Sunday, May 28, 2006

Short shelf life or flooding the market

All books come and go in spurts. A newfound popularity will all of a sudden become a tidal wave of submissions in that type.
And when the wave subsides? Just a bunch of bare beach and toasty sand.

What does it take to have a book that lasts?

Characters that speak to readers. A story line that is unique. And a conflict (or conflicts) that take(s) the whole book to resolve.
But it's not easy.
I recently checked out three books from the library that I thought would interest me. A Marjorie Liu. A Cara Lockwood. And a Constance O'Day Flannery. The only one I enjoyed was Shadow Touch by Marjorie Liu. And even though Constance had a similar storyline...I didn't care for it. I think the difference was that Marjorie's book was honest. Whereas Constance's book was built on deceit. And that was a turn-off from the beginning. So I mentally added "truthful" to my list of must-haves for story ingredients.
What makes a title a bestseller? Publicity put into it? Distribution? Because there is SOMETHING that allows some books to rise to the top while an equally well-written book does not. And I would really like to know what the "something" is.

As far as staying power...
Submissions sent to "title" lines only stay on the shelf from four to five weeks. New releases from epubs constantly have to be publicized. Because there are so many books released each month that a single title can be lost in the publishing fray.
And this happens in all entertainment genres. I hardly EVER go see a movie when it comes out because it will be on PPV in three months and released on DVD three months after that. There is such a quick turnaround that I don't see much of a point. There is only about three movies a year that I'll make the effort to go see.
And now the same can be said for books. If you don't seize the moment when it's presented...then you lose the moment entirely.

1 comment:

Rene said...

I'm the same way about movies. There are very few that I've seen that I wouldn't have been ticked to spend all that money on.

I think characters are what make a book memorable. Unique characters put in difficult situations that deal with the conflicts using depth.