Saturday, May 20, 2017

Just a Hater

There will be haters. And with the anonymity of the internet serving as barracks, they will shoot freely with their negativity, aiming to hurt you, but willing to settle for knowing they got to you. 

This week I saw that there was a 1-star rating on Goodreads for my upcoming YA novel, Wild Bird. Goodreads reviews can be tough. The majority of people there take their reading very seriously. They are stingy with their 5s. 4-stars is a compliment. 3-stars is really good. But a 1-star? Those are much rarer than 5-stars.

You can get a 1-star on Amazon if someone's book wasn't delivered on time (like that's the author's fault?). Not the case on Goodreads. Most reviewers are there for a legitimate love of literature and have more class than to give a 1-star rating unless they have real issues with a book....and then they'll usually voice those in a review.

There was no accompanying review on Goodreads for the 1-star rating of Wild Bird. And since this is a book that's really only available to reviewers and select educators at this point (because it won't be out until September 5th), I was puzzled.

And then I realized that this same "reviewer" had given all my books--and pretty much only my books--1-star ratings. And that they'd all been rated on the same day.

Ah. A hater.

What did I do to deserve this hate?

I have no idea, and it doesn't matter--I was immediately over it.

Creative people are usually sensitive people, and it's easy to get to us. Especially when our creations are from the heart. It takes me two, maybe three, years of of research, writing, and revising to finish a YA novel. Yet with the split-second tap of a touch pad, someone can give your book one-star and feel that they are in a position of power. Or equal footing. Or that they are somehow a player.

My creative friends: these people are not players. They are not in your court, on your field, or swimming in your pool. They are benched. Their lives don't work to a point that they resort to this to make themselves feel better. How sad is that? How pathetic is that?

So don't give them that power. Don't let them infiltrate your thoughts. Don't even bother to ask who or why. The who is easy: a coward. And the why will never make sense coming from the thoughts of an illogical or hateful mind. Don't waste your time.  

Also, you will lose if you engage. Maybe you can get their profile removed, but they'll just come back as a different fake user, with a different fake profile, and a different fake photo. 

So don't give them your energy. Go back to the creative work you do. Keep driving toward your mission. You have a purpose, a direction, a contribution to make. They have hate, cowardice, and, almost certainly, little to show in the way of actual accomplishments.

Turn your back, walk away, and pity them. 

Hate is a terrible way to live.


Library man said...

These "reviews" are ridiculous. Did this person read all of your books in one day? I can't understand the motivation for doing this. Wonder if he/she did the same to other books and authors. Idiotic.

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Thanks, Library man. It is ridiculous and idiotic, but mostly just pitiful that this is how a person chooses to direct their energies. How sad to have a life like that.

Shaina said...

Grr, this is me hating on haters. I'm no professional writer, but I do write the occasional blog post from my heart, and that has taught me how personal it is to share my own writing with persons unknown. It is a vulnerable feeling and I'm glad you can let negativity roll off you so quickly. A few weeks ago in passing, I mentioned to my sister that I had written three mini chapters of a story, and she insisted on reading one. I felt so exposed while she read and so nervous! And she's my own sister! Admittedly, she's my outspoken/loud older sister (I'm the quiet one), but still. It was such a relief when she laughed at the funny parts and actually enjoyed what I wrote. I think I may have shriveled into a shell if she had criticized it! Life is much happier when we look on the positive side. Also, Sammy would've just punched that reviewer in the face, because one star is like a thumb tack to the butt. :)

Wendelin Van Draanen said...

Shaina - It has taken me years to learn how to let it go, but once you get the hang of it, it's really freeing. I admit to laughing out loud at your last sentence. So true :-) I am glad you were brave enough to let your sister read your story, and that she gave you encouraging feedback. I used to wait in the next room while Mark read a new chapter, hoping I'd hear laughter. That's the best. Keep writing!

Unknown said...

I have seen reviewers rate books that they have not yet read but are anticipating. I personally do not write negative reviews because I dont believe they serve any purpose. Your book, however, was wonderful and anyone rating it one star was doing so just to be an a$$.