Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Writers Behaving Badly: Top Ten Alternatives

I've written about misbehaving writers in the past, but they've been rearing their ugly heads a lot lately. These days, being a writer doesn't get to be a fully solitary pursuit. A media presence is important. Unfortunately, there are always people who shouldn't be in a position where eyes are on them and interaction is a necessity.

From bizarre videos and ill-advised legal cases to Goodreads attacks and outbursts in Facebook groups to cocky letters to reviewers, writers are behaving badly. I watched an author become aggressive and hateful in a Facebook group where she attacked people who return audio books, confronting everyone who tried to discuss it from the other viewpoint. Then she attacked those telling her to stop attacking people.

Ultimately, having a public meltdown will likely end in a deficit of readers. While the free press you get might alert some new readers to you, it's more likely to put off both people who hadn't heard of you and people who were already reading you. Know what bestsellers have in common? They usually haven't launched crazed attacks online.

Rather than haranguing on this, considering most of you probably agree that it's not a good idea, here's a Top Ten List of things you could do instead of publicly freaking out:

1. Write something newer and better and privately say, "In your FACE!" But only where you can hear it.

2. Gorge on ice cream, sweets, or other edible sadness-soppers that make you feel better with sugar, carbs, fat, and calories.

3. Go for a Rocky-jog while listening to "Eye of the Tiger" and sweating your anger out.

4. Take up a dangerous - but satisfying - hobby like lion wrangling or cactus farming.

5. Write your response down on pieces of paper then sacrifice them to a fire built using elm trees and rattlesnake bones.

6. Paper a wall with whatever review, post, or issue is setting you off then paint over it with black and red.

7. Find a practitioner of magic to put a zit spell on the perpetrator. No one ever has to know it was you...

8. Headbang to Alvin and the Chipmunks songs and get a mosh pit going.

9. Adopt as many kittens and puppies as possible, and create a giant snuggle pile.

10. Go to a bar and sobbingly do karaoke to "I Will Survive" over and over until they kick you out. know...just ignore it and move on.

Oh, hey, I'm actually going to do links! Bear in mind I'm not endorsing them, merely passing them along. Always do your own due diligence before submitting.

Accepting Submissions:

El Chapo Review is seeking fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. All genres. Up to 1000 words. Pays $100. Deadline June 1.

Claw & Blossom is seeking short prose and poetry that involves the natural world in some way. The current theme is "Gnaw." Up to 1000 words. Pays $25. Deadline June 6.

Randee Dawn and Michael Ventrella are seeking short speculative fiction submissions for a Beatles themed anthology entitled "Across the Universe." Up to 4000 words. Pays $.05/word. Deadline June 14.

Stormy Island Publishing is seeking romantic fantasy fiction. 1000 to 8000 words. Pays $20. Deadline June 14.

Iridium Magazine is seeking short stories in a variety of genres with LGBTQ+ characters. Up to 5000 words. Pays $.03/word. Deadline June 15.

The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is seeking flash fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, mixed media, and visual arts. Pays $50. Deadline June 15.

Darkhouse Books is seeking short stories with Lovecraft/Diesel Punk/Steam Punk flavor for "Fearrington Road." 2500 to 6000 words. Pays royalties. Deadline June 15.

What would you do instead of having an online meltdown? The more creative, the better. Have you ever responded to a bad review? Have you witnessed writers behaving badly? Are any of these links of interest? Anything to share?

May you find your Muse.

*Image "Curls Tantrum Colour Blank Bckgrnd Clip Art" by Peter Van Herk,


  1. Hilarious list. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I actually DO the first two on the list, though mostly to publishers who have rejected my work. You might add “write the person annoying you into your next story and kill them off”. That’ll learn ‘em!

    But you’re right about the bad behaviour of some authors. I’ve heard of one who literally stalked her reviewer - and bragged about it in the newspaper! And there was one last year who threatened to call the law on a reviewer who gave her a polite but negative review. I had already agreed to host her in a blog tour, and had the post ready, so I didn’t get involved, but she lost a lot of other blog tour bloggers. One thing I don’t like is when people who haven’t read a book give it a one star rating to get revenge on the badly behaved author. That’s almost as bad.

    Thanks for sharing and putting a smile on my face!

    1. What a tough position to have been put in by that author! I don't understand the point of behavior like that.

      I agree about the one star ratings. And any sort of lynch mob behavior online. It's frightening how easily people can turn on others.

  3. You can always try cactus wrangling!
    Always have to be careful what we say and do, online and in the real world.

  4. Rattlesnake bones are flammable?
    Who knew?

  5. I already have a good start on that kitten snuggle pile.

  6. I only wish drivers would follow your suggestions! Especially #10. Today I saw a driver turn right against a red light across two lanes of traffic (luckily stopped). For a brief moment, I fantasized about all drivers being issued paint ball guns to shoot the cars who pull such stunts, with a grand prize going to the car with the most paint ball hits. Sigh. Sadly, we all need to reach within and breathe. And, as you suggest, write them into our next story.

    1. My husband and I have jokingly discussed mounting paintball guns on the hood of the car to get people. Wouldn't that be satisfying? There are so many bad drivers, I could easily fill a collection with them.

  7. I'm down with doing number 2 even if I have nothing to rage about. ;)