Entitled Behaviour Among Readers - HELP!


#1

I recently did a post about how criticism can be a good thing. I still stand behind that wholeheartedly and I’ll link to it as soon as I get onto my Mac, but right now, I’m on my break from work and, after receiving fanmails two days in a row from the same person with entitled behaviour, I feel like I need to rant about entitlement among the community and highlight what I don’t mean by criticism.

So I’ve always been an advocate for quality over quantity. As long as a chapter is over 5 minutes long, I am more than happy to use my passes on a chapter that has good grammar, pacing, plot and directing and is short and sweet. It’s much, MUCH better to be left wanting more than to feel like a chapter drags on and doesn’t even have that great of a point anyway. So, naturally, that’s how I write my own chapters.

I completely understand not liking that. That’s your personal style and I am more than open to fanmails saying “I wish the chapters were a bit longer”. I’d have a discussion, take your comments on board and tell you why I like my chapters sweet. That’s a preference thing as opposed to a quality thing - purely for the fact that I am focusing ON QUALITY.

But when I get people writing fanmails saying “please fix” or “you could go on until you find a better stopping point”, I get the rage. First of all, you are not entitled to tell me how to write my story. Secondly, it is not a problem that needs fixing. Third, your criticism is not criticism if you’re not giving me ways to improve but just picking holes in my work. It’s just childish, petty and annoying.

That’s NOT what I mean when I say that criticism should be embraced. Unsolicited criticism is not a problem for me. What is a problem is people acting like they’re doing me a favour by reading my story.

And I don’t mean to sound rude or cocky, but I have over 150,000 reads over my three stories - over 140,000 of which come from this story in question. I don’t need to pander to you or please you to keep my readership up. If you don’t like my chapter lengths, you can give me CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, sure, but anything else and you can suck it up or find another story. In fact, I have the integrity to not change my personal style for one person even if I had 2 readers.

I’m sorry for the rant and if I came across as rude or arrogant. I’m just sick of people thinking they can tell me how to write a story.

On a different note, I’m not the most sensitive or nice of people. I’m pretty blunt, so I don’t know how to tell them that it’s my choice and I’m not going to change in a nice way. Can anyone give me some suggestions?


#2

This annoys me so much when I see people send fan mail like this. If you wanted criticism, you’d ask. But readers who think they’ve found and error, so they go to the place where they’re supposed to be writing words of praise, just bothers me. It’s uncalled for. Unless you put a splash asking for people to send you fanmail of your errors, they have no right to feel entitled to call you out. If you didn’t ask, they shouldn’t say. That’s what I think anyway.


#3

I understand where you’re coming from. It’s called fanmail for a reason.

Although personally I treat episode writers like novel writers, which means I feel they should be open to criticism if they’re writing for the public.

However, criticism should be helpful, not “I want this and I don’t like your personal style. Change your story for my benefit”. It’s infuriating!

People seem to forget that there are people behind these stories. They act like they’re owed the world for reading a story, when in reality, they read it because they want to.


#4

True true. Although could you imagine publishing a novel and having hundreds of readers contacting you only to say your chapters were too short? LOL! I just think that so many people openly ask for feedback on the forums, that it’s not necessary to clog up the fanmail with it. Especially in your case where you say it’s the same person.


#5

Definitely! The fanmails section is not a place for criticism. People act so entitled it’s disgusting


#6

I reply to all my fanmails, as you probably do as well. If I get a fanmail that I don’t like, or irritates me I will just reply with a period. I’ve never had a case where the person has asked why didn’t I reply to them, but if they did I would just reply again with a period. However, seeing you from your posts that might not be your style, so perhaps being straightforward might be the way to go.

I’ve only replied once in a rude way (yesterday actually), and I really hope the person sees it because, as you said, I am not going to change my story to fit the needs of one person. (I legit told them to stop reading my story)


#7

Ahh the lovely fanmail. I’ve only had 1 issue with readers and fanmail but it’s been about customization.

The same person used like 4 different names to ask for CC. I responded nicely the first time, explaining its how I see the characters. I also use overlays with their limbs at times. Plus I have incredible artists who make art for my story and I want that all to reflect the characters I envision. The other fanmails I blocked and ignored. There were some others who complained about face shape and lips on the MC and also not liking stubble on the male because it’s for “old” people. Sorry people but I hate the triangle shape that literally almost every episode guy has. Guys also start growing facial hair as teenagers so it’s not THAT out there. Anyways. I could rant about this forever :sweat_smile:

This is what I’ve done and since then I have not got a single CC fanmail again. In my next episode I did that annoying author note, I came on screen and said my reasons. I made a FAQ highlight on Instagram, listing all the reasons above. I also added a FAQ at the end of every episode answering that and other common questions. I think they got the picture :joy::joy:. People may not like my reasons but it’s my story and I’m going to write it the way I want. It’s also a type of story where you read about someone else’s journey and not a story about “you.”


