A couple of days past, I reached a milestone in my writing career.
First, back story. In an attempt to generate attention for my recent publication of Cry of the Nightbird, I shared this picture on Facebook.
If you’d like to share it, which would be deeply, vastly appreciated, please click the picture and follow the link above.*
So here’s what happened. This spread some ways away from the safe halls of my friends list, where someone commented on it saying something:
Idiots. This has nothing to do with anything other than her trying to get people to buy her book.
…Genius, Holmes. Or elementary, one of those.
Yes, I hope that many people like and share, that some small percentage would follow the link in the description, and taking an interest in a fantasy novella, spend $2.99 to buy it.
(The proceeds from which are going to fund my wedding and everything to do with it, as the poster implies.)
I had no idea the people sharing the picture were unaware that I am seeking commercial and artistic success until our friend there warned them. But my sneaky, sneaky ploy to gain visibility and funds by asking people to help me do so was thus unearthed!
Anyhow, sarcasm and snark aside (though never completely), I simply deleted the comment and went on about my day–until I noticed a milestone post upon my page.
I don’t know if you understand the full impact of this. If you’re an artist, you need to.
I would be a liar if I said I wasn’t peeved. I was, a little bit, for a little while. I would be an even bigger liar if I said I wasn’t excited. The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I couldn’t bring myself to delete it. Instead I replied like so:**
What artists–what any creators, inventors, innovators, and promoters–would be well served to know is this.
Yes, haters gonna hate, as the saying goes. But this is not something to be brushed off, especially not if you’re budding/up and coming/a newbie. This is something to be celebrated.
Someone took precious time out of their bitter day purely to spew vitriol on the fact that I have created something.
As David Wong puts it in his brilliant (if foulmouthed) article, 6 Harsh Truths That Will Make You A Better Person:
Read our article comments — when they get nasty, it’s always from the same angle: Cracked needs to fire this columnist. This ******* needs to stop writing. Don’t make any more videos. It always boils down to “Stop creating. This is different from what I would have made, and the attention you’re getting is making me feel bad about myself.”
Don’t be that person. If you are that person, don’t be that person any more. This is what’s making people hate you. This is what’s making you hate yourself.
There are people like that out there. And if your work starts reaching them, and they reach back with hate, it means your audience has grown large enough to encompass them.
Growth. D’you hear me? Haters are one of the earmarks of expansion. Whether they like it or not, they are a big ol’ gold star on your Artistic Accomplishments chart.
Celebrate. Delete it if you find it best, but celebrate. And if you haven’t gotten any hate mail yet, don’t worry about it. Different people get their gold stars/hit their milestones in different orders. Keep growing and you’ll find them.
*If you’d like to help my publicity campaign, but are ethically opposed to sharing those people-pleading-with-posters pictures, please share either the direct link to Cry of the Nightbird amazon, my website’s fundraising page, the book’s blurb, or this blog post.
**If you’re curious, I refer to my work as a writer and my employment as a cashier.
***There’s a difference between someone telling you “stop” and someone telling you “do what you’re doing better.” The second may be hatefully stated, and the advice within it may or many not be worth taking, but it’s not the same as hate à la carte. And no, you didn’t miss it; this end note has no corresponding triple set of asterisks in the body of the post.
******* That wasn’t for an end note, silly, that was censorship.