Why I Don't Look at My Amazon Reviews

People can be mean. People can be trolls. And people feel anonymous online, so they can say some pretty nasty and hurtful things. I've seen other author friends rant on Facebook about bad reviews. I've even seen one bad review of my book. That was when I stopped reading them last year.

It was months ago, but the pain of his viciousness still strikes deep. He was harsh and cruel. He was mean just to be mean. In fact, everything he said was false. Except that he called me an amateur. On my debut novel. Yes, dumbass. I'm an amateur. That's why it's my DEBUT NOVEL. It doesn't conclude because it's the first book in a trilogy and the main story arc crosses all three books. It is not a series with a different adversary in each book. 

He called me racist. My family looks like a fucking rainbow, and yet I'm somehow a racist. I literally have family (and friends) of many races than span the globe, including my own husband, but I'm apparently a racist for not stealing from people that I respect. 

I named a fictional tribe after a real tribe. I thought I was pretty clear in my author's note at the beginning--which is actually where the ebook opens, instead of on page one of chapter one--that I MADE UP ALL OF THE MYTHS. I stated that I could not and would not use stories and legends from any one tribe. I needed to write my own myths to make the story work. I mean, that kind of is the point of fiction, isn't it? To make things up and create stories from nothing but our own brains? If I'd stolen real legends from a single tribe, and used that as the framework for my stories, it would not have been the books I wanted to write. It also would have felt like stealing to me and possibly been considered plagiarism. But I don't really know. I'm not a lawyer. I'm an author. It's not my job to steal from others. It's my job to make things up. 

My goal was never to offend anyone, least of all the Hopi people. But if anyone was ever going to save us from ourselves, it would totally be them. The Hopi are awesome. That's why I chose the name of their tribe. The fact that I was able to name the main character Hope and have multiple layers to that just made me even happier. She is the only Hope in the tribe. She's also their only hope of survival.  

Now, if some uppity, white, suburban jackass wants to sit in his mother's basement and call me a racist, let him. Fuck him. I know he's wrong. I shouldn't have to respond to his bad review and point out how he's wrong. I shouldn't have to publicly tell him, "Dude, we've spent hours talking about this book. You know that everything you said in your review isn't true." Oh, yeah. It's also someone I used to be friends with who gave me my first bad review. He waited until we weren't seeing each other at work anymore to stab me in the back. He says it wasn't him, but given the wording and his other Amazon reviews, I'm still pretty damn sure it was him. 

 I'm also not looking at my sales numbers on Amazon. In the first few months of my book being out, I'd obsess over it. When a friend or colleague would tell me that they were going to buy my book, I'd watch Amazon for that sale. Usually, I wouldn't see it. Eventually, I realized that people were saying that to be polite. They seriously could not be bothered to spend $3 to buy my ebook. It hurt, but I sucked it up and moved on. I realized that if people feel the need to lie to me, thinking that their non-purchase will be lost among the purchases of others, then fuck 'em.  

I also haven't been doing much advertising. I've come to realize that until I get all three books in the trilogy published, strangers aren't going to be as willing to take a chance on me. My only sales so far have come from my friends, family, coworkers, and people I met at ThrillerFest last summer. I've never seen a single sale from any of the small advertisements I've bought. I have yet to see a royalty check with more than two digits to the left of the decimal. But, I have always seen a royalty check, so at least there's that. 

I expect both books to be out this year. Book two, Our New Hope, should be out before summer starts. It's in editing right now. Book three, Our Eternal Hope, should be out by next Christmas, provided my publisher doesn't lose an editor again and the queue keeps moving at the pace it has been. 

After I'm done with Hope, I have a lot more tricks up my sleeve. Ideas abound in this crazy mush called my brain. Seriously, if you could ask any of the people I work with, I'm constantly talking about my ideas, trying to work them out and hone my stories. Some people have writers block, but I have writers flood, where I have too many ideas to work on all of them. I'll become obsessed with one project and work on it to the exclusion of all others. Then, I'll have an idea for something else, and become obsessed with it. 

At this moment, I'm seriously working on three books. I have at least another half dozen tales that haven't been touched in months or years. Our Eternal Hope is fully outlined and partially written. The only thing that has stopped me from finishing writing it is my obsession with the books that will follow it. I'm basing one of my next books in my hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Being the intent researcher that I am, I've spent weeks pouring over Google Maps as I plan field trips to research locations in person in the spring. I also found an action novel on my computer that I'd written about 75% of, then set aside after I signed the contract for my trilogy. It was heavily DBZ inspired, and given my recent immersion back into the world of Dragon Ball, I can't stop working on it. I can't stop thinking about it. I can't stop fixing it with all of the things I learned while editing my first book. 

Shit. Just writing this blog has me thinking about it. I must get back to it.

Inspiration strikes when it strikes.