Thursday, March 27, 2008

Where have all my authors gone?

In all the discussion about e-pubbed authors as opposed to print authors, it seems to me that one point hasn't been brought up. That is the way that the authors' voices change when they go to "New York". I've been so terribly disappointed by author after author that I dread hearing the news that another of my favorite authors has a contract with a New York publisher.

Am I the only one who notices the changes?

I could probably name ten authors who have moved on up much to my dismay, not because I don't wish them well, but because I know they're authors that I most likely won't read. Of all my favorite authors that I used to read only one made the transition well. The others have been major disappointments--so major that I won't invest the money to read their books. Gah!

There are some obvious reasons for the changes. New York houses have very stringent guidelines. Uh, that's one of the reasons that I seldom read a mainstream mass market book anymore. Boring... And no, I'm not talking about the sex that might or might not be in the books. I'm talking about the lack of imagination and creativity in the books.

In order to make the stories fit into those rigid lines, they are often edited to the point where there is no trace of the author's original voice. There's nothing to distinguish them from any other Jane Romance Writer. One author has almost pulled it off. She's moved her cast of characters to her new home. But the originals were more vibrant and fun and had wonderful personalities. The current books in the series are darker with a never-ending series of do-or-die life-or-death challenges that quite frankly take most of the interest out of the books.

Maybe this is the new genre. Angsty, dark, prevent-the-end-of-the-world scenarios with the occasional love scene thrown in so they can still be marketed as romances. Ugh. I have enough angst in my life. I don't want to read about demons, vampires, weres, or other critters that go bump in the night unless there's some humor, some lightness, some joy in the story. I'm tired of feeling like I need to carry a flashlight when I'm reading the book.

Things lurk in those murky pages that wait to jump out at you, even when it's a standard romance. They're populated with overbearing CEOs, broody cowboys, rude billionaires, and idiotic professionals. These guys are so blind that the heroines--and I use the term loosely--are able to hide a full term pregnancy from them, only so they can dump the baby on the man's doorstep. Excuse me? I had four babies and trust me, hiding one is not possible. Besides, haven't any of these fellows ever heard of condoms? Oh, yeah, that's right. We don't mention stuff like that in the real world.

Have you noticed that the women are always running from something? Always? And then suddenly when they meet a likely prospect, they quit running? Why?

I spent some time yesterday tootling around on the internet looking for some of the authors that I used to read. Unfortunately some have died. Several have retired. And the rest have sort of faded away to obscurity. I guess they don't fit into the new guidelines either. I finished my searching a little sadder but not much wiser. I'm still not sure where all my authors have gone.


Don't forget to check in at Kelly's Blog, Amarinda's Place, and Oh Get a Grip! Blessings on your day!


  1. I haven't read a NY book in ages and the reason is very simple. There are so many great e-books out there that I have no reason to go to the book store anymore

  2. It feels like losing a valued friend somehow, doesn't it?

  3. I had a book out there in NY for awhile. I recently took it back and gave it to my epub editor. The feedback I was getting would require changing my voice, which isn't possible. I didn't fit the mold of two of the houses though they liked my style. And I see why too. My book had to do with espianage and terrorism, things I think about. Mistaken identity too, which is a theme I love exploring. But they wanted me to change almost all of that. Ultimately it wouldn't have been my book. It would have been theirs and I enjoy writing so why would I change everything I love about it just to fit a guideline?

    I won't give up on NY. I think that's career suicide. However, I'm not ready for them, or they for me. I'm not writing what they want. I'm writing what I want to read. So I guess, for now, I keep doing my thing.

  4. I always end up sad when I go looking for my old favorites...

  5. One if my favorite episodes of Little House on the Prairie showed adult Laura making changes to her book to please the editor. But when they were happy with it, she gave it to her niece to read, who hated it and said it wasn't Aunt Laura's book anymore. So Laura decided to decline the offer.

    Fast-forward 70 years or so, and it shows a young girl in the 1970's, running to the library for a copy of 'Little House on the Prairie'.

    Authors know their voice, and should not let anyone change it.

    Anny, I've left you a surprise on my blog:)