Recently Lynn Shepherd author of the novels A Treacherous Likeness and A Fatal Likeness wrote an article for Huffington Post in which she calls for well known author of the Harry Potter series JK Rowling to stop writing adult novels, see the original article here. Examples of JK Rowling’s adult novels would be The Casual Vacancy, and Cuckoo’s Calling which she wrote under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
The whole of Shepherds article seems insistent that JK Rowlings success as an author is directly responsible for the lack of success of other lesser known authors. What I feel Shepherd either fails, or refuses to take into account is that Rowling was right there when her first book got published, I feel the need to remind any and all who are reading this article that before Philosophers Stone was published Rowling was living off of State Benefits, the UK’s edition of Welfare. Even though she is very popular now and is getting wads of cash hand over fist from the publishing of all of her young adult novels plus her adult novels, she sends a substantial portion of those monies to various charities. One of which she is the President of Gingerbread, which helps single mothers.
Shepherds argument is basically that anytime JK Rowlings name gets attached to anything literary it takes away attention from other novels, novels she states deserve more attention. Shepherd also states flat out that she has not read a word of the Harry Potter series, and than goes on to comment on how it’s a “shame” adults are reading the books. Shepherd even implies that she has not read any work written by Rowling.
Nevertheless she does raise a valid point in that well known authors often get the lions share of readerships. No one can deny that, its the same with Stephen King and Dean Koontz, Anne Rice and Stephenie Meyer, Cassandra Clare and Rick Riordan. Each and every one of these authors is well known, and their books can often be seen prominently displayed in your local book store. It’s easy to see how an up and coming author would get easily frustrated by the apparent over-exposure of these authors, but that’s no reason to go on an apparent warpath. Instead new novelists should look and see what else they could be doing? Often times whirlwind exposure is a mouse click away on Facebook, just saying.