I'll be the first to admit I don't deal with stuff like this very well. When someone attacks me personally, I get upset. I get stressed out. I feel like I have to, have to set them straight if I'm going to sleep that night.
You know what? It never works.
But there's hope. I'm going to fawn all over Nathan Bransford for a moment, so feel free to skip to the end. As an agent, Nathan deals with angry people - unpublished authors who insist he listen to their pitch, or who get angry at rejection and demand an explanation. He also has a significant internet presence, which means anonymous naysayers left and right.
Yet not once have I seen Nathan whine, complain, grouse, or (let me find my thesaurus here...) cavil. When he responds, he does so with grace and humor. It's amazing, and he's become sort of my role model for Being a Nice Person.
So recently, when I was faced once again with a personal attack online, I was moved to find Nathan's post on dealing with negativity. I condensed it into rules, because I like rules.
When faced with someone who attacks you or puts you down:
- Don't complain.
- Try try try to care as little as possible.
- Don't respond.
- If you MUST respond, do so with a clear head, with sincere humor and humility. (If you can't be genuinely funny or humble, see Rule 3).
* Don't believe me? Try visiting a message board devoted to science, religion, Democrats, Republicans, or query letters. Depending on where you go, tell them "Jesus doesn't believe in dinosaurs," "Jesus is a homo," "Obama doesn't believe in dinosaurs," or "Obama is Jesus," and see what happens.
At the query letters' site, just submit a query letter.