I burned rage-red when I saw the reviews.
The reader–if he was even a reader at all–was so morally outraged by what he deemed to be a stereotypical “rich guy” character in one–ONE–of my ebooks, that he wrote a long, yet empty, scathing review of my story, naturally pinning it one star out of five. I was only beginning to hit my stride as a self-published author, and Amazon reviews were essential. To have a big fat one star holding my book back severely limited its earning potential.
He appeared to be fed up with depictions of the wealthy as cocky, uncaring, or morally reprehensible in any way. As a minor criticism, I could understand his distaste (even though I clearly went out of my way to depict the rich character as more fleshed-out than a one-note stereotype), but that one annoyance apparently ruined the book for him. In fact, not only did it ruin the one book, but it ruined me, as an author, for him entirely. He proceeded to find other published ebooks of mine and give them scathing reviews, increasingly vague and inflammatory as he went. A monster! He was a monster. Utterly ruining me as a self-published writer, and for what? A character depiction he disagreed with? Hardly. He was simply bored, and wrote those reviews for the sake of it. For a laugh.
While I once saw opportunity and freedom in the internet, now I saw only ruin. With complete anonymous freedom, anyone could harass or defame anyone else, deserving of the attack or no. And I, a lowly self- (SELF!) published author, was particularly vulnerable to the indifference and malice of the human internet.
But there was one upswing to the infinity of information, and that was transparency. Perhaps not crystal, but clear enough, like a foggy shower door. I looked up the man’s Amazon account name and found he had used it elsewhere, on social networks. With that, I found his real name. With that, I found out what city he lived in, and what store he worked at, and where he went to blow off steam.
I had some steam to blow off, too. Perhaps I’d join him.
Today’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Red anger,” “A bad review,” and, “For the sake of it.”
Don’t mess with self-published authors, apparently.