Time to Move On…

I have had many emails, comments, and questions concerning my Tuesday post about Lauren Pippa’s allegations of cyber-bullying. Rarely, do I respond to comments and emails because I find that in many cases it just leads to a huge debate or argument – something I am unwilling to engage in. Arguing and debating online, in my somewhat humble opinion, is about as intelligent as the invention of decaffeinated coffee. However, none of your responses have been unread or unwarranted. I’ve enjoyed all of them, honestly. Still, I see that this crazy incident is in no way blowing over nicely and so I’m going to address a few of the questions and concerns I’ve seen posted for me and then I’m going to move on – as I had intended on doing the split-second after I posted the blog in the first place.

First off, it is true that I didn’t do the research myself. I posted as I felt led to do so based on the information that was divulged to me by an alarming number of concerned and angry authors. Shame on me (if you think I’m in the wrong), for not researching. To me, it’s really not as different as rating a book with anticipation stars – a judgement based on what little you know about something. Why didn’t I do the research? Because although I could have found the time to do so, I chose not to. My time, though it may be squander-worthy to you, is precious to me.

Second, as authors we should have thicker skin; I agree. Still, we are human and as a licensed counselor, I encourage a regular release of inward pain. To keep anger and hurt inside is an extremely unhealthy way to live. Sometimes, you just have to vent. Will it hurt your career? Maybe. Will you piss people off? More than likely. Every decision comes with a consequence. But, to reiterate – we are human and the saying of “sticks and stones may break our bones but names will never harm me” is one of the biggest lies ever taught. Some of our temperaments are more likely to bounce back easily from a broken leg than a broken spirit.

In the case of reviews (in general) – Constructive criticism is wonderful. Attacks are rude and unnecessary. Choose your words. Not only does it truly assist authors in their work, but it makes you appear far more intelligent and reputable as well.

Third, I do not plan to boycott Goodreads. It’s no different than the ignorance and abuse one will endure on Amazon or even Facebook (among thousands of other sites). Like I stated before, as authors we place ourselves and our work in the focus of many. We become a target at times. If we withdrawal from even one of these sites because we disagree with policies or feel abused by a select few members of that site, then we risk not reaching our full potential. Reaching the fans that will LOVE our work. Some people really hate my book. Who cares? If I threw in the towel, no one else would get the opportunity to hate it as well – or (hopefully) love it.

Fourth, it is also true that I have not looked further into the matter. Again, I spoke my peace on the 20th and have moved on. People can either agree or disagree with me and I can respect those opinions, especially the one presented in a mature packaging. I’m not here to referee. I’m here to write. I do know, though, that there are always two sides of a story and where there’s smoke there is always fire. People, including myself, have been given the opportunity to sound off, vent, or defend and now it’s time to move forward with our lives. We are each important in our roles of this world, why waste it on hatred, bickering, and arguing? Shaving our armpits should take precedence over this kind of behavior.

I’m sure there were truths and falsities on both sides of the coin and that have no doubt that Ms. Pippa was, in fact, the target of some pretty nasty cyber-bullying. It doesn’t take much for that to happen for I’ve been a target myself. Naturally, just as reviewers are going to stick together, I’m going to side with the author.  It’s far easier to be a reviewer (for I’ve been one of those, too) than an author. Reviewers have the platform to praise, complain, and in some sad cases, attack. Authors are on the other end of that. We can write in attack of something or someone that we are passionate in, but ultimately in the end, it’s still our work that receives the criticism (even when our work IS criticism or judgement). Example: My debut novel is being reviewed/criticized and in reference of my own voiced judgement, I killed my real-life high school bully in my book. (And man, did it feel good!) Still, others may hate my book. It happens.

Lastly, I really do appreciate all of your responses; I’m just not going to engage in a full discussion about something that ultimately doesn’t require me beyond my initial concern. I’ve said my peace and have long moved on. (See a theme here?)

This is not directed at anyone in particular BUT – I sincerely don’t understand how writers partake in so many arguments and debates over issues like this (as well as FB games??) time after time (day after day) and still are capable of releasing quality reading material to their fans. It’s mind-boggling to me. I set aside working hours – eight hours a day – to write, edit, or promote. I blogged during my lunch break that day and then focused the rest of my efforts on my work – my upcoming release. I want to provide the best to my readers for they are my constant drive in writing – even through writer’s blocks (which totally suck!). I don’t want to waste my time and efforts on something that will distract me from providing a kick ass story to my readers. After my eight hours is up, I become a full-time mom and wife and leave work in my office where it belongs. Family, aside from writing, is my greatest happiness.

