Monday, May 2, 2011
Just a Little Rant
When I first began this writing quest thing, one of the admonitions I heard was that your manuscript had to be better than good. It had to be better than very good. It even had to be better than great. It had to be powerful. Magic. Inspired.
Who said these things? Agents. Publishers. Editors. They said these things at writers conferences, workshops, online, in rejection letters. The word definitely got out.
It seemed quite clear to me that the vanguard were intent on upping the game. They would publish only the best of the best. Ensure that not one substandard novel would take up space either on my nightstand or a bookstore shelf.
C'mon. I know you know exactly what I'm talking about.
So here's my problem. Assuming this all began seven or eight years ago (and not before, which I'm pretty sure it did), why are bookstores still filled with piles and piles of mediocre (at best) books? Why aren't we bowled over with phenomenal choices? Why is the lousiest manuscript in my drawer as good as something with a cover on it?
Did publisher's cave? Were they aware they were publishing books that weren't powerful? Or magic? Or inspired?
Or did they get to a point where they would take any old thing because they knew exactly how to sell it?
Aha . . . maybe lazy and a lie.
What do readers have to say about this? Shouldn't their minds be boggled by all of the brilliant choices?
CR: Just finished Where's Billie? by Judith Yates Borger. A wonderful debut novel written by a former journalist about a journalist. Well done!
I'll make a new selection either tonight or tomorrow, depending.
It's all better with friends.