My (gulp) Internet radio debut is today, Thursday, May 19. They’re going to ask about the ideas in my novel, a speculative political thriller titled We the Enemy. It happens on The New American Dream Radio Show. The show starts at 7:45 pm Eastern time and the guest interview comes about a half hour into the show. Look for the listen live link.
Okay, so I’m a little nervous about this. Not a lot, but this is an unknown for me. What will the questions be? Can I adlib successfully without “uh-ing” all over the place? Because of the controversial nature of some of the ideas that I know I’ll be asked about, will I be subject to attack on the web sometime later?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m also excited by the opportunity and glad to do it. The interview has come about because one of the producers of the show, Chuck Gregory, read my novel and responded to its underlying ideas. He not only wrote a reader review on Amazon, he asked me about appearing on his show to talk about the ideas.
(Side note: interestingly to me, most of the reader reviews focus on the dual nature of the book in a positive way. One reader said, “We The Enemy is an unusual novel, both an action-packed thriller and a rational dissection of our legal system.” Don’t you love it when readers get it?)
This means you, too
Anyway, the broader scope of my little foray into the world of Internet radio is how we authors are now exposed and accessible in ways that were unknown just a few years ago. The Internet is, of course, the culprit/benefactor.
As Therese and Kathleen know, just having the WU blog attracts not only superior writers such as you, it also attracts trolls, those nasties that post comments intended to harm. I’ve had my share of them on my blog, Flogging the Quill. Even as short a time ago as the ’90s, about the only nastiness that would come an author’s way would be via a letter or a negative review.
It’s been perhaps a couple of years since this happened, but bestseller Tess Gerritsen, who blogs as well as writes excellent thrillers, stopped blogging altogether because of an unjustified attack by another writer. Tess was hurt and shocked, and withdrew for months. As a regular reader of her blog, I was disappointed—and then very glad when she returned. Her current post is about how her new novel is also about her growing up as an Asian American. She often gives good insights into the publishing biz, too.
As some of you have no doubt experienced, just being a published author whose book is on Amazon.com can make you feel like a bull’s-eye has been painted on your book cover. I was subject to a coordinated attack on Amazon a few years ago by someone that I didn’t know but who decided he hated me a lot. He rounded up several friends and they posted flaming “reviews” on the pages for two of my long-out-of-print novels. Luckily, I was able to make the case to Amazon that it was a deliberate attack, and they removed the nastiness.
If you, as I do, try to promote your work on the Internet via a blog, or guest appearances on blogs, or interviews, you’ve opened a portal into the decidedly schizophrenic nature of putting yourself out there. Most likely it will be mostly positive and rewarding. But then a troll will come along. There are some truly vicious people out there who hide behind web anonymity.
What to do?
Therese’s advice to me once upon a time was to ignore them. I have, in the past, responded to troll attacks on my blog, but she was right. Ignore them, delete them if you can. I had a little fun recently when I edited a troll’s nasty comment on my blog and turned it into praise for my work. He/she hasn’t been back.
I think that we need to simply believe in ourselves and our worth as writers and authors. Objectively, I’m certain that we can all point to many people who are with us, and very, very few who are not.
So go ahead, put yourself out there, but be sure to gird your feelings with the armor of your self-worth and the value of the work you do.
For what it’s worth.
Photo credit Hani Amir