Author Hilariously Tells J.K. Rowling To Stop Writing "If She Cares"
Look, I'm not sure if I've ever poked fun at Fifty Shades of Grey, but I know that recently, I've avoided doing so for two reasons. First, I haven't read the book, and if I'm going to publicly criticize something I should base my assessment of its quality off of first-hand experience. Second, as someone who hopes to enter the literary world, I don't feel that it's wise to make enemies of authors and publishers that have already succeeded before I have the chance to succeed myself.
So when I was asked by our editor to write about author Lynn Shepherd's Huffington Post article, which basically attacks J.K. Rowling for being too successful, I felt somewhat trapped as to how I should respond. Thanks, Josh.
The article is a short read, but let's take a look at some of the highlights.
I didn't much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I've never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can't comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent. I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there's so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.
In other words, "I can't comment on whether the books were good or bad because I haven't read them, but I'll give it the old college try anyway!"
She later states about The Casual Vacancy:
It wasn't just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile. That book sucked the oxygen from the entire publishing and reading atmosphere.
And then later...
So this is my plea to J.K. Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo's Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there, because we can't wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word.
It's a cute analogy to say "magic word" in reference to a fantasy author's success, but I wouldn't call writing one of the most famous books in the world during a period of divorce, homelessness, single-parenthood, and clinical depression with suicidal contemplations a "magic word" for success. In fact, I'd dare say she's earned every success for that reason alone.
By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure — I would never deny anyone that — but when it comes to the adult market you've had your turn. Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you're doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it's time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.
"Please stop writing books for the market that my books are published in, since you've already got money and success, and I don't."
Look, I'm not a particularly capitalistic person, but if there is one thing I've realized about the writing world during the writing of my own novel, it's that nobody should get into this field with the expectation of fame and riches. You really have to be driven by something deep here, and every single word needs to feel like a small victory. But what Ms. Shepherd appears to be suggesting is that Rowling should be happy with the success she's earned, and should stop, because apparently, there is no more reason for Rowling to continue writing in the adult market. She's already got money, so why the hell else would she want to keep writing?
It's just a ridiculous argument. Although my book is a young adult novel dealing with magical realism, I in no way feel threatened by Rowling's success in the fantasy genre. Inspired, sure, and perhaps a bit intimidated that she could write something so successful, but I have no reason to believe that the Harry Potter books will keep my book off the shelf. If my book doesn't succeed, it's because it didn't resonate with fans the same way that Harry Potter did. There's room enough on the bookshelf for both.
Since Ms. Shepherd is so concerned about her own works getting exposure, I've posted one of her novels in the Amazon links below. I've also published the link to The Cuckoo's Calling, because it just feels right.
What do you think? Does she have a point? Is this a publicity stunt? Sour grapes? Sound off in the comments.
To leave a comment