Monday, 10 September 2012

It's Not a Competition

You may have seen reports around the internet last week that one British author has been caught using “sock puppets”, or pseudonyms, on Amazon to write five-star reviews about his own books, while trashing other authors’ work.

Now, I think it’s bad enough that he’s writing reviews of his own work, but what I find really disappointing is that he has been caught posting one-star reviews of other novels, including those by bestselling authors Lee Child, Joanne Harris, and Ian Rankin. It’s just really poor behaviour.

You see, writing isn’t a competition. There isn’t just one “winner” – I think everyone who is published is a winner. You haven’t seen Usain Bolt trashing Michael Phelps. (Yeah, they do different events. I’m trying to show my point. Just nod your head.) Readers can’t just read books by one author – they can read books by several. Buying one book won’t mean they can’t buy another, and just because they’ve bought the latest Lee Child novel won’t mean they won’t buy Ian Rankin’s.

I see writing as more of a community fun-run. We’re all doing the circuit together, and rather than all-out racing each other to the finish line (aka “most successful author ever!”) (because let’s face it, JK Rowling’s already won), we’re all jogging/walking in a tutu/doing-whatever-you-do-when-you-do-a-fun-run together, supporting one another, and cheering people on.

So, that’s my thoughts on the issue. What do you think? Do you agree with me, or do you think it’s fine to get a one-up on the competition? Or do you have another opinion entirely? Let me know in the comment section below!

1 comment:

  1. I'd heard little bits and pieces about what happened, but I didn't know exactly what until now. And…wow. O_o It's just so ridiculous and petty, idk how a grown person could even think about doing that, let alone actually DOING that. O_o

    Anyway, I think the Usain Bolt/Michael Phelps metaphor is actually very apropos—they play different sports. As I see it, every author is in a 'league of their own', because everyone writes differently. There's not really any competition—if you like swimming, you watch swimming, if you like track, you watch track. As with readers. There can be a tiny bit of friction within subgenres, when authors' works are similar, but even then, it's very minimal.

    But I do look at the craft as a bit more competitive, as in, always striving to make your work the very best it can be. I compare my work to the authors I hold in the highest esteem and have us on a scale, and I strive to climb the ranks. Everyone says don't compare your work to others, though (also, don't make generalizations. XD), so that's probably just a product of my being very competitive, and might lead to depression in others, lol.