My last blog on the subject of trolls certainly generated quite a response.
Most, admittedly, were in agreement with me in that the best, if not only way to deal with trolls is to adopt the ignore, delete and block approach. For in doing so, not only do you instantly deprive them of the one thing they crave which is attention, you also save yourself a lot of both grief and time.
There were however, a number of people who disagreed with me, some vehemently. To a man (although oddly, most seemed to be women) their argument was not based on the issue of hate crime, which is a very different issue, but was more about their own personal experience. And it was all along the lines of ‘if someone is abusing me, why should I be the one to leave?’ which is fair enough in one sense but totally bloody stupid in the other.
This isn’t rocket science folks. If someone is giving you grief, the only sensible thing to do is to distance yourself from that person and that principle applies as much to social media as it does to a dodgy pub on a Saturday night. The only alternative courses of action are to stand there taking it until someone comes along to deal with them for you or, assuming you have the balls to do it, you go nose-to-nose and respond in kind (although to be fair, as a veteran of many a troll war, trust me when I tell you that this approach rarely ends well).
Not surprisingly, when I made this point in response to those telling me I was mistaken, some of them not only continued to disagree but a few actually ended up becoming abusive. One even began to tag my agent into posts accusing me of being homophobic which obviously saw him instantly blocked for what was, ironically, fairly textbook trolling.
And there’s the rub folks. Yes, trolls are a pain in the arse but the simple truth is that absolutely anyone who uses social media can find themselves acting like one.
Not everyone however, is smart enough to understand that if a troll does latch on to you, all the power you will ever need to deal with them is simply a few key strokes away.
Finally, a lot of people have been asking about my next movie project and whilst Three Greens continues to head toward production, I can tell you that if all goes to plan, details of another movie I’ve been working on will be released at the Cannes Film Festival next month.
Much is being made about the subject of trolls this morning and as someone who has endured their fair share of troll wars over the years, I thought it worth exploring one aspect of this issue which rarely receives any mainstream media coverage. The issue of the amazon trolls.
Now I love Amazon, it’s amazing. Not simply for the fact that it offers brilliant prices on just about everything but because it’s where I sell most of my books. Not just in the UK either, but around the world.
However, my favourite online retailer does have a dark side and it is one which all authors need to be aware of; the forums.
As an idea of course, a place where readers can talk about books is brilliant. Not just to enhance the experience of readership but also because a lot of people like to support authors and promote new ones which is not something to be sniffed at. Conversely, it is also a great way to let people know that you might not have enjoyed a particular book as well as hopefully, providing an explanation as to why. This however, is where the problems can sometimes arise. Primarily because of the trolls who lurk there.
Now I always advise authors to avoid responding to reader reviews and especially to comments for the simple reason that reviews are an individual’s opinion and are generally posted for the benefit of other readers. And whilst they can be incredibly useful to authors for all kinds of reasons, they are not written for them/you/me.
There are obviously exceptions to that, the primary ones being to thank someone who has been particularly complimentary or to point someone who has loved a book in the direction of a sequel if such a thing exists. However, when someone posts something negative, be it about the story, the writing or even the grammar, whilst the natural instinct is to respond, it is imperative that you avoid the temptation and instead, bite the bullet and take it on the chin. If you don’t, you potentially open yourself up to a world of pain for nothing excites the amazon trolls more than a sniff of a stroppy author.
As a result, before you know it, you could find yourself under attack and those attacks can very quickly get very personal. They can also become relentless as the literary trolls are prone to hunting in packs. Don’t think they will confine their activities to Amazon either. Oh no, upset the trolls and they’ll fairly quickly be rubbishing you on Goodreads, Facebook and even Twitter. And those attacks can go on for weeks, months, even years.
Indeed, so bad can they get that they don’t just damage the book, they can easily undermine the reputation and even confidence of the author. I know of numerous writers who have actually withdrawn their books from sale simply because they can’t handle the abuse they’ve received. Occasionally, they have got so bad that the police have had to become involved.
