Cheap Heat

So, here’s a post from Mary Robinette Kowal on the subject of hate mail. Speaking as a writer who has received his share of nastily worded letters of loathing, her conclusions are entirely sensible. 

That said, it’s always a bit of a surprise when that first poison penned missive pops up in your inbox. It’s not like a bad review–as I’ve said before, reviewers aren’t speaking to the authors, so much as other readers. A bad review is less about the author than the book, and it’s subjective and (relatively) impersonal. Hurts like a sumbitch, mind, but you can and should roll with it. It’s all part of the game.

But hate mail is a different sort of beast. It’s personal. Like fan-mail, it’s a reader reaching out directly to the author to share their opinions. Only instead of bolstering you, it’s meant to beat you down. So it stabs a bit deeper and the pain lasts a bit longer. It can be a gut-punch and a confidence killer. But like Mrs. Robinette Kowal said, it’s best to ignore it. Don’t respond and don’t let it get its hooks in you.

Now I say that, but, personally? I get a vicious little thrill out of hate-mail, because I’m a nasty sort. I like pissing folks off. I’ve got season passes to the Dark Side of the Force, and I think the best heat is cheap heat. I love my hate-mail so much that I pin it up on a cork-board next to my invoice receipts.

Either way, my advice, if you need it, is simply this: don’t let it stop you. Also, cork-boards have a variety of uses.

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One comment

  1. mortals can be so dreary at times, forever shouting to be noticed and then if noticed bewailing the fate that befalls them this has nothing to do with your post but i am mulling

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