In my time on Goodreads and other book related websites, I have seen many a post on What Not to Do As an Author, but virtually none on what not to do as a fan. As many of you know (whether by experience or watching from the sidelines) there are always those fans that ruin it for everyone else.
What fans are you talking about? I hear you ask.
You know the ones. The ones that take negative reviews of their favourite books too far, those who harass and bully reviewers because they "did not get" the book or "didn't understand it" or, my favourite, "why did you read it if you hate it?"
Well, let me tell you a little somethin' somethin'. A person cannot tell if they like a book or not if they don't read it. This is a very simple concept, yet it's one that OTT fans do not understand. In fact, I don't think they would understand even if you were to nail it into their thick heads with Thor's hammer.
Before I continue, I would like to say that this is not for the normal fans. By normal fans, I mean those who participate in fandoms but do not harass/bully/threat reviewers or non-fans. This is for those who are so OTT, so obsessed with their fandom that would go against all TOS, human laws etc. to hurt, whether it be psychologically or physically, another person.
I'm a hardcore fan of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and, many, many years ago, even of Twilight. My fanatics extended as far as to write fanfiction, buy collectables (especially for LOTR and HP), go to signings, freak out at the mere mention of the book/actors/music/whatever. However, I never dreamt of attacking someone for saying, "I didn't like it/hated it." Why? Because everyone has a right to an opinion. Of course, if I said to a friend, "I love Harry Potter!" and s/he'd reply, "Ugh, no!" My response would be: "WHY?" But I would never, ever dream of saying they're demented, unworthy, sick, stupid or dumb for not liking it. I, for one, really do not like Star Trek or Star Wars. I tolerate it for my friends, I voice the fact that they're not my favourites, and they respect that, just like I respect the fact that they don't like playing World of Warcraft or think Harry Potter is 'ew'.
What shocks me is that a lot of these crazy fans take part in one or more of the following fandoms:
Lately, a lot of the madness has come from "The Fault in Our Stars". Why? Because not everyone is going to see it as 'the best love story of our time', not everyone is going to see the characters as likeable or relate-able, not everyone is going to enjoy the pretentious dialogues or even the exaggerated metaphors. I, for one, did not enjoy it at all and that enjoyment was largely ruined by the fans that went a little mad when I wrote a nice 1* review (there are some raging ones out there, trust me) explaining the whys and hows I did not like it. With the movie in cinemas, the fans have gotten even more fuelled and with John Green sitting idly by, twiddling his thumbs, they see this as encouragement.
In more than one occasion, I have witnessed authors telling their fans NOT to act a certain way, and it really is appreciated by us reviewers who get mauled by them. But if an author sits by, watches and says nothing, those fans are going to see it as their behaviour being okay and agreeable.
NO. It's not.
So, in light of this, I have decided to compile a list of things a fan shouldn't do. From one fan to another. A public service if you will.
Those are only a select few things that fans shouldn't do. As I said, from one fan to another, there are those normal fans out there that make joining a fandom an absolute pleasure. Wherever you turn, though, and wherever you go, there will always be those mad fans that can't physically understand why someone wouldn't like their favourite book.
It's not rocket science, people. It is literally impossible for everyone to like the same thing. Impossible. I LOVE spending my weekends playing World of Warcraft but others don't see the point. I LOVE spending hours and hours reading/watching Lord of the Rings whilst others don't. I would never force someone to like something they don't, and I expect the same in return. If I don't like your favourite book, respect that opinion. Again, it's not that hard to do. Just walk away. Forget about me. Forget those negative reviews, because the positives always outweigh the negatives.