Quite what drives these people on escapes me. Although I suspect both jealousy and sad, empty lives have a lot to do with it. However, to delve into the psyche of these bullies gives them exactly the kind of power and importance that they crave so it’s far better to simply laugh them off, ignore them and simply keep churning out good solid work. Because ultimately, that’s what they want to stop you doing, which is ironic given that they all claim to love books.
Dougie Brimson is the author of 15 books, the bulk of which are now available as eBooks. These include the thrillers, The Crew which has held the #1 slot on its Amazon chart for approaching 5 years and is now FREE, its sequel, Top Dog, which is also an award winning movie and the new football comedy, Wings of a Sparrow.
Details of all books as well as links to buy can be found by clicking here!
A little under 18 months ago, I wrote a blog about my experiences with some trolls on the Amazon forums. I won’t go into too many details (if you want to read the original post, it can by found here) but suffice to say, I was attacked by an organised group and as is my way, I took them on.
Now this battle went on for some considerable time and dragged in all kinds of people including authors and websites the majority of whom were based in the US. However, central to it all and the person who became my nemesis, was a troll who hid behind the moniker of Anna Karenina.
Anna, like most trolls, was an attention and power seeker. Using multiple identities on all kinds of sites relating to both reading and self-publishing, she built up a powerful network of equally disturbed people whose sole remit was to destroy the confidence (and sales) of authors through the simple tactic of posting poisonous and even fake reviews of their work then slaughtering them if they responded. And by slaughtering, I mean abusing to the extent where some actually became suicidal.
How do I know that? Well not because they had any impact on me because I have a thick skin and besides, my market is the UK, not the US, but because I stood up to them. And by doing so I encouraged others to do likewise, albeit less vocally than I.
Together, a group of us went on the offensive and over a period of months, by putting together all kinds of seemingly unrelated snippets of information we eventually discovered Anna’s true identity as well as her place of work. Yes, our Anna is a middle aged single woman who teaches second grade at a school in San Francisco. Yes, a teacher. And astonishingly, we also discovered that she carried out much of her trolling from the school whilst she was actually supposed to be teaching!
Now, at this point I stepped away from the fight primarily because the amount of time it was consuming was impacting on work. However, yesterday I took a fresh look to catch up on the latest news and lo and behold, it appears that queen troll has got her comeuppance. Not only have some of her victims and a number of high profile anti-troll campaigners been in direct contact with the school authorities complaining about her but a number of parents at the school have been made aware of events and are far from happy at the idea of their offspring being taught by such an obviously disturbed woman. Indeed, as far as I can tell, she is close to losing her job for contravening the schools policy regarding IT use. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her personal details have been spread all over the web which can’t be much fun.
Sympathy however, is in short supply from me. I’ve seen the kind of misery this woman created for people and if you believe in karma as I do, the worm turning on our ‘Anna’ is the very least she deserves.
In other news, as you may have seen if you are following things on either Facebook or Twitter, Top Dog will be released in DVD format on May 28th. You can pre order it by clicking here.
A number of people have asked me about cinema screenings as well as possible events surrounding the release and whilst I can confirm that there will indeed be some, I can’t as yet give you any details. Keep an eye on Facebook and Twitter and all will be revealed!
Ahead of that, the end of April will see filming commence on the urban revenge thriller We Still Kill The Old Way which will again be produced by Jonathan Sothcott (Top Dog, Vendetta) and will be directed by Sacha Bennett who many people will know from the movie, Bonded by Blood.
I’ll post more about that over the next couple of weeks but if all goes to plan, it’s going to be an amazing experience and tremendous fun to work on!
These next few months are going to be quite something. Happy days indeed!
troll, greenstreet, sex, porn, pornography, oral, top dog, british film, screenwriting, author, actor, action, hooligan, violence, trolling, amazon, goodreads
I have recently become fascinated by the issue of trolls. Not the Peter Beardsley kind or the big hairy creatures featured in Lord of the Rings, but the people who haunt the internet and all too often (but not often enough) end up in court for saying things they really shouldn’t say.
However, I have a confession to make. I am also a troll. Or at least I am if you use the definition of a troll as being someone who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument. Because I’ve been doing exactly that.
But my target hasn’t been some poor kid, sensitive woman or celebrity sort, oh no. My target has been people who are clearly trolls themselves. And boy, do they get the arsehole when you give them a taste of their own medicine.
