When Writers Get Hate Mail

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Angela,

One thing I love about you is your thick skin. I have yet to develop that, so I thought I would come to the one person I knew who says what’s on her mind and is still well-respected.

How do you develop the thick skin? I recently wrote an article for my site, it was actually for the chit chat or ramblings part where I change the content every week.

At any rate, I wrote about my experience at a restaurant. Today, I received such a pretty harsh lashing from a reader.

The person left no name, but called me pompous and basically arrogant. Said how dare I act snooty, or like a know-it-all. Said I had a holier-than-though air about myself. How dare I act as though I were to be treated like royalty and if I had bothered to go back and read the words my husband and I spoke to the manager, we would see that it was our fault the service sucked. And the moral is the story is that I wasn’t worth this person’s time to delete my newsletter, let alone put it in the spam filter so this person was unsubscribing and basically don’t bother emailing him/her back.

The article that broke this reader’s back was:

A few weeks ago I had written about how I moved into a great apt. complex, but how the tenants were driving me nuts because basically everywhere I stepped was dog poop, instead of them walking the dogs to the poop area.

And a few weeks before that was one on how hard it was to get my driver’s license switched in TN because they are screening everyone as though we were terrorists, needing certified birth certificates, marriage certificates, driver’s licenses, and three other forms of ID.

This person also commented on those which was basically along the same line above.

Thanks for your time.

Alyice


Hiya Alyice,

Congratulations! You’ve made it to the big time!

When you start getting hate-mail, that means either 1. you’re famous (you’re attracting a much bigger audience) or 2. you’ve managed to get the attention of someone you either wrote about, or someone who knows them, or 3. you’ve managed to get the attention of someone who has way too much time on their hands (and who makes a hobby out of offending other people).

Chances are that anonymous person was affiliated with that restaurant. Or, they could be one of your competitors, a jealous neighbor or old acquaintance or any number of weirdos. Believe me, there are lots of people out there who spend all their time sending hate mail to anyone they can, just to start an argument.

Here’s the stock answer I send to people when I know their email was sent for only one purpose – to try to upset me.

I say:

You sound like a person who has a lot of hatred and hostility bottled up inside. I’ll say a prayer for you in the hopes you can find some peace and a smile today.

And, I always sign my emails “hugs” which further throws them off-kilter. Most of the time, they never write back. Occasionally, it just makes them more mad and they send back a scathing essay about how they don’t need my prayers. But, just knowing that I’ve made them think, for a fraction of a second, about someone praying about them, and probably hit a tender spot somewhere, is enough and I don’t respond to those follow-up emails.

Lots of successful writers get hate mail, but nobody wants to talk about it. You’ve helped many of of your fellow writers today by letting us know we’re not alone when a reader sends us hate-mail. Thanks for sharing your experience with us, Alyice!!

Remember, everybody, only well-known writers attract these types of weirdos. When you start getting hate mail, that means your readership is growing and you’re touching more lives!

Hugs,
Ang