I had planned to make this blog about wild boar, one of my favourite animals, but I’ve so successfully misfiled my research that I might as well write about an issue several lovely Twitter followers have brought to my attention.
Hopefully, I’ll find my garlic boar contingent again for the next post.
The trouble with publishing anything online is that sooner or later one will come to the attention of some troll, who has so little going on in their life, they must invent and spread nasty rumours or, as in the case of a writer friend of mine, publish untrue and totally misleading bogus reviews on Amazon and similar book sale sites in the hope of causing damage and upset.
This weekend somebody not only tried to hack into my Twitter account, they also sent out spam that said there were allegedly all sorts of ludicrous rumours being spread about me. Thank you Twitter, Facebook and WP for being such a nice community (erm…mostly)!
Trolling is carried out by sad, mentally disturbed people whose own lack of talent and creativity has turned them into a green-eyed monster. As I’m not a self-conscious teenager eager to impress my mates, but an unappealing, boring, middle-aged woman who’s probably going to be dead within the next 2 years, I have far more pressing things to do than reading anything a troll might have to say about me. And guess what, I’m German! We’re everybody’s pet hate, so I’m likely to have heard all the available insults in the past 51 years. Besides, all publicity is good publicity, nicht wahr?
Cancer, dear troll, puts everything into perspective and turns trolls into something I scrape off the bottom of my shoe, while I’m busy doing far more interesting and productive things.
Not every troll is content with simply sending out spam. Others want far more recognition and post bogus reviews online. As authors we know our writing cannot possibly please everybody, but a review should always be constructive, never a critique that merely serves to pour scorn or act as a character assassination. Such “reviews” only show the critic’s own short comings!
To give an example, somebody who was recently asked to do a professional review of my work, was so jealous of my ability to write fiction in not one but two languages, they made lots of factual errors about the plot and characters, betraying their complete lack of knowledge with regard to literature and genre writing in the process. Feeling guilty about their character assassination afterwards, the troll told me my book had lots of really good points, which they felt should have been mentioned!
In another example, the same happened a couple of years back, when I attended writing classes, no matter what I wrote about, the person criticizing me always brought up the WWII element, hoping they could turn the rest of the class against me (without success, I hasten to add). Viewing other writers’ work through green-eyed monster glasses is never a good strategy, when doing book reviews or when referring to somebody else’s work in blogs, fan-fiction sites, on Twitter or Facebook.
Jealousy of other people’s talent and creativity is such a futile thing. Sure, I wished I could draw like Albrecht Dürer or paint like Edward Hopper, but what use is envy? Instead, I’d much rather find out what my own talent is and pursue that…even if it turns out my particular gift is getting up people’s noses. At least I’ll have tried to find my true calling, instead of begrudging others theirs.
This reminds me of one of my own shortcomings: I inadvertently uploaded the wrong version – the one I hadn’t proofread or checked for spelling mistakes, when I inflicted my part 3 Merlin adventure via my mariathermann.com blog on some of you last week. The whole story will eventually be published on various fan-fiction sites and I had stupidly opened up my unchecked draft and the fan-fiction formatted version at the same time, uploading the unchecked version by mistake.
Never mind, those of you who read it, will probably know from bitter experience, how hard it is to proofread on-screen, something I’m utterly hopeless at.
If trolling should happen to any of you, don’t rise to it and don’t give these spiteful creatures a platform. Trolls who post bogus reviews can be removed from the sites they have posted to and Twitter has its own way in dealing with people spreading nastiness. In fact, the troll may have done me a favour: a certain amount of name recognition and probably more people reading my stuff than before (author grins).
My advice to all newcomer writers out there is: grow an extra layer of thick skin, avoid reading reviews and keep doing what you do best: namely to entertain those of us who love and respect your talent and creativity for what it is…a wonderful gift!
(source of animation: heathersanimations.com)