What If People Just Don’t Want To Read An Author? – Op-Ed Piece


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What If People Just Don’t Want To Read An Author? – Op-Ed Piece


Authors spend their entire lives trying to convince unsuspecting strangers that their voice is unique and novel and worth reading while on a beach. The typewriting junkie must persuade others that their words are exceptional in use, unlike others who use the language in a rudimentary and appalling fashion that is not beneficial to the mind. The finger-moving typist must present their mind as one worth digging around in, for like a treasure in a dark cave; there is gold to be found inside. The busy caught-up reader at some point during their lives should take time to read the author. It will help the reader. It is as if the beginning of every story is not about buildup or character development but the general interest in a reader. However, it is done, get the person reading the words to continue to read the words.


My question for today pertains to author anonymity among the readers.

quote readers author read pens and words

What happens if the readers just don’t want to read an author and their works? Can that happen? Is that allowed?


Okay. Okay. Before we dive into this, let’s back up here for a second.


What do I mean by this question exactly? I am talking about indifference to an author’s works by the mass readers and influential reviewers and promoters. The books that the author writes are not on any best-of list, (not Oprah or Amazon). The books are not reviewed by any prominent reviewers. (Not New York Times or even a local bookstore) Readers hear of the book and turn the other way, to grab a book by an author they want to actually read.

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(This is all assuming that the hypothetical author is capable of creating an entertaining story that many would like. I am not talking about a hack writer who can barely put together a few words. No, the writer I am asking about is good, even great, yet the people don’t want anything to do with him.) What happens then? What do we make of it if the world flat out rejects a great author?


Can that actually happen? Does the cream always rise in literature, or are there going to be some great writers left out of best-of lists. Never put into classrooms? Never reviewed by famous reviewers? Never featured on a famous writing site? Unfortunately, this is a paradox. I am saying that a great author will be unrecognized in his life, yet how can I ever know he is great if he is unrecognized?

books bookstore book reading writer read reader pens and words

We wrongly assume that great authors will eventually get their due if they write enough books. We will find them somewhere down the road. Their greatness will shine through sometime in their life. Many authors even echo this sentiment with the thinking that it is perseverance that is the key to writing, not any talent on the author’s behalf. They talk of perseverance as if the author will eventually breakthrough, but that is, of course, based upon hope. Nothing says that the world has to accept or read a great writer. I don’t need to listen to great music. I don’t have to see great movies. Just because a form of entertainment is great does not mean that people are going to be drawn to it.


I am not saying that the ones that we read aren’t great. No, I am not questioning Homer and his twin classics or Jane Austen and her romance novels here. They are great for different reasons and deserve a spot on your shelf. I am talking about the other writer whose name you don’t know that could very well be on your bookshelf too, but you will never even talk about (remember that paradox?). Just because an author is great doesn’t guarantee any sort of success on their end. We all think that is how it is. It seems to make sense to us when we say it aloud. “If you work hard enough, you will make it.” That is the same crap we tell kids about defense winning championships. Defense doesn’t win championships, scoring more than the opponent does. Hard work is not as useful as financial backing and well-planned business decisions. It is very possible that a writer can be talented, write a bunch of classics (at least in their production), and then is never read by anyone.

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As I said, we have the wrong notion that we are going to pick the best authors to read. We trust the best-of lists and the reviewers, so if an author is not on that, then we think less of them. That is also assuming that the author does the other stuff right too. You know what I am talking about here. He gets the proper publicity for his book. He is featured on the right shows. He is put in the right part of the store. Book sales are sometimes not only about an author’s skill.


What if an author is none of that? He can’t get any publicity for his book. He is never spoken about on any shows. The stores don’t even want his books. Tough shit, then. You can’t only be good at writing and expect people to sincerely be interested in your work alone. No writer is that good.

typewriter alphabet letter writer writing author pens and words

I already told you (when I spoke about the writer being the person of the year) that we have a larger story that we are telling ourselves, the type of stuff that we make documentaries about. So what if an author doesn’t do any of that? He is not apart of how we want to view ourselves. He writes what is not appropriate. Something too obscene for people to get behind, no matter how clever the wordplay is. He doesn’t write what is trending or popular, so he gets no play by the mainstream. Even though this author is great, he is obscure and unknown.


And what if the author is a bad person? I am not talking just a jackass during an interview either. I am talking about the type of bad person that we warn our kids to avoid. God forbid the readers ever accept an author whose words are moving, but soul is fleeting. Would any of you be okay with a criminal being the best author of our time? Probably not. I don’t care if that guy is a genius. People don’t want to associate themselves with someone of that character.


But let’s take that out of the equation for a second, and focus on the author that is not corrupt, that is not a bad person, but people just still don’t give a shit about what he or she writes. How should a reader feel if they do not recognize that talented writer? I like to think, as a reader, I can spot out a great writer, one that is a master of the craft. But what if I am wrong with that? What if you are wrong with it? After all the articles that I wrote and all the posts that you read, we may not even have the ability to identify the best writers out there.

And what is even more interesting to ask; what if we find the great writer, and just don’t read him? What if society sees the great writer, acknowledges their art as valuable and…. don’t read it.


What does it say about you then, or me, as readers?

quote readers logic reasoning pens and words

How should readers view themselves when they learn that their reason for a dismissal of a great writer is not based on any logic or reasoning but prejudice on their end?


The unknown great seems to have presented a question they could have never asked if they were found. And to think that readers view themselves as the educated ones.





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Greg Luti is an editor and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

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