Ohhhh, have I been itching for another literary rant, and now is my chance!
The blogosphere attacked with full force last week, this time at Lynn Shepherd, a novelist and copywriter who recently wrote on The Huffington Post, “If J.K. Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It.”
Let’s just take a look at her complaints, shall we?
I didn’t much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent. I did think it a shame that adults were reading them (rather than just reading them to their children, which is another thing altogether), mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.
Ah yes, another uber-sophisticated person who thinks she’s above Harry Potter. How original. It’s one thing to judge a writer without reading her work (heck, I did it to Nicholas Sparks with zero regret). But she never even saw the movies? Was she living under a rock from 2001-2011? Perhaps, because *surprise surprise* up until this drivel was published, no one but her fellow HuffPo click-baiters had even heard of her.
Then Shepherd throws shade at Rowling’s adult novels, starting with A Casual Vacancy:
It wasn’t just that the hype was drearily excessive, or that (by all accounts) the novel was no masterpiece and yet sold by the hundredweight, it was the way it crowded out everything else, however good, however worthwhile.
You know what? Too bad! Rowling is insanely rich and famous now, and that means no matter what she writes–even if it suffers critical reviews like A Casual Vacancy in fact did–her fanbase is large enough that she’s still going to make bestseller lists. As a former single mother living on welfare, Rowling managed to overcome the odds and become successful. Good for her, and shame on anyone who would want her to give up on her dreams.
Shepherd continues playing the world’s smallest violin with this nonsense:
I know she used a pseudonym, and no doubt strenuous efforts were indeed made to conceal her identity, but there is no spell strong enough to keep that concealed for long.
So you acknowledge the fact that Rowling tried to remain anonymous, and you still diss her? I can’t comprehend the cognitive dissonance that takes. Rowling has never fought for anyone’s attention; she’s a very private person who rarely does interviews or public appearances.
And she donates more to charity than you could ever hope to earn in your lifetime. Seriously, the woman donated $160 MILLION a couple years back, knocking herself off the Forbes billionaire list. Green isn’t your color, Shepherd, and now you just made millions of people see red with this poorly crafted pity party.
Shepherd ends her article with this:
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. Enjoy your vast fortune and the good you’re doing with it, luxuriate in the love of your legions of fans, and good luck to you on both counts. But it’s time to give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe.
Come on, we all know that you don’t mean “other writers:” you mean yourself. God forbid you work on perfecting your craft when you can just demand more talented people take a back seat. With your line of thinking, Beyonce should stop singing, Meryl Streep should stop acting, and Jared Leto should stop doing both AND chop off his gorgeous hair (Just kidding Jared, don’t do that. Our future wedding photos will look dreadful!)
Shepherd is what I’d like to coin as a creative communist. Guess what? Life isn’t fair! You shouldn’t get trophies for participation or blame others for your lack of success. Suck it up, work harder, and be grateful for what you have. Rowling is not your competition; your ugly attitude is what’s getting in your own way.
And might I point out that it’s a bit sexist that you targeted Rowling solely, when there are plenty of male authors saturating the adult fiction market, like James Patterson and Stephen King. They’ve been writing crime and suspense for much longer, but you just had to get your panties in a twist and start a catfight. Petty much?
Fortunately for karmic justice, no one can write without thinking and not suffer the consequences. Her article gained over 700 comments, most verbally ripping her to shreds. Jezebel called her out with their own critique, and Amazon now hosts dozens of one-star reviews of Shepherd’s novels, written in retaliation. Hell hath no fury like Dumbledore’s army scorned!
So I hope you’ve learned your lesson, Lynn Shepherd, and eaten the huge slice of humble pie that the Internet has served you. I’m glad you sent an apology to The Guardian, because you have a lot of sucking up to do now. It’s a shame that you had to resort to such pathetic levels to find a spotlight, a plan which backfired with gusto and essentially killed your career.
Now please go back into literary oblivion where you came from.