Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Marketing

I don't read much fiction anymore. The majority of my reading time is now devoted to research and analyzing the market, both of which are work, not pleasure. In September I only read one published novel that had nothing to do with work, No Graves as Yet by Anne Perry. This is the first of a new WWI mystery series for the author, and it's a solid read with a killer end twist. Not surprising, as Anne Perry never disappoints.

Roger Payne's 1995 Among Whales isn't a new book, but it is an amazing read, whether you're passionate about cetaceans or just curious to know why people devote their lives to studying them. I will also forever be grateful to Roger Payne for explaining to me why the world suffers from -- and I'll quote -- "testosterone poisoning."

For market analysis, I read five books, all bestsellers. I should say, I read the first fifty pages and then skimmed the remainder, which I do unless it holds my interest. Nothing grabbed this time. One recently-released doorstopper I had to set aside, as it was nothing more than a perpetual boink-fest. Not because I was offended, but because after the fourth or fifth boink it became cut-n-paste repetitive. Kind of sad that no one bothered -- or was allowed -- to edit that one, even just to kill the typos, more of which it had than I've ever seen in a published novel.

The other four were, like most published novels, competent and well-written but fairly bland. Bland and safe books flood the market at any given time, but there seems to be a lot more of them this year than last. This is actually good news for writers like me. When you push the envelope, the blander and safer the market is, the more chance you have to stand out, catch some attention.

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