About a year and a half ago, the lovely and talented Pam Stack had me as a guest on her Authors on the Air podcast. It was our first chat, and a good forty minutes into the show, she had asked me about book reviews. Not a breath later, Pam had asked me if I respond to them.
Of course, I said no, as that leads to a whole different can of B.S. It also led to what has to be one of my favorite diatribes of all time:
"If you're going to be in the public eye, you can't act like a douchebag! If you're going to be in the public eye, you have to act with decorum. If you're going to be a douchebag in the Internet Age, the Internet is going to grab a hold of you. Once the Internet grabs a hold of you, it's not going to forget."
The reason I bring this up today? Yup, an author acted like a douchebag--to their potential readers.
Now I'm not going to quote the author in question. It has gone viral, like it should, and the author issued an "apology." I'm not familiar with this particular author or this author's work, and quite frankly, I'm not going to get familiar with it. I'm pretty sure this author doesn't care if I do, either. I've seen plenty of authors who have been jackasses to potential readers, and their behavior has caused me to ignore their work. Just add this author to the tally books.
But I do have a point to make regards to being an author and being a douchebag.
There are plenty of authors out there who simply don't know how to act in the public eye, and are just asking for it. I feel for them, I really do. So if there is any piece of advice that I could give to any aspiring author, it is this: Don't be a douchebag online, and don't be a douchebag to prospective readers online.
If you get a shit review, don't respond; a review is subjective and doesn't represent the entirety of the reading community. If someone emails you and asks for information about your books, be polite and give it to them: after all, it's a potential sale and a potential reader you're trying to impress. If you're going to be a douchebag, that reader will take their money elsewhere.
Basically, don't be rude. Being rude just makes you look like an asshole.
And the Internet will remember you for being an asshole. And for being a douchebag.