Friday, March 4, 2011

Here's The Thing: Don't Be A Jerk

So I disappeared for a week. Sorry. I do that near deadlines. *g*

And while I was gone, there was a whole mafia in the works! A YA Mafia!

By this point, there's really nothing I can add to the "debate," be that what it is. And if you're not sure even what the so-called YA Mafia is, click here for some links. That's where I first heard about it, anyway.

So, this post isn't really about the YA Mafia. Instead, it's a little bit about blogging/social networking because honestly? That's what it all comes down to (or at least, it seems that way to me).

Here's the best advice I can give to anyone about being online:

  • Don't be a giant jerk
  • Don't say something online that you wouldn't say to someone's face
  • Really, just don't be a jerk
Story time! 

A few weeks ago, there was someone on Twitter (I won't say who) who was...being immature. She was being mean about an author and her book for the sake of being mean and shocking people in an effort to generate attention for herself. The author (whom I know) saw--and it hurt her feelings. This wasn't just a negative review--this was taking it to another level. A level that's usually reserved for mean school children on a playground. It was the equivalent of telling a rude joke at someone else's expense...and doing it over and over again for well over an hour in a public forum.

Neither I nor the author I know are in the YA Mafia because (a) I'm not cool enough to be an any mafia and (b) the YA Mafia isn't even real, y'all. This twit on Twitter (who is an aspiring author, btw) isn't blacklisted, this won't effect her chances of being published...nothing. But, honestly? If she does get a book published, it's highly unlikely that my writer friend will blurb her. Would you? And you know what--that's about as much power any author has over any other author's career. 

The only person who has any effect on your career as a writer or any other profession is you. This means, you have to write a good book to be published--that's all on you. This also means that if you create an online persona of someone who's difficult to work with and is, in short, a giant jerk, some people may not want to work with you. But that's all on you. And there's a difference between giving someone a critical negative review and being a giant jerk. If you don't know what that difference is, really, you should probably not be online. But it's your career and your decision. 

You might notice that I don't do negative reviews on this blog any more. Long time followers will know that (on very rare occasions) I've given a few negative reviews...and have since deleted them. There's a couple of reasons, but the main one is simply this: I've gotten to the point where I've realized that authors are real people, and many of them are real life friends. I can't separate my personal feelings from their professional work, so I'm just not doing any more negative reviews--but I will give shout-outs to friends' works and to works that I really truly love--in the same way that I'd promote any friend in any endeavor.

If you're worried about the YA Mafia and/or being blacklisted or whatever, just step back and ask yourself: am I being a giant jerk? No? Then you're good.

35 comments:

Miriam S. Forster said...

Amen! This whole thing has been fun to watch, but then I always did like Internet crazy.

ALSO WHILE YOU WERE GONE I GOT AN AGENT!!!

In case you were curious. :)

Theresa Milstein said...

Beth, if you're not cool enough to be in some YA mafia, I'm definitely not getting in!

Here and there, I've come across snarky people. To me, blogging is all about building relationships. Some connections help promote books, sure. But it's more than that. To use this blogosphere to be mean is... mean.

Caroline Starr Rose said...

Wow. Here in my non-Twittery, happy, happy MG land, I had no idea any of this was going on.

Anonymous said...

That's awful...I hope this person knows it too...condolences to the poor author!

Nahno McLein said...

You're right, of course.

Sorry for your friend author. Reviewers should be reasonable about what they say. The book is not the author.

Also, it's sometimes hard to see what your online persona is like. I try to be myself, but what do others see in me and I don't. Sometimes a nice advice can be helpful, but not enough people are honest.
Nahno ∗ McLein

LM Preston said...

Oh my goodness! I just did a post on Writer's being nice and I run across the drama that is YA, and what is YA without a little drama. Thanks for reminding folks to be nice. What we say on the internet stays around for-ever. It amazes me how people keep forgetting that. Oh and twitter doesn't have an erase or delete button either.

Candyland said...

OMG. Why do some people have to be so petty? Overall, this is a highly supportive community because we're all going through it, at different stages of course. BUT, there's always a few bad apples who want to ruin the experience. Too bad.

Candyland's advice of the week: Treat others the way you want to be treated (or get cut).

Dolorosa said...

@Nahno McLein The book is not the author. This is true, of course. Authors can tackle controversial or problematic subjects (misogyny, homophobia, domestic violence etc). The difficulty is when they write about such problematic subjects without making it clear that such subjects are problematic, and, indeed, appearing to condone such things.

An author is not a book, but words do have meaning, and this should be acknowledged.

Shari said...

Amen. That's all. Just amen.

Michelle said...

I agree! I don't understand why people feel they need to be rude and mean to others.

Lindsay said...

lmao I thought the YA Mafia was a blog! Like a group of authors got together to run a blog and decided to call themselves the YA Mafia.

