Thursday, June 28, 2012

Expanding the Market

The other day I heard a writer say that the novelist has sixty pages to hook the reader. I thought to myself, “More like six pages.”

I’m rereading The Skull Beneath the Skin by detective author P.D.James, which I first read a couple of decades ago. It’s her best book. What strikes me about it now is how overwritten it is. James takes too long to get to the point. Like many writers, she’s trying to impress the reader with the fact that she writes well. Can turn a phrase. “The well-constructed sentence.” Does the ordinary person on the street who might chance to thumb through a copy give a shit how well P.D. James writes?

My goal is to produce fiction which anyone—anyone who can read—can get right into. Immediately. Bang, bang, bang. This is what I’ve done with my American Pop Lit ebooks. See the opening to Crime City USA, for instance. It’s well-written, but it’s also dynamic and fast. If fiction is to expand its audience it has to grab the reader, whoever that person is—doctor, lawyer, fastfood worker or gangbanger—from the very first page. No one not already predisposed toward reading and with a proper amount of free and quiet time is going to plunge into a P.D. James mystery, no matter how good it ultimately is. Her books are popular representatives of a popular genre, but they’re geared toward a static market.

Yet any market has to concentrate first on growing itself. Great strides have been made the last ten years or so, through fantasies mostly, from Harry Potter to the gory works of George R. Martin. These are still geared toward standard readers—stay-at-homes who escape from the world. What of the millions of people out in the world? A very different kind of popular novel is needed to engage them.

Just some rambling thoughts. . . .

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Has the Pop Era in Literature Already Begun?

At work yesterday one of my colleagues-- who doesn't know I write-- began telling me about this great book she'd read on her Kindle. It was about cloned Presidents, corrupt politicians, and had an amazing over-the-top plot. It sounded crazy and marvelous. She said it was so involving, like nothing she'd ever read, she couldn't put it down.

What was this imaginative work, I wondered? Something by Ben Marcus or David Foster Wallace?

No. The author was J.A. Konrath, who's one of the leading ebook writers, by all accounts selling enormous amounts.

I began thinking about the importance of my co-worker's unsolicited comment. Could 2012 become a dividing-line year in the world of American literature? I'm thinking of 1956 and 1964 in the realm of popular music-- years when styles and modes turned on their head. What had been "in" one day became instantly obsolete the next.

In the context of dynamite pop writers like Konrath, the snobby opinions of the once all-powerful literary establishment look quaint and stale.

The next year or two could be enormously exciting. Stay tuned to this blog. I intend to cover the changes as thoroughly as possible.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Book Review Site

Check out this new book review site: 
The password is "discover_books"

They're looking for readers, but also for qualified book reviewers. It looks to me like a great resource, well worth scoping out. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who Is Lara Vox?

The main character of THE TOWER, a novel by King Wenclas, is beautiful, sexy, committed, passionate, fiery, fearless, provocative, and dangerous: a voice from nowhere, from the radio airwaves, the air, the city—broadcasting the unforgiving truth.

Rock your world. Read The Tower by King Wenclas, available through Nook or Kindle.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Can They Survive?

Will the Big Six publishers make the moves necessary to survive in a changed age? No signs of it to date.

I’m thinking to myself of the changes they should be making—inexpensive office space, for instance; I know just the place—and am wondering if I can do those things myself in order to beat them at their own game.

A Brady Ebook Cartoon

I’ve been meaning to link to this post by Brady Russell for awhile. I like the cartoon at the head of it.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Great Shakeout


We're at the beginning of enormous changes which will leave nothing in the realms of publishing and literature untouched. Those who survive and prevail in the new environment will be those who look ahead to see what will happen, then ready for it. The Big Six won't survive in their present form. Big bookstores may be victims as well. What comes after? What can come after? What are the new models?

If you're not thinking about those new models, and working to create them, then you're already behind the curve.

Friday, June 15, 2012


Check out my remarks about ebooks, here:

There's no point being wedded to the past, when the future is upon us.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Political Satire


I've started a new blog novel, right here:

It's a pop look at the current election campaign season. Highlights to come include "Panic in the Obama Camp"; "Mitt Practices Being Human"; "The Joe Biden Witness Protection Program"-- and much more, including a look at Mitt's VP choices, and how the selction will really be made.

Is it satire-- or real?? Stay tuned.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Exteriority or Interiority

There’s a marked divide in mindset between populist writing and the elite “literary” variety—a divide in viewpoint. The literary writer—David Foster Wallace being the classic example and furthest expression of the type—is focused on the interior of his own brain; on his second-by-second thoughts and feelings. The reader is given these often trivial thoughts, in relentless fashion. The view of the populist writer by contrast is outward, toward the things of the world. The populist view shows a curiosity about the world and how that world operates, including curiosity about the variety of people who inhabit the world. The greatest novelists held the exterior view.