So this is going to be an op-ed more than an advice piece, so feel free to skip if you’re not up for that.
Recently in Hollywood, the Comic Book world, and even the literary world, we’ve seen a trend where a new piece of material is put out and bombs. Instead of going back to writer’s table to figure out what went wrong, doing any sort of soul searching, or asking the question why, we see the creators do one of two things… either A, throw a temper tantrum online, or B, Insult/Blame/Slander their audience.
I cannot say this enough, STOP IT! This is not going to solve anything except push people away form you and your work!
We first really started to see this trend with Ghostbusters 2016 where literally anyone who said the film wasn’t good, myself included, was slandered as woman-hating. You literally had Melissa McCarthy go on TV and mock people who took issue with the trailer of Ghostbusters as basement dwelling man-babies.
This trend has continued with everything from DC and Marvel, to various Hollywood titles, even to video games.
Full disclosure, all I said about Ghostbuster 2016 was that the CGI looked like something out of Eddie Murphy’s haunted mansion and I didn’t care for Melissa McCarthy’s brand of comedy as she always seemed to play the same loud, crass, woman in every role. If that’s sexism… people pushing for traditional gender roles must make heads explode.
Anyway, I recently came across an article talking about one of the new Punisher’s creators doing exactly what I said above…
Okay, for the record, I’m sure that there are some people who are guilty of what they’re saying, lord knows there were a some during the GB2016 controversy too, but is that really the majority? That strains credulity at best. This is coming from someone who writes strong female leads in most of his stories, get’s fan mail from predominantly male readers, and even get’s angry responses from said males when I kill off one of those characters…
(Seriously people, I loved Qira too, but it was her time to go!)
Look, I understand if these are passion projects for you that you take personally, but if that’s the case, you need to understand that few people hold the exact same values as you do, not everyone is going to like what you do, and most importantly not everyone has the same goals. While you might want to send a political message, many people just go to the movies to see something they enjoy and experience a good story FOR PLEASURE! If they didn’t get what they wanted from your work, that doesn’t make them hateful people in general.
I actually get questions from readers on this subject from time to time as well asking me why their audience wouldn’t accept or like a character, why they were a bunch of sexists, etc.
I refuse to post those here because I don’t feel it’s appropriate, nor will I shame anyone who emails me asking for help. Instead, my response to them is always the same thing…
If you get comments from people that are hateful, do one of two things;
- Report them.
- Ignore them.
You should not engage with them or let them know that they bothered you because all that does is give them power to continue doing it. You won’t help your cause that way or take the intellectual high ground by wasting brainpower on those types of people.
The other thing you should ABSOLUTELY never ever do is assume that this is the majority of your base (it’s not) and make blanket statements about them. You want to lose your reader base? Call them all sexist/racist/homophobic or whatever else is in your playbook. That is a sure fire way to keep not only people who aren’t in your ideological camp away, but the majority of people in general.
Somewhere out there, I guarantee you that there are people out there who read what Gerry wrote and thought, “Well… I don’t think I want to look through any of this guy’s work. He sounds kind of angry and I don’t want to be called something that could badly damage my reputation and career if I don’t like his work.”
That’s certainly my attitude when it comes to any medium, but I try to stay out of whatever this culture war is that we currently have going on.
Look, I don’t want to spend too much time on this, so I’ll just put it plainly. If you are unable to handle criticism or failure, and/or convince yourself that you are never wrong, perhaps the writing world isn’t the place for you. We all have our flops and some critics who don’t like what we write or how we write it and that’s fine. It doesn’t give us the high ground to go around erroneous and irresponsible accusations like that. We take the criticism, learn from it, grow from it, or ignore it. That’s called being an adult and wanting to keep an audience who enjoys the things we write.
Anyway, that’s just my two cents. People, don’t insult your audience. It will only hurt YOU in the end and it’s really a childish way of handling things. I personally hope people like this and those that have emailed me learn that before it’s too late and I mean that genuinely. I hate to see talent get overshadowed by this kind of thing.
YOU CANNOT SHAME PEOPLE INTO LIKING YOUR PROJECT!!!
Please share this around, there are too many people who need to read this…
Do you have a question about writing, publishing, my stories, etc? Please feel free to post a comment or email me.
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:
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!
Catch you on the flip side!