DATo wrote:I don't know if it is true but if I had to put out a book every three months it would give my brain a hernia.
Your post is a very interesting one and touches on something I have been thinking about a lot lately. It seems that quantity and cheapness is becoming more important than quality these days in just about everything. In the old days we had pens, safety razors, cigarette lighters and a lot of other things including marriages that were maintained and kept for a lifetime. Today we live in a disposable society. We use things up and then throw them away. The result is that we have come to look upon things that were once cherished as being of less value than things which are "new and improved". (Have you ever wondered how something can be both new AND improved? How can something be improved if it is new and never existed before?) *shrugs*
I've often mused over the whole "new and improved" angle. I'm not old enough to remember fountain pens being the norm, but I have lived long enough to know "new and improved" generally means "we've found cheaper substitutes for the ingredients that once made this product great, and we hope using 'new and improved' instead of 'formulated more cheaply' will keep you from noticing the difference." If you're a child of the '70s or younger, you do know the difference.
DATo wrote:Anyway, I think that this concept also extends to the arts as well. Go to a museum and it is probable that you will see some hideous work of "art" hanging on a wall that took a day to make being extolled as a "GREAT WORK OF ART". Let me tell you something, Leonardo's Mona Lisa was never completed. He worked on it for years and years. Maybe that's why it is considered the finest painting ever created. Can you imagine what would come out of an artist if he had to paint a "GREAT WORK OF ART" in say three minutes? That's what is being asked of authors who are expected to put out a new book every three months. You are in all likelihood going to get a book that reads like it was written in three months. I guess the idea is that if you write four books in a year rather than one the law of averages says that one of them might become a hit thus the odds are greater of making money with one of four rather than just one.
But the frightening thing is that for publishers to be courting this idea it is because it has some proven merit and what does this say about us as a reading public? It doesn't bother me that some people are willing to buy junk to read; as a professor of physics once told me, "Dato, you just have to accept the fact that some people are just stupid." *LOL* It bothers me that the standards of quality, whether applied to literature, merchandise or our selection of political candidates is also becoming stupidly cheapened (think Trump). Sadly, I think we are becoming a stupid society in general and like children we are reaching for and willing to accept baubles rather than true gems.
Absolutely. The watered-down and formulaic is selling well these days. Some of it is decently written. Much of it is mediocre at best. Escapism is just what's in right now. I wrote a romance novel in a month once. It was a good book, nothing spectacular. I've written multiple sci-fi and horror novels in a year. Their quality has varied from excellent to poor. Stephen King has churned out some phenomenal work at breakneck speeds. I believe content is the bigger issue than the time it's taking authors to finish their next drafts. According to PW, "general fiction" and romance outsold all other genres last year. As a writer of some very serious speculative fiction, I do find this a little disheartening. There is a place for everything, including romance and other escapist types of works, but the general avoidance of the more provocative side of literature is prevalent all across the genres. Sadly, if you want to write thought-provoking work, it had better be Oprah Book of the Month material or include a heated and dynamic romance on the side if you want it to really
sell right now.