I feel as though this is the dawning of a new age, and it’s not the Age of Aquarius. It’s the Age of the Disintegration of Humanity. Rarely do I write social commentary. I’m more of a writer who tries to counsel through writing. On occasion, however, I must speak my mind about certain issues prevalent in our society. Mind you, it takes a bit for the commentary to percolate, and so, I am finally weighing in on a most disturbing trend in the writing community- nasty, unmannerly behavior among the ranks.
In all honesty, I live on the fringe of all the growing madness. Thank goodness, too! I hear, from a far distance, about authors, reviewers, readers behaving badly towards each other. Trolls across Amazon destroy the reputations of books with one-star reviews, for which I have fallen victim. And the ultimate breach of etiquette and propriety- the stalking of a reviewer by an author.
The novel-writing industry has been overrun by those who do not respect the profession, and it’s time to bring it to an end. It’s time we demand professional norms be created and followed. If people can’t abide by them, then they’re out. Here’s my suggested list of norms:
If you plan to be an author, reviewer, blogger, and/or reader, you must adhere to the following:
1. Understand that behind every written word is a real person with a heart and a soul, who has put their best effort toward publishing their book.
2. Understand that behind every purchase is a real person anticipating a great read. Respect them enough to put out the
highest quality story that has been professionally edited, and one that has a professionally created book cover.
3. When offered an opportunity to review a book, actually do so. Don’t mistake this as a chance to get a free book
and never follow through, or pirate it. Authors are looking for honest feedback on their work, and you promised.
4. When given a review from a reviewer, blogger, or reader, either ignore it or read it, but never respond to it in a negative way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and so is how well the story reads in a reader’s head.
5. Understand that when a release date comes and goes without a release, it’s usually because life and the unexpected happens. Authors and publishers strive to meet deadlines and release dates, but it doesn’t always go as planned. Readers have the right to be disappointed, but the responsibility to acknowledge that authors and publishers are just as disappointed. No need for anger. It’s just a book, not a paycheck that has been delayed.
6. Readers are customers, not employers.
6. Disagreements are NEVER aired on any social media outlet. Keep it to emails and instant messaging, and keep it professional. Don’t know how? Read 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey.