Why I couldn’t shrug off being trolled.


Last Wednesday my third novel The Surrogate was published. The early reviews have been phenomenal, it’s racing up the charts, has been chosen for a special promotion, and after a busy few days I was so very looking forward to spending publication weekend celebrating.

Friday evening, I opened a bottle of wine, settled down to catch up with social media while waiting for a curry to arrive. There was a FB notification for my personal page, a name I didn’t recognise. The post was nasty, vindictive, written to hurt, and it did. Although, to a degree I know it’s inevitable negative reviews will appear on Goodreads and Amazon, this felt as though someone had stepped into my lounge almost and insulted me. My personal space.

Trying to shrug it off I deleted the post, blocked the poster and vowed to tighten my privacy settings hoping that would be the end of it. It wasn’t.

This ‘lady’ in question was a member of numerous reading groups and set out with a vengeance to insult me and my book at every opportunity and online there are LOTS of opportunities.

After a restless sleep I woke Saturday, hoping that by now she’d be bored. She wasn’t. For the whole day post after post appeared. I choose not to comment on any of them which was incredibly difficult as she was now insulting my friends, my publishers, reviewers. Hackles were rising. Responses were made and although I was grateful people were defending me, she now had an audience and boy did she make the most of it.

By Saturday afternoon I was in pieces. Those of you who know me or follow my blog know I started writing as a way to boost my mental health after becoming disabled in my 30’s resulted in clinical depression, and have noticed a gradual increase in my confidence this past year. Finally, settling into my new career, admitting I’m a writer when meeting new people was a huge step. A complete stranger sharing her opinion – however widely – I have zero talent, will never make it as an author, shouldn’t have shattered my already fragile self-esteem but it did. And I felt hugely saddened when she accused me of paying book bloggers for reviews – the bloggers I know all review with honesty and integrity and even if they don’t like a book they are always constructive and kind. I felt terrible for everyone involved, anguishing over what I’d done to upset this woman, convinced that somehow it must be all my fault.

Message after message appeared in my inbox. Readers, writers, bloggers, complete strangers, watching it all unfold, offering their support and those messages combined to make a huge roaring cheer which should have drowned out that one, negative voice, and yet it didn’t.

Remembering my mindfulness practice I spent long periods meditating, accepting my reaction was natural. Scientific studies have shown we all have a negativity bias. Automatically the brain has a greater sensitivity towards the negative, a trait which used to be super helpful in our caveman days. Spotting and responding to the unpleasant, the dangerous, running from those dinosaurs, keeping ourselves out of harms way. Today, the bias is not needed quite so much but evolution has seen it remain, to varying degrees, and as a result things more negative in nature have a greater effect on a person’s psychological state and cognition than positive things.

Sunday I felt calmer but I still felt a rush of relief when I was told she’d been banned from various groups but it was hard not to spend the day anxiously waiting and when a blogger on my tour shared her post in one of the lovely reading groups I belong to I actually felt my stomach twist, waiting for her to pop up again.

My son told me I’ve been trolled. That word to me conjures fond memories. Small children curled on my lap. Goats trip-trapping over a bridge, the comical creature who lived underneath. This felt anything but comical.

Today I’ve woken feeling hugely grateful. I’ve reread the messages of support, my positive reviews and that roaring cheer is now the thing I can hear the loudest.

I’m sat at my desk determined to write some words. After all I am a writer and despite my trepidation at publishing this post, I’m not going to let anyone tell me I’m not.

The Surrogate is currently part of a limited time ebook promotion and is available for £0.99/$1.31 on Amazon, iBooks  Kobo, Google and all digital platforms. You can find it on Amazon here





69 thoughts on “Why I couldn’t shrug off being trolled.

  1. Jealousy is a terrible thing, Louise – made all the worse by the accessibility of spreading it online.
    You did the right thing by deleting her remarks from your own media. (JK Rowling and others get them too – so you’re in great company)
    Regards her remarks on other media – they are better dealt with by people other than yourself, so just ignore them – when she doesn’t see anger or anguish coming from you, she’ll move onto someone else.
    Personally, any time I get a Troll, I put them into my blog spam bin to cool off and be deleted later, or, if it’s on Twitter, or FB, I notify the relevant media administrators and block the the Troll.
    KEEP WRITING and PUBLISHING is your BEST response 😀 XXX

  2. Just needed to say, stay strong, Louise. You post caught my attention. This has happened to me and, unfortunately I know the woman, who spread so much malice about me, in real life, so difficult to avoid. But this is not about me… it’s about you and the verbal battering you’ve just had.This is one sad person whi can see your success and resents it. Not worth any of your time or thoughts. Dismiss. Best revenge, carry on writing. No need to reply. Good luck

