Tuesday, August 7, 2012

How do you Respond to Hate Mail?

I received my first hate mail from a reader. A lady read a press release from the Eureka, Ca. Times Standard newspaper, and took issue to my chapter excerpt about Culture Shock. She messaged me on Facebook to give me a piece of her mind about my "elitist Californian" attitude.

I deleted it before I reached the end. I got her message without reading the whole thing.

Knowing that I'd get more riled up than I was hurt by tellling my husband or anyone else, I just kept quiet about it 'til now. YOU are the first to know about my hate mail.

Another item I never expected as a newly publishd author. I'll add it to my list of firsts, along with the email scam asking for free books. I'm long over being hurt by this lady's hateful words, but I guess I need to expect the unexpected in this crazy world, huh?

Have you ever received hate mail? How did you respond?


  1. Oh wow. I don't understand people! I'm sorry.

    I have gotten types of hate mail. I think it would be better for people to ask for clarification than to assume something of an author. It only adds to division in this world.

    The main thing I question is WHY do some people think its their job to put others in their place?

  2. Sorry Jeanette.

    At the Upstate Christian Writer's Gathering I opened with a devotional titled, "Three Things You'll Never Change About Being a Writer." One is that not everyone is going to like what you write. I just smile and accept the criticism and realize if my heart is right, then there is someone out there who will benefit from what another found offensive.

    I laughed at one person's review (which she did not post)of "We All Married Idiots." She loved that I would call men idiots, but was angry that I would call women idiots too. You just aren't going to please everybody.

    Smile and keep writing, dear Jeanette. Your work can change a life.

    Elaine W. Miller

  3. I am sorry this happened to you but at least it was by someone you don't know --and not a close friend etc.
    I bet all that comes with writing and appreciate you sharing so if it happens to me, I'll be prepared:))

  4. Hate mail? Really? I am so sorry. I don't understand why some people feel they need to tear others down. It has never made sense to me. But, I guess if we put ourselves out there we will attract all kinds of readers who love and hate us.

  5. Obviously, you can tell the difference between helpful criticism and that which some people just feel the need to spew everywhere around them. You're already ahead of the game! Pay attention to those who offer you something to make you better; be gracious to but ignore those who are so negative that it spills out from inside, having nothing to do with your work. I cannot even fathom someone taking issue with you!

  6. So sorry, Jen! I admire your attitude. So many of these things often spring from misunderstandings. I had someone challenge me about something I shared on Facebook, and as I turned the situation around in my mind, I knew that sometimes you just cannot make everyone understand or happy. I think you did the right thing. :)

  7. "You don't have to attend every argument you're invited to." I've placed this quote near my "laptop chair". I need to remember it frequently! I want to be more like Mary who kept all these things and pondered them in her heart :)

  8. Oh Jeanette, I'm so sorry! As you know, I'm not a writer and I have not received hate mail. However, I do know that hateful words hurt and I'm sorry you experienced that. I like your attitude - just keep loving those that love you. Forgive the haters, move on and keep writing things people need to hear.


  9. Thank you all for your kind words and support. As to the "why" of people spewing hate, I think it may make them feel better to get it off their chest and speak their mind. Some have purer motives: to help others see a varying perspective.

    As to how anyone could take issue with sweet little moi, that one made me laugh! All this perky, fun sweetness is coupled with a side of spunk and fire that arguers find irresistable. I'm easier to get along with online than in real life!

    Rebecca, I love your saying!!! Thanks for sharing that one.

  10. "Water off a ducks back..."

    We are not going to please everyone. We know that going into the writing career.

    Hate mail/smait mail...consider this a "love" mail ~ I LOVED YOUR BOOK!

  11. My skin has to learn how to keep getting thicker. I have had my share of hate mail, hateful comments on my blog, and even an entire site exclusively to hate on me, when I stumbled upon it, it effectively ruined a few days for me, all this and my first book hasn't even been released yet.

    I delete the emails, I have set my comments to not accept anonymous, strangely people don't want to say hateful things as often if they can't hide under a cloak of being anonymous. As for the site, I simply refuse to visit and see what they have been writing.

    I'm so sorry to hear that you got some hate mail. But just know there are a lot of people who love both you and your book! Blessings~

  12. The "water off a duck's back" comment is especially appropriate for you, my duckie friend.

    I'm so sorry you received a scathing comment like that. Sad!
    A counselor friend posted about someone she'd had an encounter with not long ago, adding "Someone doesn't do what she did without having some serious trauma".

    That statement struck me hard- People do what they do out of their own experiences, hurts, triumphs and fears. Very rarely is an emotional rant of any kind truly about "you". Most likely, it's a response to a deep-seated issue in her own life, and your chapter was simply a trigger that fired her off.

    Take care, and keep blessing the world with that beautiful smile. :)


    1. Thank you, Mary. I agree. It's rarely about the one we point our gun at; it's about the gunner's heart, and all the owies in there.

  13. Jen: I have lived in the midwest the major part of my life. What you described as the 'midwest lifestyle' is true. We do have those unusual dietary habits. And you didn't offend me when I read that chapter.
    This woman doesn't know you. She has never been charmed by your personality or your ways.Several of the commenters before me have said that our writing will not please everyone.This is so true. The only one we have to please is God.
    Just so you know, chicken and noodles give flavor to the mashed potatoes when they sit on top. My hubby has come around to eating them chicken noodles on top of the potatoes.

    1. Quiet: Thanks for not being offended. I wondered if my chapter had made other midwesterners mad.

      That's good to know about the flavoring, dear. But all I can think of is all those carbs on my hips...

      Love you!

  14. I just had another friend receive some hateful words this week. Here was her observation, both from her experience and from other writers close to her: "The ones doing this usually aren't successful people."

    Huh. Gave me food for thought.

    In an odd way, this is a backhanded compliment for you. It kind of means a person has "arrived" when they're "out there" enough to be a target. Cold comfort, dear, but in a way, it should encourage you.

    One thing I told my other friend, recipient of hate mail, was, "Greater opposition. But greater blessings!" Let's hang in there so we can receive the greater blessings. :)

    1. Thanks, Rhonda. I like that perspective, and it is true that hurting people are the ones who lash out the most.

  15. It's sad that people have forgotten how to exchange ideas without personal attacks.

    I think it's wise to pick your battles. By walking away and not dignifying her words with a response, you showed a lot of class.

  16. Bless your dear heart, just ignore it my friend.

  17. Jen, so sorry. I know how much unkind words can eat away at our minds and stomachs. Doesn't help that Jesus tells us to expect persecution! I like to apply Matt 5:44 Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. It really helps put things in perspective for me.

  18. Jen, I'm sorry that person's words upset you. Who knows what's going on in her life or in her head to have felt compelled to come after you like that. You can always notify FB of the abusive email and then block her.

    I will share with you that I received my first hate mail last week. The person took issue with Christianity generally, and my reliance on God's plan for humanity specifically. He ranted bitterly for paragraphs, in some type of "lecture" that was actually incoherent and based on his personal prejudices rather than reason. The saddest part is that this person is the husband of a distant acquaintance. I know he has been institutionalized for rabid, public outbursts in the past. In his rant to me, he sounded like he was off of his meds. Rather than take his diatribe as a personal attack, I viewed it for what it was: bait written by an angry, unstable guy looking for a fight. He needs way more help than I can possibly give him, so I decided not to respond to his hate mail.

    It's best to ignore such unproductive bait. You showed class in doing so. xoxo


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