So, recently an article was published on the Huffington Post where the author suggested that JK Rowling would stop writing if she truly loved it–mostly because she was taking shelf space from other writers. There were several points made in the article I feel compelled to respond to. Her points are in bold with my responses in plain text:
- The article opens with a “people will think this is sour grapes but…” type of statement where the writer admits a friend expressed horror over the article title. She warned the author that’s what it would come off as and it did. No matter how the author tried to justify her piece, there was no denying the undercurrent of envy in the piece. The lesson? When a friend gives you such advice, it might be wise to listen.
- It was okay for Rowling to “potter about”, but putting out the adult novel was too much, especially when put together with the crime novel written under a different name. It’s making it hard for others to get noticed. I must wholeheartedly disagree with these points. If a writer is moved to try something in another genre, why can’t they do it? Should we limit ourselves as artists to fit into a certain box that others will be comfortable with? Should we worry that by branching out, we are limiting the opportunities of others? I think not.
- She admits to never having read the Harry Potter books but seems to dismiss them, saying they are surely not as intellectually stimulating as adult material. First off, I can’t even comprehend how someone can make such a judgement against a series they have never even read. How do you really know? What might you be missing out on by dismissing something because it is “for kids”? Take Christopher Pike, for example. I highly admire (and strive to emulate) the work he does, as he works deep spiritual and philosophical ideals into his work. He deals with life after death, good vs. evil, meditation, and much more without ever writing down to his readers. Not only that, but he works in history and mythology as well and I, for one, have no shame in continuing to read YA material despite being out of the demographic. The lesson? Let’s not judge a book by its genre (or target group).
- JK Rowling has “had her turn” in the adult world and needs to step aside now so others have have a chance. Again, the idea that one writer achieving success means others can’t have that same success is a huge leap. I also can’t help but wonder what right anyone has to tell someone else they have had their opportunity. Miss Rowling’s turn will keep going as long as people enjoy and continue to buy her work. Each of us will get our turn when we’ve earned it. The lesson here: Keep doing good work and realize you can’t control how and when people discover it. All you can do is write your story to the best of your ability and hope people enjoy it. You work as hard as you can to promote, but you can’t make people buy your work, especially when you decide to attack one of the most popular and successful authors of this century.
Basically, it seems that this author took a calculated risk by taking shots at a popular, well-known name to get attention. Who can blame her, really? The media is filled with stories of celebrities getting DUIs, having private tapes “stolen”, and acting as insane as possible on a reality show and getting turned into big names. We are in an age where it’s easy to buy into the idea that any publicity is good publicity. However, based on the attack reviews this author is now getting on Amazon, it seems this is one risk that backfired. I feel sorry for her in that regard, as I don’t think amazon book reviews are the proper forum for responding to her statements, but that is the chance she took. Maybe that’s yet another lesson we can learn from this.
I wish the author of the article luck. It appears, after the response her article has attracted, she may need it.