Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What do men want? A poll--and a prize!

by Stacey

Following up on my blog post from last week and based on some of the comments we received, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to ask our blog readers, men in particular, or the women who love them, what it is they'd like to see more of, and/or less of in the marketplace. Reader David Jarrett brings up a good point that a lot of what's published today is derivative of other, successful books or authors, and often not even written by those original authors. But because they've become a household name, it's easier to sell the "branded" version of an author's work than an original work by an unknown writer. I read one of these for our work book club once, and I found it almost unreadable, lacking any depth or originality, a complete by the numbers exercise. It's a frustrating thing that we are all forced to deal with, but it's a reality of the current business model.

So I'd like to know what our male readers really want to read (which categories specifically on the fiction and nonfiction side), what they see lacking in the market, what they see too much of in the market, and what they would feel excited to spend their money on. I'd also like to see positive and negative examples of books they either loved or hated, and why.

Then if I (or any other agents here) sign a new project up that falls into these categories, I will gladly reference this blog post and let editors know there are lots of men out there who are excited to buy and read interesting, original, thought-provoking books in any number of categories, and we need to work harder to find them! As an incentive, I will choose one person who responds at random and send along a copy of a recent DGLM title. Thanks for taking part in our discussion, and in our ongoing effort to make the book biz a better place.


  1. There are too many books with the "super-soldier who can run through a shower of bullets and only get a flesh wound while trying to local some missing artifact that will prevent a disaster from some ancient civilization" plot line.

    Be original.

  2. My husband mostly reads nonfiction and really enjoys social science books. Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis, also PREDICTABLY IRRATIONAL by Dan Ariely. He wants a book to give some kind of ground-breaking information that will change the way he sees things, or awaken him to something he's never thought about. But he wants it to be entertaining at the same time.

    He's not big into fiction and in fact only reads the fiction I shove in his hands, but he might love Harry Potter more than I do.

  3. I would love to see more books with heroes vs. heroines. Nothing at all wrong with a female who overcomes obstacles, but men face obstacles everyday just as much as women do...let's show more of that!

    I'm an 'old-schooler', so I think my favorite male lead would have to be 'Hamlet' about things to overcome! But a more modern example of a great male lead (a boy, but still male) is 'The Story of Edgar Sawtelle'.

    And I agree with Todd on examples of 'bad' storylines for men...we love our action heroes, but we love guys who hurt and feel and love just as much.

  4. I have no problem with heroic figures as protagonists in a novel -- in fact the "David and Goliath" plot still holds appeal for me and probably many others as well. However, I want to see the inside of "David" as well as the outside. I want him to have weaknesses as well as strengths, and views and convictions about life and the world that guide his actions. I have read enough books about the superman who can drive a car through city streets at 100+ without cracking up, fight off twelve other men with his bare hands, and demolish an entire squad of infantry firing a submachine gun accurately in each hand, and I'm tired of seeing this guy in print.

    Granted, no one really wants to read about the "real world" all the time -- it's just too depressing to be entertaining. However, some extra realism in the protagonist's character would be refreshing.

  5. On the nonfiction side, I love political and social history, especially 20th century. "Young Stalin," "Paris 1919". I also love empirically based books that meld philosophy and science. "Stumbling on Happiness" or "The Black Swan." I also like books that honestly tackle (not caricature) modern masculinity. "The Unforgiving Minute" by Craig Mullaney was awesome.

    For fiction, I don't care if the protagonist is male or female, but if something is labeled "women's fiction" or "chick lit" I worry that the male characters will just be window-dressing. I like literary fiction that really gets into the characters. "Amateur Barbarians," for example. Interesting literary voices (like Junot Diaz, Jhumpa Lahiri, Dinaw Mengestu), but not if they have been workshopped to death (at least the case for Mengestu). Also, more science in fiction (not science fiction): "Intuition" (Allegra Goodman). And if you want to make me laugh, more parodies (as opposed to mash-ups).

    I do not like YA fiction dressed up for grown-ups. You'll never catch me reading Harry Potter or Twilight. And I don't care to read an expose of the latest scandal du jour. I like a book I can keep on my shelf after I finish it.

    (This is what you get by surveying wannabe authors - you get really particular readers. But thank you for asking!)

  6. I miss John D. MacDonalds, Travis MeGee, and I would love to see more book like the early Elvis Cole books by Robert Crais. It seems that publishers have given up up P.I. novels. I want to read a book that excites me enough to go searching for the next book in the series.

  7. On the fiction side, smart science fiction. I grew up with Star Wars, I want really clever bold big novels that are thinking versions of that. Michael Chabon writing Edgar Rice Burroughs books. Or literary science fiction. DGLM represents The Sparrow. More like that, please. Big ideas, with compelling characters. More books generally that are sciencey because this urban fantasy/wizards/deepak chopra thing has got out of hand.

  8. I'm not a guy, but I share lots of books with my dad, brother and brother-in-law. I seem to like 'guy-ish' books (although I love romance books too!). In fact, I prefer a male protaganist. I like to read about ordinary men who are placed in extraordinary circumstances. I want to see how they react, not just action-wise, but emotionally too, because men do have emotions. They might not wear them on their sleeves, but they aren't machines either.
    That's why some guy books don't appeal to me. The commando books where the men are overly macho and never afraid. That's boring. I want to see the guys doing the heroic thing even if they are terrified. That's real heroism. They don't have to be afraid for themselves, it can be for their family, their town, country, etc.

    From personal experience, I know that agents don't seem to be interested in these kinds of books. It's all about women, YA and fantasy. Mostly young women in paranormal or fantasy settings.

  9. Anonymous who posted at 1103, have you tried Jack Campbell's Lost Fleet series? Six books in all and the author is a former naval officer, so the military aspect is spot on (even though set in the future and in space.) Also, the main character is great as is the premise. The first book is called DAUNTLESS.

