Quick tip for those of you aspiring to create things for a living.
Maybe you’re writing the next great American novel, or cutting together a masterpiece destined for Oscar greatness. Or you simply make jewelry at home and sell it on Etsy. Whatever. Now this may sting a little, but regardless how great your product turns out, some people will hate it and state their opinions very publicly. Yes, even you, guy over there with the ventriloquist dummy. Especially you. But I digress.
My first book was meant as a humor parody mashup of military manuals and fatherhood books. It was intentionally goofy with a few real nuggets of wisdom thrown in just to prove I actually pro-created. It even states so in the preface pages. However, certain readers took the book as gospel and blasted it (and me) very publicly across various sites, including Amazon and Good Reads. And I made the mistake of rebutting the criticism. I should have let it go and accepted the fact that most readers, those that got the humor, loved it. But no, I had to get my hillbilly on and kick off a flame war, which did nothing but fire up the other haters and make me look like a defensive, over-sensitive kook.
So here’s my advice: Let it go. Engage with your audience but stay away from the Crazy Screechy Monkeys.
Here’s a great post by my buddy John Scalzi, who’s sold a couple of books. (Actually a couple of million.):
Beware the Crazy Screechy Monkeys
Meet the luckiest sailor alive.
There’s nothing quite like the open ocean. I’ve put thousands of miles under the bow and still find myself speechless when confronted with the power and beauty of the sea.
I’m sure the guy in the story linked above has a decidedly different opinion.
From the article:
Clements started to pray, then kicked off his boots and swam blindly in the darkness. In a stroke of luck, he bumped into one of the life rafts, which had capsized. “I was able to flip it over and somehow get in,” he says.
About an hour later a Navy helicopter, dispatched from the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower, was on the scene and a rescue swimmer was in the water. Winds were blowing 50 knots, with 10-foot seas and driving sleet and snow.
Yes, I am a geography geek.
I suppose most sailors are; it’s not too wise to jump into a 25′ craft, hoist the main and charge off to the horizon with no damn idea what lies beyond.
Back in the middle ages, mapmakers wrote “here be dragons” on the edges of the maps, in the areas that had not (yet) been explored. They weren’t far off. Find yourself in a fifty-knot blow on thirty foot seas, and you’ll wish you were back on land fighting dragons.
One factoid I find fascinating every time I chart the Atlantic is the relation of US cities to our neighbors across the pond. As kids, we generally believed that England is a straight shot East, somewhere vaguely equal to Plymouth Rock, or perhaps even New York.
But take a look at a latitude map below and you’ll see that Great Britain is way north in relation to US cities. London is more in line with Vancouver than any US city, and New York is on par with Madrid, Rome and Instanbul, while Atlanta’s latitude is very close to Baghdad’s.
So why isn’t England a snow-capped hell, like most of Canada (Heh.)?
The Gulf Stream.