  3. So sorry, and totally disgusted, to read about your experience with a troll… It sounds like they have some serious issues and as such, even though harder to do than say, I would try to separate from it- it’s not personal. Online attacks to this extent truly are a huge problem with the troll themselves… This actually reminds me of a stalker I had and it was non-stop death threats, detailed descriptions of abuse, etc…Yes, it makes the receiver feel horrified, violated and it affects our daily lives, but it’s the person behind those attacks that is having an issue… Again, so sorry you fell victim to this horrible person.
    I have not read your book, I admit, but I have read all the glowing reviews online 🙂 And, being a blogger myself, I fully believe the reviews your book has received are honest. You have a lot of fans 🙂 Keep writing, because you are a writer! 🙂

  4. Really sorry this happened to you and I know it makes no difference but you only have to look at the sales, the positive feedback and the reviews to see that she’s talking out of her arse. Like I say, it won’t take away the awful feelings and she had no right to air them in such a way.

    Hope you can bounce back quickly! 🙂

  5. What an awful experience – but I’m glad you’ve written this post and it’ll help other writers when it inevitably happens to the. For what its worth, I can’t wait to read your novel – I’ve seen so many reviews praising it to the hilt!

  6. I am very sorry to read this. I don’t understand people like that. What possible motivation could justify being that mean? I hope you can put this behind you and move forward. There is so much that is good for you to focus on. Have a great week,

  7. Obviously, this woman has her own set of problems. Look at the numbers– many friends and supporters on your side vs. one lonely disillusioned person who may wish she had the same. I hope your spirits are joyful, energetic, and getting on with the next book from this day forward. Happy writing.

  8. Sorry to know that you had to go through all of that. There’s a proverb in my mother tongue that can be roughly translated to “People only throw stones at trees that have borne fruits”. They are many people out there who sit behind a computer and try their best to put others through hell. I have not read your book yet but you must have done an amazing job to receive all those raving reviews. Keep writing! You’ve surely got a lot of support. 🙂

  9. People can be so hateful! I had someone recently leave a comment on my facebook business page that came at just the right moment, when I was already down on myself . I deleted it but it stuck with me for a few days.
    Words can never hurt you was another childhood lie!

  10. I didn’t know any of this stuff was going on, but now I do I’d like to send along my words if support to you, for what they’re worth. Stick with the mindfulness of you can, and know there’s a lot of people rooting for you and that trolls are usually deeply unhappy people themselves.

  11. I can’t believe how awful this is lovely Louise. I suppose being as talented and beautiful as you are will engender jealousy, but I hope you don’t feel too hurt and besmirched by this. You deseve love and support, not hateful comments x

  12. I’m so sorry that happened to you. I know I would feel exactly the same as you. I rarely ever re-read a book and I’m not even one for self-help books but one that I always go back to is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It can be very hard to truly believe but whatever this person had to say has absolutely nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.

  13. What a terrible experience! Why a stranger, would do something like that, just to hurt another person, I’ll never understand. Jealousy, screams the loudest, as to the possible reason in my mind. I personally loved your book and posted my 5* star review on several sites. You have talent, oodles of it! When a person acts angry or mean, especially for no concrete reason, it’s a statement about them, not you. Keep writing, I’ll be reviewing your next book!

  14. Don’t even know where to start with this, Louise, but I suspect those messages of support you’ve received will have covered it all already. As with all bullies, in many respects, you’ve got to feel sorry for them that they have such little self-esteem the only way they can gain a sense of importance is to try to knock others down. Obviously, you still want to smash their face in, but you’d like to do it while feeling sorry for them.
    Big hugs!

  15. Well, Louise, I’m not going to click the ‘like’ button because receiving such awful, vindictive abuse is not ‘likeable’ and it certainly isn’t OK. Trashing an author, even if you don’t enjoy her/his book is never justified. You must feel violated. Trolls these days have nothing in common with the little fairy folk of yesteryear. They are petty, narrow-minded, without semblance of brain. There are much worse words I could use, as you may imagine, but I’ll stop there. Rise above it – I’m sure you will – don’t let these idiots win!
    I haven’t managed to get myself a copy of ‘The Surrogate’ yet but I WILL do so soon, and I WILL review it. Just keep writing stuff that people want to read, and pile up the ‘good’ reviews. That’ll be your revenge. All the very best, Drew