I won’t go into the reasons how I became involved in all this but suffice to say, I became a ‘victim’ a few weeks ago shortly after I posted something on a forum relating to writing and in particular the issue of self published authors. Naively, I assumed that as an author who has enjoyed a bit of success, some experience might be welcomed. Oh no.
Within a few hours I’d had everything from my ‘claim’ to have been at #1 on the Amazon sports charts for ever with The Crew to my role on Green Street dissected and dismissed. Not just as irrelevant, but by one individual as downright lies. Yes, that’s right, I made it all up. It’s all a dream.
And this continued, for days.
Now I’ve had to put up with some crap in my time from lousy reviews to death threats from extremist nutters and so a few idiots hiding behind ‘tags’ on a message board don’t bother me at all. I actually found it all quite amusing and so being me, I had a dig or to back.
This of course wound them up even more not least because they quickly realised that as someone who was already established, didn’t care, took everything with a pinch of salt and wasn’t adverse to saying what I thought, they were powerless.
Then, out of the blue, I began to receive emails from people talking about these people who were trying to have a dig at me. And the more I read, the more it became clear that these people weren’t just acting like dicks, they were up to no good.
In short, they are a small group of people who using numerous fake identities and hiding behind some spurious ideal of ‘policing’ the quality of self published books, get their kicks from ripping apart the confidence of amateur and particularly first-time authors. They do this by various means including posting bogus and extremely critical 1 star reviews of their books on websites such as Amazon. These being backed up by other members of the clique as well of course, by themselves using their numerous fake ID’s.
And some of these reviews are vicious, personal even. The very definition of trolling.
The more I dug into what they were and are up to, the more uncomfortable reading it became and so I made an allegation that there was some kind of review mafia operating on Amazon.
They were at me like a pack of hounds with more attacks. I was anti-woman, anti-American, sexist, racist, a bigot, etc, etc, but when this didn’t work they began to employ diversionary tactics. Every time a legitimate discussion would begin or a sensible question asked, it would be hijacked by debates about biscuits, sea monkeys… anything. A typical bullying tactic.
So from that point on, with the help of a few other people who they’ve also had a go at, I began digging into the background to some of these people and what I uncovered staggered me.
In a sense it’s no different from the hooligan world. I’m often asked about the type of people who become involved in football violence and people are always shocked to discover that very few are the knuckle dragging right-wingers they expect them to be. They are instead, relatively normal members of society who simply get off on what goes on at games.
The same thing applies to the reviewing trolls. Amongst the people I’ve traced are kindergarten teachers, lawyers, engineers, IT professionals, you name it. Some are even authors themselves and indeed, are acting in the very manner they are so quick to condemn in others.
But what they all are, are people who you would normally regard as respectable. And here they are for all to see acting in a way which is as far from respectable as it’s possible to get. That is quite scary.
Now I don’t like bullies and I’m certainly not fazed by them. I’m also of the belief that the best way to deal with a bully is to not simply stand up to them, but to name and shame them. This time is no different and in the fullness of time, these people will be exposed.
I already have the real names of some as well as the list of identities they use on various forums but I will only make that public once I am absolutely certain that the evidence I put forward is indisputable.
Not that it matters of course. After all, as I tell everyone who wants to write, if you can’t take criticism, don’t do it. Because sooner or later someone somewhere is going to rip you to shreds and that is often extremely difficult to handle especially when it is based on things which are fundamentally wrong.
The trolls who have infected Amazon and Goodreads will experience how that feels very soon and I hope they’re ready for it.
Then again, I don’t really care if they’re not because it’s coming anyway.
I never get bored of saying this, truly, I don’t. A huge thanks to everyone who is keeping The Crew at #1 on the Amazon and iTunes sports charts. We’re now into out 9th month at the top of the tree which however you look at it, is quite something.
Top Dog is also sitting pretty in the top 3 which proves what I said years ago, that if you give people what they want as opposed to what you hope they might like, they’ll buy it.
My next book, Wings of a Sparrow, is almost finished and then, thanks to the success of The Crew and Top Dog, I’ll be starting work on the third book in the Billy Evans trilogy.