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Wordsmiths101
Where writers just are...
The effects of quantity on quality 
7th-Apr-2007 10:56 pm
ponderances, thinky thoughts
We've seen it a million times. An author writes, an author becomes popular, an author gets picked up on a contract to put out "x" amount of books and the quality diminishes.

I've just finished reading my complete guilty pleasure author, Laurell K. Hamilton and she suffers from this. The demands of her contracts for her series are really demanding.
J.K. Rowling, same thing I feel.  Michael Crichton, John Grisham, Louie L'Mour (sp??), and again, I could go on and on, have all fallen into this pit. The absolute worst for me is the ghost writer continuing under the V.C. Andrews name. I long ago stopped reading the drivel that person is attempting to pass off as being from the mind of Virginia Andrews. It is disgraceful and I am sure she is turning in her grave.

Then I read books by an author who has put out one, maybe two, books and they are just lovely reads. Or I go back to the early days of a prolific author and am amazed at the difference.

How much do you think is the responsibility of the author and how much of this do you feel is the responsibility of publishing house pressure to put out more and more books? Do you think this has caused a flood of substandard quality books from otherwise higher quality authors?
Comments 
8th-Apr-2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
Oh, how much I agree with what you've said, especially with the V.C Andrews books, sure, they could have continued a few books because of the notes she had left after her death, but I too, believe they let it drag on a tad bit too long.

I think because authors are pressured to write in a ceratin amount of time, it would sometimes cause stress causing their works to come out more startchy, dry or drab than they would if they had written them without the stress of time.


My 25 cents anyway. *shrugs.*
bitexmarks
9th-Apr-2007 02:04 pm (UTC)
Hamilton has more problems that just time pressure, IMO.

As I read this, I thought of one author in particular who I loved for 20 books or so. Then I started picking them up in the bookstore and I couldn't figure out if this was one I had read. And then I was reading them not sure it I had read it before. And it got to the point where I had to walk along my shelf with the book to make sure it wasn't there because they had become so formulaic that it seemed there was a computer program and she was just putting in different names, setting, accent, enter- and the thing would spit out the novel.

She's certainly not the only one who has disappointed me.

I think everyone involved in the process has some responsibility. I think the publishers have been relying too much on name(brand) to sell books and that they don't care that they're not giving us what we think we're paying for. I think it's their responsibility to provide the best quality product and sometimes I wonder if they even read the book, and if so, how did they get through it? I can't. I think the agent probably has something to answer for in not managing their client's career in a way such the client might actually be able to perform. In the end, on this issue, I mostly blame the author who doesn't know when say no. If they're signing contracts for the money suspecting that they just haven't got it anymore, and I'm shelling out money to read the book, that's a violation of trust in our relationship. (drama much? yeah.) There are sports analogies... I'll refrain.

Nice topic. Thank you.
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