Christopher Moore Home Page

The bulletin board is currently closed to new posts. Instead, why not check out Chris' Twitter and Facebook pages?


bbs.chrismoore.com Forum Index -> So You Wanna Be a Writer?

New Approach Maybe...
Goto page 1, 2  Next
  Author    Thread This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.
sugarraydodge



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 647
Location: Utah
New Approach Maybe...  Reply with quote  

I just got back from Barnes and Noble. One thing I always notice is the amount of pure garbage that gets published. There are aisles and aisles of pulp paperback romances, mysteries, thriller, sci-fi, and horror stories. These are kept separate from the "Literature and Fiction" section, which is reserved for slightly more respectable titles of those same genres. Pick any of these $6.99 gems up, and I guarantee it will be 60,000 to 80,000 words of cliched, cookie-cutter nonsense.

Here's the thought that entered my brain today. I have been trying to get my work into the "Literature and Fiction" section, but perhaps I have been taking myself too seriously. I mean, my books are AT LEAST as terrible as these pulp paperbacks. Maybe I should be trying to get onto THOSE shelves, as they clearly have an audience, otherwise there wouldn't be the massive bulk of titles that currently exists. This is a classic case of lowering expectations, but seeing that the books I write won't see a hardcover, nation-wide release anytime soon, maybe disguising my work as paint-by-numbers drivel would help more than it would hurt. But I have been wrong before...
_________________
Scruffy|SRD Books

Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 12:54 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
mxlemore



Joined: 18 Sep 2008
Posts: 44
Location: Georgia
 Reply with quote  

SRD,

Man, I feel ya! I go to B&N every weekend and spend at least an hour and a half walking the aisles looking at the books--the good and the bad. When I get discouraged with a WIP, seeing the sheer volumes of bad writing lifts my spirits and motivates me to keep trudging forward, putting one word after the other to finish my work.

There's been several times when I've thought about half-assing the editing process and start circulating a query letter just so I can hurry the process of getting one of my books on the shelf. I know that if I do that, I either won't ever see my books on the shelf or I'll draw the type of audience that wouldn't know shit from shinola. Instead, I keep trying to make my story the best that I can produce. I don't want to settle like a lot of those authors have. I want to put my best work out there and hope to land somewhere north of the target rather than below it.

There's one author on those shelves that has a blog and I read if frequently. He's a horror author and says that he has two book contracts going every year. In addition to those, he works on comic books, short stories, a magazine column, and tweets his ass off (oh, and he blogs--duh). I'm pretty sure he doesn't know the successful life that AG probably enjoys. He's my example of how NOT to go about breaking into the industry. I've read some of his books as well as the reviews on Amazon and some other book-sellers websites and, while he has fans, many of the reviews reveal how bad his writing actually is. I'd like to mention who he is and recommend a really bad book of his to read so you can see what I'm talking about, but I think it's best to let that sleeping dog lie.

Anyway, my suggestion is to keep writing and looking to improve your work. Also, keep circulating those query letters.
_________________
My website: http://www.jrmclemore.com

Hush, Hush, My Love is now available for Kindle, Nook, and other formats from Smashwords for free! You can view it here: http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/50564

Post Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:57 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
 Reply with quote  

Dude, there's nothing wrong with your writing style, you just need more pimping-
I can help you with that but we'll discuss that at greater length later...

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 2:01 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sugarraydodge



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 647
Location: Utah
 Reply with quote  

zendao42 wrote:
Dude, there's nothing wrong with your writing style, you just need more pimping-
I can help you with that but we'll discuss that at greater length later...


Oooh. Sounds interesting. Wink

MLX: I hear you, man. I know a few published authors, and two of them write the kind of stuff I talked about. My friend publishes TWO 60k-word paperbacks a year, which sounds like a good deal, but the books she writes are these steamy, cheat-on-your-husband porno books. I doubt very much I could write what she does. It would just be awkward Razz
_________________
Scruffy|SRD Books

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 9:40 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
Kar98



Joined: 31 Jul 2006
Posts: 3170
Location: Dallas, Texas
 Reply with quote  

sugarraydodge wrote:
My friend publishes TWO 60k-word paperbacks a year, which sounds like a good deal, but the books she writes are these steamy, cheat-on-your-husband porno books. I doubt very much I could write what she does.


