Over the last few months I’ve been shaken by the amount of snark a few writers are throwing out about other writers. Most writers are wonderfully supportive of each other, but the few that aren’t adds a sour note that isn’t needed. A little snark can be entertaining, I admit, but to go to the point of ridiculing someone for their newbie mistakes or disparaging writers’ work without reading it is just wrong. One of the latest examples was from someone on Twitter referring to the incident of an author who self-published their old short stories and ran into a legal tangle with their publisher. The commenting writer referred to the author’s work as “crappy short stories” and derided her decisions. This sent up a red flag to me. Did the commenter read the author’s stories? I don’t know, but after that, I did. “Crappy” is the last word I would use to describe them. I’m not here to do a review, and I don’t often read short stories, but one of them won an O. Henry award and several others received accolades from recognized reviewers and authors who know the good from the bad.
We all make decisions based on our own lives, responsibilities and goals. If I’ve learned anything from the last two years in this industry, it’s that I know enough to no longer judge a writer for the decisions they make. I haven’t lived their disappointments, their dreams or their experiences, just as others haven’t lived mine. Publishing is a tough business, and we all supposedly love books, so why would we undercut each other? Anyway, the point of this is to make me more aware that if we all want to survive and flourish, it’s time to slay the snark monster. I had a very prim and proper grandmother who mostly drove me crazy, but when people were being nasty to each other, she would say, “That’s just ugly behavior.” You did know something after all, Grandma.