Friday, May 14, 2010

Am I Jaded?

I've just put down another book that had a stellar beginning and a magnificent promise, and an ending that sucked big time. This is the second time in three weeks that this has happened. What's even more irritating is that this book (and the previous one by a very well-known author) received rave reviews. Both of these books couldn't be farther apart on the genre spectrum but my feeling when I finished both was exactly the same. No. I'm sorry, author, but no. You didn't make it work. You had all the tools, you were in the home stretch, and the last third of your book did not work. I have yet to pick up a book this year that I haven't felt that way about. I think the last book I read that I thought was stellar was Calvin Trillin's "About Alice." But that's a different animal and non-fiction, so I don't think it really counts. Goddammit. WHERE ARE THE EDITORS?

Okay, this is a total shout-out to the publishing industry. You are in free fall. You are watching your audience being siphoned off by other media and you don't know why. I'll tell you one reason. You're publishing books that don't work. I supposed they work well "enough" in your mind, but they are fundamentally weak. Even decent authors are now getting turfed on the editorial process and it shows in their writing. You don't want to take the time to run an author through their paces. Make them fix a book with fatal flaws. And you wonder why your audience is shrinking. You don't care about what you are publishing; why should I care to buy your books?

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