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I’ve got to say, technology sure has changed writers’ lives. I wrote my first book longhand on a yellow legal pad, then typed it out on a small electric typewriter. I happen to have a bit of inner geek in me, so I have embraced the changes and love the age we are in when it comes to computers, software and the Internet.

Sadly though, living in a virtual world has empowered some people with the idea that because there is anonymity behind their words, they can be mean, cruel, and hateful with no consequences. They give no thought to the destruction they dish out, or if they do, it’s just the smug satisfaction of having crushed someone else’s dream or heart.

anon-meanieAs writers we put ourselves out there for all manner of abuse, and the cyber bullies are salivating, waiting to pounce. Now, I have to confess, I recently allowed someone’s opinion to get to me; shame on me. I’m like anyone else, I want people to love my books. It hurts when someone doesn’t. And being human, I focused on the one nasty review, and not all the good ones. I plummeted into a funk (I’m sure there are writers out there who can relate).

It was my writing partner who helped me see things in the right prospective, and our conversations made me realize there will always be bullies in our life. I thought once I left high school behind and all the name calling, insinuations, and, yes, even death threats, I was entering into a world of adults, where those nightmares didn’t exist. Wrong. How naïve I was. Now they have gone viral and are everywhere.

It’s the simple truth, authors, you can’t please everyone. After all, writing is subjective and what one person likes, is it guaranteed someone else won’t. It’s a given. So, for all those readers who love a book and take the time to write and leave a glowing review, thank you. For those readers who don’t like a book and leave a less than stellar review or a low rating, that’s fine, too, as long as it’s sincere, honest and thought-provoking. But, if you feel the urge to blast an author with a scathing, sarcastic, hurtful or threatening review/e-mail for sheer kicks and giggles, let me just say: shame on you — go peddle your crap somewhere else.

Honest reviews are welcome, but 5 stars or 1, please respect authors and their work. We want to hear from readers, what you have to say does matter. Constructive criticism is helpful and most writers are willing to listen and learn. My partner and I have been in the business long enough to be able to look at things without our egos getting in the way. Not only are we each other’s best (and toughest) critics, but we have worked with many professional editors and agents along the way. And some of them would give real sharks a run for the money.

Bottom line: All “cyber bullies” (and you know who you are), grow up and get a life.