Tag Archives: publishing

PEARL DIVING, GENRE JOSTLING and WINNING THE LOTTERY

I’ve heard it said that writers often pitch their fiction wrong.
     Could it be that it is wrong to pitch our fiction?
     ‘Who is your target audience?’ we get asked.  Now, this is fair enough if the answer is as broad as, say, children or teenagers.  It also works if you have a narrower target such as knitters or wood-workers or butterfly-wing collectors. 
    
But it seems that an answer along the lines of ‘people who like to be surprised by fiction’ doesn’t cut the mustard.  ‘Someone who has no preconceived notion of what this story is about’, does not float a publisher’s boat.  What about ‘a reader interested in journeying into fields unknown?’  No cigar.
     Don’t get me wrong.  There is nothing wrong with fitting tightly into a genre, if that is where you want to be.  If a reader is in the mood for a romance guaranteed to produce – despite a lot of angst and more than a few misunderstandings – an ending where the heroine ‘gets her man’, then isn’t it wonderful that they can grab a Mills and Boon? 
     If you want to get your rocks off with a little hanky-panky, its hard to go past a Best of Erotica anthology or you could take a dip into Toshba Learner’s  Quiver.  Some brilliantly-researched, good quality gore and suspense?  Patricia Cornwell.  A scientifically-believable eye-opening tear-jerker? Jodi Picoult perhaps.  Clever and Witty? Jasper Fford.
     Sometimes, though, isn’t it just enough to know that the author has written for an adult audience? 
    
Personally, I  don’t want to read ‘something like I read last summer’. 
    
Just because you might have enjoyed  Twilight,  doesn’t mean you want to read everything written by Stephenie Meyer or, indeed any story from  the ‘new Stephenie Meyer’. 
    
I don’t really want to be told ‘If you liked  Frankenstein: revenge  then you’ll love A monster called F. 
     
Am I the only person who wants to pick up a book, weigh it in my hands, scan the blurb, read the first line, and then make a decision to buy or not to buy?  Are there really not millions of readers who would like to give something a go and see if they like it? Aren’t we clever enough – or daring enough –  to trust our instincts? 
    
The more I consider it, the more I think,  perhaps I am alone.
     You see, I’m the same with DVD’s.  I love to browse the aisles of ‘Video Ezy’, looking at the cover pics, reading the blurbs, and then – horror of horrors – taking a $4 gamble ($2 on Tuesdays) and taking something home to watch.  I might be bored beyond words by a Where the Wild Things Are or completely surprised by a Whip it.
    
I know that purchasing a book is a far bigger investment than renting a movie but I still think we should all take the gamble.  I mean, pulease, people buy lottery ticket’s  don’t they?  According to  WebMATH*, the odds of winning the lottery are 1 in 8,145,060. 
     I have done my own ‘extremely scientific’ research (read: I’ve chatted with friends about it) and I can tell you that the odds of purchasing a book that you enjoy and would recommend to others is quite high.  For every random book that we have selected, we reckon the odds are six to one:  six ‘brillos’ to every one ‘dud’.
    
So in the words of self-confessed ‘queen’ Molly Meldrum, ‘do yourself a favour’ and grab yourself a copy of whatever book takes your fancy.  See where the author can take you.  See what the story makes you think about. 
     See how fiction can change the way you look at the world.

*WebMATH also brought forth this little gem:  someone eating an oyster has a 1 in 12,000 chance of finding a pearl inside.    Diving, anyone?

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