Saturday, April 01, 2006

Will Write for Food— Not!

I’ve had some interesting comments regarding my new novel, and fortunately, those who have read it seemed to really enjoy the story. One person commented on the ethics and convictions of the characters. Another mentioned the commitment to motherhood.

However, I’ve been a bit disappointed by the number of people who have said they won’t even look at it because they “don’t care for science-fiction.” Marketing people have this comment for such a situation, “There’s no market for it.” Going with that idea, either I switch genres or find something else to do. At this point, I’m tempted to find something else to do.

A “hack writer” is someone who writes for hire, which is the opposite of an artist. Yes, I’d like to get paid for my work, but if there is no market for that writing, and I simply try to write what is salable to the masses, without any creative spark from me, then I will descend into being a hack, sorta like standing on the side of the road with a “will write for food” sign.

Ironically, only about seven percent of books sold are science-fiction, yet five of the top ten movies of all time are science-fiction (Star Wars, E.T. The Extra Terrestrial, SpiderMan 2, Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, and Star Wars Episode I, The Phantom Menace.) I’m not quite sure why this dichotomy exists. Perhaps science fiction is best in a more visual medium. But there is also this troubling statistic: an estimated 44 million Americans are not literate enough to read a book intended for an adult audience. Maybe I should try movie scripts.

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At Apr 2, 2006, 9:44:00 AM, Anonymous Malcolm Campbell said...

Publishers love their pigeonhole slots for books. This book goes on THAT shelf and that book goes on THIS shelf. When I used to read a lot of science fiction, I figured that in spite of its loyal group of followers, most people couldn't identify with it. Maybe that's still the case. I had no trouble identifying with your characters in "Trinity" because they had the same hopes, dreams, and goals as folks might have in other settings. I objected when my POD publisher labelled my novel as fantasy because I thought that pigeonholing would turn off a lot of readers who "don't do fantasy." Likewise, the pigeonhole for "Trinity" is probably turning away more readers than it's bringing in. Go figure.

At Apr 2, 2006, 1:58:00 PM, Blogger Pamela J. Dodd said...

Yes, Malcolm, you are right.

I sent it in as a "futuristic" which falls under romance, but the publisher thought it was more science fiction.

It has elements from both, but it is primarily a relationship book. I've laughingly said I don't know enough physics to write real space opera.

Since I spent so long writing it, I'll do what I can to promote it, but right now I'm a bit disappointed in my local sales.

Of course, I have little to contribute to other promotions, but I hope WCP will do something to help me find an audience for it.


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