Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Blog Chain: Suffering from comparison
Michelle McLean brought us this month's blog-chain topic.
Do you write for the market or for yourself? Why? Are there times you do both? Or times when you've written something specifically because it was "hot" at the moment? If so, how did it turn out?
I thought of poor Maggie Stiefvater when I read Michelle's question.
Several weeks ago, celebrity blogger Perez Hilton made the film adaptation of Stiefvater's book "Shiver" the topic of a blog post.
Insinuating the story/author/movie adaptation was riding the coattails of "Twilight" fame, Hilton -- who obviously hadn't read the book -- said "...(Shiver) sounds like it might be even stoopider than a sparkling vampire."
While many of Stiefvater's fans ripped him a new one for making the unqualified comparison, several more accepted Hilton's classification and dismissed "Shiver" as a Johnny-Come-Lately.
Not cool, Perez. Not.Cool.At.All.
I'm not going to mince words: Unqualified comparisons piss me off. But in this case it provided valuable lessons on how easily things can be labeled as a trend and how risky it could be if someone chose to follow one.
Don't get me wrong. It definitely pays for authors to be mindful of what's hot. Two of Jodi Picoult's books -- "19 Minutes" and "Perfect Match" -- gave a fictional face to a hot-button (read: trendy) political or social issue and put her on the best-seller list.
But authors need to be aware that it doesn't take much to saturate (and flood) the market with comparable stories.
Personally, I like Picoult's approach, putting characters in unique situations using popular (read: trendy) issues. I don't, however, consciously try to follow a literary market trend. That's too scary...scarier than vampires, werewolves and celebrity bloggers combined.
The Blog Chain has some new voices. Links to all of the Blog Chain members' blogs can be found beneath "The Chain Gang" heading on this page.
Be sure to check out what the marvelous Michelle Hickman had to say before me. And don't miss what the awesome Abby Annis has to say tomorrow.