Have you Ever Done This?

Recently I read a post about the easiest way that you can support one of your favorite authors, but I won’t link to it because the blogger didn’t reply to my comment. Seriously.

Anyway, her entire post was about going into your favorite bookstore, finding the book/author you’d like to help support, and turning their book to face the aisle with its cover out rather than just its spine. She made it sound like this was a huge deal and could help out authors in a significant way. But I disagree.

Let’s say you do this and someone comes along and buys the book. Let’s even assume that they enjoy the book. And then later buy more books by this particular author. We’ll say the author has five more books currently available. So this other person buys a grand total of six books by this author. Whoop. The author makes a grand total of…not much from the sales. You could really stretch this scenario to say that this new reader is going to climb to the top of a mountain and scream that everyone should read this author, or that they’ll tweet about it, or find a way to interview them on their blog. But let’s be real. A typical person in a bookstore simply does not have the ability to drive sales without a significant platform, which most people do not have.

Sure it’s nice of you to turn that book by your favorite author out toward the aisle, but the impact is likely no greater than if you’d have just tweeted that you liked it.

Have you ever gone into your bookstore specifically to do this? I haven’t, mostly because I don’t go into bookstores.

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If you Could Meet one Author, who would it be?

I really mean author/writer/poet. Past or present. Dead or alive.

If you glance over at my Bookish Bucket List you’ll see that there are a few authors I want to meet. It’s a nice little list of different authors, but there’s one I’d like to meet over all the rest. I talked about him yesterday. Robert B. Parker.

He’s influenced the entire genre that is detective fiction. I can see bits of his characters and style in most detective stories I read. And I’ve read interviews from bestselling authors of today who admit that their detectives were heavily influenced by Spenser. Parker shaped the modern detective story like no one else has.

But the thing is that I wouldn’t want to pick his brain about his characters or stories or any of that stuff. I’d just want to have a conversation with him. About anything. I might ask him about his family. Or about why he started writing in the first place. Or what he viewed as his single greatest accomplishment, writing-related or otherwise. I’d simply want to get to know the man behind one of the great characters of the last fifty years. But at no point would I ask for writing advice, because he’s more than just an author to me. He managed to influence me without ever knowing it in many more things besides my own writing.

What about you? If you could meet one writer/author/poet from any period, who would it be?


On this day in 2014 I published Listen While you…Write?.

 

Can you Name a Single Favorite Author?

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Photo Credit: 3rd Grade’s a Hoot

In the last few months I’ve talked about my favorite series of books and also my favorite protagonist, but does that necessarily mean that the author of those books is my favorite? I don’t know. Actually, I do. No it doesn’t. If you missed that post I’ll link to it at the end of this, but let’s just say that my favorite series revolves around my favorite protagonist who sometimes goes by the Girl on Fire. I sincerely hope that you know who she is. If not, your life is probably a mess. Just kidding. Not really.

Okay. So now I have to dive into who I think is my single favorite author. If it’s possible to have a single favorite. This is one of those questions that always depends on when you ask. I’d be willing to bet that many people today would name John Green or Veronica Roth as their favorite. Understandable, but I don’t think one’s favorite author should always be changing. I’ve had just two books make the top of my best books read list since I first started it. I think the list has over 120 titles. See, I think one’s favorite author should be treated similarly. If they are truly your favorite, then they should remain so for some time. Not two weeks until you read the next book you deem to be the best ever.

So now that I’ve eliminated Suzanne Collins from the competition, let me see who else might make the top of the pile. Robert B. Parker. I think by the time I’m 35 or 40 I’ll have every book he ever wrote. The number is around 70 divided between several different series. But I don’t think he’s my favorite. Marcus Sakey. He has a handful of books that were truly great. I actually remember the story of every one. Somewhat. But his two most recent books are part of a trilogy that I’ll never read. Much too sci-fi for me when he’s a crime writer. I think there are only two more authors who are seriously in the running for the coveted title of John Guillen’s Favorite Author Award.

Michael Connelly. This guy just does not know how to write a mediocre novel. Harry Bosch is probably the best detective series I’ve read. I’ve also read one of his Mickey Haller novels, great. I really have nothing negative to say about his writing style or any of his books.

Robert Crais. He’s here because of Elvis Cole, who heavily influenced my own Andrew Banks. Again, nothing negative to say about any of his books I’ve read. It took me a long time to start the series because of the title of the first book. I kept hesitating to take a chance, but the climax of that first one was so intense that it was one of those rare times when you can’t read the words fast enough.

After a lot of thought, I can’t pick a winner. These two are the best of the best when it comes to crime fiction today. I deem the competition a tie.

But maybe you can. Do you have a single favorite author who isn’t just whomever is in the spotlight at the moment?

What’s That one Series of Books You Won’t Forget?

Stopping a Book Before you Finish

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Photo Credit: Pretty in Fiction

I know more avid readers than I do this several times throughout the year. They pick up a book, whether by an author they know or one that is new to them, and never reach the final page. To me, this is a terrible feeling. Not because I feel bad for the author or the publisher or anyone involved, but because somewhere along the line I read the blurb or a review or something that helped me decide that this was a book I’d like to read. So I become disappointed that I made a wrong turn somewhere.

Let me tell you what typically makes me stop a book before I finish because it has happened a lot more recently than ever before. For the longest time I had only one or two books I’d started and stopped. I just did a quick check and I think that number is five now. Three happened this year! So what makes me stop reading a book? It’s boring. A book by one of my favorite authors that came out last year that was quite a bit different from his previous work had whole chapters of description. Whole 25-35 page chapters! What is that? The protagonist. I don’t think I’ve ever read any books in which I hated the protagonist, but there have been a few that made me just want to throw my book out the window. Not naming any, though. Pace. Now I’ve mentioned before that as a writer I know nothing about pacing. Well as a reader I think I’m more knowledgeable. I shouldn’t be nearly halfway through the work before knowing what the heck is going on. I want to know the conflict and I want to know it early on.

There is one other reason I might stop a book. If I’m just trying out a new author and I’m not hooked by the first 50-100 pages, then I might stop and grab something off my shelf by an author I know I like.

I think there have been five or six books I’ve started and never finished, and I still haven’t gone back to any of them.

So tell me, what makes you stop a book before finishing? And how often would you say it happens to you? I’m sure your reasons may be similar to mine, but maybe you have more.