I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND PUBLISHERS

I read two truly wonderful books this past week. You won’t read about them here for a while because they will be on this blog as part of their respective virtual blog book tours. Both books are with publishing houses, not self published. And I won’t reveal which books or publishers I am talking about here because it isn’t fair to the authors. The very wonderful authors. But I have conveyed my feeling to both authors and one of the publishers. I can forgive a self published author making promotion mistakes. Promoting is hard work. Trust me, I know. But when a book is put out by a publisher, you expect a little more. At the very least, you expect the publisher to know what the genre of the book is. Suppose you read a blog that reviews cozy mysteries, exclusively. (I primarily review cozies but not exclusively and if it is not a cozy I will say so up front.) And they tell you how wonderful a book is. You will assume it is a cozy and perhaps buy that book. I can’t tell you how many one star reviews I have read on Amazon that are the result of an angry reader getting something they did not expect. Now don’t get me wrong, it is often the reader’s fault. When I read a review from someone complaining about all the Christian references and preaching in a book causing them to be unable to even finish it and then I look and see the blurb and the genre classification both clearly describing the book as Christian fiction, well that is clearly the reader’s fault. But it has happened to me. I read cozies, almost exclusively. But I do not read Christian cozies. I’ll take my murder without morality, thank you very much. But every now and then I pick up my Kindle and find myself reading one. I go back to Amazon. Nope. No mention of Christian in the genre or the blurb. But as I usually get my Amazon/Kindle books when they first come out, there are few  or no reviews. When I finally get around to reading it and discover what I have, there will be a slew of one star reviews complaining they wasted 99¢ or $2.99 on Christian fiction which they do not read. So why a publisher would not classify a book correctly is beyond my comprehension. You hurt the author and ultimately your own bottom line. The first book was classified as a cozy mystery. It has a very cozy cover. But once you start reading, it is anything but cozy. It is a thriller and a damn good one. But a cozy reader who does not want graphic would be totally put off by it. But this writer is every bit as good as Patricia Cornwall. And should be promoted accordingly. Now I understand that a new writer has a hard time getting noticed by one of the big six publishers (or is it five now?) with all the submissions they get. And there are so many small indie publishers these days. But if I was the small indie publisher that got my hands on this book, I would have approached one of the big six to put it out in hardcover and made a deal to have the paperback rights. But no, the book has gone out in paperback with its cozy looking cover and its cozy genre classification. The second book is classified as mystery/suspense. It is literary fiction. A term I have been known to make fun of. Like what is everything else? Illiterate fiction? The fact is, I avoid great literature. Sure, I had to read it in high school and college but I like my reading light and fun since then. I have even met the great J. P. Donleavy on quite  a few occasions and The Ginger Man is sitting right in my bookcase but I cannot manage to get through it. As to the book in question, I signed on to be a host on the tour, which primarily tours cozies, so I was obligated to read it. By the time I got the book, I had researched the author and was saying to myself, oh lord, this is going to be ‘literature’ and I am going to hate it. I could not put the book down. Hemingway (yes, that good) with a soupçon of Stephen King. It isn’t a mystery. At all. People dying does not a mystery make. Everybody dies eventually. Or maybe not – which is the only ‘mystery’ about this book. But this author was even more badly served by the publisher. At least the first book was a mystery, if not a cozy. The second author will, I am convinced, one day be known as one of the literary giants of a generation. Just as soon as a new publisher is in the picture…

no clue

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