As an interesting aside to the continuing debate about hostile reviewers, thriller writer James Sheridan finds similarities between his dual roles as a self-published author and a door operative, commonly known as a bouncer.
Freshers week is upon us at my local town’s university. As a door supervisor I start a week-long stretch of late nights working the door at the local nightclub. Lots of young new students away from their parents will be making lifelong friendships and probably drinking too much.
Sadly the psychology of a certain type of local youth is that the students are parasites on their town, and so they will be abusive and nasty. The university is a big employer in the area and generates thousands of jobs that spread to all areas of the local infrastructure, but the locals will not see it like that. If a local yob threatens a student, it is because they are trying to impose their worldview by putting the student down to make him feel inferior.
Not every put down leads to violence, so I wanted to look at the psychology behind the personality of the put-down by the aggressor and the stealing of energy from the victim.
On the door I receive a lot of threats when I refuse entry into the nightclub. I take the grief, don't bite back and smile sweetly. The outcome is that the night is calmer inside the venue, and I've done a good job.
Relating to Editors
As a new writer I am enjoying the journey of writing and converting my thoughts into a readable story. After publishing my first novel Splinter eight weeks ago, I am waiting for my follow-up novella Dragon to go through the editing process.
I am hoping that the editor will not be too harsh with me, but I know that whatever he comes back with will be constructive and worthwhile. For Splinter I submitted 95,000 words for editing and the final book that I published is 75,000 words. Through the process of reworking, rewriting and pruning of tangents, I learnt a huge amount and the finished book is better for his input.
I respected that input not just because I was paying for it, but because he wasn't trying to put me down.
Coping with Critics
This week a more literary person than me has tried to put me down. Not about the content of my book, or the story, or my characterisation. They tried to put me down because I forged ahead without validation from an agent or publisher. They say that my book should not have been published. I find this view protectionist and out of date.
As far as I know there are no keys to the secret treasure of literary success, and in this digital age then the agents and publishers are no longer the gatekeepers to the promised land. So what is the motivation behind the protectionism? What is the psychology behind the put-downs? An image comes into my mind of the real Wizard of Oz hiding behind his booming voice and the green curtain.
These are exciting times for all authors, and by the time the blood has dried on the bar-room floor, good writers will still find readers, bad writers will not.
For the next week on the nightclub door I will have people who I won’t let into the club, and they will try to put me down. Locals will threaten me violence, and students will tell me their father is a lawyer. I will smile sweetly.
If a reader doesn’t like my book and gives me a bad review based on their thoughts, then I will be sad. But if somebody who has not even read my book tries to put me down because I have self-published, then I will smile sweetly and carry on writing Book 2, Book 3, Book 4.