Saturday, November 11, 2006
Oy, the Questions! (Part III)
And yet a few more of the KSU students' queries --
Question from D.L. -- What do you like least about the current trends in the publishing industry?
I can't say I'm that fond of the trend toward not nuturing new authors. 10+ years ago, an author was given the opportunity to grow their readership over five books or so. Now you're not given that much space. The competition is very fierce. You have to 'make your numbers' or you're out on your thesaurus. Often newer writers don't hit their stride until readers find them and then tell their friends about the wonderful stories they'd just enjoyed. By that time, they're gone. Unfortunately, publishing has changed in response to the Big Box stores. They're looking for the next 'big hit'. That tends to be very hard on new writers coming up through the ranks. The chances of 'making it big' are greatly reduced.
And another from D.L. -- What do you feel about e-publishing?
Considering the waste in print books, I think e-books are a great option.The issue has been how to get the e-books into the readers' hands in a way that they'll find them easy to read. For me, sitting in front of the computer for hours on end holds no fascination. That's my day job. Work continues toward a well designed handheld device that will encourage folks to read e-books. They're making progress. Some niche markets have done really well in e-pub (Ellora's Cave's erotica, for example.)
I prefer a printed book, but if they come up with a decent reader, I'll go with it. I do know that SOJOURN has done very well as an e-book as the price is a lot lower than the print version. That allows readers the option of sampling my work for less than $9. If they like what they read, they can buy the print version or wait for the next book to come out in electronic format.
And this from C.H. -- Who do you think is an overrated writer?
You do want to get me burned at the stake, don't you? Since it is likely that some day this answer might come back to haunt me, I'll generalize. (You never know who you'll be sitting next to at a convention. I can just hear the writer guest of honor mutter, "Jana Oliver? Hey, you're the (expletive deleted) bozo who said my writing was lame."
Yes, C.H., there are overrated authors. Lots of them, just as there are underrated ones. I am not fond of authors who pad their books to make word count and who consider their readers 'stupid' (yes, there are some out there who make less than pleasant comments about the intellience of their readers without realizing that this actually reflects on them as well). I can't stand lame mysteries where I can figure out who the bad guy is on page 2. I get grumpy about authors who waltz a character in for a paragraph or two and then you never see them again. I'm okay if you're laying groundwork for another book in the series, but for heaven's sake be subtle about it!
One final comment on overrated authors. There are those authors who overrate themselves. These are the one that feel that they walk on water. I've seen it in bigger name authors and in those who have just self-pubbed their first book. Expecting to sit as an equal amongst the betters in your industry is not a right, it's a privilege. You have to earn it and it takes a LONG time. Even then, there will be someone infinitely better than you.