Audience/Reader Sensitivity

Hi Jim,

I have a problem I was hoping you could help me with a rather… sensitive issue. I’ve written a book that deals with a lot of cultural issues. I’ve gone to great lengths to keep my writing as inoffensive as possible, as I want people from all walks of life to be able to read it, enjoy it, and maybe find themselves in it. However… I’ve recently been getting hate mail and negative reviews from people calling some of what I’ve written offensive. I really don’t want to get into great detail for my own protection, but I was wondering if you had any advice on dealing with accusations of bigotry and negative reviews.

Thanks,
(Anonymous by request.)


Hello,

You’re in quite the bind there, I’ll definitely tell you. First of all, there’s nothing you can do about negative reviews. They’re par for the course when it comes to putting media out there for public consumption, so that’s something you’ll most likely have to live with. If you have reason to believe that the negative reviews are trolling or someone who didn’t read the book, there are methods to appeal them with Amazon, GoodReads, Etc. So you might consider that approach.

As to your other problem… having not heard the other side, nor read your work, I’m going to be functioning on the assumption that you didn’t put anything into your book that is blatantly bigoted… or if you did, you framed it in a way that was appropriate to the story. If you basically rewrote Mien Kampf, you’re getting what’s coming to you, but again, I’m going to assume that’s not the case, given what you’ve told me.

Unfortunately, in the current climate we live in, people have a heightened sensitivity to pretty much every social issue on the planet. It seems almost completely unavoidable. Some say it’s because they were raised to believe that they were special and that the world owed them something… others say that these issues have always been around, but social media just really put a magnifying glass on them.
I personally think that the truth is somewhere in between, though I would note that the debate on political correctness vs. free speech is fairly troubling. We’re living in pretty stressful times.

This is honestly part of the reason I don’t tackle social or political issues in any sort of overt way. Yes, they make their way into my writing, but not with the intention of making a political statement. I just go where my fingers take me and people seem to like my work.

Okay, back on topic. At the risk of generalizing people… likely the people you are dealing with who are calling you a bigot are one of two kinds of people;

  1. People with heightened sensitivities and insecurities. These people typically see social problems where ever they look and if they don’t find any, they’re pretty good at creating issues for them to complain about.
  2. People looking to cause trouble. Yes, unfortunately, there are people out there that actively look to spark some kind of social outrage, usually for their own gain. Either they want to get their name out in the public or they want to get something out of whoever gets in their sights.
  3. Legitimate people pointing out a problem. Again, I’m assuming you didn’t rewrite Mien Kampf. However, maybe something in your writing is unintentionally off. Maybe you unintentionally wrote a character as a bad stereotype?

I would re-read your work and if you believe #3 is what you’re dealing with… This is a little more difficult to advise on. I don’t typically recommend revising the original work, but if you’re genuinely concerned about it, you have that option.  That being said, you might consider not changing it… again, I haven’t seen your work and I don’t know what your characters are like, but writing as an art form is supposed to challenge people, it’s supposed to move them, to anger them, to sadden them, to make them uncomfortable, and yes, to make them happy. If this is the option you go with… the best advice I can give you is to grow a thick skin.

If it’s either of the other two, I recommend ‘The Rock’ approach: Ignore it.

Why do I call it the Rock approach? Well, it’s in honor of one of my favorite actors; Dwane Johnson. Arguably one of the most beloved personalities in Hollywood has come under fire recently from cultural figures, Paralympians, and environmental figures alike…

How has he responded to all of this criticism? Well, near as I can tell, he hasn’t. He hasn’t apologized or addressed it in any way. Why do I say that this is the smart thing to do? Because it takes the wind out of their sails. Look at each of these complaints. Have they gone anywhere? Have you heard of them after the initial outcry? Not likely. If you apologize to them, you’re admitting doing something wrong, even if you don’t mean to. Often times, they aren’t looking to, and won’t be willing to, accept your apology. If you try to fight back, you’ll wind up looking like the bad guy. It’s basically a power struggle, one you’ll be hard-pressed to win.

If you say nothing, do nothing, and keep your mouth shut, they’ll be yelling into an empty box and it will likely go away faster. I know it’s not an easy thing to do… take it from someone with boiling Irish blood in his veins, but IMHO it really is the correct approach.

