JK Rowling should stop writing…because why?Posted: February 27, 2014 Filed under: On writing | Tags: jealousy, publishing 3 Comments
A few days ago, a Huffington Post, um, post went viral on Facebook. Here it is. If you haven’t read it, go on. I’ll wait.
Back? Are you as outraged as I am?
Never mind the fact that post’s author, Lynn Shepherd, admits she has never read Harry Potter and yet implies insulting things about the mental capacity of any adult who reads the series, “…mainly because there’s [sic] so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds…”
Never mind her assumption that there is only a finite amount of success to go around, and that Rowling hogging it all results in Lynn (can I call you Lynn?) and other writers getting less.
Never mind the fact she’s targeting one of very few blockbuster female writers. Why not aim it at Stephen King, say? Is it because he hasn’t dabbled in mystery like Rowling has—which, if true, clearly gives Lynn’s objection the pungent aroma of sour grapes? Or is it because he’s a man, whereas Rowling, as a woman, should be more considerate of others? (Uh oh…)
Never even mind her assumption that writers are only entitled to write and have success in one field—in Rowling’s case, children’s fiction. They definitely shouldn’t branch out into other fields of writing endeavour. That’s just greedy.
The things that get me are the two, fatal flaws in Lynn’s logic.
If it weren’t for JK Rowling making readers of teenagers who otherwise might have spent their time playing Farmville, there would be, well, less readers. These are readers who, as adults, might dabble in mystery because Rowling went there. Readers who might then read other mystery novels.
And if it weren’t for JK Rowling, her publisher would have less money. It may not exist at all or, if it did, it’s publishing team would be less likely to risk paying advances to debut authors. It would have less money to spend on lower-return print runs by mid-list authors.
These are the reasons why blockbuster novels and writers are always a good thing. Yes, always. Regardless of what you think of Twlight’s portrayal of romance, or 50 Shades of Grey’s “representation” of BDSM, or The Da Vinci Code’s alleged (although not substantiated in court) plagiarism, they bring money into the industry and get people reading who otherwise might not.
If the price other authors pay for these benefits is that the blockbuster author gets the display at the front of the store, so be it.
There are only two reasons I can think of why Lynn would write that article. One is that she genuinely believes Rowling is taking a place in the mystery genre that rightfully belongs to others (aka “herself”). The other is that she figures bad attention is better than no attention. I’m sure her books are getting a lot of views on Amazon at the moment—although most of it is probably one-star reviews by Rowling’s fans, so I struggle to see the benefit there too.
To me, Lynn’s post looks like career suicide. Am I missing something?
I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw that post the other day; you’ve pretty much summed up everything I was thinking while reading it. I just can’t understand how someone could think that–let alone blog it on Huffington Post. Urgh, I suppose everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this is one I just can’t understand.
Great post, Cassandra. (:
It is my opinion that it reflects the majority of what the HuffPo stands for. They see everything through a “Zero-sum mentality”. That’s to say, they believe that for someone to get something, they must take it from someone else. So, if you’re successful, it is your fault someone else is a failure. It is sad that anyone views them as a reliable source of any kind of information or honest thought.
As for JK. I loved the Potter series but have not read any of her additional work. Not to say I won’t, but I have other books I want to read more. If she enjoys writing, and people are willing to support her through purchases, I hope she continues. You never know when she will write a new book or series that could become greater than Potter.
It’s got to be for the hits alone that she would write uninformed drivel like that. If she couldn’t take the time to actually read JK Rowling’s work, she shouldn’t publicly slam her. The good news is that anything she says won’t even touch JK Rowling. However, if she had chosen to slam, say, any of us smaller time authors, it could have a negative impact on our sales and fan base, losing us potential readers that could be missing out on a really good book. For that, it’s appalling that a HuffPo blogger would write something they weren’t even informed on.