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Don’t Ever Friend a “Fan”

Published October 22, 2015 by Maryanne

Selena's MurderFan murdered superstar Selena

A year ago when I published my first book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” (available on Amazon: it was suggested by an author friend that I start a Facebook page. Over the years I’ve had so many problems on Facebook, I didn’t like the idea. However, I started it up once again because it did help sell a lot of books. Then once I started doing book signings, “strangers” started coming to my events and “friending” me on Facebook. I had a very hard time using the word “fans.” It sounded so … so … so old and weird, like I was Gloria Swanson in “Sunset Boulevard” and the “little people” were peons buying my product.

Weirded out by “fan” I started calling those who brought my book, my “beloved readers.” It sounded more endearing than “fans.” But deep down, I wanted my readers to really be friends. They were buying my books and I felt I owed them my life. Dumb move. Making friends with fans is the biggest mistake any author, artist, actor, or musician can ever do. Fans are not friends.

Take the extreme case of Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, singer, songwriter, fashion designer who was murdered by a crazed fan. Her family told Selena she was too trusting. And her murderer confessed she killed Selena because she was jealous.

I too, was told all my life that I was too trusting. I’m friendly and personable and make friends very easily. Only to get stabbed in the back over and over again. I’m honest. I’m sweet. And I’m vulnerable. Twice in this past week I was told I was “too nice.”

I said to my husband, “I need to harden up.”

He said, “No, being sweet is what makes you special. You just have to remember, these people are not your friends.”

I’ve learned (the hard way) there’s a place for fans — in the audience. Do not exchange phone numbers. Do not friend them on Facebook. Do not let them take you out to dinner. Do not meet them for lunch. If they give you a gift, kindly accept it.

Learn how to be a respected author because you paid your dues in getting there. There is no shame in calling someone a “fan.” You earned the right to say that. You don’t always have to be so humble. Humble means people will take advantage.

As much as we’d like to believe everyone is equal, we are not.

Let’s be real. We’re not in the same league as Oscar winners and rock stars. And on that same note, our fans are not in our league either. Even if we’re just doing book signings in libraries in front of a small audience and getting royalty checks every few months, it’s a helluva lot more than most people are doing and that will provoke jealousy (the root of all evil).

People can be very nice to your face and stab you in the back. They might be excited and honored to be your friend at first. They may introduce you as their “author friend.” They may put great reviews of your product on Amazon. They may come to your events and tell you how beautiful you are. This doesn’t make them a “friend.” It’s like the old saying, “Easy come, easy go.” When people put you up on a pedestal, they’ll be the first to knock you down when they find out you’re human.

Or as the ego always dictates, they’ll knock you down when they find out you disagree with them politically, or spiritually, or even if you eat meat and they don’t.

We live in a crazy ego-driven world; people are control freaks and users. People only love you when it’s working to their advantage. Everyone loved the All American Ricky Nelson until he grew his hair long. That is what his song “Garden Party” is about — not pleasing others. Others don’t want you to have an  opinion of your own. If it doesn’t match theirs, you’ll have hell to pay.

I won’t get into the ugly side of being an author because some fans are so vain they’ll probably think this blog is about them. So let’s just say nasty people are good at it because that’s where their heart is — in a nasty place. If only that energy was directed into doing something creative, they’d be the ones signing autographs too. But they’re not … so the smoke starts coming out of the noses and the eyes turn green with envy.

This is why my husband advises, “Stick with your peers.” Those peers are my true friends who I can fight and disagree with, but who will never, ever really hurt me. Those peers are also the super cool acquaintances I’ve made in the creative world — the deejays who will have me on their radio shows or simply give me a shout out; my fellow authors who will surprise me with an email; the celebrities I’ve interviewed who on rare occasions drop me a line — even years after I’ve interviewed them; the librarians who book my programs; and anyone I work with in the art/music/publishing media world. That’s why I love my career so much, it’s about being with your friends and doing a little bit of work — an easy, breezy, enviable life.

So, to any new authors reading, I say, appreciate who you are and be real about it. Don’t humble yourself so much like I did that you put yourself in a vulnerable spot, set up for abuse. (Note: This is why famous celebrities on Facebook and Twitter DO NOT interact with their fans).

Have a little pride in yourself and realize that it’s OKAY to have fans and enjoy the fact that you do. Just keep them at bay. This way when you inadvertently piss them off, the worst thing they can do to you is write you a bad review. And at worst, bad reviews are pretty funny. At best, they are bad-ass because it means people are reading — and that’s just what a writer wants!

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta’s second book “Love Cats” is available on Amazon in paperback and kindle formats ( Her former fans loved it!

Cyber Bullying is a Crime and Will Be Treated As Such

Published July 8, 2015 by Maryanne

cyber bully

YAY! Since someone on Face Book was writing crap about me using my full name my WordPress stats started booming. It’s cool in a way because that brings more attention to my blog and my name. I kinda feel like Alice Cooper and his legendary chicken story. No publicity is bad publicity!

But nevertheless, even if you have a thick skin like I do and you can blow off cyber bullying with a roll of your eyes, I do encourage everyone who has been cyber bullied to contact officials.

Cyber bullying is a crime. People who harass others on public forums using their full name is slander and libel. This should be taught to all people who purchase Smart phones or computers — or even use library computers.

I know if this happens to you there are so many ways you want to react. You may even react a few times. If someone harasses you, that’s normal. But best to start avoiding the bully asap because if they are dumb enough to break the law knowing they could get in bad trouble for libel, you don’t know what else they are capable of doing.

People who bully are good at it because they do it often. If you fight with them, you’ll never win, because bullies are bullies. The reality of it, according to psychology, is that bullies are scared, insecure people living very unhappy lives. It makes sense because that’s where the aggression comes in. Misery loves misery. And going back in history, all the most creative, unique, secure, happy-with-themselves kinda individuals have been bullied. Because HAPPINESS is a threat to a bully, especially if you’re not paying attention to them.

I mention this in my book “On the Guest List: Adventures of a Music Journalist” Available on Amazon:

Now, I want to share something funny, not to make light of the subject, but to help those who are going through a bad time with cyber bullies because the following will put a lot into perspective for you. This is a pisser … check it out … Whenever someone writes a nasty comment about me on the internet. I look at the date of the comment. Then I remember what I was doing and laugh like hell because it goes something like this:

While you were bad-mouthing me on the internet, I was having a romantic walk on the beach with my husband. SWEET!

While you were bad-mouthing me on the internet, I was at the bank cashing my royalty check. SWEET!

While you were bad-mouthing me on the internet at the same time one of my favorite musicians liked one of my Face Book articles.  SWEET!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Get it? The one being bullied is always the winner! Because 10 out of 10 times you were doing something cool while some cyber dweeb was shit talking you.

Did I make you laugh? Good! Because cyber bullying is stressful and I want to help as many victims smile as I can. And believe me, it may seem like the end of the world when you’re constantly hearing losers call you names, “whore,” “pig,” “you suck” — it’s devastating. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s all very small because small attracts small. Intelligent people who are happy and at peace with themselves don’t act like that and will definitely support you and help you out. Share your story and you’d be surprised how many people will do nice things to come to your rescue!

Last year when my book first came out, I was a guest on The Bullyproof Classroom hosted by Jim Burns. Check out my super cool anti-bullying interview, it has a lot more awesomeness to listen to!

To report cyber bullying go directly to IC3.GOV

Maryanne Christiano-Mistretta is also the author of “Love Cats” available on Amazon in Kindle and paperback formats:

She is also a motivational speaker and would love to speak at your school, library, rotary club, etc. on Anti-Bullying.