Fiction set in USA and EUROPE: the life of Maria Callas
Kim Kardashian and J K Rowling in the same breath? Really?
7th May 2017
J K Rowling’s ego is akin to Kim Kardashian’s, says Joanna Trollope.
“Trollope described artists who air their opinions over platforms such as Twitter as being unduly influenced by their ego and claimed that this posed a threat to the entire literary industry” says an article in the Guardian. You can read the full article here. And further that J K Rowling’s ego is akin to Kim Kardashian’s! Really?
Joanna Trollope has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons by criticising J K Rowling (who is morphing into a bit of a national treasure, let’s be honest) for her larger than life presence on Twitter, attributing it to an ego drive. And that “interacting with fans over social media posed a threat to the literary industry“. I wonder what prompted one successful author to fire off such opprobrium onto another? Of course, the comments are now all over Social Media, firing debate and bringing both names into sharp relief.
I used to read Joanna Trollope when I was in my late 20s, but for me her style of writing peaked and then waned and I never really paid attention to her books thereafter. When I saw that she had a new book out earlier this year, it took me back, it really did. It was like revisiting the scrubbed pine tables in the farmhouse kitchen, the Laura Ashley drapes, the bouffant hairdos, the quilted throes, and the CD player in the corner playing the McGarrigle Sisters. It was certainly a strategic way of bringing her back into my consciousness. Surely I am cynical thinking it could be a marketing strategy to catch the eye of a new generation of readers, as she has certainly been off my personal radar for a couple of decades and more. Her new book City of Friends was published earlier this year (with very mixed reviews).
Moving on swiftly there are many authors whose presence on Twitter is larger than life. There is J K Rowling whose tweets I enjoy – she tackles difficult subjects and draws moral lines when she sees poor behaviour and injustice. Unlike Kim Kardashian’s Twitter feed which is populated by oftentimes vacuous observations. You certainly won’t see J K Rowling tweeting “I miss my long hair”
Then there is also Joannechocolat (that’s her Twitter name, it’s Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat) who sometimes scares me witless with her incisive, assertive and well thought through views, which serve at times to keep those odd members of Twitter in check (we have all come across them). Her comments are fun, thought provoking and promote dialogue, not only in the literary sphere, but also as part of wider human life. They sometimes stray into politics too, it’s all part of the bigger picture. She also tweets short stories sometimes. Basically both authors know how – and have worked hard – to engage their readership!
In this way I have come to see many authors not just as the name behind their books, but as a rounder human being. And that can only be a good thing, surely? I am interested to hear what they have to say, they are intelligent and well-read. Through Social Media they have a created a voice for themselves and over time have garnered well-deserved authority.
Twitter however is an anathema for many authors – I know this from personal experience. I note in the Guardian article that Joanna Trollope’s presence is only a Facebook page which is managed by her agent. She is probably an author who struggles to come into the the 21st Century and share a little more of herself, which, I think, would do wonders for the readership. She might find it pays dividends to stick her toe in the water and see that using Social Media is a way to bring her and her writing to new readers.
And finally, why would Joanna Trollope see Tweeting as a threat to the literary industry? I cannot imagine. What kind of threat did she have in mind, I would love to hear more…..
This is probably a generational misunderstanding around the nature of Twitter and how Social Media is now part of the fabric of publishing life. She will I think have to get used to it.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
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