be a Very Mean Place
We have all read terrible, hate-filled words on the Internet. We have also seen inspirational, uplifting messages. It is a tool that can be used for good or for a great deal of evil as evidenced by the recent live streaming of a terrorist attack in New Zealand. On a less catastrophic level, many of us have been hurt by words posted about us, about our opinion, about our abilities, about our bodies, our looks…you name it. Like dropping bombs from the sky, it is a lot easier to hurt people when you are not looking them in the face.
On a Positive Note, Social Media is Not All Bad
I have taken to limiting my Social Media exposure to anything negative or controversial. “Just Keep Scrolling” is my motto. But, when you are a writer or engage in any other creative, self-employed type business, you often have to put yourself out there through your work. It is difficult to read negative reviews, snarky comments, calculate plummeting sales, or even come to terms with the fact that no one even cares…crickets! Launching a new book into the world is nothing short of an act of bravery akin to walking down the street naked for all to view and evaluate. Recently, I was feeling particularly discouraged about my career as a writer when I was given the gift of a virtual hug through a kind, encouraging, and uplifting book review.
I Only Wish I Could Personally Thank Her
On a morning when I was questioning why I bother writing books, I opened my Amazon book page to check the sales standing on my first book, False Gods, and the sequel’s pre-order campaign. It was mediocre. Then I noted a new review. Now let me tell you readers–every author immediately scrolls to the new review with a mix of fear and anticipation. Will it be five stars, or a troll sending your good ranking into the depths of the sea? These words (next to five stars!) greeted me:
“This is one of the best books I have ever read! The horses, the people, it was so good right from the beginning! I preordered the next book, and can’t wait to get it! Great author!”
Think Before You Write: You Catch More Flies With Honey
I was elated. I had renewed enthusiasm for getting back to work on a planned prequel (Dream Horse) and my third novel in the series because this reviewer took a few minutes to jot down two or three positive remarks that turned my day around. I’m not saying there is no place for criticism (like moms always said: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!), but make your criticism constructive, civil, make it private if that is appropriate, and deliver it in a loving way. We are drinking from a fire hose of poisonous negativity on social media. When you pen that snarky comment (that you think is clever and amusing) take a few minutes to think how it will affect its target. On the other hand, a few kind words may go further towards turning around someone’s whole mindset.