#8

I may not have anything meaningful to add to this other than my own opinion, really. But I’d just like to point out that this is one of many, many fanmails that you’d receive in any given day or week. It isn’t even a good point. Feeling like the author could have kept going after a certain point completely defeats the purpose of why the author may have left it where they did. And if the chapter has a good amount of story beats and progresses the characters however much and - most importantly - maintains the high quality that a story with any kind of following should be striving for, I don’t see the issue. It’s not an issue

I completely agree with quality over quantity, that the length should always come second to making sure the story reads well and works as an installment. And the wording says enough about the feeling entitlement for me. Starting a piece of fanmail with ‘Please fix ___’ seems appalling to me. At the very most I’d say ‘I wasn’t very happy with…’ Or, ‘I’d like to know a little more about… Because at the moment it’s not really working for me.’ I’ve heard a lot of writers voicing concerns over people complaining about character customisation too. What is the state of these readers that every story needs to be a self-insert? Do their egos need inflated that much? Clearly not if they feel they can dictate the length of a writer’s story


#9

Sounds like they’re just being blunt which is something you should be able to recognize :slightly_smiling_face:


#10

I disagree. Telling me to “fix” my story and messaging me more than once in a row trying to make me change my story is not being blunt. It’s acting entitled and rude.

As I’ve said before, I’m fine discussing chapter lengths with someone who is respectful about it. When you’re telling me to fix my story for your benefit, that’s not bluntness. Bluntness is about telling the truth no matter how it comes across. It’s not about demanding special treatment or for someone to change their hard work for your benefit.


#11

That’s actually pretty funny! I might try that… although I’m not sure if this person understands what the boundaries are :sweat_smile:


#12

I honestly hate that. There’s a difference between constructive criticism, and being an asshole.


#13

I completely get where you’re coming from and as a reader, I most definitely would rather read a short but very well-written and well-directed chapter than a long and not too well-directed chapter. If, however, your readers think otherwise then of course that’s fair of them to let you know, provided they don’t ‘demand’ you to make your chapters longer. In that case, I say just be blunt.

Also, I think people have no right to demand CC. I don’t mind the possibility of customising the MC but I would actually much rather just leave them as they are because I think when people write a story they always picture their characters looking a certain way and I don’t want to spoil that. Also, I like being introduced to characters who don’t necessarily look like my preferences.


#14

I think I’m one of the lucky ones. Out of every fanmail, I remember receiving just one comment that I was angry about. I’ve received many constructive criticism because when I first published the story, I didn’t know what I was doing. So it helped a lot having people tell me if my chapters are too short or if the transitions need more work.


#15

I’m open to people giving me advice on how I can improve my story, but there are some things that rub me up the wrong way.
The famous “CAN WE CUSTOMIZE?!” and “WHEN IS THE NEXT CHAPTER?” are two of those.
But another is telling me what to do with my plot.
And I don’t mean in the helpful way of, “This feels rushed, perhaps if you added a scene with (example) it would flow better?” or pointing out a gaping plot hole.
I mean, “CAN YOU MAKE (NAME) A LOVE INTEREST?” or “CAN THESE CHARACTERS GET TOGETHER?” as if I haven’t already planned the whole story out. Like, damn, if you want to tell me how the story should go that badly, do what people have done for years and write some fan fiction. I wouldn’t stop you :woman_shrugging:

ETA: I have no problem with people saying, “I was hoping this would happen” or “I wish that this had happened”. That’s never bothered me. It’s when people demand for you to make a change just for them that makes me raise an eyebrow.


#17

I think this is a little unnecessary. If you’re not trying to start something and you’re just going to move on, why feel the need to write that? I’m happy debating with you if you disagree but I don’t see the point in this post.


#18

This is just my honest opinion but readers do tend to come across as blunt and that is just how they are. Something a writer perceive as picking holes is actually something the reader sees as being helpful.

You kind of just in my opinion made yourself look like this because not every single reader is like this so generalising them all says more about you than them.

I get that people can be rude and demanding CC which annoys me but I just reply with 'I’m sorry but CC for this character/story isn’t going to be included." Straightforward and kind.

Quality is subjective, a good chapter is not 5 minutes long in my opinion, it’s a story that takes the plot and prioritises that over the ‘directing’ and uses directing to enhance the story rather than tell the story. Everyone is going to have different opinions, and everyone is going to see criticism in different ways. If I was you, just do what you want to do.

I also have to say reads do not define a good writer, you don’t have to pander to readers but you will lose readers with that cocky attitude. How you put yourself across is important and if you seem rude/cocky/arrogant to readers, it’s pretty likely you’ve lost a potential reader. That reader could have recommended your story to others and spread the word.

All of this is just my honest opinion.


#19

I’m not generalising anyone. I’m specifically talking about people who tell me to change my story? :thinking:


#20

I know but if you can’t be nice or civil then don’t respond. Responding just makes you look like you’re being ungrateful.

My default response is “Thanks for the comment but I’m happy with the format/story as it is.”

Rising to bait and rising to comments that annoy you just paint you in a bad light and that is not fair on you. Let readers do what they want, you don’t have to respond, just ignore and you’ll feel better once you kick the negative bullshit out of your life and focus on you.


#21

Did you miss the part where I was asking people how I can respond to it? Or the part where I said where I had the integrity to not change my story for one person if I had 2 reads? Or the part where I specifically said quantity is not quality?