where the writers are
The Importance of being earnest...in what and why we read
Tree at Ghost Ranch, Abiquii, New Mexico

As I read the latest reviews in the NYT Book review, I am struck by the degree to which fewer and fewer of us read for serious purposes outside of entertainment in fiction.  It used to be the kind of winnowing, soul-searching, adventure and mental stimulation now associated with today's readers of the nonfiction list were to be found browsing in the literary aisles.  What has happened?  Have we made fiction too familiar (the MFA workshop syndrome), too banal (the genre affliction), or possibly, do we just tolerate less innovation and forthrightness in our authors?  And is this because we are a prime-time people, used to standardization of tastes, or has commercialization narrowed our options?  In the thousands of books published each year, how many are truly different? What do you think?

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I'd say....all of the above

Them: So, tell me about Plasma Dreams. What genre is it?

Me: It's fiction...a novel

Them: Who is your target audience?

Me: People who know how to read.

Them: I'm serious. What niche market are you targeting.

Me: People who know how to read, and are interested in science.

Them: Ahh. Now we're getting somewhere. It's Sci-Fi.

Me: No, it's not Sci-fi. It's a literary novel that has a lot of science in it.

Them: How are we supposed to market THAT?

Me: How about as "A literary novel that has a lot of science in it?"

Them: Oh. It's futuristic. A futuristic dystopia techno-punk. It's really big now. We can work with that now.

Me: No.

Them: What do you mean "NO"

Me: It's not futuristic. It takes place twenty years ago, in 1987

Them: Ahh. But it's still dystopic, existential....

Me: No. Actually, it presents a rather optimistic outlook of science.

Them: How are we supposed to market that?

Me: Pick a random genre. How about a Western?

Them: Good call.

 

And on it goes.

 

eric

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HI, Glenda--This post is interesting

because I try not to learn too much about what's current, what's hot, what's selling. I don't try to be clueless about the trends; I just don't care very much. It's healthier for my writing to have blinders on to the general market.

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Blinders

Belle, I think you're right.  I mean, a trend is a passing wave by definition.  It's better to generate the wave, if at all possible, in your own authenticity.

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I'd say....all of the above

Them: So, tell me about Plasma Dreams. What genre is it?

Me: It's fiction...a novel

Them: Who is your target audience?

Me: People who know how to read.

Them: I'm serious. What niche market are you targeting.

Me: People who know how to read, and are interested in science.

Them: Ahh. Now we're getting somewhere. It's Sci-Fi.

Me: No, it's not Sci-fi. It's a literary novel that has a lot of science in it.

Them: How are we supposed to market THAT?

Me: How about as "A literary novel that has a lot of science in it?"

Them: Oh. It's futuristic. A futuristic dystopia techno-punk. It's really big now. We can work with that now.

Me: No.

Them: What do you mean "NO"

Me: It's not futuristic. It takes place twenty years ago, in 1987

Them: Ahh. But it's still dystopic, existential....

Me: No. Actually, it presents a rather optimistic outlook of science.

Them: How are we supposed to market that?

Me: Pick a random genre. How about a Western?

Them: Good call.

 

And on it goes.

 

eric

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What is it...

Eric, you cracked me up with this.  A possible conversation between writer and agent/editor overheard at any of a thousand writers conferences...  So maybe it is more productive, to feed on an analogy of 'waves' I sent in response to Belle, to SURF the wave already out there.  At least the business knows what's up, eh?