Literary Bullying?

I read this post today from the blog, Write In Between. The writer talks about the attitudes expressed to her for showing an interest in popular fiction rather then focusing on that which is “literary”. This got me thinking….

Lately I’ve come across several displays of judgmental intolerance concerning the written word. You know them–the stone-throwers–people who can’t come to terms with the fact that not everyone is just like them. There are many who thrive on building themselves up by tearing others down. But if you are a writer, behaving toward others in this manner is almost as smart as shooting yourself in the foot.

I said almost as smart…

But, not quite.

Recently I came across a blog spouting horrible insults at any woman brainless and pathetic enough to ever enjoy reading a romance novel. Turns out the writer is a fiction author. I think he writes “guy” novels–action, espionage and the like. I suppose he believes his own writing is far superior to anything the romance genre could ever produce. Who knows. He could be right.

Here’s the thing…

I sometimes read “guy” books. I was such a voracious reader as a girl, I would often pick up stuff my dad had lying around the house. As long as it wasn’t too violent (I’m not big on horror) I’d read it. Even now, I am still drawn into these types of books from time to time. And I doubt I’m the only reader in the world who is tempted to cross genre lines and try different things. So… do you see what this guy does? He cuts off a portion of his own potential audience by slinging his vicious attitude directly at readers of a certain genre.

Might I enjoy reading one of his books? Maybe. Will I ever buy one for myself or as a gift? Not a chance.  Perhaps I am stupid enough to to read the occasional romance novel. I, however, am not stupid enough to give this jerk my money.

To wrap things up, I’ll say this: every author has the absolute right to act like a pompous ass. We would never deny them that right. On the other hand, readers have the absolute right to choose which authors they do and don’t support. If you are a writer, even one who is not yet published, do yourself a favor and always keep that in mind as you tweet/Facebook/blog your opinions to the world. It only takes one thoughtless comment to destroy a career.

And if you experience “literary bullying” here’s my advice. Read the genre you want. Write the genre you want. Be who you are!

Laura Ritchie

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