Author Etiquette: Death Threats are NOT OKAY

by Jennifer 22. April 2015 09:36

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

And ugly it has gotten in the past month. We won’t go into details and just assume you were all online and at least heard some about it. A lot of people were angry for one reason or another. Some places had some very good discussions about the subject in question. Other places, not so much.

 

As I’ve said before, writers are often very passionate people. We make our living by tapping into emotions and scenes and stories and try to allow other people into the worlds we create. We have high expectations of our work and sometimes feel very vulnerable when it goes out into the wild. And so when the unexpected happens, it’s easy to let our passion for not only our work but the work of our friends and family, get out of hand.

 

Most of the comments I read about the situation were from shocked authors and fans. They expressed hurt and confusion that later led to anger. All of these are very understandable emotions. I suspect that our characters would feel the same way in the same situation.

 

But some people went too far. There were threats made to some of the people involved. This folks is NEVER, EVER okay.

 

The real world isn’t like our books. In fiction, people can threaten others with harm and the only people who pay consequences are the very fictional characters. But the real world isn’t fiction. Threats can’t simply be blown off by those who receive them.  There can be serious consequences to both sides.

 

Fear isn’t an easy emotion to deal with and a constant fear can lead to some serious health and mental issues. Post traumatic stress can cause later complications for those who have been threatened in person and even online. In some cases people have left their homes, moved to different cities and tried to start another life. Some people can leave it all behind, but in some cases, it takes years to get over the damage.

While some people  think that online threats are some sort of game, nothing could be further from the truth. All threats should be taken seriously no matter what the context. A report to the police should be filed, even if it is anonymous. This way, if things escalate there’s a record. And as laws against these sorts of things develop and improve, arrests could be possible even across state lines.

Neither side wins in situations like these.  Anger is a very real and powerful emotion. It can be difficult to control, but threatening others doesn’t accomplish what you want it to. In some cases, it just makes things worse.

Remember, everyone has opinions and is entitled to those thoughts. You don’t have to agree. Think of better ways of handling the situation. Work towards a solution, not more problems.

~The Shadow Minion

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