This is all going away — I no longer care about defending myself. If an old ex-friend of mine has to hide behind the schoolhouse and giggle about me with jealous trolls, I can do nothing about it. I’m a professional. Seriously, y’all — get lives.
MY FAN FICTION CAN NOW BE FOUND ONLINE AT MELODYCLARK.ORG
…. when writing feels like taking dictation. And then there are the times when you can’t get a character to open his yap if you bribed him. Obviously, he’s not fully realized enough. Same old, same old.
Competition has become insane. It has become so insane, I’m putting off the second part of my bipolar series to discuss it today.
Once upon a time, I had a friend for whom everything was a gauntlet thrown down before her. I didn’t even realize this until the day we were sitting down watching television and I unconsciously moved up to scooch my boobs forward to take the stress off my lower back. She then tossed me a haughty look and did the same thing with her boobs, as if countering my “affront”. I sat there mystified. She had interpreted a simple position change in the worst possible way. She clearly thought I had consciously done this to best her. It would be many years before I’d watch a documentary about primate behavior and see the same acting-out among higher primates. This brings me to modern pack dynamics and the Net.
I realized some years ago that some people take anything as a challenge to their egos. One’s own success — even little ones — become a threat to them. The gangs of “mean girls” (many of them far too old to qualify as “girls”) who roam the net, ranking down others’ stories, posting consciously nasty (not constructive criticism) reviews just to knock another writer, giving one-star reviews to books that haven’t even been released yet, and doing a vast menagerie of other animal behaviors that are stunning to those of us who wouldn’t do this to anyone, ever. I soon learned I couldn’t share my good reviews with anyone because that would be seen as “bragging” — and it would often be followed by someone posting a one-star response. I’m told this reaction is due to their inferiority complexes, when it seems clear to me the problem isn’t an inferiority complex at all but the supposition that they are somehow deserving of accolades when the rest of us are not.
Not long ago, I related on Facebook about a family member of mine posting a glowing review on Amazon to one of my books. Now, I reported it and had it removed, but someone reading my FB post assumed I hadn’t and immediately went over, disagreeing with all my thoroughly legitimate positive reviews. The writer not only refused to admit she had done this, she exploded on me with a whole volley of abuse clearly borne of a guilty conscience. I, I was told, had real problems! And this from a fellow writer of erotic romance … you know how it is, one’s own kinks are fine, others’ are sick and twisted.
Just because someone has done well does not mean you aren’t doing well, too. Is a writer’s success only determined by the supposed, comparative lack of success of her friends? Must she always be paramount? If she’s only happy when she’s on top and others are beneath her, what does that say about her?
I have an old friend who is doing amazing things right now. I quite literally couldn’t be happier for her. I respect her as a writer even though her books aren’t my thing. I also don’t begrudge her a moment of success.
Was a time, I thought, writers cheered each other on. The Internet has given me a newer, wiser — and sadder — opinion about this.
Their online forums will always be filled with hysteria over bad sales. It will come in many forms.
Newbies will complain that the industry is ruled by a few people who won’t give out the secrets, and the old guard is the reason for their bad sales.
The old guard will insist that all the best fruit has been picked, and the youngsters best go on to some other occupation, where they’ll be less competition for the old guard. They blame newbies for bad sales.
Doomsayers, be they people who don’t want to bother to try selling, or those addicted to the old system when the paradigm is changing, will scream about the end being near. They will point to all the signs of the coming sales apocalypse.
A handful of optimists will try to suggest better things are to come, and then be attacked by everyone else.
Then the better things come, and everyone discusses the reasons why this is so. They grow and nurture a whole host of superstitions about what brought forth the harvest, and how the gods might be further appeased to continue it. They banter back and forth on favored theories.
Bad times are usually credited to “the end of everything,” “the summer slump” except when it’s the “always known autumn slump,” which will then be countered by the magic of Christmas.
Now, in bookland, people whisper of great mysteries being brought across the Amazon, by wisemen bearing cheap kindles and Kindle Fires.
It’ll all be the end until it’s a “whole new beginning” again — until the next sales slump. The important thing to remember is that seasons end … and begin again.
The new perspective on the nasty review sites is “it’s not bullying!” — as if simply saying it isn’t bullying instantly and magically makes it so. No, negative comments alone aren’t bullying — negative comments intended to hurt, denigrate, belittle, demean and otherwise harm a person in the guise of a bad review DO constitute bullying. If you do anything to bully someone then you ARE bullying them. If you’re defending yourself or your work by simply sticking to the arguments, you’re not. Ethics, as with the legal system, is all about intent. If you’re intending to hurt someone, then you are bullying. You are a bully. This remains the case whether you wish to believe it or not.
