Sunday, 13 April 2014

The Lyn Shepherd / JK Rowling Argument

Hi Guys,

Recently a writer by the name of Lyn Shepherd wrote a piece for the Huffington Post entitled that if JK Rowling cared about writing she should stop doing it.

Now I don't know why she wrote this. Her thesis was that JK Rowling is so successful as an author that her books crowd the shelves and make it hard for other less well known authors to compete. Personally I find this argument incredibly weak, (I could use other words). And to me as an outsider it really does look like a case of sour grapes, or worse perhaps, a cynical marketing ploy to sell her own books through some negative PR of a successful author. However I don't know the woman and I could be completely mistaken.

Regardless of that my thought on the thrust of the article is that it's completely wrong. We as writers and authors should applaud those who are successful in the industry, and perhaps JK Rowling most of all. Maybe it's fine to feel a little envious, it's only human after all, but in the end I believe these authors do more to help the less successful authors than they could ever do to harm them. JK Rowling is a case in point.

Her Harry Potter books are widely credited as having revived a flagging genre - fantasy, as having brought people back to reading, and even as having helped with encouraging children to read. And this phenomenon has been studied by some accredited researchers:

So my view is that if JK Rowling puts out a new book say once a year and knocks a few other big named authors from their top perches, it doesn't really bother me. It's just part and parcel of working in a competitive industry. If on the other hand her books inspire children to read and bring people away from their tv screens to read fantasy, that is an awesome thing. It can only be good for the children, and for the rest of us authors as well.

So I say good on JK, and write, write, write!

Cheers, Greg.