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!