Remember that I call my Blog "Genrefied." I do that because I genuinely believe that writers should write what they want to write and then do their best to sell it. I've written and sold horror, science fiction, comic books, roleplaying game rules and fiction, young adult fiction, and several fusions of all of the above. I am currently writing a crime novel with co-author Charles R. Rutledge, writing an apocalyptic sci-fi piece for one publisher (It hasn't actually been announced yet so I'll avoid dropping names), editing a media tie in novel for the Alien Franchise, waiting on line edits for a THE BLASTED LANDS, my latest Fantasy novel, Working out the final scenes for a weird Western, and am in negotiations for a third book in my Subject Seven Young Adult series. I've written advice columns and have a book of non-fiction essays under consideration right now.
I'm kind of all over the place and I rather like it that way.
So when I see someone called on doing exactly what I think we should all be doing, I pull out my soapbox and make a quick statement. This is one of those moments and the person I'm defending most assuredly does not need my help but she's getting it anyway. Why? Because I admire J.K. Rowling and the article I'm disagreeing with annoys me.
I'm not a massive force in publishing and I'm the first to admit it.
Would I like to be? Absolutely. Will it happen? No idea, but I'll keep trying….
What I will NOT do, however, is resort to the sort of whining diatribe offered by Lynn Shepherd (Who has apparently written a couple of novels that are in print and more power to her) offers up as justification for why a successful author should bow out and make room for everyone else.
Here, take a break and read the Huffington Post article if you haven't already. It isn't overly long and I can wait. I work under the assumption that this is an editorial piece.
I'm sure that Ms. Shepherd is well-intentioned, but honestly, what a load of fecal matter. The gist of this seems to be that, because J.K. Rowling has achieved a phenomenal level of success, because the demand for her books is staggering, she best selling author should quit writing and allow more room for other authors.
I believe one suggestion comes down to Ms. Rowling knowing her place, and trying to contain her writing to things she writes for children and things she just writes for herself. How very rude of her to want to write in other areas.
Again, what a load of fecal matter.
Doubly so because Ms. Shepherd makes this (suggestion? demand? desperate plea to let her play at the big writers table?) in the same breath where she admits to having read none of Ms. Rowling's works.
I'm a mid list writer. I can accept that. I am a fan of writing. I love reading books. I love a good story. These are things that make me happy, and a lot of what I read might be obscure, but you can bet I can enjoy a well-written best seller with the best of them (and can throw aside a best selling piece of tripe, too.).
Know what I do when I hear about a writer that no one can resist? I go buy a book and read it. A lot of times I'm pleasantly surprised, though I'll also admit that there are plenty of occasions where I'm disappointed. It's the curse of being a writer, I think, that we're obligated to read with a critical eye and often find ourselves wondering what the hype is all about. It's also a delight when we run across books where the flaws are either minimal or easily ignored. Tom Monteleone once compared the writer's ability to read a book as roughly the same as a mechanic's ability to enjoy a good car ride. There's a need to pop the hood and checkout the inner mechanics to understand what makes that beast run so well or why the engine ticks and stutters. I don't think he's at all wrong.
What I don't do. What I don't ALLOW myself the luxury of doing, is whine about how somebody else got all the breaks or how that person's good fortune is somehow kneecapping everyone else.
I've never met Ms. Shepherd. She might be a mighty fine writer in her own right and she might have the very best of intentions with her article. I just completely disagree with her sentiment.
My advice? Go buy Ms. Rowling's books, any and/or all of them and find out what makes her a phenomenon. If that's too much effort, go the Hollywood route and Netflix the movie adaptations. Rowling shows more depth in her characters than a goodly number of successful writers and she also does what every writer should strive to do: She evolves as a writer.
Or, barring that suggestion, sit down and write another novel. Do your very best to make it amazing and then do your very best to sell it. Then try promoting it and hope for a larger piece of the proverbial pie. In other words, EARN your way, the exact same way that Stephen King, J.K. Rowling Tom Clancy and dozens of other best sellers have managed over the years. The same way mid-listers have been doing it for as long as there have been publishers of popular fiction.
The results are probably going to work better for earning your place as a writer than whining about how somebody stole your seat at that big writers table.