I was already of the opinion that actual grown-ups are lacking out there in the grown-up world, but really, now. I mean, first there was QueryFail, in which a group of agents posted lines from queries that authors had sent them, WITHOUT asking permission to reproduce those authors’ queries, on Twitter and openly made fun of them. (Yes, perhaps it did clue in a few people who had no idea that you mustn’t mention your Girl Scout Fiction Writer badge in your query. But most of the people following that thread already knew better, and were just riding along to mock. It was preaching to the choir. IMHO only, of course.) Then there was a backlash to QueryFail that was also inappropriate, as the authors should have turned around and let it run off their backs (as Grandpa used to say. He was part mallard. The green part.)
Anne Rice went after a reviewer on Amazon to “explain” how dumb the reviewer was. Others have gotten on to rebut various claims made by reviewers. But now . . . writers and other pros GONE WILD. Embarrassing even without the “flashing.”
“Alice Hoffman has a new novel out. Roberta Silman gave Hoffman’s book a lukewarm review in the Boston Globe. Alice Hoffman then went insane on Twitter, even publishing Silman’s phone number and encouraging her fans to call and attack her. The most vexing thing about of all of this is that Silman’s review wasn’t a trashing by any standard, other than inside of Hoffman’s obviously delusional mind. . . .”
“Rise above it. Be classy, child,” said Auntie. She was right.
That’s not the only author who has come after her reviewers. It never makes a lot of sense. Just remember what Mae West said–“there is no such thing as bad publicity.”
And this writer (or poser? Who can say?) is taking her rage out on agents for perfectly sensible rejection slips. These aren’t nasty rejections at all. Maybe this is a spoof.
The other day an agent got a “retort” replying to a rejection, and instead of just ignoring it the way agents surely have for decades, the agent said, “When I’m attacked, I hit back,” and started a Twitter campaign to mock the author–complete with his real name. Sheesh! Is there no one who rises above it and remains a professional? The real killer is that a mob of bloggers/blog commenters jumped on the wagon and mocked the author with haiku (you can’t help but chuckle a LITTLE–who else mocks with haiku?!). Whether that was just a mob mentality or it was because they thought they were currying favor with an agent, I don’t know. But, still. High school never ends. Three other LJers covered this, or I wouldn’t have known about it, because Twitter strikes me as a huge timesink. But I’m surprised that people will act like that. Why am I surprised?? Still, I am.
The mature response to any of this is to be gracious. Even when you disagree, and you want to say that you think whoever-it-is should be ashamed, there’s a more gracious way to do that rather than mocking or starting a long attack thread. This will always be the better response. To learn this is the beginning of wisdom and maturity. I hope someday I can learn to be like Grandma and just rise above things that we see as insults or taunts (though I try, I don’t always succeed). You never win when you engage in these kinds of uproars. It always reflects poorly back on you, you see. Sure, it’s tough for me to be mature . . . but it’s worth the effort. I’m glad I missed this entire thing!
Not glad that I’m missing the NETWO conference. Someone did come forward and say she would attend in my place on Saturday. There was a bit of a kerfuffle at first when the Powers That Be didn’t really want to let me send a proxy (they said I shouldn’t use the word “scholarship,” but I suspect that wasn’t the major issue), but they relented. So now someone gets to go, at least. It’s a gorgeous afternoon, and I would hate to spend it inside . . . I’ll bet they all go sit around the lake at the picnic tables for the workshop. I hope they think of that, anyway.