Sunday, February 1, 2015

Author Milestones: The Mean Tweet

There I was, wondering what to write about for my next blog post, when a quick look at my Twitter notifications delivered a perfect writers-life moment. In between tweets from my agent and an independent bookstore was a tweet from someone who hated my book.  He included a link to his one-star Amazon review, as well as my Twitter handle, so I’d be sure to see it. And just in case I still wasn’t sure what he thought, he helpfully tagged it #fiction #books #suck.
When I was still relatively new to this professional-writer lifestyle, that kind of thing would have ruined my day. Oh, I got over the bad review part pretty quickly, and wrote about that heart-hardening process in a previous post. We can’t all like the same kind of books, there are some books other people love that I hated, etc. etc. No, what would have gotten me was the personal nature of this particular thumbs-down. Fine, hate my book. Fine, trash it on Amazon. I get it.  
But what’s the point of sending that message to me directly?

I really have no idea. One of the things I love about Twitter is that it has allowed me to connect with authors I admire. (Who hasn’t been thrilled when a writer you love favorites one of your gushing tweets?). I guess this is the opposite side of the coin. Am I supposed to rise up and defend my book? Tell this guy that his taste #sucks? Is that what he’s hoping for?
If so, my non-fan is going to be disappointed. I’m very careful how I respond to any social-media messages, and we’ve all heard stories about authors and reviewers and bloggers getting caught up in online wars.  Taunt me all you want; I’m happy to stay out of it.

Because here’s the best part: the tweet didn’t ruin my day. It truly, honestly made me smile. Someone seriously went through the trouble to find my Twitter handle and write that tweet with me in mind? Doesn’t he have anything better to do?

Apparently not, according to his own Twitter feed. (Yes, I went ahead and checked him out.) Giving out one-star reviews is his “thing,” apparently. His version of performance art. With Twitter it’s hard to know what’s serious and what’s being done ironically and what’s being done simply to get attention. But knowing that this particular reviewer gives one star to everything certainly helps.
I can’t claim I’ll ever be ego-free when it comes to reviews. But one bad tweet can no longer ruin my day, and that’s definitely progress.  How about you? Got any good “bad review” stories to share?


  1. Gosh, I never even thought about people reviewing my work so publicly! (I am not published, YET!) I think you are very wise to have handled it so well. It must have taken practice???? For every one person to like your work, there is obviously someone who won't. The odd's are against you. But it can be either the glass is half empty or half full. You can enjoy the people who like your writing, or look at who doesn't. It is your choice. You obviously have chosen with wisdom!

    1. Sounds like you've already got it figured out. That's exactly the attitude you need when you get published (good luck!).