[WARNING: IF YOU ARE ALREADY PERFECTLY HAPPY WITH YOUR READING MATTER (or have already read PURGATORY and are waiting for the next volume in the trilogy), you may skip what follows with a clear conscience.]
I might find something I liked – and have to change my attitude about SPAs (self-published authors).
I prefer to wait until others decide what I should read.
I like classics – and classics were never produced by SPAs. Oh, wait. They used to be (long list of SPAs such as Benjamin Franklin and Samuel Clemens and…) but modern writers are not good unless they can submit and submit and maybe be granted an audience with an AGENT!
There is so much out there I could never figure out what to try.
I want the opinions of established critics, not my fellow readers. The critics have to know what they’re talking about, right? Because their descriptions and reviews are always exactly what I need to know, right?
I actually don’t want you to read my self-published novel(s)
Because I have some requirements of my READERS:
They have to love to read, even when it is difficult and they have to read in small pieces.
They have to love a lot of classics – because that what I educated myself by reading, and it has a habit of showing in my writing.
They have to love at least something out of the mainstream category
It shows openness of mind. Here’s a partial list of my favorites – and all of them influenced me and my writing in good ways:
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
The Thorn Birds
A Tale of Two Cities
Pride and Prejudice
Dorothy Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey novels, especially Strong Poison, Gaudy Night, and Busman’s Honeymoon
Don Quixote and some of the Mexican picaresque novels (for Spanish speakers)
It helps if they loathe
Some of the books I found unsatisfactory because [reason in brackets]:
The Lovely Bones [that ending]
Lolita [subject matter]
The Great Gatsby [cannot get into it – don’t care about any of the characters]
A Confederacy of Dunces [after the first chapter I wanted to wash my brain out with soap – good writing in the service of that?]
Tess of the D’Urbervilles [they couldn’t find some excuse not to hang poor Tess? And yes, I know things were very different back then]
Anything by Dan Brown
Any number of shades of gray
And it really helps if you share some of my blind spots and prejudices
You don’t care for anything supernatural in your novels.
You prefer novels with characters you can identify with. And they can’t be improbably young, sexy, healthy as the only requirement. They should also have a job. And a life.
You don’t want anyone swooping down and saving anyone – salvation must be earned and isn’t assured.
You prefer not to have to ignore a lot of unbelievable plot points (really letting myself in for open season here).
Just because the author writes it isn’t enough justification.
Typos are not good.
Spelling is actually important.
You don’t read modern Romance novels.
You don’t like cozies, except if you categorize Agatha Christie as one.
Chick lit is too perky for you, except in small quantities.
When original authors died, their franchises went with them, and there are NO exceptions to this rule no matter how attractive you find Benedict Cumberbatch. Or Sandra Oh.
Why am I being this picky?
Because I’m looking for people who will actually LOVE the Pride’s Children trilogy, not just sort of like it.
Because I do not write for people who read outside my preferences – they are hard to persuade to try PC, and when they do, if they write a review at all, it is obvious they shouldn’t have tried it in the first place. I’m trying to save them some time. And annoyance (which explains their reaction).
Because people who love may recommend you to their friends, but people who don’t won’t – and book recommendations are the biggest way of finding your ideal readers.
BTW, you can be a millenial or younger. That is not an impediment. Your taste palate for novels is the key, not the specifics.
I ALSO love the readers who are not my ‘Ideal Readers’ and love PC anyway. They are my heroes.
What about converts?
I admit to loving those. I have a number of reviews from older men who say, “I don’t normally read this kind of book, but I loved it,” and I treasure those above all others.
But they are very hard to find, it takes me a lot of careful and deliberate effort to get them to try PC, and it is time I should spend finishing the trilogy.
Surely in a world of SEVEN BILLION PEOPLE there are Readers already out there who are looking for specific things, already know what that is, and WILL RECOGNIZE IT WHEN THEY SEE IT.
Oxford commas and all.
Please excuse my general grumpiness
The writing is going extremely well lately, and I may even finish NETHERWORLD this year, but my physical body is giving me a lot of… shall we say, distraction? And marketing can be a bitch.
Also, feel free to add to my canon in the comments. I will poach any I like and add them to the post, with credit to you.
If you’ve gotten this far without damage to your psyche, click on the book image (top right), read the descriptions and a couple of the reviews for yourself, click on the Look Inside! feature and read the first three scenes or so (you will have had enough to make your own decision by that point, and will have met the main characters for the trilogy). Make up your own mind. Go ahead, I’ll wait. I hope you’re one of us.