October 8, 2012 § 9 Comments
Yes, I understand that genres are useful because they help booksellers know where to shelve new books and readers find books similar to those they already like. That said, do we really need so many of them?
In case you’ve missed the news, the powers that be have decided to shoe-horn yet another genre in between children’s books and “adult” books (maybe I should call them “grown up books” as “adult books” sounds like 50 Shades of Gray). “New adult” is the new genre, and in case your powers of deduction are failing you today, it describes books between young adult and old adult books, (which I will henceforth just refer to as “boring books”) and as far as I can tell is basically defined by having a protagonist of late high school or early college age.
In principle there is nothing particularly wrong with this and it might actually help me eventually sell a book as this is the range I sometimes I write in. Like I said, there really are uses for genre distinctions. But I can’t help but feel that this “new adult” genre is either a) just a way to get adult readers to feel less embarrassed about reading books described as “young adult,” or b) write more salacious and “adult” scenes in YA books while still being able to maintain that they aren’t targeted to young adults. « Read the rest of this entry »
September 28, 2012 § 4 Comments
While I object to the misleading title of this infographic (as well as some other specifics), I still think it’s pretty interesting and worth sharing.
To elaborate on what I find objectionable: just because a book has more copies sold, does not necessarily mean more people have read those books. For example, it’s not unusual for a family to own multiple copies of the Bible, while ever member of a family might not have a personal copy of Gone With the Wind, even if they’ve all read it. That could also skew up the perceived readership of books like Harry Potter where some families bought two copies (or more) of the book so they could read it at the same time.
On which subject, what book are they evaluating when they say “Harry Potter” or “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Twilight Saga”? Does it count total sales for the series? If so, a book like The Alchemist would be more read than any single Harry Potter book (as 400 million divided amongst seven books is only [pssh, "only"] 57 million books apiece).
I could go on, but you get the point. All that said, I still think it’s interesting to see. The Alchemist has moved way up my “to read” list.
As an aside, Hello! It’s been a long time and I’m rather happy to be back. The break was necessary for me as I was reassessing priorities in life. Blogging time was coming directly out of my writing time which, once I stepped back and got a little perspective, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new season of blogging for me–assuming I can strike a better balance with it– so check in again sometime relatively soon. As always, thanks for stopping by!
April 3, 2012 § 8 Comments
Possibly my greatest fear about getting a book published is that a story that I’ve worked for months or years on will get saddled with a cover like this. Now I understand that there are marketing folks at publishing companies that try their darnedest to sell your book and if they choose a cover like this it’s (hopefully) because they think that cover will convince more people to read that book than one with cover art that I might choose. But it’s not a cover that would make a book leap of the shelf into my hands, and I’d be a little self-conscious recommending it to friends and family. I understand that everyone has different tastes and maybe bare-chested heroes (with shaved armpits) on the covers of books appeal to some people, even if they don’t to me. That said, there is one kind of book cover that drives me bananas:
When the packaging or promotion materials ruin plot points of a book (or movie, or story of any kind).
I’m the kind of guy who avoids reading the backs of books and won’t watch trailers for movies that I’m excited to see. I go out of my way to avoid knowing anything about the stories I’m about to read, watch, or otherwise experience, so I find it rather frustrating when my efforts are thwarted by the people at publishing companies. « Read the rest of this entry »
April 1, 2012 § 3 Comments
I haven’t reviewed a book on here for a long time, in part because there are approximately 291,329 bloggers out there who review books on a regular basis and do a bang-up job of it. In addition, I didn’t think many folks were stumbling across my blog because they were looking for book reviews (humorously, the only review that gets traffic is the only negative review I’ve given, which, for reasons I can’t comprehend, regularly gets traffic from Google searches). So I’ve abandoned giving regular reviews of what I’m reading, but when I come across something I particularly liked, I’ll still send it your way, which is what I’m doing right now.
