Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Trolling for Trouble

In light of various image-related issues where a number of authors have been forced to step out and defend their rights to earn an income, I must say, it's time to address a few industry-wide issues. It's been a few years so here we go...

Stealing is NOT okay. Hooking one’s books to a talented author’s name when your books are straight-up porn with no story is NOT okay. Using an author's personal picture and/or combining them with degrading captions is NOT okay. It's not funny or cute. More importantly, if someone is spending time trying to figure out how to make someone else look bad, perhaps that person should seek professional help and pause to ask the question: “What does that say about me as a person?”

Let me help with this one—It has pathetic written all over it.

Some ‘trolls’ have taken immature to a whole new level and while authors try to ignore some of this nonsense--and it's highly recommended that we do--it's also impossible when there are direct hits to someone’s reputation or their right to earn an income for their families.  

I’ll never understand why someone would waste precious time and try to figure out how to best ruin someone else's business reputation. I mean, come on. Grow a pair. More importantly, grow up.

Perhaps this comes from one's need for attention. These are the folks who are content with the negative attention if they can’t earn the positive attention they crave.  

Food for thought for those ripping an author to shreds: Rather than try to destroy someone’s image or hurt them financially, why not walk in an author's shoes for a moment? Perhaps then it may be possible to behave in an adult manner before berating another or publicly judging them.

Why not try to solve a problem privately before going public? Most of us are pretty nice people but most of us are VERY busy. Me? I have absolutely no freakin' clue if someone is mad or upset because I don't think that way. Others don’t lock in on problems either. We’re all too busy.

I write under so many pen names that the last thing I notice is when someone is in dire need of attention or if I’ve upset someone or hurt their fragile feelings. However, in light of recent industry related issues, I’m asking the general question: How can problems be handled if the person offended hides behind false pretenses or trolls for trouble rather than resolutions?

The reason for this post is because I have a dear friend who recently took an unwarranted and inexcusable hit from one of these troubled trolls. This author is extraordinary and truly talented but more importantly she is a real person with a supportive family and circle of friends who believe in her. She is the kind of person anyone would be fortunate to call out as a friend. In fact, I recently teased her and told her she’s my sister from another mother because she is so kind, so sweet, and very supportive of her friends. She is every woman’s ‘sister from another mother’ and those who know her, love her.

I’m angry someone would go after her because she has a bright future ahead of her and because of that future some jealous insecure little bitty struck below the belt. I can only hope Karma is oh so tremendously kind when giving it back ten-fold.  The problem in this business is that most of our hits are thrown from our blindside and sometimes—but not always—it’s impossible to defend ourselves.

Most of the time, I have no intentions of defending myself and stopped doing it a long time ago. I won’t apologize or explain myself to anyone when it comes to my right to earn a living. I work for it. Others work just as hard.

Still, it’s disappointing when we see a young and talented author shot down by a jealous entity, a faceless name who might be a success if they would simply dig in and try to be successful on their own. Instead, they deliberately try to tarnish someone else’s well earned and deserved reputation.

Over the last ten plus years, I’ve seen more than a dozen extraordinary authors stop writing altogether because they simply could not get their careers off the ground. The troubled trolls with their perceived power berated these authors at every turn, sometimes in a form of a review but not always.

In any event, in light of so many issues that remain unresolved, here’s a shout out to the trolls out there—if you want to strike someone, be bold and ‘powerful’--because obviously there are some narcissistic tendencies there and apparently perceived power is already in existence—sign your real name and show your face. Don’t waste an author’s time by dancing.  We rarely pay attention to the faceless so if you want to be heard, sign that real name. What’s the worst thing that could happen? Hmm? We call you out as we see you? Well isn’t that what you’re doing when you go after another author’s career with a gleam in your jealous eye and a smirk upon your face?

A lot of us work sixteen and seventeen hour days. And while some might say, it’s a luxurious job, it is not. Authors do what they are driven to do—write—but it’s not the only part of the business. More goes on behind the scenes than one could ever know unless they’re in the business themselves.

In short, we work hard and have the right to earn our living just like others do but we most certainly work for royalties. We are paid based on sales which means we aren’t paid today for the work we do today or this week or even next month. Those checks come much later which makes it incredibly difficult for the new authors out there.

Another topic at hand is in regards to authors’ images and something I hadn’t meant to address but will all the same. Our images are our own. No one—not a so-called friend or anyone else—should be able to tamper with them but if you’re one of the little trolls out there doing just that, then I call you out as I see you—jealous and miserable. Perhaps you’re looking for a shortcut and use your friends to gain that leg-up you so desperately desire. Here’s a tip—inspirational authors DO NOT want to be linked to porn authors and believe it or not, erotic romance authors aren’t interested in being linked to porn either.  What’s the difference? Come on now. We can figure this one out together.

