You never know when or where they will slither out from under their slimy rocks. A friend brought this Huffpost article to my attention. Go ahead and read. I’ll wait.
Okay ready? I’ve written about gatekeepers before and ironically I had just posted a note on a writers forum about how authors, published and unpublished, need to support each other. When authors start to turn on each other it gives the impression that selling books is a zero-sum game. It’s not. J.K. Rowling’s outer-stratosphere success does not prevent any other author from selling just as many books. Did E.L. James’ success prevent Stephanie Meyer from selling more books? Of course not.
“Publishing a book is hard enough at the best of times, especially in an industry already far too fixated with Big Names and Sure Things, but what can an ordinary author do, up against such a Golgomath?”
Publishing is hard? Cry me a river. Or how about this one: There’s no crying in publishing. Any author who does his or her homework knows publishing success is not easily achievable. If you write a story with interesting characters, a stimulating plot, and an emotionally satisfying ending (note: not necessarily a happy ending), you will sell copies of your book even if you publish it yourself. If you write a story that taps into the zeitgeist of a generation like Rowling, Meyer, and James you’re going to sell a hell of a lot of copies.
Going up against Golgomath (or Goliath for the muggles) in publishing is nothing new. If you write romance, you’re up against Nora Roberts; horror, Stephen King; thriller, James Patterson — the list goes on. Here’s the catch: even if George R.R. Martin stopped writing tomorrow it would have absolutely no effect on whether or not my fantasy novels sold. Selling my story is my responsibility. Marketing myself in a way that let’s readers know my book is out there is also my responsibility. GRRM has nothing to do with it.
“Rowling has no need of either the shelf space or the column inches, but other writers desperately do.”
Actually, she does. It hurts to admit, I know, but readers and fans are fickle and the kids who fell in love with Harry Potter’s adventures have grown up. The readers who loved Rowling yesterday, might not follow her career as closely as they once did, so yes, getting her name out there in a positive light is very important. Enjoyment of a book published ten years ago, doesn’t guarantee the reader will buy the same author’s books tomorrow. You have to keep reminding them of how much they enjoyed the book they bought last year because by the time you write a new book your readers have done something astounding: they’ve bought other books by other authors. Funny how that happens.
“I didn’t much mind Rowling when she was Pottering about. I’ve never read a word…I did think it a shame that adults were reading them…mainly because there’s so many other books out there that are surely more stimulating for grown-up minds.”
Never read Harry Potter but she knows what a Golgomath is? I was going to rant about doing your homework before spewing on the internet, but I’m going to let this one lie because its just too easy to rip to shreds. Feel free shred in the comments, though.
Here’s the kicker. The author who penned this piece now has spend her time apologizing all over the internet because – surprise! – fans of J.K. Rowling are pissed. An author who might have done just fine selling her books now has to spend time defending herself instead of writing her next book. This is a case of the gate hitting an author in the ass on her way out.