Authors Behave Badly.

I have another post I keep meaning to write, about various sundries, but I’ve been caught up in household colds and working on the novel and, the last few days, in Goodreads demonstrating some poor decision-making. So I wanted to go ahead and post this.

Behaving badly in response to negative feedback comes naturally to many authors. Of course, a lot of things come naturally. We learn to control most of them, so that we only do them in appropriate situations.

Editorial feedback from somebody who’s paying you is actually a great training experience here. You have incentive to shut up and take it, or at least be very careful and thoughtful in how you respond. You practice. You learn. You put on your big girl pants.

I mention this because Goodreads is trying to get the ongoing war between Badly Behaving Authors and Reviewers Who Care out of its backyard, they’re profiling reader shelves to do so, and ONCE AGAIN the mass media that picks up the story is focused on how reviewers are behaving badly and ‘bullying’ authors (and at the expense of the actual discoverable truth, too).

It’s so goddamned unintuitive. Readers are just readers. They read. They write down their reactions to a book. They don’t naturally behave badly in that way, in the way that authors do. Why should they? They’re not getting negative feedback, they’re giving it.

I really have trouble understanding how anybody glancing at the situation doesn’t naturally understand that authors behave badly. I mean, it’s so well understood that authors get upset at negative feedback that my non-creative manager once passed along a critique letter then gave me the rest of the day off to ‘go break some glasses or whatever you need to do’.

And anybody who actually goes to That Site That Talks About Goodreads Bullies (http://www.donotlink.com/bmk)– how can they read the stuff posted and not see how ludicrous their claims are? Where is the logic? Where is the discernment?

Authors behave badly. Fact of life. It doesn’t mean that it’s okay that they do so in inappropriate situations. And keeping track of authors that make a big stink in public is a sensible and reasonable thing to do. It isn’t bullying, it isn’t trying to destroy their career, it isn’t even mean. It’s just responding naturally, in an appropriate situation.  And I have no idea how CNN and Nathan Bransford and Salon can all be so incredibly blind and ignorant.

Some other posts on this subject:

http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/4917309-an-open-letter-to-goodreads

http://stopthegrbullies.net/ (which is not the site I mention above; it is a site that explains what is behind the DoNotLink’ed site above, which is being talked up so much as a victim-support site in the media)

http://indie-publishing.blogspot.com/ Somebody who showed up repeatedly on the Goodreads feedback thread as a sock puppet because he’d been banned as a Badly Behaving Author. You can, if you wish, observe the specimen in its natural environment.

There’s lots more out there.

ETA: At my G+ profile there’s a discussion in the comments of this same post which goes into more detail about this whole situation and what is or isn’t bullying behavior on Goodreads.

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