Within the first week of hitting the rank I received several long-winded negative reviews detailing my every mistake, actual and perceived. Not from readers who enjoyed the action packed story I’d written, but from fellow writers who were upset about my accomplishment. Many of the reviews specifically titled for maximum negative impact.
During the first two weeks I hadn’t put the pieces together, but on the third week after receiving more scathing reviews the oddity of the phenomenon hit me and I decided to do some research. Immediately I saw that the person who was so aggressively bashing my book was fellow writer. As I sat there contemplating the review, I decided to search the next several negative reviewers.
In four out of six cases I was easily able to identify the reviewers as fellow writers.
I had read on other writers blogs about groups of published writers ganging up on self-published “indie artists” and accosting them for not having industry-level editing on their manuscripts or having work that was not as “finished” as a published work from a publishing house. It was a concern in the back of my mind initially as I watched reviews coming in, but the reality when it hit was different than what I’d been lead to expect.
In my case, the majority of writers leading the charge were fellow “indie authors”, which was quite surprising to me. Maybe I’m just naïve, but in my mind there are plenty of people out there who are reading novels and enjoying good stories to go around.
Why would some of my fellow “indie writers” waste their time tearing down one of their own, so to speak? It makes about as much sense as a drowning person pulling the person trying to save them under the water with them. The end result is you have two people who have been hurt for no good reason.
I know not every "writer" or "indie writer" is like this. I know of several good authors who are supportive in both success/failure and are always willing to offer a word of advice or support.
For myself, when I see my fellow writers doing well or the writers I look up to being successful. I try to see how they have crafted their covers, how they have written their stories and how they have touched me with their characters.
In these ways I learn to perfect my craft, because definitely my own craft needs improving. But then again, there is always room for improvement. Especially when you’re new at writing like I am. Even after finishing my first novel I saw so many areas that could have been made better, but that’s okay. My skills will only get better the more I write.
From looking at other indie authors' books and those of the writers I look up to, I see that these scathing long-winded negative reviews from fellow writers following them too as they vainly try to drag them back down.
Unfortunately this type of anti-social behavior from fellow artists is not something that will just go away. If anything, I have no doubt it will just happen more the better I write.
My intention for my first novel was to produce an action-packed story that was a fun read, and from most of the reviews being left and how popular my first book has become. I know I have accomplished this first objective. My next goal is to make the overall story even better.
For those of you who are enjoying my writing, I thank you for your support and I’m working diligently to get book two finished and released. Also, I look forward to your comments on Amazon, Goodreads, my blog or in emails.
To the fellow “indie authors” who have left scathing reviews, I thank you for helping me improve my craft even more. The holes you help me fill will only make me a better writer and more successful in the future.