WHAT DOES THE BOOK MARKET WANT?
There have been a number of writers of late who have attempted to pass their fiction off as fact and have been exposed, all of them authors of best sellers. One doesn’t have to ponder long to understand why they did it. Statistically, non-fiction has a wider readership than fiction and publishing houses, like blood hounds, always chase the trend. But who has the gift to predict what the reading public wants now and into the future?
The anecdotes of publishers and agents who failed to identify a best seller are legion. The latest concerns Kathyrn Stockett, author of “The Help.” In a recent interview she admitted receiving 60 rejections for her book before finding a home. One agent was particularly nasty and sent a rejection letter accusing her of old fashioned writing that no one would read. Presumably the woman is now eating her words and those of Kathyrn Stockett’s, too.
But I’d be willing to guess she hasn’t learned from her mistake. Like a lemming, she’ll continue to run with the pack believing she will be safe.
While I don’t condone the hoax perpetrated by writers who lied to their public, the publishing industry is partly to blame. They have too many fixed ideas that don’t bear up under scrutiny. It’s time to challenge the market’s model. With production costs made minimal by today’s technology diversification is possible. The holy grail of the latest trend should be abandoned to serve niche markets.