Don’t post my pictures with captions unless you want me to come back fighting. In my case, I know who’s behind my recent public embarrassment but I was lucky. When it’s time to strike back, it will be with enough force to knock someone down a notch or two by being forthright about what has been done to tarnish the images of authors by the dozens. Besides, it’s senseless to waste time and do it any other way.  I, and many others like me, were bullied, literally backed into a corner by someone we know well. Now we have no other choice but to fight back but when we do, we’ll go straight to the core of the problem and say, “Here it is, the time-wasting war you wanted and called out by name.” We're adults prepared to scold a child and won't do it publicly.

Then again, maybe that’s what it will take to put these trolls to bed. Maybe that’s what they want is an official public war as we all send them to sleep chanting praise and heartfelt lullabies.

My point is these ‘games’ are childish and in fact often hurt children, something the trolls haven’t thought about. A lot of these authors are single moms with school-aged children. They need their incomes.

Something the troubled trolls should consider—authors often have many friends, all over the world and from all walks of life. More than fifty percent of the time, we can figure out who’s behind the ill will if we want to waste the time to prove something.  On occasion, we’ll even return the favor by writing other authors, showing the proof, and dishing our warnings.  In my case, I’ve been known to cc the person responsible when they've attacked several authors with one swing.

Yes, put ‘em on and stick ‘em up. The older gals often punch back.

Believe it or not, the publishing industry even in its exponential growth is still a tight-knit community. Some of us have been fortunate enough to have friends at one or two third party retail sites and on occasion—particularly when it is important—some have shared valuable information. That stated, most of us don't ask for or call in favors anymore because age has a way of settling folks down and we're too busy with real life problems to worry about foolishness. Still, for those of you out there bringing down the wrath of the publishing gods, you should know—some authors DO care enough to dig for information. They'll even pay for it. If they have enough of a reach, they can grab hold of whatever information they want.  Again, it’s a tight community and one where back-scratches are scored and returned. All they need to do is ask for the information they need and it generally falls right in their laps.  Remember, reviews are NOT confidential. Oh and of course there’s that little known secret that sometimes the authors being reviewed actually own the sites where they’re slammed. Just sayin’.

Today’s blog post isn’t about reviews, however, and I am sad because my friend had maybe two or three books out and caught the attention of an envious individual. To the troll out there, if you must pick on someone, pick out someone who has been around a while and has enough books out there that they don’t mind to take one blow right after another.

In fact, here I am. Take your best shot.  I’m not going anywhere and ninety-nine percent of the time, I don’t even know it when someone takes that shot. I'm not being arrogant here but instead trying to shine a light on truths. Authors are real people. We have real issues--kids home from school sick, health problems, death and illness in the family, and the list goes on. We don't always notice what is posted online or pretend to predict how someone will 'take' something we've said or done. Is it too much to ask for the chance to rectify a 'perceived' problem before it's out of hand and vindictiveness sets in? 

In any event, my hope is that my friend who was sabotaged—and all other new and seasoned authors like her—will THRIVE in spite of any senseless attack on their reputations and careers. In my friend’s case, she will. She’s THAT good. More importantly, she’s determined and when someone is determined, they are unbeatable in life and in this business.

When you think about it, the only thing the troll accomplished was something they never paused to think about let alone expect—progressive GREATNESS—and this time? The greatness comes in the form of a young and talented new author who will most definitely stand the test of time.

4 comments:

Lorraine Lesar said...

I live in my own wonderful world, where nothing like this happens, indeed, until I read this, I had no idea that it did happen! You are right, they must be very sad individuals with too much time on their hands, I cannot think of an logical reason why someone would want to do this? Over the years as a reader, I've read some real bummers. I don't write bad reviews (it's someone's pride and joy) I just put it down to experience and not leave a review. Does this help? I don't know? Does an author want to know why I didn't like the book? Again, I don't know but if I review a book that I've rated 4*, I usually say why I did'n't rate it 5*. I'm glad you are coming out fighting, if you need a second in your corner, let me know!

Destiny Blaine said...

Lorraine, You're very helpful and your advice/comments are treasured. You brought up a good point. So often a book is an author's pride and joy. They put a lot of effort in the work before releasing it and I think it's so important to remember that before striking the first key to send off a review. Actually I learned a lot from you where reviews are concerned. You're one of a kind.

Shannon West said...

Great post, Destiny and obviously heartfelt. You're absolutely correct. These trolls have run many promising authors right out of the4 business.

Destiny Blaine said...

Hi, Shannon,

Thank you for stopping by, lady.

Hugs,
Destiny

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An award-winning, international bestselling erotic romance author, Destiny Blaine writes under several pen names. She lives in East Tennessee and spends a lot of time in Connecticut and Virginia, where her granddoll resides.