Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Hate Mail Hazards of Being Famous

No, I'm not talking about myself. I'm nowhere near "famous," and that's okay. I wouldn't mind if my books were famous, but that's not something I have any control over.

But today on Writers Plot, my friend Lorraine Bartlett talks about a letter she received about one of her books. I can't call it a fan letter because the writer is no such thing. The letter Lorraine received is angry, vehement, and personal. What about? Food issues. Yeah, seriously. Check out the link above for the details.

In the comment section of the blog, Shelly nails it. I have to believe Lorraine was stunned and hurt by this missive. Lorraine is a wonderful story teller and a really nice person to boot. Fortunately she seems as though she's shaken it off quickly -- but this nasty letter makes me wonder, as I often have -- do the people who write angry letters and cruel reviews really understand that there are *people* behind the books? That books are written with the hope that with our stories we can entertain readers, cheer them up, or let them escape for a little while?

When authors read horrid reviews of their books (for an example or two, check out SJ's reviews of my two WHChef novels on Amazon -- or, better yet, *don't* read them), believe me, it hurts. I sincerely hope SJ does *not* pick up a copy of Eggsecutive Orders when it comes out. It's pretty obvious to me she doesn't care for my style.

I understand that not everyone will enjoy my books. And that's okay. It's not the message, it's the tone -- the spite with which the reviews (and Lorraine's letter) were written -- that really stings. As though the writers *wanted* to hurt us. I have to wonder what's going on in the lives of those who so easily diss others. Why spread such anger, such negativity? Does this make them feel better? If that's the case, let them have their say. We'll deal with it. We have to. But I will do my utmost to not let the cycle continue.

Anyway, that's my rant for today.
Let's all try to be kind to one another.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the kind words, Julie. I think I was more stunned than hurt. (But I still hope I have lots of zeros on my next royalty check.) One of the Guppies said that now that I've contributed to the deaths of millions from my books, I've made it worse by contributing to the deaths of BILLIONS on the Internet by putting in the white chocolate ganaush recipe on my blog post. Gulp.


Julie Hyzy said...

Billions! Wow. Feel that power? Whoa. I think somebody ought to write books about you. You'd be the first serial killer whose MO is death by temptation. First title could be "Try It, You'll Like It."


Mary Jane Maffini said...

Well said, Julie! You and Lorraine are both kind and caring people who try to help others and it's especially unfair when so and so gets all nasty about some aspect of a book. I am sure those comments reflect the dire state of their own lives and relationships. I also keep in mind that it's a lot easier to make a mean comment than to write a good book!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thank you so much, Mary Jane ;-)

I'll have to use that line about mean comments being easier to come up with than good books. I love it.


Anonymous said...

Oh, goodness, I spelled ganache wrong in my comment. If that nasty reader sees it, s/he'll probably crucify me. Oh no--now I've mentioned crucifiction -- s/he'll probably have a fit about that, too.

(Tee hee hee.)

Dru said...

I was always taught if you don't have anything nice to say, then keep your opinions to yourself.

I think they have negativity in their life and have to poison everyone around them.

Julie Hyzy said...

I agree with you, Dru. Some people feel the need to rain on others' lives just because *they* aren't happy about something in their own. But I'm determined that the buck will stop here.

And from the sound of Lorraine's comment above, she's feeling exactly the same way! ;-)


mary kennedy said...

Julie, you are so right! Why would anyone take pleasure in writing something that is deliberately cruel--bafflng. I think the best revenge is to just keep on writing terrific books...

KoffeeBean said...

Sometimes there is just no explaining the behavior of some people! You know the old saying- "you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear."

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks Mary and Diane. I think the only fitting revenge is to put them in a novel and have fun throwing trouble their way ;-)


Shel said...

Wow, didn't expect my comment to show up here..but I'm glad it did. Julie, you have it right. People who write those kinds of things must have some sort of deficiency in their own lives, or not understand the concept that there ARE people behind the books to write such things. I couldn't resist temptation and did read the review you mentioned at Amazon. Then wished I hadn't, because I wanted to hunt them down and explain exactly what makes your books so good!

Julie Hyzy said...

Thanks, Shel. When I read those reviews I wanted to ask what prompted her to up my books in the first place. Boy, I wish she hadn't. It's embarrassing to have those reviews up there.


Sarahlynn said...

I've never been cruel, but sharing my writing publicly and critiquing others' work in person has certainly changed the way I review books.

When it comes to the internet, I think a lot of people forget there are REAL PEOPLE behind computer screens.

I heard Sara Paretsky talk this week and she shared a piece of hate mail she got after reading from her new book (HARDBALL publishes today! Yay!) at the ALA conference this summer. Someone wrote her a nasty letter for ruining a signed baseball in the novel. ("Those are valuable!") He didn't seem to get the difference between fact and fiction at all.

Which makes me wonder: what was he doing at the American LIBRARY Association conference?

Julie Hyzy said...

Hi Sarahlynn,
Love the Sara Paretsky story. It's amazing, isn't it - the bits of *fiction* that will set people off. I heard another writer talk about how a cat in one of her books had kittens and the author received a very angry letter about not having the cat spayed. Wow.
Thanks for the note. Your comment - what was he doing at the American LIBRARY Association - really made me laugh. Thanks.


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