Many times I’ve encountered on blogs and social networking criticisms of many types of literature, including self-published, YA paranormal romance, infamous wizardry, and youngsters in arena battles. The terms used to describe the bestsellers and non-bestsellers are similar; “crap,” “boring,” “over-hyped,” “don’t waste your time,” and other non-flattering descriptions.
However, when the above terminology comes from writers, what does that mean? It could mean the writer read these struggling Indie writers, or any of the YA mega-hits and didn’t see the magic in Harry Potter. That’s understandable. Other writers don’t like reading self-published writing, just as some readers don’t, and writers are readers, right? (Let’s hope so). But if a writer calls another writer’s work “crap” and has not read it, what is that called?
We Indies understand the self-published karma, so let’s move on to the hits that have risen far above the criticism of any single person, writer or not. The millions-selling YA series, so popular, made into blockbuster films, and after all that hype, they’re “crap?” Sure, authors have a right to an opinion like anyone else. Maybe they saw a film or two and didn’t pick up the frenzy with the rest of the planet. That’s OK, but someone liked these books. Millions of “someones.”
None of us can gaze through a crystal ball and see which popular books will become classics in the next half century. Also, when a book is defined as a classic, is it always a bestseller? No. Who decides which books become bestsellers and/or blockbuster films? Answer: The audience. Translation for writers: The Readers.
As writers, we create literature to be read, hopefully enjoyed by readers. And some readers may not like our work; I suspect most writers have run into that, certainly bestsellers when I see reviews on amazon. But an ability a writer does not have is to decide which books will “make it.” Yes, marketing is very important, but only readers can determine what the short and long term legacy of any story will be. While new authors can question the taste and decision-making of today’s readers, that’s fine, but that’s not who dictates what the readers do. Critical authors do not bring a favorable response by insulting readers.
Writers write. Readers read. The end product of a writer is the story. The end product of the reader is the remembrance of the story, thus defining its destiny.