Everything Is Nice

Beating the nice nice nice thing to death (with fluffy pillows)

How To Be A Professional Author And Decent Human On The Internet

with 11 comments

Step One

1) Set-up a Google Alert for your name. It is important to know if someone is talking about you or your work on the internet.
2) Make sure you read all your reviews to see if anyone disagrees with your interpretation of the text.
3) If you see a blog review you disagree with, make sure you correct the reviewer’s misunderstanding immediately.
4) Do not under any circumstances:

  • Heed the widely held belief that it is generally a bad idea for authors to respond to reviews of their work.
  • Familiarise yourself with the culture of the blog to ensure you understand the context in which the review takes place.
  • Read the review closely and sympathetic to ensure you understand the argument they are making.
  • Re-read your comment to ensure it doesn’t sound patronising before posting.

5) If the reviewer unaccountable does not find your intervention helpful, apologise but make sure your sincerity is called into question by flouncing off.
6)Reflect on the views that have been expressed and use this experience to inform your future interactions.
6) Stew.

Step Two

1) If a third party uses this as an example of why there is a widely held belief that it is a bad idea for authors to respond to reviews of their work as part of a wider discussion of the inter-relation between fandom and industry, make sure you respond with insincerity, bluster, sarcasm and strawmen.
2) Do not under any circumstances:

  • Treat this as an opportunity to read the views of others and learn from them.
  • Read the article closely and sympathetically and consider that perhaps it isn’t all about you.
  • Acknowledge that there is a difference between author interactions regarding their own work and author interactions regarding other issues.

3) Demonstrate that there is no danger you have taken the article too personally or have lost perspective and are carefully following the discussion by mistakenly posting four comments in a row.
4) Flounce off. The conversation is beneath you.
5) Remember: although the conversation is beneath you, you are the most important person in the conversation and so deserve the last word. Make sure you come back and insult someone for no reason.
6)Reflect on the views that have been expressed and use this experience to inform your future interactions.
6) Seethe.

Step Three

1) If the original blogger mentions in passing the testerical accusations of bullying she has received from some of your fans, make sure to ask a disengenuous and derailing question that has already been amply answered by your actions.
2) Do not under any circumstances:

  • Learn any lessons from your previous interaction on the blog.
  • Address the substance of the point or acknowledge that your behaviour may have enabled it.
  • Take into account the views or feelings of the blogger.

3) Patiently explain to the blogger and other commentators why they are wrong
4) Belatedly address the substance of the point but ensure you do so in the form of a defensive strawman that implies you are the victim. Repeat the strawman: this not only increases the validity of your point, it further derails the conversation and makes it about you.
5) Continue to tell people that their beliefs are wrong and the issue the blogger raised is nothing to do with you. Do not pause to think that if the issue is nothing to do with you, perhaps there is no need for you to comment.
6) Declare your passion for literature. Do not attempt to make this relevant to the ongoing discussion.
7) Prove there is nothing intimidating about your contributions by posting six comments in a row and attempting to drown out all other discussion.
8) Further demonstrate your good faith by posting the same irrelevant comment three times in a row.
9) The conversation is all about you so make sure you reframe it on your own terms. Do not stop to consider why you would want to do this or what you hope to gain from it.
10) Even though the blogger has made her views about your participation abundantly clear, make a magmanimous offer: “If either of them tells me directly that they don’t want to discuss any further and that they want me to leave then I shall do so – without a parting shot.” Ignore the fact that this offer is also unaccountably addressed to a third party.
11) Reveal that you don’t actually understand that the blogger and the third party are different people writing in different venues. This will reinforce the view that you are repeatedly parachuting into conversations without understanding the context. Don’t worry, the fact you have passionately held opinions makes up for this.
12) Similarly, even though your livelihood is based on the written word, there is no need to write intelligibly. Passion trumps articulacy.
13) Finally, after eighteen comments, flounce off.
14)Reflect on the views that have been expressed and use this experience to inform your future interactions.
14) Brood.

Step Four

1) Return to the argument whilst simultaneously claiming “I’m not going to get back into the argument”. Choose a title that will inform readers you are continuing to engage sympathetically and act in good faith.
2) Do not under any circumstances:

  • Consider whether rape threats are more hurtful than being told that people don’t want to discuss books with you.
  • Consider whether gender can consciously or unconsciously play a role in online interaction.
  • Consider whether your own words set the tone of the debate and informed the responses that both you and others received.

3) Flounce off from the whole of fandom. It is all beneath you. Make clear that you are “not fishing for compliments or gestures of support, nor am I looking for reprisals”, even though both are likely to occur.

Step Five

1) Immediately go on Twitter and continue your unwanted interactions with fans.


Written by Martin

24 September 2013 at 11:52

Posted in genre wars, sf

Tagged with

11 Responses

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  1. So much nostalgia – it’s almost like the slapfights community were still active.


    24 September 2013 at 12:19

  2. *applause*

  3. *applauds*

    Nick H.

    24 September 2013 at 15:55

  4. Spectacular.

    I’m not sure it qualifies as a slapfight if it is one person slapping themselves in the face repeatedly, but it’s certainly embarrassing and unpleasant if they show up to do so in your community.


    24 September 2013 at 16:36

  5. Thanks for this. God, has this been an annoying week to be a SF reader.


    24 September 2013 at 16:48

  6. […] fan circles, there’s been a bit of a meltdown of late. It’s basically summarised – with heavy sarcasm – here. The essential premise is that when authors jump in on fan discussions of their work, it’s a […]

  7. He went back to Booksmugglers?

    He went back to Booksmugglers.

    Aw, no man. Stay down. Just stay down.


    27 September 2013 at 13:01

  8. […] pas commettre sur les réseaux sociaux alors qu’un autre (en anglais cette fois-ci !) explore le phénomène de manière beaucoup plus incisive et ironique (découvert d’ailleurs grâce aux chroniqueuses des […]

  9. […] « How To Be A Professional Author And Decent Human On The Internet […]

    Five | Everything Is Nice

    28 September 2013 at 12:47

  10. […] How To Be A Professional Author And Decent Human On The Internet – An easy-to-follow multi-step guide to success. […]

  11. Ah, my friend just had an issue like this with L. E. Modesitt — who had the audacity to claim that “I write books for people who think.” i.e. as you put it, flouncing off…


    Joachim Boaz

    7 December 2013 at 16:55

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