I agree with everything you said in this post. As a long time youtuber, I learned long ago that saying mean or nasty things will almost always come back to bite you in the azz. So don't do it.

Janet Johnson said...

Interesting! First I'd heard of any of this. I guess there are advantages to not Tweeting. :)

L.T. Elliot said...

*heavenly choir bursting into song*

Amen AND amen! Best advice ever. One of the few sayings I repeat is that I'm not predjudiced against anyone--except for mean people. There's no reason for it. Ever.

Jamie Fox said...

Yeah, some people just like to try to get a rise out others. It's like it's entertaining to them somehow, but it really just shows how immature and lifeless that person is, in my opinion.

If I don't like a book, I'm willing to say so, but I try to at least put a positive spin on things and also mention the stuff I did like. It's rare that a book is completely awful anyway.

Lois D. Brown said...

Well said. I do wonder, at times, what to do with books that I am going to do a review on, but don't really like. If it's horrible, I think I'd just stay away from it. But, if it's three-star and above I think I'd start with the positive and then mention the weaknesses in the end. I appreciate an honest review, but not a mean one.

Liza said...

I am far out of the loop, but my deal is to contemplate how I'll feel about any post or comment I make if I read it 20 years from now. If I'm sure I'll be good with it, then I go ahead. If there is any question, it's time to refrain.

Lizzy said...

I was reading a post about how Beautiful Creatures could be turned into a film, and someone mentioned the YA mafia. I thought it was a joke, but I guess it's a real thing?!

Don't be a jerk, good life advice :)

Lisa Mandina said...

I think you're totally cool enough to be in the YA Mafia! And I agree with you about negative reviews. I might say that the book had something I didn't like in it, or didn't end the way I wanted it to in a review, but as many people make fun of one of my favorite book series, saying how stupid and poorly written it is, I try to not do that. I figure everyone has different tastes, and if there is something I don't like, that doesn't make it bad, it's just not something I'll read again. So anyway, off my teacher soapbox.

Susan said...

Love this! That's exactly what needs to be said: "The only person who has any effect on your career as a writer or any other profession is you."

Thanks, Beth!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I just saw an inkling of this yesterday. I agree with you, don't be rude and mean to anyone. Why would you? And I also agree about not giving negative reviews. I wouldn't want to see another author do it to me and don't want to do it to someone else.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for speaking out about this, Beth. I just got a Twitter account, and I've already seen some of the mean people of whom you speak on there. It makes me afraid to participate, which is really sad. Social media is supposed to be about connection, not alienation.

Myrna Foster said...

I hadn't heard of the YA mafia. This is a great post, Beth, easily worth waiting a week for ;)

Missed Periods said...

I can understand why you took down your negative reviews. I may not love everything I read, but I am aware that there was a person that spent their time creating it and presumably did the best that he/she could. There's no need to slam it.

Kathy McCullough said...

Just adding my thank you for this post. :)

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

Well said, Beth! When I first saw anything about this, I assumed it was a new YA blog. Shows you how much of an insider I am... :P

Marcia said...

I've also switched from doing reviews per se to doing shout-outs for books I LOVE.

brian_ohio said...

You sound like me... not even cool enough to get into a make-believe clique. Sheez! ;-)

Danyelle said...

Very good, and I think the thing that a lot of people are overlooking. Posting a critical, well-thought out review is a world of difference from posting a snark-filled review that trashes the book and/or the author. We need the first kind, but could do without the latter.

Don't be a jerk. Words to live by. ;-)

Cat said...

True words and very well phrased. I'm glad none of us here is a jerk.

Shari said...

I'm hosting a Breathless Reads Giveaway on my blog! Just sayin'.

Kristine Asselin said...

I think said authors SHOULD get together and form a blog. Kind of like Dumbledore's Army. :)

Like Miriam in the first post, I also signed with an agent last week (still pinching myself!). So some of this nasty talk is suddenly taking on a different tone to me. As an authors (for children and teens, no less) I think we have a responsibility to model good behavior!

Sara said...

I'm a little late to the discussion but wanted to say you captured my thoughts perfectly. Thanks, Beth. You always seem to be a voice of reason.

Linda Kage said...

I'm with all the AMEN people. Amen, sista!

haleyeliseread said...

I agree, I for one dont write negative reviews really. If i dont like a book I simply say "this book wasnt for me" cause I know just cause i didnt like it doesnt mean hundreds of other people out there dont love it, show repect for the authors (:

Amber Argyle said...

Lindsay: We should totally start our own mafia!!

Beth: You don't have to be popular to be part of our mafia. You just have to be willing to break a few knee caps.
So I'm only gonna say this once: You in?
Cause the only way out is 6 ft under.

*kidding*

Or maybe I'm not . . .