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The humor/satire market.

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notpalmerstoat



Joined: 16 Apr 2005
Posts: 3
The humor/satire market.  Reply with quote  

Chris (or anyone else who cares to chime in):

What is the market like for humor/satire fiction? I keep running across things on the Web (I know, don't believe everything you read on the net) that say the market is much smaller than, say, mystery or thriller type stuff, and you're less likely to be published. Should I be discouraged about the potential for being published because of the market, or should I just continue to worry that my writing isn't good enough? Smile I won't change what I write because of the market, but I'm just curious.

Thanks for any info.

Post Sat Apr 16, 2005 6:48 pm   View user's profile Send private message
chris
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
Posts: 3833
Location: People Republic of Northern California
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This may be the one time where I'm actually on the supply side of economics. That is, I think the reason there's no great market for satirical fiction is because there's not very much good satirical fiction (no supply). So, in that case, the absolute answer is: Yes, the market for satirical fiction is smaller than mystery or sci-fi. The more important question is why?

Post Sun Apr 17, 2005 2:17 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
palmer



Joined: 30 Mar 2004
Posts: 1324
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chris wrote:
This may be the one time where I'm actually on the supply side of economics. That is, I think the reason there's no great market for satirical fiction is because there's not very much good satirical fiction (no supply). So, in that case, the absolute answer is: Yes, the market for satirical fiction is smaller than mystery or sci-fi. The more important question is why?


Wild (and sometimes mutually exclusive -- because we live in schizophrenic times) theories:

a) because there is no consensus, and so there are too many people to offend
b) there are so many sacred cows -- it adds up to a pretty humourless audience.
c) because almost anything goes these days, satire is impossible: nobody gets that it's satire -- they think you mean it! (Sort of like how you once pointed out that most people didn't understand that Fight Club was a comedy.

Post Sun Apr 17, 2005 6:01 pm   View user's profile Send private message
Ferrit Leggings



Joined: 29 Mar 2004
Posts: 2658
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I have to say that the reason that satire is not found around is because it is hard to do well. Satire is like sarcasm in speech. The best sarcasm has hints of truth to it like on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The master has to be Vonnegut.

Palmer you mentioned Fight Club but I havenít seen it or read it so I would compare it to The Hitchhikers Guide and how people didnít get that it was mostly making fun of creationism. That is one of the things that drew me to Chrisís work and how he made fun of the medicated America in The Lust Lizard.

One thing I like to say when people are sarcastic is, ďSmells like sarcasmĒ but the thing is that truth has a similar smell to it. Some people find it sweet but others think it is sour. A lot has to do with intelligence and understanding.

The anything goes part of what you mentioned is a good point also because our society isn't as closed as it was twenty or more years ago. Twenty years ago people got upset by Robert Maplethorpes photos of himself with a bullwhip us his ass but today most would shrug and move on. People today don't stop to think about what they are seeing, reading and hearing. Thirty years ago people didn't understand that Bob Dylan was talking about buying drugs in Mr Tamborine man but some did. Now singers and writers are so upfront with everything that no one needs to figure it out.

ta,
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Post Sun Apr 17, 2005 7:03 pm   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
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Ferrit Leggings wrote:
I have to say that the reason that satire is not found around is because it is hard to do well. Satire is like sarcasm in speech.


It's a bitch. Trying to find the right tone in the written word ain't easy. We see the effects around here from time to time. I get fooled.

Quote:
The best sarcasm has hints of truth to it like on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The master has to be Vonnegut.


True, even though not entirely synonymous.

[/quote]Palmer you mentioned Fight Club but I havenít seen it or read it so I would compare it to The Hitchhikers Guide and how people didnít get that it was mostly making fun of creationism.[/quote]

...although everyone got that it was supposed to be funny. I haven't read Fight Club either, but I remember a post from Chris to the effect that people who didn't like the movie tended not to realise that it was a comedy. I know that I didn't -- looking back, the "Ikea" stuff was a bit of a giveaway.

Quote:
Twenty years ago...Thirty years ago...


Remember A Modest Proposal? Couple of hundred years ago I think. For anyone reading this who doesn't, it was a satirical piece -- and everyone at the time knew it -- that suggested raising the Irish as food. The author's point was that they were being treated so badly anyway that they might as well be.

Somebody tried that regarding the jews twenty or thirty years ago, and nobody "got" it, or they were so busy being offended that they couldn't get past it to the author's point, which was that the Jews were being treated so badly that...

Anyway, my point is that there seems to be something in this age of ours that makes satire more difficult.

But maybe I'm full of shit. (also, one coffee short of being able to think of a snappy satirical ending to the post -- shame: it might have tested my thesis.)

Post Mon Apr 18, 2005 5:43 am   
scalepluspoints
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Humor is subjective, at least in my very limited experience.  Reply with quote  

I had a book I was working on, but had a hell of a time getting interest from an agent. It's a humor/satire work, kind of silly, Monty Python-esque I suppose... I got lots of "not funny" comments. Lots. Feeling completely frustrated, I self-published the book and started submitting it to low-levell reviewers just to see... I've gotten some pretty good reviews, like this one - http://www.curledup.com/contextc.htm - and yet, I still can't seem to get arrested.

It's a strange, subjective thing, trying to write humor. I don't know how Chris does it; I applaud him.

Post Thu May 05, 2005 8:29 am   
jaandlu



Joined: 17 Apr 2005
Posts: 4578
Location: Location, location, location.
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Ferrit Leggings wrote:
I have to say that the reason that satire is not found around is because it is hard to do well. Satire is like sarcasm in speech. The best sarcasm has hints of truth to it like on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. The master has to be Vonnegut.




Vonnegut is master now, AG soon to be.
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Post Sun May 29, 2005 9:38 am   View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Ginjg



Joined: 04 Sep 2004
Posts: 6617
Location: Los Angeles
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I'm not a writer, but a reader. From my side of things, I have to agree with Chris. It's hard to do well.


If the story can stand on its own without the humor then you know that all important ring of truth is there. If the humor wraps into the story natually, it applifies that ring.

You can see this in Chris' books. Each story would work just fine without the humor. The humor is woven into the story so natuarally that it makes the story sing.

Write your stories. Write lots and lots of them. Your typical voice will become apparent. If humor is a part of your style it will surface organically. Just write great stories.

Leave the genre assignment to the publishers.
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Post Sun May 29, 2005 10:46 am   View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website AIM Address
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