You’ve probably heard about this article over at Huffington Post or maybe you’ve read it already. It’s creating quite the buzz. Essentially the writer of the article, an author herself, feels that because J.K Rowling is such a huge success and if she truly loves writing, she should retire so other writers can take a shot at success. You can imagine why this is creating such a noise. At first I thought it was a tongue-in-cheek piece, but all the evidence points to the contrary. She also riled me with this little nugget:
“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.“
It angers me that there are people out there who would shame others for their choice in books or who would tell others what they should read or enjoy. I hate this elitist crap. It has no place in a book lover’s world. A true book lover’s world. And you know what, Rowling, in my opinion, instilled a love of reading in millions of people of all ages. That is quite the achievement.
I love to read and I read a lot. Authors do not compete for my dollars. My taste and mood determine what I read. In fact, I strongly believe that authors do not compete with each other. The notion that we do is a fallacy. I think the writer’s resentment is wrongly focussed. There could be many reasons for her writing this piece. Maybe it’s to get eyeballs on her work, following the “any publicity is good publicity” route, or she is harboring some actual resentment. I don’t know. It sounds like resentment, though. What I do know is that Rowling worked hard to get where she is today. Her circumstances wasn’t the best, but through sheer determination she carved a place for herself on top of that mountain. I will never begrudge Rowling her success. I will never begrudge any writer their success. Rather, it’s a cause for celebration.
I didn’t intend to leave a comment when I read the article, but I did anyway. This is what I wrote:
“I’m saddened by this article. Surely you must have known the reaction it would cause. The fact that you haven’t read her Potter books, or that you’re telling people what they should read or enjoy only further cements this feeling. As an author, and I’m going to assume reader (though you’re obviously limited by your tastes), you should know that writing isn’t a zero-sum game. Another author’s success won’t hamper your own attempts, nor will it prevent people from reading your work. Like most readers out there, I don’t buy just one book a year, or even one a month. I read a lot which means I buy a lot. So, her success isn’t preventing you from being read. Attitude and writing style and story are your enemies. And as enemies they are formidable. They could have minions, I suppose, but that is a different discussion. Anyway, I don’t know you at all nor have I read anything you’ve written which means I don’t know if you’re being tag-teamed by all three these bad guys. So what I suggest you do, and please know, this is only a suggestion–I won’t ever dare to tell anyone what to do–but get your defenses up, and protect yourself from these tag-teaming cowards. They have this thing where they color your lenses, twist your perception of reality. I suspect that’s mostly Attitude’s doing. He’s a slimy bastard that one. But don’t fret, there are weapons you can use. Rowling harnessed those and she won.”
I felt a little better afterwards. Posting the comment deflated my surly mood, but only for a short while. Her words kept bugging me, and so I blogged about it hoping that writing would get it out of my system. Hopefully this will be the end of it.
My apologies for the tone of this post. I just believe that writers shouldn’t fight each other. We should celebrate each other.