  16. Oh, Louise, this is the third post I’ve responded to this week about trolls from bloggers who I regularly follow. I thank you first for sharing your story because this is a reality for writers who share their work, something we have to prepare ourselves for when it happens, not just if it happens.
    It saddens me too that you have had to deal with this because I can relate to hearing the negative voices over the positive ones. Anyone can leave a review. There are no qualifications, there’s no proving that they have any knowledge or expertise in the area, and truth be told, most people who feel the need to be that harsh could never be brave enough to write a book to begin with, let alone share it with the world. There is nothing to learn from someone who is so cruel. You have those who you trust who can offer you critiques and feedback.
    And the cruel things she said are already disproven. You have made it as an author. Your books continue to be bestsellers, and you have several books published. It wasn’t a fluke! These are not accomplishments achieved by paying a few bloggers to write nice reviews. These were earned, just by sharing your work. You would have been successful by achieving so much less, but you’re shining brilliantly.
    Keep writing, and keep spreading your light where others try to spread their darkness.

  17. Oh dear, Louise, it’s so easy to be metaphorically punched in the stomache by people whose behaviour we just can’t understand. It always baffles me how someone can allow themselves to be so cruel. What do they get from it, I wonder? Whatever that may be, it has to be ignored and eventually forgotten. Thank you for sharing your feelings. Stay strong. You are admired and appreciated by many, many people.

      • You’re welcome! I know. That fact scares me. It’s one of the reasons I have always shied away from being too socially visible. But that has its drawbacks, of course. Modern technological life is a rocky road. I suppose we just have to try to walk along it as serenely as possible, no matter what anyone says or does to knock us over… Keep writing and keep smiling, you’re fab😀.

  18. I’m so sorry to hear this. I recently had my Facebook page hacked and the experience left me depressed and exhausted, though I’m sure your experience must have been worse. The feeling of violation is horrible. As others have said, it’s the person responsible who has the problem, not you.

  19. Hi Louise, I’ve had a tiny experience of this with someone whose name begins with M – don’t suppose your troll’s name does, too? I know it’s easy to say ‘Take no notice’ – it’s so hard when their intention is to be vicious. I’m so sorry you’ve had this happen to you – you’re a great writer – I LOVED ‘The Sister’ and ‘The Surrogate’ is on my TBR list. You have to feel sorry for someone who shows the blackness of her soul to everyone in every word she writes. What a sad and pathetic life she has, that she has to pour scorn on a complete stranger. It doesn’t take a psychoanalyst to know that scorn is misdirected. Keep going with your writing and try to block trolls without actually reading what they say. xx

  20. I somehow managed to miss all this otherwise I would have been in your corner! Sorry you had to go through this, some people are so jealous and twisted if they get their kicks this way. I, as you know have reviewed The Surrogate today and will proudly share it everywhere it’s a splendid book and I look forward to what comes next. Take care lovely xxx

  21. I’m so sorry that you had to face this Louse!
    Take sometime out away from social media if you think it might help! We will all be still sat here for you when you return.

  22. I’m so sorry and saddened that this happened to you Louise, it always seems to be the nicest people that get the most awful treatment. Having an opinion is one thing but to spread it so vindictively and maliciously is another. I am so glad that there were plenty of people to shout loudly for you and were there in your corner, had I been around at the time I would have gladly added my voice to the chorus singing your praises.
    Never doubt how wonderfully talented you are, you have achieved a great deal with your THREE books, they are superb books and you should be proud.

    Don’t let the buggers grind you down, we won’t let ’em!
    Take care lovely xxx

  23. Oh my, Louise. I’m very sorry for all you’ve been through. I’ve been watching on the slide lines as your book “The Surrogate” was getting its rave reviews and the various book stores that have “The Sisters” on the must read list and; then, this hoorible thing that’s happened to you. I do hope you don’t take that to heart. I know it’s difficult to ignore negative comments but jealously of someone’s success can make people evil. I think you should ‘Thank Her” and write all about her in your next novel. Poo – to her.
    I haven’t left a review for the Sisters yet but I read it and loved it. I’ve had a bit of a hard time lately due to Hurricane Irma here in Florida. Our home needs some repairs which has keft me silent in the blog world for quite sometimes. I hope to get back to reading the many wonderful posts that a;; of you post. Slowly I will make my way back.
    Be STRONG …
    Isadora 😎

  24. There will always be trolls and, in today’s wide-open forums, they are given way more freedom to just be vindictive. They are worth nothing. They are nobody. Hard as it is, just focus on the positive reviews and honest critique and imagine these trolls as those hateful gunmen out there randomly shooting people they know nothing about. She is basically one of those.

  25. I’m sorry to hear this happened to you. No doubt this person is only able to write mean things about others efforts, but would never have the nerve or fortitude to actually go through the incredibly difficult process of completing a manuscript themselves. Stay brave and don’t let the trolls get you down.

Thanks so much for reading!

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