July Newsletter article – Trolls! How do you deal?

Happy July, or… wait a minute… 

Ah yes, now I remember…. It’s apparently troll season and I did not get the memo. Anyway, hiya, how are you? I hope you are good.

Have you ever had people who don’t even know you (or really matter to you), come ‘at your’ from somewhere obscure to land a sucker punch? How do you deal with the haters and the bullies and the opinions that shouldn’t matter?  Well I’m no expert, but with so much time spent on social media, meeting people of all creeds and backgrounds and temperament, I’m just going to spend a couple of lines today reflecting on how to deflect their bs.
So here you are… plodding along in your own little groove – perfectly confident in your own purpose and skills, you might even feel happier than ever to share your work/thoughts/ideas – and then BAM! a troll pops out from under the bridge (or wherever they hibernate to digest their latest ‘chew and spit’) and there they are: in your face, calling you out by name, rolling you in their poison whilst throwing so much shade that it leaves you reeling.

Is it a sign of the times? Are people just antagonising others for a cheap thrill? Are they so miserable that the only way they can feel good is to showcase other people in the most inconsiderate and belittling ways? Do they veil it as entitlement? Or as simple entertainment? Or do they perhaps see it as ‘no big deal’?

Well heck, I don’t know. I always try to be respectful and constructive in my dealings with people or when offering feedback. I’m of the firm conviction that people are entitled to their opinions. They will not always tell you what you want to hear nor flatter you. So as with all places life takes you – from the moment you enter the social media circus, you must learn to roll with the punches, however… Well, however, sometimes it just feels as though the world is out to get you. And that’s hard. 

In my case, what I’m talking about here is 1. ‘a hit’ on the book cover for The Missing Shield (serial episodes) where someone actually anonymously suggested it be put forward as an example of a ‘scream and run away – never do a cover like this’, and then 2. when reading posts where my books were used to showcase a very hateful attitude towards my style.

Wow!

I must admit, I’ve never really had such bad vibes thrown at me before. It was peculiar to see myself hung out – and yes, to be honest, a bit hurtful since these people did not bother to consider or refer to any of the circumstances surrounding my reasons and choices. However, I suspect this doesn’t really bother them. Like most bullies they seek gratification and must be in the ‘right’. This does not include pausing to think or understand, but hey… I digress.

So I read the comments again and as I did, it occurred to me that I didn’t have to care what they said. Had their approach been based on objective, informed thoughts and opinions I would have perhaps engaged in a debate, but this… it was actually incredibly childish, not worth my time or energy, and hence not even a comment either.

Why?

Well, it’s kinda ‘freeing’. I did/do not have to justify myself to them. I know the ‘truth’. I know that a first-time publishing, unemployed indie author makes ends meet with a less than fantastic cover because that’s the best they can do at the time. I know that I personally decided to use the same cover for all the books in the serial to connect it across the episodes as they are not standalone. And goodness, I know that the cover does not really say ‘epic’ as much as ‘urban’ but hey… we live and learn. Don’t like my writing? Well you know what… tough, lol.

The fact remains, that I never forced them to read on. If they decided to DEF my book, well that’s cool, since it was clearly not for them. However, I never hinted my style would be enjoyed by every single reader in the world – quite the contrary: it’s an acquired thing – but does that mean I’m trying too hard with my purple prose and deep character perspectives? Hmm… that’s reading a LOT into a bit of fiction. Me… well, I just wanted to explore a different approach, so sorry but not sorry. 😉

Life is too short to care about the opinions of the people who don’t matter to us. Fortunately, we can ignore, block, or unfriend the trolls – so let them rant in the corner; we all know what’s important so kick the trolls back under their bridge and see who ends up crossing to the other side.
💝💝💝 to you all.
#BeYourself