Sunday, March 6, 2016

Author behaving badly or Wesley's feathers easily ruffled?

I follow a certain person on Twitter and he recently put out his first book. I volunteered to be on the launch team. I read the book, thought it wasn't bad, posted a (what I thought was a fair, maybe too nice) review and put it on my blog.

Today, I saw that he had tweeted a picture and a strange sounding tweet so I investigated.

This is the tweet in it's entirety (I was trying to photoshop it into the blog and black out his name and I was having computer issues. If you would like to see the quote to make sure I'm not making something up I can screen shot it for you).

"Thanks for taking the time to read my book Kaitlyn. I'll work harder on flow next time. Probably still at McDonald's"

The picture that accompanied this tweet was a section of a book review posted on amazon. The text of which is below:

"However, the book as a whole felt very disjointed to me. Within each chapter, there are section breaks. these section breaks always include a time, a location, and a paragraph about "pre-thoughts." In other words, it's like reading a journal of what (author name redacted by Wesley) was thinking before writing each section. It sounds cool, but it was extremely confusing. It broke up a train of thought and made each section stand alone instead of flow together. I wanted to like it, but I didn't care to read about how he was writing at McDonald's but hadn't been there in months and will anyone like this book, oh wait, maybe he should start writing but he doesn't want to write anymore. <-- example"

My first reaction was, well that sounds kind of petty and crappy of him, but maybe I'm just reading it that way and he doesn't mean it like that. He does start by thanking her. But then, follow up tweet.

"As a first time author I reserve the right to be passive aggressive."

Couple things:

Why would you use the person's name? The photo that accompanied the tweet didn't show the reviewers name. I feel like it's being kind of unreasonably/unnecessarily petty to call a person out because they said there was something that they didn't like about your book. (To be fair, this also annoyed ME about the book). It feels a little book reviewer shamming-y to me
and that gives me the icks. 

The author can obviously react to criticisms how he sees fit, but is being passive aggressive the best course of action here? Why the follow up tweet? (Not everything that pops into our brains needs to be shared, it's a hard concept for people, me included. Twitter doesn't really help with that.)

So much of this book talks about accepting people, and grace, and forgiveness, and "everyone has quirks and weirdness and that's what makes you great" and then I feel like this is very lash out. Or maybe just a joke that fell flat? Why not just default to kindness?

Maybe just "Thanks for taking the time to review my book. I'll probably still write the next one from McDonald's." Or something?

Am I being weird about this? Is this actually funny and I'm being offended by literally nothing? Let me know your take, because I feel like this is crappy of him but maybe I'm just put off by it because I was apart of this person's book launch.

Insert confused looking Paul Rudd gif to express how I feel:



  1. This is the great danger of our connected age. Okay, maybe danger is a strong word, but it seems like giving everyone, whether a random plebe or a best-selling author, a platform for their ideas is going to take some getting used to. I'm sure if you were a writer in the pre-Internet, pre-social-media days, it was kind of easy to just sit in a hidey hole and write books. You got feedback from your editor and whatever trusted writer-type friends you had, polished up the manuscript and sent it off, and then you could just...stay at home and work on the next one. (Take the extreme case of J. D. Salinger, for example.)

    But now, I think authors are being encouraged/feeling pressured into being a PUBLIC!!! persona, to the point of being like a brand, and so they (or a publicist maybe) have a Facebook, and a Twitter, and an Instagram or whatever else the kids have these days, and they are just flooded with feedback ("feedback"). And while a lot of it will be positive (if they're any good as a writer), at least a significant minority will be negative because there is no book anyone can write that EVERYONE will love unequivocally. It takes a special kind of confidence and inner conviction to not get your hackles up in the face of all that negativity. Honestly, I think most authors are better off avoiding Facebook/Twitter/whatever. Otherwise just one slip in your self control and maturity, and you get dragged into an embarrassing online feud or set yourself up for embarrassment.

    This is all to say that said author probably should step away from social media, at least in the context of their author job. I agree, that kind of passive-aggressive and...tacky? weird? unbecoming...of them.

    1. Or maybe just have their publicist run all of the social media? Or at the very least, have a trusted person eyeball your tweets before you send them out. All it takes is one "Oh I thought that was a direct message but I posted it to my author page" and the internet brouhaha gets rolling.

      I kept trying to think of the right word to describe his actions, and I think you hit it on the head with tacky AND unbecoming. Sometimes I think JD Salinger might have taken the best route, lol!

  2. First off, the gif game is strong friend :)

    I think it's a bit strange too - maybe he was trying to be funny and it totally got lost in the middle of internet translation??? Hopefully he'll have some people remind him how things may come off if that wasn't his intention. Because otherwise - boo!

    1. There's no going wrong with Paul Rudd, ever ever.

      Yeah, I think it was probably just a joke that didn't land. But having heard horror stories about how authors react badly to criticism I was like what is THAT all about.

    2. Oh my gosh - yes! Did you hear about the one author who tracked down the blogger at her house?! I mean WHAT IN THE WHAT people?!!!


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