Old Moon

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Plea to Readers

Someone who read my last post was kind enough to respond with an offer of help. More encouraging than I can say. What's most encouraging is the sense that there's another mind out there that can respond to this one (mine), and doubtless to a great many others. Okay, that leads a writer to the conclusion that whatever we come up with that we feel is worthy of sharing could actually find sympathetic readers. If that's the case, what's the problem with finding help for our projects? Agents, after all, don't work for nothing, and we who need support and expertise to find publishers are happy to pay. If we knew how to do what the agents do, we wouldn't have to try to hire them.I'm not a statistician, but I can see what's happening around me. Older people are a rapidly growing segment of the population. Most older people have a marginal interest in horror, blood and gore all over the floor, soft porn, and dungeons and dragons. More like good sci fi with interesing characters to engage in the fantasy. Large numbers are fans of romance, thrillers, and mysteries. Most readers in the 65+ age range appreciate stories that resonate with their own experiences, their own memories of the way it was, remind them of what they admire and revere and hope for (still. They're readers of so-called "mainstream" and literary fiction. (I recognize that non-fiction is the way to fortune, but fiction has a deserved place in our lives. But that's another subject for another day.) With what they do know, why don't agents have the power to prove this to the publishers and take advantage of writing that might not make billions, but would be certain to produce good profits? If the mega corporations that control the big publishers are too greedy to care, where are the indendents? I gather they're feeling hamstrung by the inability to pay what good publicity costs, and therefore can't see their way to try anything without shock value to turn a quick buck. It's no accident the the term "midlist" has become an achaic term.Where am I going with this? I want to make a plea to readers who find one of those gems of fine writing, careful thinking, and artistry, probably by accident or through acquaintance with the author, to talk it up! Word of mouth might be the only way the author and publisher can make back the cost of production--never mind the time the author spent in creation! Don't just enjoy a good book and pass it on to the library or put it on your shelf. Tell a friend, and don't lend it to that friend. If books aren't bought, no one gains anything at all except from some righteous sense of work well done.
Labels: Talk it up

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