Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tea Party Talk: Writers in it for the Money?

So, this is a not so fun post to write, but I think it's a really important thing to discuss.  Over the past couple years but especially recently, I've been hearing a lot of controversy over certain books and authors and how the authors are "only in it for the money".  This claim makes me honestly so sad and also confused.  I've watched readers leave negative reviews on Goodreads on books that aren't even out yet just because they feel like the authors of said books are stretching a series or franchise just for the money.  Which, in my opinion, is completely ridiculous. 

Let us all just address something fairly important real quick.  While it's totally anyone's right to leave any sort of review of a product online, I think it's particularly bad taste to leave a negative review of said product without having used or experienced it.  With books, you can't give your honest opinion of it without having read it.  When a book isn't coming out for months and I already see multiple low star and negative rating reviews on Goodreads, I get so angry.  Why do people insist on leaving negative reviews of a book solely based on their assumptions or perceptions of the author?  Like, guys, we're not rating the author here, we're rating the book.  Basing your opinion on a book you haven't read on your perception of the author seems to me to be incredibly unfair and actually rather trolly.  Specifically saying you're rating a book badly without having read it, just because you don't think the author should continue the series, is just plain rude, in my opinion. 

Now, to get to the main part of our discussion: people looking down on authors because they believe the authors are only writing for the money.  This argument, I really just can't grasp.  Like . . . yeah, I'm sure many authors want to make money on their books.  A lot of them write full time and their books are their only source of income.  So, yeah, they're going to be concerned and thinking about making money while working on their books.  But that doesn't mean that their works are any less passionate or well written, right?  Someone can want to make money through writing and still be an incredibly talented writer with millions of fans.  There's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to make money with your work.  In that situation, everyone is happy: the writer is able to continue writing because they are making money through that profession to support themselves and the readers are given new content from authors they like and are excited about. 

If you're still not convinced and you totally believe that all the passion and greatness has been drained from an author's writing and they've been turning into a totally money hungry machine, then just stop.  Stop, take a step back, and just . . . ignore it.  Seriously.  Just ignore it.  There's really no reason to be spreading your biased and unproven negativity over a book you haven't read, just because of you perception of the author.  The only thing you'll accomplish by complaining about it is upsetting the readers who are excited about the new book, which is really no fun.  Why rain on someone's excitement when there's no need to?

Again, this is a really sad and weird post for me to write, mostly because I don't understand why it's bad for authors to want to make money off of their books.  When they make money on their books, they get to continue putting out more books, which makes me a happy little caterpillar.   And while I strongly believe in everyone's right to express their feelings and opinions about things, I also think it's unfair and not right to review and rate a book that you haven't read at least some of.  But hey, I'm just one person.  

What do you guys think?  Is it okay for readers to post reviews and ratings of books that they haven't experienced or read?  Is it a bad thing for authors to want to make money off of their books?  When does someone draw the line between writing purely to make money and writing for the sake of writing, with money as an after thought?  Is there a good or bad side of that?  Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


  1. I definitely think it is not okay for someone to review something they have no experience with. I mean how can you have an opinion at all.

    I definitely think there should be passion in writing. I think if you don't want to write you should not write at all. But I can't be mad at someone for wanting to make money, ya know? It's like two sides to it. Great post!

    1. Right?!?! Obviously there's a lot of different motivations and factors to take into account and each author is different but I don't think they should be punished for wanting to make a living off of their writing, especially if what they're releasing makes themselves and their readers happy!

  2. Interesting post!

    I've done a couple of publishing internships, so I think that gives me a bit more insight on "writing for the money." People do it. I don't think that's a secret. People definitely cash in on whatever trends they think there are--like people quickly penning books about midwives because the TV series Call the Midwife was popular, or whatever.

    But that still leaves a lot of open questions. Ok, someone was opportunistic writing a book they thought would sell. ...Does that automatically mean the book is bad? Are we saying authors shouldn't earn money? Is it always possible to tell whether an author "just" wanted money or was actually invested in telling a good story?

    So, no, I don't think it's a good thing to accuse authors of, especially if you haven't read the book and especially if you can't really prove they "only" wrote something for the money. That doesn't mean I don't believe there are authors in the world who do this. ;)

    1. I agree with you completely! There's a lot of variables to take into account and, like I said in a previous comment, each author is different and has different motivations for writing. Even if they are only doing it for the money, I don't think they should be punished for it, you know? The content they're releasing is touching fans and has to be somewhat successful if they expect to make a profit on it. To me, that'd be equivalent for like, getting angry with a doctor for only being a doctor because of the money and not for the joy or passion they might have for helping people.

      It's a really touchy topic and there's so many differing opinions but I think it's important to talk about it!

  3. I can see that fans might be upset if a book came out that was not very good and it seemed to be "for the money." However, authors are people, too, and they need to live. Some famous authors like Stephen Crane got stuck writing stuff even they didn't enjoy because what they really wanted to do wasn't going to keep a roof over their heads. To accuse someone of being mercenary when they're trying to make a living just seems like a low blow. How many people are so privileged that they can afford not to write for money? And, if their work is good, shouldn't we pay them to do it?

    1. Again, definitely agree with everything you've said! Very, very few people have the luxury to write just for the sake of writing. As a writer myself (albeit unpublished) I know how much time and effort goes into putting words on the page. If someone is able to release a book that reader's enjoy, I'm totally the opinion that they should be paid for it.


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