On Being A Bitch
Maybe it’s just that I was born a controversial person, but it’s almost normal for me to get some sort of hate mail at least once a month on Booksie. Sometimes, I suspect the rude and often poorly structured paragraphs and remarks are from teens with nothing else better to do than pick a fight with someone they don’t know online. Rarely are the comments ever intelligent.
For me, hate mail almost always arrives in the form of an anonymous message from my novel, “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” It’s my most publicized novel (though far from being my best or my favourite) and I guess the saying goes, “You know you’re doing something right when you’ve got haters.”
From anonymous user “Louisssssaaaaaaa Sylvest”:
“UR STORY IS SHIT. LAME. UGLY. AND WEIRD. I KNOW UR GONNA DLETE THIS CUZ U CANT PUT UP WITHT THE TRUTH. GOD UR PATHETIC!”
If you think I was even a tiny bit offended by this message, you’re wrong. The only person Louisa offended here was herself because her message makes her sound like an idiot. Louisa, I’ve never known a novel to be ugly unless you’re still far below us in the level of intelligence and is still reading picture books. Please graduate from Grade 3 before you talk to me. Thank you.
I think what amused me the most about Louisa’s comment is not the fact that she bashed my novel, but the fact that she assumed I would delete her message. There’s definitely a reason she put that line there and it’s to keep me from deleting it. Smart, isn’t she?
Except I happen to never delete hate mail. Why? Because if I deleted it, the commenter will never get a chance to read the nasty remark I wrote about them.
I think the most offensive message I got on here was by an anonymous user named “<3”
“why dont u actually put some thought in your comments instead of just, "haha, thnx."?? its getting relli annoying how when ppl spend a lot of time in their comment and u reply with a "hahaha, thnx".”
We managed to resolve this issue—the two of us—eventually, but when I first read it, I was deeply offended. First thought: Wow. This girl really knows how to nail an arrow at you!
My reply (Uninteresting, so feel free to skip):
“I hope you understand the reason ppl leave comments is bc they want to be updated. About 90% of them dont ever check back for replies. When ppl state out particular concerns about the novel & etc. (Such as you are now) I try my best to give them a detailed reply.
If there's nothing wrong with the way things are and they only state out what they thought was funny or nice, then is it unlawful for me to answer with "haha thanks?"
It's not a matter of putting thoughts in my comments, but rather the fact that it's way too time consuming to type it all down for 50 separate messages for each chapter again and again for multiple novels.
Please understand that I DO have a personal life and besides writing and updating my own novels, I read other people's work and provide feedback and comments of my own. If I had time, I'd rather be doing that than to writing a detailed reply that has a 90% chance of the not getting read by the original commenter.
I think I'm being pretty legit and if your only excuse as to why you don't like it is bc you find it "annoying" then you can simply stop reading. Problem solved.”
Personally, not to sound vain, I’ve always thought I’m a pretty reasonable person. If you left a message that only comes off as malicious and spiteful, I will not hold myself back when I reply to your comment. I don’t think there’s any reason to be.
If you leave a comment stating something you don’t like about me or my novel and give me a good reason, no matter how offensive it might have been, I will reply to you respectfully and by respectively, I mean by not calling you a dumb whore.
Which completely brings me to why I decided to publish this short opinion today of all days and not finish the last 10 paragraphs of Chapter 36 in It’s Not Me, It’s You. The reason is I’ve got another rather upsetting message today. This time, surprisingly, it’s on the last chapter of my completed novel SSMS.
“I think you are a true bitch. I’ve never read anyone on this site give such mean comments as you. I can understand if you don’t like someone’s work but your comments are down right harsh.
You are a great writer and I’m not going to lie about that but your attitude is shitty. How do you expect to be a best-selling author in the future with little respect for other writers?
I have read a couple of stories on this site and the comments from you were harsh.
Please do not let Booksie hype you up because all of those writers you’re putting down may someday be a best-selling author.
I’m not hating just stating facts and I think it’s about time somebody does it.
