Tuesday, September 22, 2015

What to Do When Readers Attack

Sharing your ideas, artwork and writing with millions of strangers may not seem like your idea of fun, but when you author a book, write an article or a blog post that is exactly what you're doing. You are reaching out from your safe place in front of a computer monitor and sending your thoughts and opinions into a vast highway of information.

I've noticed that many of the authors on Church of Christ Women Authors also have blogs, and I know many more people have told me they would like to write one., has one of the best definitions of what a blog is on the Internet. "A blog is a daily pulpit, a collaborative space, a political soapbox, a breaking-news outlet, and a collection of links." It is a place to share "your own private thoughts, and memos to the world (Blogger)." No matter what you blog about, a blog is your place. You control that little piece of cyberspace, and you are free to create to your heart's desire.

However, it is important to know that with blogging comes critics. Writers are not typically novices when it comes to criticism. Professional writers can face rejection on a daily basis, whether from a copy editor, a newspaper editor or some sort of publishing house. These kinds of critics are generally professional and remark solely on your work. Unfortunately, when it comes to blogging, many critics do not follow that same rule of professionalism.

Your blog's critic may find something you wrote offensive. Fortunately, most of these people simply move one. However, there are some people compelled to make snide comments about your work and in some cases you.

My First Blogging Experience

In 2008 I started my blogging journey, and as a new blogger, I looked upon blogging as a way to collect my poetry in one place, and share my love for imagery that is induced by the written word. While I don't believe myself some great thing or equal in ability to Lord Byron, I wanted to share my ideas with the world. I looked forward to reading the few comments I received every other day or so until "anonymous" came along.

For some reason, unknown to me, one of my poems set this anonymous reader off. While I take criticism of my work relatively well, I don't respond well to personal attacks. Unfortunately, my reader figured this out early on. Soon he was leaving personal attacks on my blog several times a day. Every time he left a comment I answered him politely and expressed my point of view. After three days of this "game," I realized this was not working and something had to be done.

It was the last comment that he left that made my decision about my blogging settings. You see, there is a function that requires users to have their comments approved before they are posted. I use it here on Christian Woman Authors, but at the time I didn't want to use it.  I wanted to give readers free discussion that didn't require a moderator, but after anonymous left a lewd comment about me, my mother and best friend, I realized I had no choice. I recommend this setting on all blogs.

Still, you may have to face attackers.

Facing Attackers

It is important to know when facing attackers whether it is in the blogosphere, or on an Amazon book review, that the commentator is not your friend. Most readers do not know you personally and never will. Always remember that when you see ugly remarks.

Commentators may try to coerce you into believing that they are your friend, or act like they have your best interests at heart, but they don't. Do NOT let their words ruin your day, your desire to continue your blog, or your desire to write.

DON'T give them that power over you!

In the last few years I have had a lot of trolls on my Amazon book pages, many like to call me names or make rude comments about my book Humanism: A Christian's Greatest Enemy. (It's no surprise, because it's a polarizing topic.) No matter what they say, I have learned that it is best for me to ignore it -- even if I think talking to them will help. Sadly, it won't -- that's just not how the Internet works.

I must admit that during that three day anonymous nightmare I cried a lot.  I even had a bad dream about being bitten by a snake (something my reader referred to), and I was not too easy to live with. Looking back, I realize this was not beneficial to anyone, least of all me. (I had several article rewrites I had to do at work, and even had an article rejected by a copy editor, because I was so preoccupied with an anonymous person.)

Don't let your attacking reader ruin your day!

I know attacks are painful, and it is okay to feel upset about it for a minute, but then LET it GO!

You have options! While I don't recommend publishing hateful comments on your blog. You do have the option to publish and answer the comments, or just push delete. That choice is yours.

I have published a question left by a reader on another blog when a woman attacked me for writing religious articles on the Internet. I felt like answering her attack showed my readers why I write articles, and what my beliefs are about women writers. In fact, I wrote an entire blog post about it called, Suffer Not a Woman to Teach. So, there are times you may actually decide to post an attack.

You are the Ruler of Your Blog! It is important to remember that you are the "ruler" of your blog, and you should set the example and the tone.

Never answer an attacker with personal attacks. 

Always be calm and reasonable even when defending yourself. You must be the bigger person. If you find that impossible, your best option is to push delete. You don't want to ruin your credibility because of a disgruntled reader! (This is a good idea on Facebook, too.)

