Between grad school and book blogging, I’ve learned a decent amount about the publishing industry for someone who does not work in the publishing industry. More importantly, it’s something that I pay much more attention to now. While, for the most part, I think this is a good thing, there are a few things that really get on my nerves. The three strategies I discuss below are clearly designed to make money for publishers and authors, but don’t exactly result in the best books. Which bugs me. A lot. Keep reading to see what they are…
Bestseller “Factories”. There is nothing that annoys me quite as much as the bestseller factory. There is a particular author whose books I refuse to read, because he does not write them. He writes detailed outlines of his books and then hands them off to other, lesser known authors to actually write. And then his “sellable” name is printed in large letters on the cover with (much) smaller letters revealing the “co-author”. With so many people writing for him, this author can publish a bestseller every month and make tons of money doing it. I just really hate the idea of this. It feels like cheating. Or like it somehow undermines the entire point of writing books. There shouldn’t be a monopoly on writing. I don’t like it. And I will never see one of these books (and they are everywhere) without gritting my teeth.
Replacing Authors (After They’ve Died). It’s always sad when a great author dies, regardless of whether or not they leave unfinished work. But it happens; that’s life. And I don’t think that makes it okay for publishers to hire different authors to pick up where that author left off. (Yes, I am thinking of that series you’re thinking of.) While I understand the desire, but I can’t help but feel like the publisher is exploiting the name of the author who has passed away. Plus, I refuse to believe the writing will be exactly the same. These books earn very strong eye rolls whenever I come across them.
Never-Ending Series. We all know those series: the ones that should have ended around book three – but wait! – got another four books in the series, yay! No. No, no, no, no. Particularly with young adult books, I see the appeal of continuing the story. They will sell, and readers will be excited about them. Here’s why I hate them: they inevitably kill the story. And there is an increasing trend to leave open-ended storylines in order to sell sequels (which another, awful, thing entirely), and, instead of a concise story that is actually good, we get drawn out pandering. Series need to end at a place that makes sense. Harry Potter = seven books for seven years at Hogwarts. Trilogies and duologies are short and structured enough that they usually work. But it’s rare that a story needs more than three books, and I rarely even get past book three when I attempt to read those series. It’s just unnecessary and results in a lot of mediocre literature.
Have you noticed these strategies in the publishing world? Do they annoy you as much as they do me? And would/have you read any books that utilized one of these strategies? Let me know in the comments!