How to ruin your reputation in a single step

By now you’ve all read about the woman who dared voice her opinion on JK Rowling’s writing. The woman who sat there and decided that she should open her mouth and tell the world exactly how she feels, urging JK Rowling to stop hogging the spotlight and give other authors a chance to make it big and reap the rewards of millions of readers, movie deals, and general adoration.

Or vitriol. Because Game of Thrones.
Or hatred. Because Game of Thrones.

No matter which way you look at it, all authors dream about the fame, the movie deals, the legions of fans and special showings, and all the trappings that come with it. The goal of any artist is to see their work come alive in some way, shape, or form. Not all artists do their craft for the money, but money is how the bills get paid. Sad, I know, but that’s the way of the world.

There is nothing wrong with expressing an opinion. I do it all the time. Millions of bloggers and forum-haunters, Cracked/Buzzfeed/Huffpost articles, news outlets, practically every person in the world shares their opinion in one shape or form. 

But, ladies and gentlemen, there is one thing you do not do if you want to be taken halfway seriously as a person with higher brain capacity.

You do not, I say again DO NOT, introduce an article/blog entry/tweet/ Facebook post with:

I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent.

By doing this, you have completely invalidated your opinion. When you admit to the fact that you have never read/seen any part of the thing you will then proceed to complain about YOU DON’T GET TO COMPLAIN ABOUT IT.

End of discussion.

I can understand her frustration, I really can. I’ve had anxiety attacks because I will, eventually, be putting my own work out there up against other authors who have much more of a following that I do; who have won awards, accolades, and have a fan base which will pick up their next book. And it absolutely terrifies me. Am I jealous? Hell yes. I would give anything to be the next George Martin. I’d even take the hatred and revel in it, because it would mean that I’m doing something right.

I can even understand her desire for someone as well known as JK Rowling to stop writing, to ‘give the rest of us a chance’ and let other people shine just a little bit. It’s a desire that lets us know that we’re human. And, deep down, everyone wants to be discovered, to shine without really having to ‘work at it’; to be looked at and deemed the ‘next big thing’ and have all of our dreams come true from there on out.

I understand. I do. I have fantasies of appearing on The Daily Show, TIME, and even Ellen, talking about my book and what a success it is and how I came to write it. Who doesn’t have those fantasies?

Awesome Ellen is awesome.
Awesome Ellen is awesome.

But what really gets me about this woman’s article, is the slap in the face she’s given to readers. Not just to JK Rowling, who was dirt ass poor when Harry Potter came about, but to each and every reader she has and might have had.

In her article she bemoans the fact that JK Rowling commands legions of readers who pick up her book no matter what it is or which name she pens it under. She laments how adults read Harry Potter and liked it. As if being an adult somehow prevents you from enjoying books ‘written’ for a younger audience.

Because 40 year old women DIDN'T wear Team Jacob/Edward shirts and make the whole world shudder in horror.
Because 40 year old women DIDN’T wear Team Jacob/Edward shirts and make the sane world shudder in horror.

She goes on to say that if Rowling went away, people would finally have a reason to break away from her books and find something else.

I’ve been called a sheep and I do not appreciate it.

The only author I am a sheep to is George R. R. Martin.

All Men Must Die.
All Men Must Die.

Because, goddammit, Game of Thrones.

It may have taken me a year to finish A Dance of Dragons but, goddammit, Game of Thrones.

Now, the clincher. Since her Huffpo article has gone live, Ms Shepherd has received ridiculous amounts of 1-star reviews on her books in Amazon. Some people have been funny about it, others have been downright mean, and still others are throwing her words back in her face because, well, she started it.

Are they right?

Probably not.

Did she deserve it?

Probably not.

Did she ask for it?


Because, if you’re going to introduce an article/Facebook/tweet/blog with

I’ve never read a word (or seen a minute) so I can’t comment on whether the books were good, bad or indifferent.

You have opened the door and invited the nastiness in. So, ladies and gentlemen, think before you write. And, if you haven’t read (or watched) the source material, keep your mouth shut until you have.


2 thoughts on “How to ruin your reputation in a single step

  1. Forget the Viagra...Pass me a Carrot! says:

    Reblogged this on Forget the Viagra, Pass Me a Carrot and commented:
    I guess we are all guilty of a little envy of those who are successful. But, whilst I do admit to the occasional day dream, of me dressed to the nines, bedecked in bling on the red carpet at the Oscars, having been nominated for best adapted script!!!!! I hope I respect the process involved in producing not just books but also music, film and art. I expect this lady regrets her words now, but it just pays to remember the old adage. ‘Think before you speak’

    1. rjkeith says:

      I’m pretty sure she does regret her words in view of all the backlash she’s gotten. Then again, maybe she doesn’t. Who knows? Either way, bringing someone down because of jealousy is petty and immature. If you want to bring someone down, do it in the privacy of your own home where it’s called ‘venting’. Don’t do it online where it’s called ‘sour grapes’ and ‘alienating future customers’.
      Thanks so much for the re-blog!

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