For the last few years, I’ve noticed a trend in writing and the publishing industry: the romanticism of billionaires. Everyone, it seems, wants to date one or be one in both fiction and nonfiction books nowadays. Why? And is this romanticism of billionaraires harmful? If so, how?

Musings on Billionaires in Writing

Yesterday I wrote a post about my apprehensions around Elon Musk, a famous billionaire, taking over Twitter and making it a private company again. And question what his true intentions and motives are, essentially.

Not only am I trying to determine how and why writers and authors use Twitter and what it will mean for them, their writing and speech, when a billionaire takes over the platform, I’m also working on incorporating characters who are billionaires in the novel I’m currently working on. And I am trying to see how and if I can make them sympathetic and relatable, without romanticizing or villifying them. But I am still trying to work that out, and I’m not sure it’s possible.

I’ll be honest, right now I’m not entirely sure a billionaire can be a billionaire and also be ethical or have a principled moral compass. Because it seems impossible to become a billionaire without some type of exploitation of other humans, or links to others who are exploiting others (which makes them guilty by association). However, I can’t really make myself come to see some billionaires, like Oprah, in that light for some reason.

I want to portray the characters in my novel who are billionaires as real people with real complexities, with both angels and demons sitting on their shoulders. I don’t want to make them godlike or satanic. However, it’s incredibly hard for me to see a billionaire in a non-sociopathic light. Or at least willfully blind to the suffering and hardships their gluttony causes and brings to others.

Question RE Romanticism of Billionaires in the Publishing Industry

Am I myself falling prey to the current popular portrayals of billionaires in the publishing industry, where they are portrayed as gods to be followed and emulated, or villains who cause all suffering in the world so must be destroyed? Each portrayal seems so extreme, almost not humanlike. Yet, being a billionaire is also pretty extreme in and of itself, and completely removed from most peoples’ worldview and concept of everyday life.

So, is this trend of romanticizing billionaires in the publishing industry a reflection of society and the real extreme nature of being a billionaire? Or is the publishing industry portraying billionaires in a way that forces us to romanticize billionaires, to sell more books?

I understand the “publishing industry” is compromised of many individuals with diffirent worldviews. However, it can’t be entirely ignored that the book “publishing industry” is also owned by billionaires too, who operate the “big five” publishing companies– companies that keep acquiring and buying out smaller publishers, to completely dominate the market.

What are your thoughts on billionaires and how they’re portrayed in writing, and the publishing industry, nowadays? I’m not the only one with these concerns, am I? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page to start a dialogue!

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