Critics and industry watchers can hypothesize all they want to about what’s wrong with publishing. Is it these upstart authors coming along and thinking they deserve to publish their garbage? Is it the publishers who wield their iron-leashed authority while practically stealing from authors with their abusive contracts?
No. It’s articles like this one by author Lynn Shepherd, which basically tells JK Rowling, “You had your shot, go back to writing kiddie books and leave adult fiction to us.” Shepherd goes so far as to say that Rowling’s continued publishing efforts are actually bad for the industry as whole, as evidenced by her headline. She suggests that Rowling continue writing for her own pleasure, but that she give up publishing.
This is what’s wrong with the industry. Through troll-like behavior, even “real” authors have taken public stabs at each other while the reading consumers sit back watching the tennis match-style back and forth exchanges. Happily, I am not expecting Rowling to respond to this garbage, as Shepherd’s most recent title is sitting firmly in the 700,000 range on Amazon’s bestseller list. If anyone cares, that’s about 696,000 spots below Snooki’s from Jersey Shore‘s book on motherhood.
And that makes me smile.
According to Shepherd, “So this is my plea to JK Rowling. Remember what it was like when The Cuckoo’s Calling had only sold a few boxes and think about those of us who are stuck there, because we can’t wave a wand and turn our books into overnight bestsellers merely by saying the magic word. By all means keep writing for kids, or for your personal pleasure – I would never deny anyone that – but when it comes to the adult market you’ve had your turn.”
Luckily, news came today that there may be as many as seven planned titles in Rowling’s series, written as Robert Gilbraith, so Shepherd’s misguided nastiness is hopefully equally pointless. There is no room for public author bashing, certainly not from a disgruntled-yet-traditionally published author whose works just aren’t selling. Her sad attempts at marketing herself with a sensationalist headline and subsequent spoiled-little-girl rant will hopefully not pay off, while someone with the poise and talent of Rowling will ideally not even bother to read the post.