My rant – for lack of a better word – is officially done.

I encourage everyone to move on and start living our lives! Life is too short and should never be wasted. :)

Signature

Olivia K. Wilder

When Bullies “Cancel” Book Releases

Today, I read a post about the extent of bullying that reviewers are capable of doing to authors, literally destroying a reputation or a book release. While I am a huge supporter of all reviews, I have to blow the whistle on the Goodreads’ policy of reviewing. Before I get started on this mini-rant let me assure you that I do find Goodreads overall as a wonderful site to network, make friends, follow favorite authors, and become familiar with new and exciting books that are right up your alley! They even provide author/book giveaways – I have one going on right now for my debut novel ShadowShifter, by the way… hint, hint.  However, after reading a short blurb on what has happened to a fellow debut author, I feel that a few tweaks need to be made to their review policy not to necessarily protect authors, but to prevent bullying. As authors, we put ourselves out there for our work – blood, sweat, tears – to be judged. IT is underestood from teh very beginning and it’s a scary fact. But we’re willing to do it for the art of the written word, to share our story with the world. We know that we can’t please everyone with our work; this world is made up of different strokes for different folks. I can’t read most romance novels without puking. Nicholas Sparks is the exception to the rule for me. Erotica? You couldn’t pay me to read that trash (or what I deem as trash) – just as there are women who can do without horror or the paranormal. To those who enjoy things that go bump in the night, my book can be either loved or hated as well. For those who look for a massacre and the deepest, darkest fears, my book may seem like a Candy Land game with a two-year-old. Those who enjoyed Twilight will find themselves hiding under their covers when they turn their lights out at night. It just depends.

Goodreads’ review policy – that I’ve had to learn the hard way myself – can be as legit as reading a book and giving your preferred star rating based on whether you loved or hated the material or rating a book on whether you’re interested in reading it or not. This is where I find issue with its rating system. Though I understand the reasoning behind it (I’m guilty of doing the same to Netflix movies), I also find this system of “uniterested ratings” as a tad dishonest and detrimental to one’s career – though I know it’s never really intended this way.

In the case of debut author, Lauren Pippa, what started as an innocent question about a seemingly “bad review” has led to a public cyber-lynching and ultimately a decision to not release her debut novel at all. Yeah, that’s right. Her book hadn’t even been released yet and now its release has been canceled. Few reviewers had ARCs, but the majority (probably about 90%) of her reviews now on Goodreads – beginning as a 1-star rating because it was deemed an “uninteresting book” to one – has become a massive boycott, passing the encouragement to other “troll” reviewers to give her unreleased book a 1-star rating as well. It has even gotten to the point of abusive language in some cases.

This is such disgraceful behavior to partake in! It’s a shame that Goodreads won’t step up in prevention of cyber-bullying – which this CLEARLY is. I’m disappointed. And I understand that if this blog post gets to the “bullying-powers-that-be”, my book too, may come under fire. So be it. I’m sorry if this appears to be a “bring it on” declaration, but what I’m trying to say – in the the most simplistic terms – is, “really, people?”

Chances are, I would not find Ms. Pippa’s “Learning to Love” enjoyable. It just isn’t my cup of tea, but I have been wrong before. Still, as a fellow author who has had her share of bad reviews and “uniterested” 1-stars, my heart was completely broken for the treatment she received on Goodreads. Here is a link to her blog that go into further detail of the situation: http://laurenpippa.tumblr.com/post/58778318048/cancelling-the-release-of-learning-to-love

I know that my ranting will not change matters on Goodreads nor for Ms. Pippa. I guess my hope is that by possibly reaching only one or two people they would see just how horribly our tongues (words) can cut someone, not just personally but professionally. What happened to Lauren Pippa was nothing short of bullying and as a victim of bullying (past and present), I completely understand her heart in the action of canceling her debut release. To Ms. Pippa, I truly hope that this experienced has not burned you to the point of never returning to literary work and that you once again find your heart and voice to share with others. Fan, friends, and reviewers – please review, but do it with grace.

And would it be too much to ask you to review only the books you have actually read?

The full moon is upon us! Howl at it!

Signature

News and Reviews (even the mean ones)…

Just a quick note to keep everyone posted on the progress of LYCANTHROPE (book #2 of the ShadowShifter series). I’ve been editing like a mad woman and am slowly but surely becoming pleased with the finished product. By the end of this month, I will have ARCs out for bloggers and reviewers and by the end of September I will hopefully have a COVER REVEAL! Release is still scheduled for the middle of October. I am so excited.

