Monday, October 15, 2007

Why did they publish that?

So, I'm going though my stacks of books from the TBR pile and I have to tell you. I am disappointed. Horribly disappointed.

I am looking at stories that frankly, are worse that beginner contest entries in those local contests. I honestly have to ask myself, "what on earth was that editor thinking when they chose that book?"

Now sure, I know that we all have our personal biases but give me a break. The story should at least be something good.

Let me see, what have I read?

Multiculturals that only call themselves that because they use dialect in italics. There is NOTHING cultural about this.

Historicals that clearly were written while watching a Disney movie and copying not just the plot but the dang dialogue.

Contemporary romances that are far from romances. We're just watching characters have sex. Heck, why not just call them "one night stand."

And don't even get me started on the paranormals.

Look, I read these things to determine what the editors saw in these books. I have to tell you, I am at a real loss here.

I keep hearing that editors what some great new stuff for their lines. If that is the case, then quit publishing that other stuff and get the good stuff. Granted, most of that will have to come from agents because I have also seen very little exciting stuff coming across my desk from those unagented.

We're in a real bind here people and we need to make some serious changes in these stories. Let's please go back to the basics:
  • Plot
  • Character
  • Setting
  • Theme
  • Conflict

And please, pay attention to making it good!

O.K. so clearly the coffee is finally kicking in.

Back to the laundry and critiques.


  1. You and me both. But I can usually pinpoint what it is about the book that loses me, and it's not necessarily because the book is "bad." Just bad for me. There are some wildly successful bestsellers out there that have me scratching my head going "huh?" And then there are other books that I think the sun should rise and set on, but few people I know have even heard of. WTF? Such a subjective industry this is.

  2. The problem with what I see is that often, the reason the book was picked up was for the "witty hook" or something as superficial as that.

    I should note though that I don't believe this happens all of the time and/or with all publishers. It's simply something that I often question when I pick up a book and go ugh...

    I do have to admit that the majority of editors out there do a damn fine job of putting out great products. This is especially true with the romance genre.

  3. It seems to me that many books are published because of a particular element, in spite of whatever weakness it has and if the 'in spite of' is a strong and noticeable element, people get confused and think that's the 'because of' element and tend to write/buy/sell/publish more of the same for what are the wrong reasons.

    ...or something like that... ;)

    (or at least that's a reason I can wrap my head around in my own small little world)