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.
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