This past week has been interesting. I mean interesting in that midwestern sense — I don’t want to say anything mean so I’ll just say “interesting.”
It started last Sunday when a message popped up on my Facebook author page. I don’t remember the exact working but apparently I am racist and “he” is right about me and my book (the poster has since deleted the message). What the heck? Who accuses you of being racist when you’ve written a book about the Ancient Maya? Or Pearl Harbor? I don’t have a copy of that yet but maybe . . . Slowly it dawned. Black Lives Matter. Sure, I expected a stink about this book, but I didn’t expect much to happen two months before the book came out.
Somehow FOX news and Larry Elder discovered my book. The only facts they got right were the name of the book and the authors, myself and Duchess Harris. What do you expect? They haven’t seen the book. Thanks to FOX news, nasty comments popped up on Facebook and the book has 6 pages of nasty Google results.
In the past week, I’ve learned a few things about how to deal with negative reviews/news articles. Hopefully you won’t need this advice, but here it is.
- Do NOT respond. This is tough when they’re making things up. But don’t engage. Don’t sarcastically thank them for sharing their opinion. Don’t point out their factual errors. As my friends have pointed out, haters gonna hate. Let. It. Go.
- Stop reading . It’s going to be tough because you want to know what people are saying about you. DO NOT read this trash. Do a Google search and look for positive stories to read. How can you tell which ones are positive? The search results don’t include words like “indoctrinate” or “fancy pants.” Admittedly, I haven’t quite figured out the last one.
- No comments. Don’t read the comments either. You will not learn anything beyond how badly hateful people spell.
- Proceed with caution. After this all started, several people contacted Duchess and I wanting interviews. The temptation it to defend yourself and your book. Check out each would-be interviewer. Duchess and I talked to a few people and the facts about our book are making their way out into the world; see one article here.
- Be patient. In about four days, it all more or less blew over. I don’t know whether stirring things up myself would have made it last longer, but I would have been a lot more miserable for the duration.
Whether your hater is a reporter or a book reviewer, you aren’t going to win any wars if you engage. Instead, work on your next book. Duchess and I are doing the research and debating titles for our next joint effort. More about that soon.