Hopefully, you won't have to face personal attacks on your blog. But, the chances are they will come. It only took 300 page views on my first blog to bring out the trolls. Remember your blog and your book is yours, and don't take personal attacks to heart, because you are the ruler of your work!

The Extraordinary Inspirational Bible

There is nothing more extraordinary than the Bible. The Bible spans thousands of years in time, is written by at least 40 different people and is a cohesive work unlike any other book in history. It is a pattern book, it is a history book, and it is a book of inspiration. There are thousands of passages that can be looked to for inspiration, some are old standards, and others are a little off the beaten path. The following passages have been recently added to my list of favorite inspirational Bible verses.

Isaiah 40:9-15

The book of Isaiah contains many beautiful passages, but one of the most beautiful chapters in the book is chapter 40. The beginning of the chapter speaks about John the Baptist, the one who was "the voice crying in the wilderness," the one who was the forerunner of the Christ, and while this is a beautiful prophetic thought, perhaps the versus that follow are even more beautiful. Verses 9-15 speak about the great and strong hand of the Lord. These verses emphasize the greatness of God, as well as His care for humanity.

"O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God! Behold, the Lord GOD will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him: behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him. He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young. Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Who hath directed the Spirit of the LORD, or being his counsellor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed to him the way of understanding? Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing." -- Isaiah 40: 9-15

Galatians 3:26-29

One of my favorite songs contains the lines, "I'm an heir to wealth in glory, my Father owns it all, that is why I'm shouting happy, and go at His command, for I want to be ready to meet Him in the glory land." That sentiment is perhaps the anthem of my Christian life.

Many years ago, I was baptized into Christ for the remission of my sins. It was about that time that I decided I wanted to be somewhere working for my Lord, and while that dream has taken me down various roads, it has never faltered. Isn't it a beautiful thought, that my gentile self can be a child of God, that there is no difference in gender, race, or nationality in Christ? Christ died for all mankind, and simple obedience to His gospel has made me "Abraham's seed, according to the promise."

"For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." -- Galatians 3: 26-29

Hebrews 10:16-25

What could be more inspiring than to know that God has wiped my sins and iniquities from His mind. What better assurance than to know that Jesus made Himself my high priest with the sacrifice of His blood. Hebrews chapter 10 is often used to remind people that they should be attending services, and while it is certainly applicable for that lesson; it means so much more. This passage states that if we can draw near to God, we can be completely assured that He is faithful to us, as long as we are faithful to Him. This passage should serve as a reminder of all that Jesus has done for us, His sacrifice, and His covenant. It should also drive home the point that meeting with those of the Lord's body is a privilege, honor and a blessing. There is nothing I love more than being with my church family, or that I find more inspirational.

"This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin. Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching." -- Hebrews 10:16-25

In what Bible verses do you find comfort?

October Book of the Month Club Sandi Rog's Out of the Ashes

I am so excited to announce the October book of the month book! I've never read Sandi's books, but I have been wanting to. Now's my chance, and yours, too!

I hope you take advantage of our reading together. As always I will post a reading schedule, and remember don't give away any crucial plot elements before we reach them as a group.

I will post my thoughts on the readings each week. Let's have fun with it, and make sure to rate her book on Amazon when your through reading.

For information about why you should always rate books click here.

Out of the Ashes

"A stranger. A kiss. A shotgun wedding. NATHANIEL WARD, wealthy entrepreneur, needs a wife. But he's not interested in the preening, high-society women who are offered to him on a silver platter. He wants one woman, and one woman alone: the girl who gave him all the money in her reticule years ago when the Great Chicago Fire left him destitute. He sets out to find this woman and discovers she's unattached. There's only one problem, a shotgun wedding may be able to bind them, but will he ever be able to win her heart? AMELIA E. TAYLOR blows a kiss to a street rat. Little did she know, years later that kiss would follow her to Green Pines, Colorado. When a handsome stranger arrives in her hometown, she guards her heart from the stirrings this man ignites. Despite society's disapproval of spinsterhood, she is determined not to marry, having witnessed first-hand the lack of love and horrors that accompany marriage. But will a shotgun wedding reveal blessings that arise out of the ashes?" (Amazon)

You can read a sneak peek of Out of the Ashes by clicking here.

Make sure to check out Sandi's other books on her Meet the Author Page!