Bully: a person who uses their strength and/or power to harm or intimidate a person who is weaker over a given period of time.


Criticism: is the analysis and/or judgement of the merits and faults of a literary or artistic work. 


Please, read that again. And again.


One more time so it sinks in.


Now you understand the definitions. Please, explain to me how you can be labeled a bully by an author for simply discussing their precious novel that is riddled with errors.


Let's say I go to a local bakery and I order a 3-tier chocolate cake and when I receive it, it tastes so horrible that I complain. I complain to the baker for giving me a bad cake. I complain to my friends about the cake. And I'm so disappointed, I leave a negative review on Yelp about the business.


As a logical human being, what would you expect as a response from the owner or baker? Would you expect the bakery to call all of the other bakeries in town, form a little hate club and start posting mean or semi-private details about you? Would you expect them to stalk you across all forms of social media and make fun of whatever slight they can find? 


No. Because that would be an insane thing to do. 


I'm getting so sick and fucking tired of being called something I'm not, of other people I'm friendly with getting called labels that don't belong to them. I'm getting tired of seeing bullshit like this from (mostly) independent authors who have been playing both sides of the fence:


And yes, Gavin, I'm totally calling you out for this shit.


Just knock it the fuck off and kindly re-read the definitions I provided AGAIN. 


Humans are capable of having multiple emotions all at once. We can be happy for an indie author for receiving a publishing contract. But, we can also be frustrated with HOW the contract was obtained. To spell it out: There seems to be a set of conflicting rules. One part tells you that your manuscript needs to be fully polished and have a good, marketable story. The other part is telling select folks that they can forgo the rules that have been in place for decades and still end up with a publishing contract if the idea of their story is good and marketable. 


This creates problems. Publishers are telling most of the writers the first set of rules, yet, they occasionally break those rules and pick up an unedited piece of trash just because the frame of the story is intriguing. This isn't the fault of the readers (or maybe it is because readers keep reading the trash) and it's not the fault of the authors who write the crap. It's the publishing companies that hold most of the fault.


Publishers can only publish X amount of books each year to stay in their budget. I'm not a writer, but I can see how the conflicting rules could bring out multiple emotions, including jealousy, among authors. If you've never felt jealousy, let me slow clap for you, because you are a rare bird indeed. Jealousy is a natural, human emotion that isn't always logical. Or sometimes it is. Regardless, it's normal and people shouldn't be shamed for it. 


I digress.


To wrap up my thoughts here, I'll simply say that enough is enough. I can't speak for everyone, but I know that I feel like the book community is sick. It's not getting better. It's getting worse. Something has to give, and soon. There is no easy solution. No matter how it's solved (which I don't think will happen any time soon), one or more parties involved (the writers, the readers, the publishers) are not going to be content or happy. And there are some people (coughSTGRBcough) that are making this community so toxic, that no one wants to play anymore. 


It's like a bunch of little kids fighting over a sandbox and none can figure out how big of a sandcastle to build. So, one little shithead kid decides to take a piss in the sand so no one can play. The circle of jerk continues. All the kids run home and cry because no one got to play in the piss-filled sand.


Rinse. Lather. Repeat. 


(This mighty long rant was inspired by Jenny Trout's recent posts on similar topics)