Cyber-bullying, flaming, and trolling authors face online

BUY MY BOOK: Maid for Me, Here

I’d like to discuss cyber-bullying. Though I am not an incredibly famous self-published author, I have enjoyed some success with my Amazon publications over the last two years. As an author, I love reading reader reviews, especially ones that provide constructive criticism. I’m not going to lie. Nothing strokes my ego more than reviews along the lines of “Kat, you’re my idol,” “Kat writes the bestest evr omg,” and “Maid for Me is sooo awesome!” Who doesn’t love dedicated fans?

Not everyone is a lover, however. With my publication readily available to the world, I have left myself open to haters. “You write like a stupid second grader,” “You obviously faked your good reviews,” “You suck donkey-balls,” and “You are to blame for childhood illiteracy.”

I’m not making this up. Though negative and bullying reviews sting, I’ve tried to ignore them. Protected by the First Amendment in America and the anonymity of the web, people openly attack others without a second thought. Flaming and trolling against an author is easy especially when sites like Amazon have lax guidelines for reviews. Besides, published authors aren’t people. They should be perfect like robots. Just like celebrities, authors shouldn’t have feelings and should be able to take any heat that burns their way.

Usually, I would agree the customer is always right. But not in this case when authors face inappropriate cyber bullying. Authors are humans too!

Earlier this December, I noticed a defamatory review on Maid for Me’s Amazon page. (See the “amended review” here: http://tinyurl.com/6no8pdd.) The reviewer openly accused me of faking all the good reviews on my ebook. Unable to understand how anyone would support or like my publication, she concluded I either had all my friends review the book or created forty-plus fake accounts to fake my reviews.

After my supporters told her off, she had her defamatory review removed, replacing it with an amended review. Her current review blames authors like me for promoting childhood illiteracy. Right… Review my book please. Don’t preach to me what you don’t practice.

I openly welcome reviewers to offer constructive criticism. I will even overlook rude comments stating I suck as a writer. But when someone falsely accuses me of something as serious as faking reviews, I will not tolerate that. When cyber bullying becomes defamatory and libelous, it crosses a serious line. Defamation is considered a crime in most civil law jurisdictions, especially Great Britain and Israel.  Even when not considered a crime, defamatory reviews could potentially tarnish an author’s reputation.

Readers and reviewers, I encourage you to avoid crossing the line. Before posting a review, consider the following:

o   Is your review about the book’s content or about the author?

o   Did you make a farfetched and/or false claim about the author out of spite?

o   Is your review helpful or hateful?

Authors often write with their hearts. We expose our souls in our writings. We’re happy when we have fans. Sad when we have haters. Angry when we’re defamed.

We are not perfect. Self-published authors usually do not have the luxury of assistance from a team of experienced editors. Still, we do our best. We work extra hard because we’re usually a team of one. When we’re victims of cyber bullying, sometimes we’re patient and silent. But it doesn’t mean we’re not hurting.

We don’t expect everyone to love our work. At the same time, we don’t need to be victims of cyber bullies. Hopefully this post resonates with other authors and reviewers. Spread love, not hate.

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