I posted up some of the hate I receive regularly last night on social media, when a random person took to a wall and from that comment on actually spent the entire evening relentlessly attacking me. Another author friend of mine posed a question: “how do you deal with the 24-7 hate you get?”
Jon Del Arroz’s History Of Being Trolled And Harassed by SJWs
It’s been a journey with this as much as it’s been a journey in writing, becoming successful, and the good end of this business.
I dealt with my first round of hate in 2016 in the science fiction industry when my at-the-time editor at the time, Jennifer Brozek, had her assistant Sarah Craft send me e-mail warning shots about my being happy about the Trump election (when they were acting like absolute bully children about how people voted) threatening that I would basically never work in the industry again if I continued this way.
It was pretty standard. I’d heard from a lot of conservatives that none would speak up because it’d kill careers. I was warned every step of the way never to be vocal about anything with what I believed or I’d be 100% ostracized and demonized even by the people sitting around the table, sharing drinks and food with me, claiming to be my friends. This is 100% accurate. It all happened.
Most who read here have seen how far it went from BayCon, my home convention, turning its back on me, the organizers there who I spent good time with, spoke with often, all decided I was the “evil nazi” because I dared have a different political opinion than them, and I was no longer invited. It escalated to being attacked by industry profressionals like Cat Rambo, president of SFWA and Kurt Busiek, former Marvel comics writer on File 770, which spiraled into Bleeding Cool attacking me, and then larger authors jumping on the bandwagon once I got more popular, all as if I’m some sort of threat to their careers.
From that period of about November 2016 – September 2017, I didn’t deal with it well. I was extremely hurt, the betrayal of friends and colleagues in the industry because I dared speak out was just mind-boggling. I couldn’t handle it. It was a really dark spot for a long time there. I’m not some superhuman who can absorb my children being doxxed and getting strange packages because the President of SFWA is going around telling people I’m less than human (when she should be out there defending authors who have independent opinions! Literally her job). They almost caused me to crack.
So What Do I Do To Stay So Upbeat?
I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was just the amount of it, the relentless nature of it, but after it went that far in September last year, which got to the point where I emailed that I had concerns of being physically attacked at Worldcon and the chairman ignored my threats and later banned the victim, I compartmentalized it. I could see the hate and not spend all of my time for days stewing on it all of a sudden. I think it’s desensitization to some extent, which is not a good thing really if you think about it, but that’s a portion of how I handled it. The other portion is mindset.
Mindset Is LIfe
I’ve also changed from getting mad to just laughing. I almost never get mad anymore at comments like the ones I received last night. People are just as nasty as they’ve ever been, but it’s really funny. Because if you think about it, they’re angry because they are seeing their power structures fading. Their stories aren’t selling. Their friends stories aren’t selling. They’re not connecting with readers at all.
They’re also having trouble connecting with friends. A lot of these people who built up walled-off power structures in the industry are honestly mentally ill. I’m not saying this as an insult, but you’ll often see them post about depression, how terrible their lives are as writers, how hard it is even to type words because they’re so overwhelmed and depressed. Part of it is their echo chamber where they’ve blocked any other opinions and they’ve got a relentless feed of fake news telling them the world is doomed 24-7. Think about how stressful it must be to have even just that for a minutes, and then consider these folk are introverted homebodies who don’t often go outside and get a breath of fresh air. That’s where they’re coming from. At that point, you can just feel a little empathy and pity for them.
It also sucks that there’s a newcomer in here who’s a #1 Bestseller less than 2 years into the business, and they’ve been toiling for decades barely able to get short stories published, and even with that, they have very few readers. It’s not fair. I get the urge to tear that down, even if it’s nonsensical because my success doesn’t mean they (or you) can’t be a success too. It’s not a either/or game. And actually, I’ve tried to offer to help some of these folk (including Cat Rambo) because their marketing game is very poor and they from their positions can often do a lot better. That’s my olive branch because I just care about the business at the end of the day, these feuds don’t matter to me even if it’s intensely personal to them.
But that’s really it. If you can learn to laugh, if you can learn to pity those who are doing it, their insults don’t really grate on you anymore. You just see it as something you can repost, get some amusement out of, and move on with your day. It takes a lot of being hit over and over to get to that point because I’m not sure I could shift the mindset without the desensitization aspect, and man I tell you they almost got to me, very close, but once you get there it becomes a lot easier.
I’ma Stay Gettin’ Money
It also becomes a lot easier when your books are selling. Keep producing. Their goal is to get you off track so you don’t get things done. Don’t let that happen. Focus on work. Put in the hard effort. I was telling a wildly successful author last night who congratulated me on my new #1 Release that I haven’t seen anyone who honestly treats this like a business and not a hobby lose. think about it. everyone who’s dead focused, pushing really hard on all angles seems to get a leg up. That’s true in life in whatever you’re doing. Work hard, stay focused. That’s the key.
And the haters can suck it, cuz I’m #1 😉 .
I’ve got a crowdfund coming out next week. Comics is an industry that’s very similar with maybe even worse hater contingent than the sci-fi game. I don’t know how my audience is going to translate over to a different medium, but I’m very excited because I have a great product with a great artist working with me. Later today (friday July 20th), I’m going to be sending out a free 8 page sampler to everyone on my mailing list. Do sign up so you can see if you like my comics!