The other day I read this post – it was forwarded to me (twice!) by different authors – where an author proclaimed that her particular subgenre is vastly superior to all that other stuff out there. And provided examples of what she considered to be superior examples of writing, which just made me roll my eyes. This is not the first time I’ve seen this person engage in “I am vastly superior because I write X” type of silliness. I took her book off the shelf and put it into the give away box. I will not read another one.
I don’t like to be sneered at. Nor do I like to see my friends’ work to be tarred with “You write crap” brush.
Posts like these make the author look in the worst possible light. Yes, in private between friends, almost all authors may dismiss someone’s work as crap, because we’re human and we talk shop. But to elevate one genre above all others on a holy altar, dismissing everything else as plebeian, is incredibly arrogant. It’s rude to your colleagues who work hard and it’s rude to readers who read outside of your own sphere. It makes you look pompous and insecure.
It also invites scrutiny from some bitch like me. And if I were slightly more evil, I would take this author’s work and rip it a new asshole in public. (There is a reason I did not buy the sequel.) I’m not a “superior” writer working in a “superior” genre, but I’m technically proficient and vicious, and I could make it entertaining. But I won’t do that, because it’s like asking someone what they make – Just Not Done.
The truth is, we all work hard. We all write to the best of our ability. A writer infuses a great deal of their emotions and effort into their books, be it Lonely Boss, Pregnant Mistress or the latest literary opus. There may be a gap in ability or depth, but there is no denying the work that all of us put into our manuscripts. There are people out there who will never slog their way through War and Peace or Lord of the Rings, but they want escape from their problems and if a Harlequin Presents or the latest action thriller or what have you fits the bill, who gave you the right to tell them they shouldn’t?
Readers may not respect our efforts, because they are not writers and they don’t know what it takes, just like most people don’t develop a healthy respect for waiters or customer service associates until they had been one. But one could hope that at least your colleagues would have enough decency to respect your work and your genre and not engage in the “special snowflake” behavior.
So the next time you decide to claim that you, or your genre, is the shiniest jewel of the millennium, do take a few minutes to ponder what the reaction from your peers will be.