I don't consider myself one of the MEAN GIRLS, but when I read about different authors behaving badly, I just shake my head. I mean, as authors we are in the public eye. It makes me cringe when I see authors shoot themselves in the foot by doing something immoral, illegal or just plain stupid.
There is a brouhaha (love that word) right now over at Dear Author about a certain author who has taken the whole freedom of speech thing a little too far. This thread is already up to close to 400 comments, so be aware, but the bottom line is the author used less than kosher means to keep her reviews on Amazon at a five star level. To the extent where she asked her buds to click on the 'not helpful' button at Amazon so the reviews that were less than stellar were removed.
When a reader's review was removed and the reader got wind of it and reposted it, this author was really nasty about the whole situation. I won't go into detail here, as it's all written out at Dear Author but let's just say this is where her behaving badly came to light.
Now, is this author the first who has shot herself in the foot? Unfortunately, no. It seems a week doesn't go by without some drama. Now, don't get me wrong. Sometimes an author does need to speak up. I've done it myself. (NCP problems, MGP, debacle and SV atrocities) But there is a difference between standing your ground and making an idiot of yourself.
The world wide web is like a big watercooler and if you do something, especially of the shooting-the-foot variety, it will be known. Authors should take note. Don't air your dirty laundry in public unless it's something you want everybody and their brother to know. A simple enough idea, but one that seems to escape a lot of people.
Railing at your publisher (not righteous concern, but crazy wild rants), bitching about other authors, immoral or illegal activities, or lying are just a few ways to make those around the internet watercooler start whispering. And trust me, once it starts, it can't be stopped. Google and other places have cache ability, remember? Even last year's nutty behavior can be searched out and re-examined. Too many of those and a pattern starts to emerge. One that can literally ruin a career.
So learn from the mistakes of the few, the weird, the bat-shit crazy and remember, readers like to read. And while most enjoy learning a little about their favorite author, I doubt anyone wants to listen to diatribes and rants about things that have nothing to do with them. And for the sake of every other author out there, don't treat readers with condescension or disdain. They are important to us authors. Pissing them off is a sure fire way to make sure your name goes down in a blaze of something...but it won't be glory!
Take care and I'll see you again on Tuesday!!!
Never anger an elf... we have very long memories.