It's not so much whether or not you can write this kind of stuff, but getting those sweet gigs in first place.
_________________
It finally happened. My conscience stopped working. I've never felt so free.

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 10:05 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website MSN Messenger
Lauren



Joined: 07 Mar 2004
Posts: 1582
Location: Massachusetts
 Reply with quote  

Sure, there's plenty of cookie-cutter stuff out there in genre fiction. But y'know what? There's also plenty of really fucking amazing stuff, too, and people turn their noses up at it because it's not shelved in "Literature and Fiction." Boy are they ever missing out.

I've also seen utter drivel shoved in with the "literary" stuff. Slapping that label on it doesn't mean the writing's any good.

If a book is good, it's good. Genre doesn't determine the quality of a book. Michael Chabon said it far better than I could. The whole interview is great, but check out the last question.

If your book is science fiction, or spec fic, sell it as such. If it's horror, sell it as horror. If you've written a mystery, sell it as a mystery.

There's no shame in that.

And shelving it where it belongs means your book will reach the readers that will appreciate it. I'd rather reach the people who will actually "get it" than be able to say "Yeah, I'm shelved next to a Pulitzer Prize winner."
_________________
Well, I guess you left me with some feathers in my hand.

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 4:08 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website AIM Address ICQ Number
chris
Site Admin


Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
 Reply with quote  

Here's the thing. You need to write to the best of your ability, regardless of what genre you think your books will be shelved in. If you see writing for genre as lowering your expectations, then you'll lower your standards for your work. You need to write the best stories you can. You're not going to get to pick where they get shelved anyway.

If you find genre fiction that you feel isn't as good as your stuff, just use it as a motivation. I used to keep a copy of Judith Krantz's, Princess Daisy on my bedside table while I was writing my first book. Every time I had a crisis of confidence, I'd read a few paragraphs and realize that I could write circles around the Judith, and she had something like 200 million books in print at the time.

Back in the day, I had a friend I used to wait tables with, who was praising a very famous horror writer to the roofbeams, and finally gave me a bag full of his books. I read them over the week, then she asked me what I thought, I said, "I can write circles around this guy." I was a waiter! One story published, five years before that. The point is, I didn't change what I was doing. I just kept trying to do the best I could. Other people being crappy, doesn't give you the permission to be crappy.

On the other hand, I read the first chapter of Jonathan Franzen's new book in the New York Times today, and it occurred to me, that in a thousand years, I'll never write like that. My brain isn't built that way. The guy is flat-out brilliant. But it's a good thing I can't write like that, because I don't want to. I'm not interested in writing stories that have that kind of nuance. I'm not complex enough as a person. I just have to do the best that I can do, and pick projects the push my abilities.

In England my stuff is shelved with the elves and fairies. I sell almost nothing. I sell more in six months here in the states than I've sold my entire 20 year career in England. It's pathetic, but true. I'm pretty convinced it's because of how the books are marketed. And, of course, no one asked me where I wanted them to be shelved.


Last edited by chris on Mon Aug 23, 2010 11:34 am; edited 1 time in total

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 5:00 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Jinxted



Joined: 15 Mar 2010
Posts: 487
Location: Dorrtuckey, Michigan
 Reply with quote  

AG I got y our first book from SFBC in the early 90's thought it was great, but since Iwandered the SF/Fantasy aisles at the bookstores didnt read anything again until a friend tossed Dirty Job at me nearly 15 years later. I cheated myself out of years of good books simply by being a genre reader.

Now I see the aisles full of slick little paperbacks with covers to mimic the current genre-du-jour, I've said in a different thread how many books have hit the shelves to meet a perceived need for the next 'Sookie' or Twilight, just like the JA shelves are packed with 'Percy' or 'Harry' books.

Good writing will out and good writers need to keep plugging away at what they do best and try not to meet criterias.