If you don’t like someone’s work why not just say that the story didn’t interest you or something like that. I know people need to learn how to take criticism but you don’t give constructive criticism, you’re down right RUDE.
You really need to work on your people skills BBBIIITTTCCCHHHHH!
Have a nice day!”
Because she called me a bitch? No.
I’m offended because she’s wrong. I’m offended because she’s assuming I want to be a writer when I grow up. I’m offended that she thinks she’s above me when she adds the “Have a nice day!” at the end of the comment.
First, the whole thing about “If you don’t like someone’s work why not just say that the story didn’t interest you or something like that” is bogus. It’s like seeing someone walk out of the girl’s washroom with toilet paper hanging out of her pants. Do you tell her? Or do you be nice and wait until she finds out herself which happens to be when her date meets up with her 10 minutes later?
What you think you’re doing, which is being nice, is in fact being dishonest and cruel. Do you think by protecting someone you are essentially being thoughtful and helping them out? No. Instead you are leading them to their demise.
Second, “I know people need to learn how to take criticism but you don’t give constructive criticism, you’re down right RUDE.” I think before you even say something like that, you need to know both sides of the story.
I have never given constructive criticism to any novel that I have willingly read. Occasionally I have suggestions and advice, but nothing you could even call criticism. BUT if you drop by my page and request that I read your work and I have the time and get to it, don’t expect me to do a half-ass job on reading it.
If I like it, I’ll tell you I like it and which parts. If I didn’t, then I’d tell you why I didn’t like it and which parts and I don’t like to hold back. I’m not a picky person when it comes to grammar. If I can understand it and mistakes are occasional, who cares. I know I make mistakes in mine!
Most of the time, there is something wrong with the plotline itself and I’m more interested in picking that apart. Writing improves with time and practice, plotline and character development I believe, sometimes takes a third person to tell you whether it’s good or not.
The funniest thing though is I haven’t had anyone tell me that they thought my comments were ill intended. Trust me. I get back to those comments as I realize sometimes my comments might come off as harsh to some people and I don’t want any hard feelings between us.
About 90% of the time, people thank me for my advice. I actually have had writers read over the “RUDE” comments I give out and ask me if I can read their work as they felt I was the only one being HONEST on this site!
It seems to me, pixiedust, that you’re the only one who thinks my comments are too harsh. Here’s a popular author we all know, Phoebe Gardens. During her last novel, I told her that I thought the way she kept changing between boy and girl POV in one single chapter was unprofessional. I suggested that she either writes third person or she should challenge herself by just sticking with the girl’s POV and somehow try to get the boy’s thoughts across.
She told me she sucks at writing third person, but she happily took up the challenge mentioned. I’m not sure if she took my advice for Disney’s Dismantled Fairytale, but it’s over 20 chapters now and I’ve yet to see a male’s POV and she’s doing a fabulous job with it!
In the end, here’s what it comes down to. “Please do not let Booksie hype you up because all of those writers you’re putting down may someday be a best-selling author.” If they can’t even put up with some tiny criticism someone like me puts on their work—then trust me—they WON’T become best-selling authors.
Wherever you go in life, someone’s going to hate you. Someone’s going to think what you do is crap. The thing is, there’s no right and there’s no wrong. The only thing you can do is keep on believing in yourself. You think Miley Cyrus likes being called a scandalous slut? You think Stephanie Meyers likes her hard work being called garbage? The only opinion in the end that matters is what YOU think.
So pixiedust, thanks for telling me you think I’m a great writer, but I by no means have EVER considered to be a writer as a profession. That’s actually probably the worst possible choice of career for me as I excel in math and science.
As for calling me a true bitch, if you think I’m a bitch because I’m being blunt, respectful to a writer by telling him/her what I really think of their work, and having enough integrity to remain true to myself and do what I think is right despite the fact that I WILL get upsetting messages from people like you—then I think in your sense, being a “bitch” is something I should definitely be proud of.