I am still promoting ShadowShifter and now I’m in the process of scheduling signings for this fall as well. It’ll be double the fun when the two books (Lycanthrope and ShadowShifter) are paired up in the process at these signings. ShadowShifter has been lonely.

As I’ve said on twitter and Facebook, reviews are always appreciated. Even the bad ones. Any author will tell you that. I try not to respond to any of them individually. I want to thank everyone for taking the time to voice their opinions online. However, there are some reviews that make me want to ask why they feel the need to drop F-bombs within the first few words of their review. I can’t even begin to understand the hatred of a book so much that one feels the need to vent so angrily in a review, so I simply keep my mouth shut.

Most recently, I’ve been attacked for the Christian elements I’ve placed in my book. When did people start hating God so much – especially those who don’t believe in Him in the first place? I refused to apologize for following my creativity and taking time to develop my characters before letting the “poop hit the fan” in the plot as well as bringing in a Christian element. I am unashamed of my Christian upbringing and belief but, I don’t feel that my character’s belief in Christianity is that much of a focus. It’s a reality. My story takes place in the bible belt. Chances are, MANY of the characters are Christian. I do, however, have an agnostic in the mix too.

Many churches speak of YA/NA Paranormal Romances as being blasphemous. Yes, Harry Potter has been the forefront of this common line of thinking. I’ve read the Harry Potter books to my Christian boys. They LOVED it as well as I did. I was raised on the entertainment of horror and the supernatural. I see it as exactly that. Entertainment. One of my goals with this series was to prove that not all horror or Paranormal Romance books were of an atheistic or demonic view. In fact, I don’t believe many of them are today. I wanted to create a series that Christian girls could possibly relate to. And heck, if you’re atheist, please give it a shot. Really, it’s only entertainment. It’s only a book. It’s not the Bible. :)

However, these are NOT Christian books. It is, in every sense of the words, a Paranormal Romance – with a touch of horror. Only the character is Christian. Sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll are often used in this series. I wanted it to be real… but with monsters.

Christianity is such a small element in the story that I feel crazy for even having to cover this. Still, I felt the responsibility to explain myself, so there it is.

Just know that I read EVERY REVIEW of my book and I truly appreciate the encouragement as well as the constructive criticism from those who are not lovers of my work. For the ones who want to rant & rave with such crazy anger? – uhm, okay. Have at it. It’s a free country and opinions are like elbows; everybody’s got ‘em (unless you’re a double upper-limb amputee).

In this line if business, I understand that I’m a target of criticism. It’s all part of the game. I write because I’m lead to write, not because I want to be loved or famous. I have a story to tell & it simply must be told. Nothing more. I just hope that someone out there every once in a  while may enjoy that story.

*Deep breath*

ShadowShifter is now available in paperback on Amazon for only $15.18 and is also available for free downloads on Smashwords until September 7th (2013) as a Back to School special! Upon purchase, just type in promotional coupon code: GR56X

Keep reading! Keep reviewing, my Shifters!

~Olivia

Signature

You’re Here!!

First things first, let me introduce myself. My name is Olivia K. Wilder – my friends call me “Olive” – and I am a writer. My hair is naturally strawberry and my butt is naturally fat, but that’s because I’m always sitting on it while writing. I love horror; this includes, movies, books, situations, and Halloween (naturally, my favorite holiday).  I was watching zombie movies before it was cool. My favorite movie of all time is John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN (because of the constant cat-n-mouse game of the film) and my favorite book is… well, that’s kind of a hard one. I can narrow it down to Stephen King’s THE STAND and Anne Rice’s MAYFAIR WITCH TRILOGY… and Dr. Seuss’ GREEN EGGS and HAM. I write Young Adult and New Adult books, mainly geared toward horror and Paranormal Romance. Writing the romance is harder for me than writing the paranormal.

Anyway, I’m excited that you’ve stopped by my website and I encourage you to come back often – maybe even follow me on Facebook  or Twitter!

My debut novel, ShadowShifter, is now available for only $2.99 on Amazon Kindle and Smashwords. The print version will be available shortly, too. Also, my ARC of LYCANTHROPE (the second book to the ShadowShifter series) will be available to a select few before the end of Spring. This can only mean one thing…

LYCANTHROPE will be available to all this Fall! Just in time for Halloween! *cue spooky music*

I look forward to writing for you and possibly even hearing from you! I love getting messages and tweets from my peeps. Hopefully, I’ll even get to meet some of you when I begin “stomping” for ShadowShifter. :)

Welcome to my dark, dark world!

Signature