Thursday, May 27, 2010

You won't always be liked

On Monday I wrote about Tim Buckley's apology to his readers for failing to give credit to an artist who inspired one of his characters. I took that apology as genuine and honest, but it seems there are people out there who seem to think that Buckley intentionally plagiarized simply to be the jerk that he is. I've never met the guy, so I can't speak about his character as a person, but STILL believe he was sincere.

When found out how many people actually hate this artist (and I doubt any of them have even met him), I started to remember other incidents in my past where people I knew hated successful artist (musicians, writers, etc.) for no good reason. When they spat out venomous words against one of these people, I'd ask them what they hated about them, and they always responded with the same, vague answers that sounded more like jealousy and envy.

I've disliked my fare share of celebrities, but with good reason. I grew up working for a company that did live events with musicians and comedians and public speakers. As far as I can remember (and my memories can be flawed) the only times I've genuinely disliked an artist is when they treat me or the crew who works with me with utter disrespect. Otherwise, I try to separate the artist from their work. I may not enjoy someone's movies, albums, or paintings, but without meeting the person, I try not to pass judgment on them based on their works.

Still, as a writer (and many of you are writers, too, so keep this in mind) you won't be able to please everyone all the time. If you have any success at all, the chances are quite high that someone will go out of their way to get your book banned from public and school libraries. Regardless of what you write, someone will find something wrong with it that (in their mind) justifies trolling the internet and insulting you as a person while simultaneously comparing you to famous authors whose success should shame you to quitting forever.

So here's what I have to say: learn what you can from their criticism, and then get on with your work! If people enjoy your work and they want more, then you're doing something right. Just ignore the people who hate you...especially since they never met you.


  1. Frankly, I can separate a person from their fame. It never bothers when someone shows they're not an upstanding citizen, so long as they don't insult their fans (a la Terry Goodkind).

    I know a guy who knows Buckley, or has met him, and I've been told a few stories about how he's not the greatest individual on the planet. Since this doesn't directly affect me, however, I pretty much choose not to care.

    I used to enjoy CAD, but stopped reading it around the whole Miscarriage Saga (as I'm sure many readers did). Drama wasn't the reason I read it; if I want melodrama I will watch Days of our Lives. Doesn't make it a bad comic, just not for me anymore.

  2. Buckley's held some awesome fundraisers for friends of his and for fans who are in need of help (like readers who have a kid with cancer, or something like that).

    He's also from the east coast, and many of the people I've encountered from that region of our country can come across as blunt and/or brash. That can create a bad impression, even when the person is actually (when you get to know them) one of the nicest guys around.

    But you're right, fame and personal lives are two different things. Just because I don't like some of the views or lifestyles of actors, it doesn't mean I'm going to stop watching their movies.

  3. Makes sense. The stories I've heard were strictly about Buckley's friends/acquaintances, not his fans, but they still don't concern me.

    I mean, to be honest, I'd raise my eyebrow if a person refused to read my book(s) because they heard I had gone through a divorce. Just seems ridiculous to me, which is the main reason why I don't read tabloids (up to and including People and US Weekly, as well as the Enquirer rags) except to laugh at how stupid the headlines are. People who really care who is sleeping with whom in Hollywood probably have too much time on their hands (no offense, people, but seriously).

  4. "WHAT??!!? You've been through a divorce? Next thing I know, you'll tell me you drink and smoke! I MUST stop reading your books right now and tell the world what an EVIL man you are and warn them that your books will turn their children into sociopaths!"

    Yeah...that'd be ridiculous :)

  5. Good point Giles you can't please everyone but the trouble is that as writers that is usually part of our personality - wanting to be liked by all.

  6. That's the hardest lesson for us to learn, too. We WANT to be liked, we just need to learn to be content with the people who like us :)

  7. Uh, this is so true. There will always be the haters. And that part scares me about being published, yet, it comes with the territory, right?

    Matthew's point it true. We just wanna be loved! But I guess we should learn that if 85% of the public/readership loves us, that should be pretty darn good!

  8. The way I look at it... Rowling has a LOT of people who hate her work...but look at how many more love it! Besides that, she has more money than most of the haters :) Can't argue with results.