Okay, maybe a little bit more about me...

Two things:

Thing 1:  I am sad to announce that, barring a miracle from the heavens (which are mostly passing out snow these days), my book will NOT be out by the end of 2009.

*moment of sniffle-y silence*

However, like many things in life, this continued delay comes with an unexpected benefit.  Here it is:




This is a group started by my good friend Amy to help promote authors who are being published in 2010 and 2011 by smaller presses.  One of my regrets with Flute was that I wouldn't be able to be a part of a promotional group like this, and now I can!

To find out more, you can visit their site.



Thing 2:  I don't often comment on some of the popular blogs I follow, mostly because by the time I get there, there are so many comments that I'm intimidated.  But when Rachelle Gardener posted a rant the other day, a commenter said something that I felt needed to be addressed, and I thought I'd share my reply with you.
__________
Anon 3:02-

I believe there is a misconception in this statement.

"He writes great stuff... but never gets any feedback from the people who matter (agents, editors)."

The people who matter are not agents, editors or publishers. The people who matter are the people who buy books. The people who matter are the readers.

The readers are the ones who determine the New York Times Bestseller List.

The readers are the ones who fail to buy the struggling midlist author's books, thus making it hard for them to sell another.

The readers are the reason that the books on the shelves are there in the first place, crap or not.

The whole publishing industry, good and bad, is based on selling. Agents try to find authors they think they can sell, publishers want books they think will sell well. But the people who are BUYING BOOKS are the ones with the power.

Now, it's true that readers can't always tell you why they put down a book, or what didn't work for them. That's why writers need other writers. That's why they need to study craft, read writing books written by people who have sold books, and why they need to keep practicing.

But I don't think your friend, or any of us, would be well-served by looking to agents and editors as the ones who matter. Because you can get a great agent, sell to a huge publisher, get all the marketing support you could ever want, and still not hook the reader.

The readers are the ones who matter.
_____________


So that was my thought.  There's been lots of talk lately about the future of publishing, and I see a lot of writers getting angry, frustrated or despairing.  But for me it helps to remember that ultimately it comes down to one group of people, one final test.

Can you hook the reader?

8 comments:

  1. You are absolutely right. If the reader wants to keep turning the page, then we've done our job sell. Interesting dialogue going on about publishing trends. I don't really see a reason for despair, thinking that books will always exixt -- in some way, shape or form. As authors, we just have to adapt to which method delivers our story best.

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  2. Now if I could only spell ...

    done our job WELL
    and
    books will always EXIST

    :/

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  3. True, true. I think we writers can get a little too focused on agents sometimes. Hard not to, I guess, but it's good to keep our eyes on the real goal—winning over readers.

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  4. I can! I can hook the reader!! In my next book, I'll have a shepherd's staff, a grappling hook and a tar baby. And duct tape. Nobody gets out of duct tape...

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  5. Hmmm...I'm mixed on this. The editors and agents are the gatekeepers. Anyway, that is a long discussion.

    I love the Inde-Debut group! It's awesome!

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  6. Joanne- Heehee! I wonder why so many awesome writers have trouble spelling... Interesting point about the methods we use, though. Those very well might change, but readers will still be here.

    Renee- I agree, it is hard not to get focused on agents/publishers, to build them up into godlike beings. But honestly, I don't think that does much besides stress us out.

    Amy- Ooo, duct tape!! That's an great idea. Or superglue... Maybe superglue AND duct tape!

    PJ Hoover- Thanks, I am excited about the group!

    As for editors and agents,it IS a complicated discussion, and I can understand people's frustration. I just get very practical on this point and wonder how much good it does to focus on that instead of being the best writers we can be

    Of course, there are probably people who can do both. :)

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  7. Nice blog, Miriam, and I agree that readers are very important. Agents/publishers are more like getting through customs than they are a special destination in and of themselves.

    The duct tape and super glue aspect of this discussion has me reminded of an old fictional (stress on fictional!) prank idea I came up with back in the medieval times of fictional communities on Usenet, in which Group A put super-glue in the shower gel bottles of Group B, and wasn't that a tangled mess at the ER?;) (Please don't try this in anything but fiction... ER personnel have better things to do, but the picture in my mind of those particular fictional folks was pretty hilarious!).

    Anyway, I like your blog, and I'm very glad NaNo caused our trails to cross.

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  8. Sharon- Thanks and welcome! I like the customs analogy. It's still important and frustrating, but not the destination.

    Super glue in a shower gel bottle would be awesome! But don't worry, I won't do it. Probably. :)

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