I find myself reading more from suggestions on this board than any genre shelf out there and find myself happier for it.
_________________
Go home and perpetrate no weird shit until I am well drunk, and had several days to sleep it off.

Post Sat Aug 21, 2010 6:12 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Yahoo Messenger
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
 Reply with quote  

We shelve all of our fiction together without genre separation-
it's a small bookstore so only the nonfic goes into categories
but we have different individual books on display in the store & in the window-
BTW, those outside window displays really work, even for our regulars!

AG, you have your own shelf more or less in the middle, which kinda works out alphabetically
& TB's books are one shelf above yours right now (& folks are noticing)-
we'll probably have to rearrange things after we get in another big shipment
but we are featuring all the fruitbat authors we can get in there, more on that later...

Psst! SRD, if we can get copies of your books, I'm sure they'll sell-
our customers are your kind of crazy & the town's full of readers... Wink

Post Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:18 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
LadyJewelleah



Joined: 22 Aug 2009
Posts: 182
Location: Southern California
 Reply with quote  

I remember walking into a major bookstore when I wanted to pick up my second book by the AG.

I searched for a while in many of the aisles trying to figure out where he would be placed. When I found him alongside the likes of the literature folks, I was quite pleased.

I don't know where they would place my books when they are done. They will probably land smack dab in the middle of contrived dribble. But, at least, they will land somewhere and I will be pleased.

Post Tue Aug 24, 2010 12:44 am   View user's profile Send private message
Taco Bob



Joined: 12 Apr 2004
Posts: 1201
Location: Palm Falls, Florida
 Reply with quote  

I've found my books in all kinds of places in bookstores. Usually in the Local or Florida section, but also in Lit and Fic, and even in Mystery. Varies from store to store even with the big chains.
For me tho, bottom line is I'm just proud as hell to be able to write that first sentence above. Very Happy
_________________
Key Weird

Post Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:20 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
 Reply with quote  

Taco Bob wrote:

I've found my books in all kinds of places in bookstores. Usually in the Local or Florida section, but also in Lit and Fic, and even in Mystery. Varies from store to store even with the big chains.
For me tho, bottom line is I'm just proud as hell to be able to write that first sentence above. Very Happy


Hells yeah! Cool

SRD, you need to talk to this man about your publishing issues
cuz I had no trouble getting his books in my store-
if you were wondering, we order new books through a distributor that gets them through the publishers-
used books are acquired through various means...

Hey, thanks for the book, it got here a couple of days ago-
I think my husband will be reading this one, too... Cool

Post Thu Aug 26, 2010 10:59 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sugarraydodge



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 647
Location: Utah
 Reply with quote  

I think I am going to have to start my own small press. I am having serious issues with the company I currently publish with. #1: The covers they have come up with this year are downright butt ugly. #2: They don't listen to me when I ask them to fix mistakes that they have made. And #3: This latest round of trade paperbacks are insanely expensive. So I can't trust them anymore to do the job right, so for the next books I am going to go back to doing everything myself.
_________________
Scruffy|SRD Books

Post Fri Aug 27, 2010 9:13 pm   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
zendao42



Joined: 05 Sep 2006
Posts: 13570
Location: Somewhere in a galaxy near you
 Reply with quote  

Well, that's the only way to get it done right... Wink

What's wrong with the covers?
I mean, Happy Valley's cover reminds me a little of blotter acid
but I won't flashback unless there's moon & stars on it-
not sure if that's the same cover that's bugging you
& I can't get to the book now without waking my husband so I'll look again later...

Post Sat Aug 28, 2010 12:47 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
sugarraydodge



Joined: 27 Nov 2007
Posts: 647
Location: Utah
 Reply with quote  

The new HV cover is okay, but it's not my favorite. It's the new TTD cover that I can't say I like. A couple of people have said they like it, but I just can't get on board with it.
_________________
Scruffy|SRD Books

Post Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:05 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
  Display posts from previous:      
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics. This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.

Jump to:  
Goto page 1, 2  Next

Last Thread | Next Thread  >

Forum Rules:
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

 
Templates created by Vereor and Ken