In my endless quest for books for young adult boys, I was referred to Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. It had airships and adventure, which made it easy for me to pick up, but once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 30, 2012 § 10 Comments
Or: The Narrow-Mindedness of the Literary Elite
Yesterday the New York Times published an essay entitled “Adults Should Read Adult Books” by Joel Stein. The gist is obvious from the title, but I posted most of it below (and if you’re like me, your irritation will carry you through it quickly):
The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads. « Read the rest of this entry »
March 27, 2012 § 1 Comment
Last Thursday I read an article on adage.com entitled “Why ‘The Hunger Games’ Won’t Make $100 Million Its Opening Weekend.” It compared The Hunger Games to other movies like it–primarily Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–to estimate how many people would be going to The Hunger Games opening weekend. In a nutshell they tried to establish a “true reach” for Hunger Games marketing materials by looking at how many times trailers, interviews, etc. had been viewed as compared to other films with similar demographics and marketing strategies as of ten days before release.
For example, 10 days to release, the original “Twilight” film had generated 98.5 million views. It went on to bring $69.6 million at the box office its opening weekend. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” had driven more than 136.2 million views 10 days to its release. It saw $77.8 million at the box office.
Ten days to release, “The Hunger Games” had produced 89.4 million views, putting it significantly behind those films.
Ad Age basically predicted, according to this type of reasoning, that The Hunger Games would bring in around $80 million its opening weekend.
Well, if you haven’t heard, The Hunger Games « Read the rest of this entry »
January 20, 2012 § 2 Comments
Last week we talked about book trailers in general and A) book trailers can be a powerful way to market your book, but B) there are a ton of mediocre book trailers out there, and C) if you want to only spend $100 on a book trailer, you should spend your money on other kinds of marketing instead because there is a quality threshold with video, below which I would be surprised if you recouped the cost of the video from added sales (even if it’s only $100). This post started out as a discussion of all the challenges book trailers face, but as it turns out, they are legion and I wanted to take more time addressing them than I could in a single post, so here’s a start talking about the most fundamental problem most book trailers have.
Before starting any book trailer (or any marketing at all), it’s important (if you want your money’s worth) to ask two simple questions: « Read the rest of this entry »
January 16, 2012 § 5 Comments
(Note: for anyone hoping for the second post on book trailers: It’s coming, but I haven’t had the time to put it together properly yet, so be patient)
Recently I found myself in a bookish conversation when my fellow reader took issue with the use of the word “id” in a fantasy story (though I can’t remember which story for the life of me). The argument was that id is part of a theory of the psyche that was developed by Freud, and since Freud had never lived in this fantasy world, the characters wouldn’t have any idea what id was.
I’ve raised similar issues before regarding technology or terms that don’t belong in a given fantasy world, my favorite being « Read the rest of this entry »
January 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
In the spirit of full disclosure, I went into The Resisters really wanting to like it. In high school I read and enjoyed Eric Nylund’s Halo novels and I wasn’t the only one. After writing those books, he received a steady stream of letters, emails, etc. from readers (mostly boys who hadn’t done much reading) asking where they could find other books like them. He pointed them to Ender’s Game and Robert Heinlein, but in the end decided that there just wasn’t enough good fiction for boys. So he set about writing The Resisters in an attempt to appeal to a generation of boys more likely to be playing video games and watching movies than reading books. In my opinion, The Resisters landed right on the mark.
Twelve-year-old Ethan Blackwood has always known exactly what he wanted—to win the state soccer championship, get into the best high school, and become an astronaut. Then he meets Madison and Felix, who tell him something . . . insane. They claim that 50 years ago, aliens took over the earth, and everyone past puberty is under their mind control. Ethan doesn’t believe it. But then he sees for himself the aliens’ monster bug robots and the incredible way that Madison and Felix have learned to fight them. So Ethan Blackwood has a choice: he can go back to his normal, suburban, protected lie of a life—or he can become a Resister.
January 10, 2012 § 4 Comments
I read oodles (the technical term for it) when I was in elementary and middle school, a lot in high school, and not terribly much in college (aside from what I was reading for classes, which took the majority of my reading energy). Fortunately I’m rectifying that error, by reading more than ever these days. The ‘real’ world, with mortgages and bills and full-time jobs isn’t all glamor and glitz, but it’s one major redeeming quality is a total lack of homework. I’ve taken advantage of the extra time in my life (and the fact that my wife who is in grad school still does have homework in the evenings) by reading more this year than in the previous eight years combined.
Since I began writing seriously, the way I read books has changed significantly, for better or worse. I’m more discerning of everything from adverb overuse and cliches to strong and original characters. Most of the books I read « Read the rest of this entry »