Instead of using a Facebook book promo forum to do a BUY BUY BUY on my new book this weekend, I pulled a fast one:
I asked the participants what they didn’t like about modern fiction.
Fellow authors: These people are your market. They’re the heavy-users: The ones who rip through 2-3 books a week. They are the bread and butter–the following who will make or break your attempt to not go back to work at the tire store or whatever.
And here’s a sampling of what they said:
–Drop the “innocent girl meets billionaire” thing. Done to death. Just drop it. Forget it. Blah.
–“Pathetic” characters. Pathos is a good tool. If it gets overused, the result is a pity party for Patsy (or whomever) and that gets boring. Because, after all screw that whining bore Patsy (or whomever).
–“Unbelieveable” scenarios, plots, characters. This needs to be interpreted a bit. Han Solo is a believable character even though he’s a spaceship captain with a bigfoot-thing as a co-pilot because he acts in ways with which normal humans can identify. His boldness, snideness, vulnerability to Leia, occasional affection make him stand out like a 3D figure (in Carbonite!):
However, if you’re writing a story about a husband who suddenly is revealed as a serial killer with no prior suspicion on the part of the wife for the 20 years of their marriage, you’re going to have to explain why she’s stupid. Or you can go to work in present-day Hollywood where that sort of thing doesn’t seem to be a career detriment for a screenwriter. And you know what? Both roles were played by Harrison Ford. Just realized that. Hmm.
–“Repetition”. I said “repetition”. “Redundancy” — in other words. You know: Doing the same thing over and over and over again. 50 Shades has been written. Don’t redo it. So has that vampire thing. And that dystopian YA stuff. All done. Do something different. Authors in those genres are now not only ripping off other writers, they’re starting to cannibalize themselves. The market is diluted. You are an indie player with minimal overhead, you wildcat! Take a chance. Do something different. Change something. There are plenty of imitation Nicholas Sparkses out there. Write your own story. Can it have vampires and zombies? Sure, why not? But let them be YOUR vampires and zombies.
–“Erotic” fiction even for women loses its punch when it’s all structured the same. Apparently far too many works in this genre are structured like “virgin girl meets guy> 2nd date missionary sex with big orgasm> perfect blowjob (with no prior experience) > third act where they kick out the jambs and do a full-on rodeo”. Innovation is clearly called for here.
Other things mentioned: Books-in-series taking too long to be released, weak female characters who are all weak in the same way, and “spunky” female characters who are too much like obvious counters to the weak-female stereotypes.
Anyway, I am pretty confident that success lies in going where others haven’t gone before, or at least not recently. Thus, I suggest a story about an everyman who is actually a Gryphon.
It’s time for the Gryphon to rise again.
Maybe he’ll rise from a tire store.
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Ok, now for the PROMO PROMO BUY BUY: Check out my debut novel at www.diamondtbook.com. Please. It’s not guilty of any of the sins mentioned above. And I’d really rather not work at a tire store if I can help it.