Remember, your writing is all about you. Does it sound good to you? Do you like what you’ve written? Is your book something you’d like to read over and over? Then that’s all that really matters. Other people may like it or may not and your book sales will reflect that, but in the end, you can only write for yourself.

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Let’s open it up to the floor. Readers, what do you think our friend here should do? Should they ignore it or attempt some kind of damage control. Let me know in the comments and let’s get the conversation going.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

From My Writing Playlist #Writing #Author #Advice

 

Oh hell yeah!

This song, especially the beginning, is a battle song. No doubt about it. When the choir starts their harmony right at the beginning, close your eyes and picture too massive medieval armies lining up on either sides of a war torn battlefield. They stair each other down as the rain falls around them and lighting breaks the skies above.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com
I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.
Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Thanks friends!
Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim

Drakin, where to buy, and what’s next? #Writing #Fantasy #SciFi

Hello all!

I hope everyone has enjoyed The Drakin Series!! Please don’t forget to leave me a review on Amazon once you’re done. That really helps me out a lot.

Copies of these books, as well as my others, can be purchased on Amazon by following this link:

James Harrington’s Author Page

They’re also available at Barnes and Noble, as well as many other places where books are sold!

Please feel free to like and reblog this post. Word of mouth helps us writers out a lot!


Drakin: The Story of Raiya


Book Synopsis:
‘ “Abomination, freak, monster…”  You get used to names like these when you have yellow eyes, horns, and scales, but Raiya could have really cared less.

After being forced into exile because of her appearance, Raiya’s mind has been focused on one goal; hunting down the dragon lord that killed her parents. For over thirty years, humanity has been locked in a struggle for survival against a race of dragons that had fallen from the heavens. They took everything from her and consumed the planet in a fierce war. Humanity’s numbers are quickly dwindling, leaving her few options in the way of allies.

What she doesn’t know is that her journey will strike at the very heart of the Red War and uncover truths about her past that she may not want to know. Can she finish what she started while coming to terms with the truths of her origin? ‘


Drakin: The Orphans of Haven


Book Synopsis:

The Red War may be over, but not all wounds have healed. For Sergeant Radley Zall, the nightmares never end. After years of struggling for survival, he finds himself in a dead end job, deporting wayward dragons to the Exclusion Zone. The horrors of his past have left him a broken man, slowing killing himself in a bottle of whiskey. It’s a wearying existence that many former soldiers have been subject to since the war ended, but for Radley, that is all about to change. Throughout his life, Radley’s hatred of dragons has been unmatched until one evening when a small one shows up on his doorstep. The pathetic creature is emaciated and begging for shelter. Her appearance reminds him of his younger self, compelling him to help her. That uncharacteristic decision forces him to confront his past actions— some of which may have contributed to a sinister plot to reignite the Red War and wipe out the few remaining dragons on Earth.


DRAKIN: An Empire of Ashes


 

Synopsis:

Two hundred years have passed, and the Red War has become a distant memory for most. Dragons and humans now live together in peace… but one powerful woman who has been deranged by her own history unleashes her vengeance on a helpless population.

Now, the world’s only hope for survival rests with Kaori, a naïve and wayward princess of the Eastern Empire. Having been disillusioned with her mother’s rule, she discovers a dark secret about her family that will change the course of history forever. She soon crosses paths with Nayeli and Joaquim, a pair of rogues living within her borders.

Their fight for survival takes an unexpected turn as a shadow of from the past reveals that the situation is more dangerous than they know. The fate of billions of lives rests on these three unlikely companions putting aside their differences to stand against the world.



Readers,

Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.

jimthewritingwizard@gmail.com

I’ll use those comments to select my next blog post.

I have been writing for several years, have 4 published works, experience with publishing and independent work, so I can hopefully be of assistance.

Please note, I only do one of these a day and will do my best to respond to everyone, but it may take some time.

Also, feel free to check out my works of Fantasy and Historical Fiction, Available on Amazon and where ever books are sold. See the link below:

http://www.amazon.com/James-Harrington/e/B00P7FBXTU

Note:
If you have read my books, PLEASE log into Amazon and post a review. I really love to hear everyone’s thoughts and constructive criticisms. Reviews help get my book attention and word of mouth is everything in this business!

Thanks friends!

Catch you on the flip side!

-Jim