It’s far too common these days for reviewers and other writers to attack people based on some unspoken agenda. They’re either trying to promote their own work, hate on someone of whom they’re jealous or who knows how many other reasons. I’ve lost count with my trolls and stalkers. They’re all pathological, some nearly insane, and they all are doing things for reasons that have nothing to do with me. These people wish they were high profile enough to have stalkers. What they have are angry victims — and they are becoming legion.
Yes, I WILL defend myself, my territory and my friends if I or they are attacked unfairly. Unless a review of my work is a thoroughly idiotic one (as in the infamous one where someone panned my Sherlock Holmes story because it had all the “funny Victorian words” in it), I won’t rebut it, because every reader has a right to their perspective … so long as it is truly their perspective. If they’re just picking on popular writers because they’re jealous and trying to promote their own work — that, my dears, is NOT an honest review.
I also passionately defend the people and issues I care about. I am lucky enough to have some facility with language. If you don’t get personal with me, I will not become personal with you.
No matter what you are doing, if you are promoting your own work (including your reviews) at the expense of others, if you are attacking people personally, whether you’re doing it behind the screen of bad reviews or nasty attacks, then you ARE a bully. Bullies always hate people like me because I give back what I am given.
I’m one person who lives with my family in a small high desert California town. I’m not a figurehead. I’m not a symbol. I’m just me. I don’t know why you’re tilting at windmills, but I’m a definite pinwheel. If you’re seeing a monster, it’s merely the shadow of your own ego.
Let me make this clear, as it seems some GR “reviewers” (aka trolls looking for attention while destroying a community) have no reading comprehension skills:
I DO NOT IN ANY WAY DEFEND THE WRITERS ATTACKING REVIEWERS. PERSONAL ATTACKS HAVE NO PLACE ANYWHERE.
However, if I’m attacked personally, I will respond. My work isn’t being challenged, I am. By that same token, I DO NOT defend anyone who attacks a reviewer for disliking her or his work. This has now branched off GR to become personal attacks across the Web. This IS cyberstalking, no matter who is doing it (writers OR reviewers), and is AGAINST THE LAW. It’s the reason people kill themselves. I suspect this is the actual motive behind a lot of these attacking trolls (writers attacking reviewers or vice versa). They want to destroy people. It’s fun for them. It vents some deep-seated anger.
Writers are not rich. I barely scrape up a couple of thousand a year on my work. We’re just writers, like a carpenter makes tables, we write words. No better, no worse. Any reviewer with a chip on his/her shoulder, trying to go about challenging writers for whatever reason, has problems of their own. It has nothing to do with the writer.
Any writer attacking people for not liking their work has similar problems. But attack me or my friends personally? I WILL respond.
Both Amazon and B&N offer free software for PC and Mac which allow you to read ebooks in their respective formats on your laptop or desktop.
If you have a Chrome or Safari browser, Amazon’s app, Cloud Reader, is available here:
If you, poor thing, have any other browser, or an Iphone, Ipad, Android, or Windows Phone 7 (whatever the hell that is), go here.
Barnes and Noble Nook app for PC and Mac available here
There are Nook apps for Iphone, Ipad, and Android here.
I’m told there are “free agent” apps for Kindle and Nook available other places to turn your smart phones, handhelds and heaven-knows-what-else into ebook readers, too. Basically, all you need these days is a an electronic device that can download stuff. No word on apps for microwave ovens yet.
Writers, your families now have no excuse.
Yes, I’m the Melody Clark who co-wrote (along with Kathleen Resch and Marcy Robin) The Dark Shadows Companion, which was edited and published by Kathryn Leigh Scott, with forewords by Jonathan Frid, Lara Parker, Matt Hall and a cast of thousands. It’s still available on Pomegranate Press, Ltd.
Secondly, here is a mini-defense of the original TV horror soap Dark Shadows …
It was shot in real-time. In other words, no one could stop tape, outside Joan Bennett and (much later) Jonathan Frid. Whatever goofs happened, however the line came out, that’s how it was sent across the airwaves. No actor EVER got a second take. In the words of Robert Rodan, who played Adam, “If the stagehand stumbling in the background still had his pants up, they kept filming” — and he wasn’t just joking. On DS episodes, you can see multiple instances of stagehands and boom mikes, along with sets collapsing, firetrucks wailing past, people snoring, people sneezing, eyelashes dropping off, earrings being flung across the room, people reading the wrong lines off the prompter, Jonathan Frid walking with his laundry in front of the camera as it capture the end shot, and almost everything else that could possibly go wrong on TV. Dark Shadows was shot on a minuscule budget. The amount the actors made would barely qualify as middle class earnings these days, even with cost of living adjustments.
The scripts were written rapidly. The actors had to learn their lines nightly. They often forgot them. They were all directed WAY over the top. And at the end of the day, they’d all meet up at places, toss back a beer and say, “Wow, thank god no one is ever going to see THAT again!”
Little did they know.