When I was a child, I went to a Catholic primary school. I wasn’t Catholic, nor were any of my family, though if you ask my stepmother, I asked to be on one occasion when she said that I couldn’t be a vegetarian. It never really occurred to me that it was an odd decision for my parents to send me to a Catholic school, not until a few years ago, at least.
I asked my mum about it, wondering what it was that made them decide to send us there, especially seeing as there are three schools in the town. I expected them to say that it was the catchment or something like that, but apparently, it wasn’t.
When my parents moved to the town, they went to every one of the schools for a meeting before deciding. The reason they chose St. Mary’s, my mother told me, was that all of the other schools bashed each other. “Don’t send your kids there, they’ll…” “That school is awful, they don’t have…” St. Mary’s was the only school to talk about why they were good, not why the others were bad. This was why they chose that school.
You might think I’m a little barmy for talking about this, but it’s actually pretty relevant to what has happened today. Today, an article came out from an author, telling JK Rowling to stop writing. The article claimed that JK Rowling should bow out because her fame through Harry Potter sucks the oxygen from the publishing industry whenever she releases a book. Her release of a book means no other new titles get a look in.
Now, aside from sounding very much like sour grapes, this article, to me, was ridiculous. Books are not an only buy one type of product. In fact, I find that it is quite the opposite. The more books people read, the more they buy. A reader buys a JK Rowling book, and once they finish, they hanker for something else to read, so they go out looking for similar authors.
Not only that, but the author admitted to never having read a book by JK Rowling. They also insulted fans by saying that they can’t understand why adults would read the Harry Potter books. Well, because they’re a really good story, perhaps? Because we enjoy them?
This isn’t the only thing that happened today. This specific author received a rather substantial backlash against her article via her reviews on amazon. I don’t actually condone readers attacking an author via bad reviews, but in this instance, I don’t find myself feeling all that sorry for her. Authors can gain a rather loyal fan base, and suggesting that a talented and well loved author stop writing just so that there is more space in the market is stupid. Suggesting it on a large and popular website like the Huffington Post is even more so.
So yeah, the moral of this story is that saying someone else is bad does not make you better. Insulting the writing of other authors does not make your writing any better. If you want to sell more books, publicise yourself, don’t bash others.
When your writing is good, you can stand on your own merit. You don’t need to make others look bad. In fact, if you do lash out, you might only end up harming yourself.