The “new adult” genre and the approaching genre singularity

October 8, 2012 § 9 Comments

Yes, I understand that genres are useful because they help booksellers know where to shelve new books and readers find books similar to those they already like. That said, do we really need so many of them?

In case you’ve missed the news, the powers that be have decided to shoe-horn yet another genre in between children’s books and “adult” books (maybe I should call them “grown up books” as “adult books” sounds like 50 Shades of Gray). “New adult” is the new genre, and in case your powers of deduction are failing you today, it describes books between young adult and old adult books, (which I will henceforth just refer to as “boring books”) and as far as I can tell is basically defined by having a protagonist of late high school or early college age.

In principle there is nothing particularly wrong with this and it might actually help me eventually sell a book as this is the range I sometimes I write in. Like I said, there really are uses for genre distinctions. But I can’t help but feel that this “new adult” genre is either a) just a way to get adult readers to feel less embarrassed about reading books described as “young adult,” or b) write more salacious and “adult” scenes in YA books while still being able to maintain that they aren’t targeted to young adults. « Read the rest of this entry »

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The Ten Most *Sold* Books in the World

September 28, 2012 § 4 Comments

While I object to the misleading title of this infographic (as well as some other specifics), I still think it’s pretty interesting and worth sharing.

To elaborate on what I find objectionable: just because a book has more copies sold, does not necessarily mean more people have read those books. For example, it’s not unusual for a family to own multiple copies of the Bible, while ever member of a family might not have a personal copy of Gone With the Wind, even if they’ve all read it. That could also skew up the perceived readership of books like Harry Potter where some families bought two copies (or more) of the book so they could read it at the same time.
On which subject, what book are they evaluating when they say “Harry Potter” or “The Lord of the Rings” or “The Twilight Saga”? Does it count total sales for the series? If so, a book like The Alchemist would be more read than any single Harry Potter book (as 400 million divided amongst seven books is only [pssh, “only”] 57 million books apiece).

I could go on, but you get the point. All that said, I still think it’s interesting to see. The Alchemist has moved way up my “to read” list.

As an aside, Hello! It’s been a long time and I’m rather happy to be back. The break was necessary for me as I was reassessing priorities in life. Blogging time was coming directly out of my writing time which, once I stepped back and got a little perspective, didn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. Hopefully this is the beginning of a new season of blogging for me–assuming I can strike a better balance with it– so check in again sometime relatively soon. As always, thanks for stopping by!

When packaging kills plot points

April 3, 2012 § 8 Comments

Possibly my greatest fear about getting a book published is that a story that I’ve worked for months or years on will get saddled with a cover like this. Now I understand that there are marketing folks at publishing companies that try their darnedest to sell your book and if they choose a cover like this it’s (hopefully) because they think that cover will convince more people to read that book than one with cover art that I might choose. But it’s not a cover that would make a book leap of the shelf into my hands, and I’d be a little self-conscious recommending it to friends and family. I understand that everyone has different tastes and maybe bare-chested heroes (with shaved armpits) on the covers of books appeal to some people, even if they don’t to me. That said, there is one kind of book cover that drives me bananas:

When the packaging or promotion materials ruin plot points of a book (or movie, or story of any kind).

I’m the kind of guy who avoids reading the backs of books and won’t watch trailers for movies that I’m excited to see. I go out of my way to avoid knowing anything about the stories I’m about to read, watch, or otherwise experience, so I find it rather frustrating when my efforts are thwarted by the people at publishing companies. « Read the rest of this entry »

Book Review: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel

April 1, 2012 § 3 Comments

I haven’t reviewed a book on here for a long time, in part because there are approximately 291,329 bloggers out there who review books on a regular basis and do a bang-up job of it. In addition, I didn’t think many folks were stumbling across my blog because they were looking for book reviews (humorously, the only review that gets traffic is the only negative review I’ve given, which, for reasons I can’t comprehend, regularly gets traffic from Google searches). So I’ve abandoned giving regular reviews of what I’m reading, but when I come across something I particularly liked, I’ll still send it your way, which is what I’m doing right now.

In my endless quest for books for young adult boys, I was referred to Airborn, by Kenneth Oppel. It had airships and adventure, which made it easy for me to pick up, but once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down. « Read the rest of this entry »

Should Adults Read Young Adult Books?

March 30, 2012 § 10 Comments

Or: A Reaction to Joel Stein’s “Adults Should Read Adult Books”

Or: The Narrow-Mindedness of the Literary Elite

Yesterday the New York Times published an essay entitled “Adults Should Read Adult Books” by Joel Stein. The gist is obvious from the title, but I posted most of it below (and if you’re like me, your irritation will carry you through it quickly):

The only thing more embarrassing than catching a guy on the plane looking at pornography on his computer is seeing a guy on the plane reading “The Hunger Games.” Or a Twilight book. Or Harry Potter. The only time I’m O.K. with an adult holding a children’s book is if he’s moving his mouth as he reads. « Read the rest of this entry »

What The Hunger Games reminds us about marketing to readers

March 27, 2012 § 1 Comment

Last Thursday I read an article on adage.com entitled “Why ‘The Hunger Games’ Won’t Make $100 Million Its Opening Weekend.” It compared The Hunger Games to other movies like it–primarily Twilight: Breaking Dawn and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince–to estimate how many people would be going to The Hunger Games opening weekend. In a nutshell they tried to establish a “true reach” for Hunger Games marketing materials by looking at how many times trailers, interviews, etc. had been viewed as compared to other films with similar demographics and marketing strategies as of ten days before release.

For example, 10 days to release, the original “Twilight” film had generated 98.5 million views. It went on to bring $69.6 million at the box office its opening weekend. “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” had driven more than 136.2 million views 10 days to its release. It saw $77.8 million at the box office.

Ten days to release, “The Hunger Games” had produced 89.4 million views, putting it significantly behind those films.

Ad Age basically predicted, according to this type of reasoning, that The Hunger Games would bring in around $80 million its opening weekend.

Well, if you haven’t heard, The Hunger Games « Read the rest of this entry »

2 things the Hunger Games film reminds us about the book industry

March 23, 2012 § 9 Comments

It’s not a big secret that I’m pretty conflicted about books that are made into movies, even (and sometimes especially) if the movies turn out good. That said, it’s been incredibly encouraging to see all the hubbub created by the release of the first Hunger Games movie. I’ve talked to dozens of people who would never have heard of the book if it weren’t for the movie, many of them who were reading it to see what the commotion is all about. Even better–“something better than getting people reading?!” you ask–yes, even better is that it’s getting people talking about the themes of the book, like privileged people taking what they have for granted and turning a blind eye to the suffering of others, and being used by non-profits as an opportunity to raise awareness about world hunger.

And I have to admit that it would be dishonest of me to say that I haven’t been stoked to see it.

So rather than get down about the fact that many times more people are going to see the movie than will ever read the book, I’m looking at the positive. « Read the rest of this entry »

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