Confessions-Don’t let the bastards grind you down

We all know that people criticize more than they give praise. This is evidenced nowhere more than on the internet.

I had a bout of Covid, and while my wife and I are okay, it knocked us for a loop. Even though it’s passed, we’re still a little off. I managed to make some progress in my writing career, even if I didn’t do much actual writing. My goal is to get some attention for my superhero trilogy Tragic Heroes (Champions, Vengeance, and Avatars of the Maelstrom). I had recently taken them out of Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, and they were ready to be listed elsewhere. At Barnes and Noble, I listed them as FREE, 1.99, and 4.99, respectively. They are 4.99 each on Amazon, so I requested a price match, which they obliged. Amazon won’t let a seller list an e-book as permanently free, but they will price match.

Now, I took out an ad on Facebook to promote the free book. I targeted 20 to 50-year-old males interested in superhero comics and movies. I spent 30 dollars, and it was shown to thousands of people, with several hundred “likes” and about 30 “sales.” Was it worth it? I don’t know. Thirty bucks to give away 30 books seems like a loss, but it might be okay if a few people read and leave reviews or buy the next in the series.

The comments hit me hard. The ad asked, “do you love superhero comics and movies?” The first comment was, “Yup.” Hmmm. Not that helpful, but it was okay. The following comment was, “What’s next, Buffet of the Maelstrom?” I didn’t get the joke, but I gave it a laughing emoji. Then a man left two different pooping dog GIFs. Two separate ones. He left one and then found a better one? Someone left a cartoon of Trump looking in a mirror and seeing a superhero version of himself, complete with rippling muscles and a waving cape. I didn’t understand what the commenter was trying to say here, so I responded with some “???” 

I felt hurt. Were the covers of my books indeed a pooping dog? Are the fans of the genre so wrapped up in the status quo that anyone else’s story is worthless? I haven’t had a lot of “success,” but I feel the books are good, with great covers and good writing. And it has something to say.

Maybe that was what some of the trolls were objecting to.

I didn’t want to get preachy, so I kept some of the themes of fantasy fiction, but I also imagined what someone with the literal power to change the world might do. I created Shiva, a girl who knew only the cruel hand of her captor. She knows nothing of the world at large, but she imagines one in which everyone is equal. When she develops a genius-level intellect overnight, she sets to change the world, but first, she has to conquer it. 

When I started imagining the story of Champions of the Maelstrom, I wanted to do “realistic” superheroes. What does that mean? In the comics and the movies, the heroes have little effect on the real world. I mean, they save it but mostly they fight each other and also bad guys, but no one works on injustices that can’t be solved with punching.

I saw a lack of genius-level female super characters in the existing world of comic books and their associated media. Male characters with amazing intellects like Mr. Fantastic, Lex Luthor, Batman, and Tony Stark are prominent figures, but I can’t think of any female heroes or villains as smart. 

I invented Shiva, who wakes up one day with the intellectual capacity to change the world overnight. She intends to take control of the world and force change. This is the conflict of Book One. 

Back to the negative reactions to my advertisement.

My page (https://www.facebook.com/TragicHeroesTrilogy) shows other images and quotes from the book, and I suspect those were the cause of the outrage. The first response I got was, “Seems like woke garbage!” and that was the clue to whom I had upset. Maybe I’m wrong, but it seems I poked a nerve with males who saw the politics in my writing.

I wrote a book featuring a new take on superheroes, and I guess that is political. The storyline is good vs. evil with superpowers, but it’s also “With great power comes great responsibility—on steroids!” My antagonist drives the story, and unlike Batman and Spider-Man, who use their advantages to maintain the status quo, my character seeks to change the world. 

And that scares people. 

My point is that sometimes people will hate what you write, not for the writing but for what is says. And that’s a good thing. 

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