Feral Friday – Are well known authors are holding back new authors?

It’s Feral Friday! And we here at Book Nerd Reviews thought we would discuss a topic that really sends us feral.

This week, we’re asking if well known authors are holding back new authors?

Kristy’s say:

The interwebs has gone crazy since an opinion piece titled “If JK Rowling Cares About Writing, She Should Stop Doing It” was posted on Huffington Post’s ‘Huffpost Culture’ (the article can be found here).

Now, I won’t go into a lot of my thoughts on this opinion piece, such as why was JK Rowling targeted and other authors were not, or why shouldn’t adults read Harry Potter, or why would someone criticise books they haven’t read yet… but, this opinion piece is largely focused on issues of “Big Name” writers who get hype and market space, whereas lesser known authors do not, and if suggests that maybe “Big Names” should move aside, or stick to their own genre?

My thoughts on this: NO! DEFINITELY NOT! These well-known authors have worked extremely hard to get where they are!!! The result of their hard work and dedication is the fact that readers become fans of theirs and their writing, and publishers are more willing to put more money into marketing their upcoming books - all of which results in more sales! To suggest that is unfair and that a well-known author should to step aside to allow new writers enter the game is ludicrous. To say that these big authors need to “give other writers, and other writing, room to breathe” is both disrespectful and naive.

The fact that these authors create mores sales is the most important factor when it comes to the publishing industry! These “Sure Thing” authors are who have paved the way for lesser established authors. They have worked hard, they have proved themselves, their value to readers, and value to the publishing industry. Without these “Golgomath” writers, the publishing industry would certainly be a lot smaller today (and therefor far less likely to pick up new authors).

And I don’t believe that these well respected authors are hindering other new authors at all. Naturally if you are in a bookstore and you see a book written by an author you know you like, you are far more likely to pick it up than the unknown one next to it. But, hey, that’s the payoff for many years of blood, sweat, tears and rejection. I am guessing that authors who think that it is unfair that an author can sell millions of books just because their name is on the cover, would not be complaining if the author selling all these books was themselves. So why should anyone who has reached the top ever step aside, or be told to stay in their box. They should keep striving for new goals, try new things, do whatever they want to do! And they should be able to do so without being told they are holding back others!

So, J.K. Rowling is dominating the market? And that’s not fair and she should step aside to let other author have a go??? Well, who stepped aside for her she got rejected by approximately a dozen publishers? Or when in 1997 her first book was published with an initial print run of only 1000? Oh, that’s right… no one! She worked hard, was persistent and created her own success. And yes, that may have resulted in The Cuckoo’s Calling becoming an over-night sensation, but that’s the benefit of working your way up to being a “Big Name”. She earned that! And the right to write whatever she wants to!

Stephenie Meyer did not step aside for Cassandra Clare. Veronica Roth did not give Samantha Shannon “room to breathe”. Nor did David Levithan step aside for John Green… but yet, these authors and MANY other authors, have managed to become successful authors on their own accord - they have worked hard and proved themselves, and now, we are able to experience lots of “Big Names” across all genres. And thank goodness for that!!

Authors should not feel intimidated by “Big Names” - they should see that as the bar has been set and try to reach it! Write more, write better, grow, learn, take a chance, keep trying!!! After all, “Big Names” didn’t become big overnight! Yes, well-known authors get a lot of hype and publicity - but that is a result from their proven success… which at the end of the day is due to their talent, not because there was an opening the market!


Melissa’s say:

If big authors just stopped writing once they were famous and made way for the unknown authors - where would the challenge be? What standards would the unknown authors have to live up to?

One of the best things about being a reader of YA fiction is that we are absolutely SPOILED for choice right? We have incredible books to choose from by some of the worlds best authors. Why on earth would we want them to step aside to make way for the unknown authors?!

In fairness authors like J.K. Rowling, John Green, Suzanne Collins, Cassandra Clare, Stephanie Perkins (don’t make me go on and on, because I will!) made it to the big leagues when they too at some point were unknown authors. And despite this, their talent for writing and story telling was so strong that it catapulted them straight to the top. That’s how it should be. If you’ve got the talent - you too will break through.

I think the author of the article that Kristy posted actually comes across as a bit selfish and insecure. By rights, if Lynn Shepherd was so talented and so good herself, she wouldn’t feel so threatened about well known authors continuing to write. If she was a lover of fiction like us, she would indulge in all of the choice we have as readers and these books would inspire her to write better so she too one day will become a household name.

I’m not pointing these things out to be nasty. I just think the very notion is ridiculous that someone is too famous and is hogging the limelight, so out you go - no more writing for you! In 2014 are we really saying this? Of course not. It’s one struggling authors opinion. My advice is to write books that people want to read.



Do you think “Big Names” should step aside and give someone else a chance? ? Let us know in your comments below!

What do you think?

  • I saw that article when my writing group started discussing it, and OMG I AM SO FREAKING MAD. I’m totally outraged that someone would slam JK Rowling like that. It’s so petty, rude, and condescending! It made that author look very needy and insecure. Really, it did. I can’t believe she’d be stupid enough to void that anyway! I’m new to reading JK Rowling’s work, but she is amazing and talented and definitely deserves the fame she got! I particularly like Kristy’s point about how the famous authors of now haven’t moved aside to let each other in. You work hard. You get there. I mean, yeah, there’s luck involved too. But new fame is rising all the time! Look at Marissa Meyer! A few years ago she was nothing and now she’s a typical NYT bestseller! Okay, I’ll stop. But I love both your points and this is all very well said!!

    • Kristy says:

      I think this particular opinion has made a lot of people angry. I know I was. I see no point in targeting a author because of their success.
      Thanks for sharing your view on it!! :)

  • […] Reading outside of your comfort zone Are well known authors holding back new authors? […]

  • It’s such a ridiculous argument. Let’s not even go into the fact that these “big name” authors publish 1 book a year on average. I think the average person will read more than 1 book in a year.

  • Oh, wow.
    I definitely agree with what you girls said. These ‘big authors’ all started out as new authors once upon a time. It was just luck, to a certain degree, that lead to them becoming the well known authors they are now.
    Asking someone to step aside after they have put years of effort into getting where they are now is ridiculous. And selfish. Why should someone who is successful step aside because someone ELSE wants to be just as successful.
    And even if this authors did somehow step aside, it is no guarantee that their readers would suddenly fall in love with an unknown author, and suggesting this would happen is kind of silly.
    It is a variety of chances that lead someone to huge success in the publishing industry. It isn’t because they did this or that. There are some amazing authors out there who aren’t HUGE, but it doesn’t matter. Writing a book shouldn’t be about being a ‘big’ author - it should be about sharing your words with people, even if it is just a small number.

    • Kristy says:

      I completely agree Chiara. I think that authors who write books to become the “next big thing” are writing for the wrong reasons - and let’s be honest, if they are writing for the wrong reasons, how can the stories be great enough for readers to fall in love with? Writing and reading is about passion, and if the passion isn’t there when writing it, a reader won’t feel it while reading it!

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