Writers’ Envy Gone Mad

I follow Anne Rice on facebook because she touches on some very interesting topics, and the discussions that follow are often lively and informative from her followers.

On the 21st of February a writer named Lynn Shepherd started a furore amongst Anne’s followers so I went off to investigate.

Lynn Shepard is mystery author with a few books to her credit. Seems she also manages to get stuff published at The Huffington Post UK.


It seems Lynn has a beef with JK Rowling.

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Did you notice the sentence at the start of paragraph 3 ??? While she previously admits to never having read Harry Potter, it also seems she hasn’t read The Casual Vacancy either. Yet she goes on to not only trash it by way of other people’s opinions, but to argue that this book [by way of oxygen sucking – anyone out there know how to do that – from the publishing and reading atmosphere] made it impossible for other authors to survive let alone thrive.

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When I read the following…

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.

I just about chocked on my coffee.

What happened to the society that is formed by writers to encourage ALL other writers to do what they do ?

JK Rowling no doubt already does write for her own personal pleasure [or is it pain]. Writers write because THEY HAVE TO !!!! It isn’t something you just pick up and leave off. Writing is worse than any drug I know of.

JK Rowling

While some of the writing you do may never be shown, and some will, a writer has no choice but to write.

Writing is a lonely, frustrating, ego bashing way to spend your time. All writers know this. We live it everyday.

That is what makes it so important to support other writers to do the same.

There will never be ENOUGH books out there for me, or ENOUGH writers to pen them.

Breaking in to the wonderful world of being a published author is difficult, being a successful one…even more difficult. That JK Rowling has done both is an amazing feat.

I applaud JK Rowling for so many thing. Harry Potter has brought reading back to being something cool, because her books have reached out on such a broad spectrum. She has hero status in my house because of the way she turned non readers in to readers.

I will proudly admit to having read ALL the Harry Potter books, so when I read this snippet…I got a little incensed.

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.

Excuse me…she hasn’t read one !!! Being in the middle of writing a book that demands you completely construct a world that is believable, I know how hard that is. The Harry Potter world is the most magical place [for every age reader], and to top that off it all makes sense. Every piece fits, has a reason for being so, and it appears seamlessly to do so. I am an adult…well most of the time, and those books delighted me enough that I have read them more than once.

I am not sure what this author was hoping to achieve with her little rant. Maybe one of her PR people suggested it might be a good way to get some publicity.

“Hoi Lynn, your sales are down.”

“Oh shit, really. Whatever will I do ??”

“I know, I know, let’s trash some famous writer. Get the fans worked up. Get some buzz.”

Okay…right then is where she should have realised her PR was a blathering idiot and now was the time to run as far away as possible.

Because the feedback was pretty darn immediate, and little of it was good.

This is a sample of a review that was put up on Amazon.Screen Shot 2014-03-02 at 1.35.09 PM

I can’t help thinking she might be wondering at the choice she made in writing this piece now.  Her friends should have hidden her laptop if you ask me.

I think it is sad in another way too.

If you read the majority of reviews since this article came out then it is clear that many readers will never pick up one of her books in protest. Which is kind of ‘swings and roundabouts’ I guess. But there is already enough bullying going on in certain review forums. We don’t need anymore.

I think that any writer must expect bad reviews…of their work. They should expect it, deal with it and get on to the next book.

I have written a bad review or two in my time. One was for ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’, which I absolutely disliked. But…yes, finally, here comes my but…I never trashed the author. I actually admire her. She tapped a market and ran with it. Brilliant strategy if you ask me. Well done EL James…well done !!!

What I did was tell what I disliked and why. One HUGE point here…I actually read the books first, another thing that surprised me about Lynn Shepherd.

This all made me a little sad. Lynn Shepherd needs to learn that you do not need to step on others to make your way about this thing we call life. What she should have been doing was applauding the fact that after years of work, years of rejection and years of frustration JK Rowling made it. In doing so she proved that any one of us can and should aspire to do the same.

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  1. I read about this on another blog that has gotten so many comments about it and the comments are still coming in. Seems like this Lynn Shepherd has truly raised a furor that has caused her article to go viral and her name to be all over the place. I don’t agree with what she said, but now I’m wishing I’d written that article. Lynn Shepherd has achieved a lot of name recognition from what she wrote and I’ll bet that was her intent. I don’t think she believes what she wrote. I heard that she issued an apology for it. She may have used a strategy that will eventually pay off.

    Now if reviewers are trashing Shepherd’s works on Amazon that’s as bad as what Shepherd wrote and probably worse. For one thing it’s immature vindictiveness. When I review something my integrity is at stake so I want my review to be honest. Maybe some of those reviews were honest, but if they weren’t and just to get revenge then that stinks and Amazon should remove them.

    True opinion or not, what Shepherd said stirred people up and got them thinking and talking. Personally I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that Rowling and Shepherd have got some kind of deal going regarding this. Maybe Rowling’s people contacted Shepherd to do it to get attention for Rowling? I imagine this fray might stir up some new sales for Rowling?

    I’ve never read any of Rowling’s books and probably won’t. Neither have I read Shepherd’s books. The Shepherd piece did nothing for me that inspire me to write a super long comment. Sorry.

    An A to Z Co-Host


    1. Many of the ‘reviews’ on Amazon are actually, I think, a parody on what Lynn Shepherd said. And they admit to it. I think they are using the Amazon forum do tell her that what she did was wrong, by way of saying: “I will never read your books.” A couple [I have to admit this] were very funny in how they did it…using Lynn’s words as an example of how silly and petty her article was.

      Amazon really needs to do something about the bullying that goes on on their pages. It gets way out of hand at times. There seems to be a faction that trolls authors’ pages and then sets about trying to take them down verbally.

      Perhaps you are right about this being PR ploy, but truthfully I can’t see what JKR would get out of it. She is already a household name and rich to boot. Why would she bother. I think it is more likely that LS thought this would raise her profile, which it has done, but I think she may have underestimated the amount of damage such a petty attack on JKR would garner.


  2. Great post Jo. It seems that she is jealous indeed. Such a shame that one author must put down another writer just to get some recognition. So childish.


    1. I think it has in a way, but perhaps there will be enough curiosity out there to actually raise her profile and sell books. Sad way to go about it though.


  3. Writing book reviews is one of my least favourite activities. Unless I LOVE the book. If not, there doesn’t seem much point? And why go looking for enemies?


    1. Very true. I have no issue with people writing ‘bad’ book reviews. So long as what they discuss is the book and where it failed in touching them. Leave the writer out of it completely.


  4. Well, Jo, they do say that any publicity is good publicity.
    That said, her comments came across as bullying and belittling to me. We’re all entitled to our opinion, but how we express that opinion is as important as the opinion itself. I’ve already forgotten this author’s name but still remember JK’s, who I haven’t read either.


  5. I don’t like every book I’ve read, but I would never slam a writer. I know how hard it is to not only write a novel but to release it for people to criticize it. I get tired of people making negative comments about certain writers. People read books they like. It’s a personal decision and others shouldn’t slam the authors and their fans.


    1. Very true. I have no problem if someone reviews a book and explains why it didn’t work for them. That is actually good I think. No book is ever going to please anyone, and readers look for different things in books, and both bad and good reviews can point you in the right direction. What she did though was petty. Very petty.


  6. Sounds like a sour grapes piece that was pretty easy to write as she hardly needed to do any research. I am more or less with TBM, though I could make an exception for Dan Brown…


    1. Doing okay most of the time Jake. Been having back problems…that kept me off the net a bit. Hopefully all is on the mend now. How are you these days ????


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