As I’ve said in earlier posts, the indie community is small and sometimes a little incestuous. There are rarely six degrees of separation; most authors’ friends lists intersect with all the others, and word spreads fast.
So whenever there’s an instance of an author Behaving Badly, it doesn’t take long for the story to get around. And I know it’s a shocker, but sometimes the facts get lost along the way.
I don’t claim to have it all together. I don’t think I’m better than anyone else out there. But I was raised right, by parents and grandparents who made sure I knew what was what. And although I’m nearing the end of my fifth decade and all of those wonderful people have moved on to a better world, I still know better. Most of the time.
I know, for instance, that when I’m in public at an event, representing my profession and my books and my branding, I need to Behave. I smile no matter what, and when people say outrageous things, I do my best to nod and keep smiling. When I’m tired and ready to go hide in my room, I really try to pull out some extra energy and keep on keeping on. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve been less than outgoing; I’m not an extravert, and I have to force it.
When others make different choices, when we feel as though Bad Behavior is encroaching on our own rights, we might be tempted to vent. Some of us might want to vent on social media. This, dear ones, is not a good idea. Vent to your mother, your sister, your husband, your therapist. But spouting off on social media, no matter how justified you feel it might be, is Not Cool. And it won’t lead to resolution; it will lead to more Bad Behavior and to people taking sides and to nastiness all around. Don’t do it.
But if someone does decide to vent on social media, don’t respond. Be the Bigger Person. Hide the complainer, unfriend her, turn off your computer and your phone or do whatever you must do, but avoid engaging.
I’ve heard the excuses. I’ve heard authors claim that readers “deserve to know” about an author or an event or another reader. Dear ones, they really don’t. They don’t deserve to know, because it doesn’t affect them. A bitchy author who writes excellent books doesn’t need you to bring her down. Karma will do it. Or not, but it doesn’t matter to you. Move on and in the immortal words of Taylor Swift. . .Shake It Off.
Call me Pollyanna or say that I’m wearing rose-colored-glasses, but I promise, life is much nicer when you step away from the drama. When you close the computer, turn off the phone and just say no to posting something negative. Focus on the positive; talk about the wonderful sweet and helpful authors out there, the ones who cheer on their compatriots. Tell your readers about how fabulous the event you attended was.