  10. I realize that my post came off like I don't like adventure or thriller stuff. I do, but make the male leade believable.

  11. I read mostly science fiction, but I particularly enjoy stories where the character is in a situation that puts them under a large amount of psychological and physical stress (Battle Royale, The Long Walk).
    I love intense action, and it's ok if the character is a super awesome super soldier, but I agree with Todd that they need to be able to feel/endure pain.

  12. I have to agree with Kristoffer and Todd: I want a character to be normal. I don't watch 24 because I got sick of Jack almost dying 3 times in a one day period. I don't like reading books that have a 'superhero' that is indestructible.
    It's funny, a lot of people seem to think guys want to be tough and feel no emotion/pain. Just because we don't want to feel emotion/pain doesn't mean we don't feel them at all.

  13. The problem is women control prime time, all our male characters are in essence what women writers would hope and dream the "evolved" male would say.

    Example (from FRIENDS):
    Chandler: That Monica and that Rachel are pretty cute, is there ever going to be the chance that one of us would hook up with them?

    Joey: Yes, I agree, they are cute, and smart too, let's show them lots of respect and see how things go.

    When in the real world, Joey would have said

    Joey: Yes, I agree, they are cute, Monica's got a tight *** and's got that look like she needs to get ****, and Rachel, well, a few beers in her and she's a gimmee. High maintenance, but a gimmee.

    Chandler: Let's 'em drunk and see how it goes!

    Joey: Yes, that would save about 7 seasons and 200,000 pointless chat sessions.

    See? Guys want guy characters that are written like guys, not like emasculated pretty boys.

  14. My reading tastes have changed. In the 90s, when I was heavily reviewing books, I read a lot of mysteries (all kinds: cozies, P.I.s, British cop stuff, and the greats).

    Now, I'm publishing a nonfiction collection of writer anecdotes and thinking about a thriller (so I'm biased), and I'm not reading as many mysteries.

    Here's what I've been reading for pleasure lately: the Jasper Fforde series (here's a clue: high concept, fun but some social satire) -- and while I haven't read his "Shades of Grey," my wife and son have and they LOVED it; the Invincible superhero comic book collection (really, really done well; I also loved "Soon I Will Be Invincible"); Terry Pratchett (fantasy, but funny and also social satire ... see the connection?).

    Naturally, I've been dipping into thrillers, but I haven't found one I liked enough to stick with it. They seem overused: the Device That Can Destroy The World; the Serial Killer From Hell; the Horrible Secret From The Past.

    I'm not sure what I'm looking for. I loved "Da Vinci Code" (hated the writing) because that dam thing MOVED. Maybe that's it.

    Perhaps there's room for another high-concept Innocent Gets Caught Up In Weird World story. It worked for "Men In Black," didn't it?

  15. Stacey --

    Good questions. I can’t help you with categories that I look for, because I read for writing more than for story or topic. I’ll read anything that, by my definition, is well-written. I’ve learned that that rules out adventure (fiction, anyway), thrillers, mysteries, fantasy, action heroes; that stuff all looks the same to me, from cover to blurb to plot. I read little or no fiction these days--I’m not being a book snob, I just like what I like. Last novel--last year--was Deirdre McNamer’s Red Rover. Will start (again) Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness in a day or two. Just finished This Quiet Dust, a collection of Styron's essays, and before that The Balloonists, by Eula Biss; she is, if the word means anything, a writer, as was Styron.

    I think that The Lost City of Z (was that really adventure???) is about as poorly written and sloppily edited a book as I’ve seen in years, and I cannot understand its popularity. My wife enjoyed it.

    I look for books that are organic--there was a story to tell--not books that capitalize on trends, and I realize that if publishing had to rely on me people would starve.

    I’ll read--and recommend and give as a gift--anything literate, again, as I define it. Doesn’t have to be dark. I prefer the real world, which is not without humor and grace.

  16. I like books with neat pictures. To help you figure out what's going on. And books should come with free snacks. Chips and soda. Maybe just a coupon so you can get them from the gas station or something. 24/7. Pictures and snacks.

  17. What I'd like to see less of:

    Tattoos - I mean, really people, what's that gonna look like when you're 45... or 75?

    Vampires as romantic figures - Do you think a gazelle would view a lion as a romantic figure?

    Angels/Fallen Angels - I know this is the up and coming trend, but I'm tired of it already. Women complain about the impossible-to-live-up-to supermodel stereotype. It goes both ways people.

    What I'd like to see more of:

    Characters with a brain - I love reading a story where I can "match wits" with the characters. Can they come up with a solution before I do? Or one I didn't think of? Love that.

    Realism without Gratuitousness - What I mean by that is stories can be real without being overly vulgar, sexual, or violent. I was very disappointed in GRRM's Feast for Crows. Over the top realism in my opinion. I can't root for any of the characters he's really focusing on any more because they are all depraved, disgusting, etc. Hopefully that makes some sense.

  18. As a creative writing major, I have a lot of male writer friends, and they all seem to be getting on the dystopian train lately. A lot of them are big proponents of The Handmaid's Tale, and books in that vein. Lots of them are sci-fi fans as well, though it seems like they enjoy the more technological-based ones, rather than aliens, space ships, etc.

    My best friend will read just about anything that isn't labeled chick lit, but he's got a huge soft spot for mysteries and thrillers. He LOVED Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (which is also an incredible movie, if you don't mind foreign films).

    My guy friends also seem to be fans of memoirs. Mary Hong Kingston, Mary Karr, etc. I don't think it bothers them that the protagonists in many of the books are female, but I know a few have commented that they'd like to see more male protagonists.

    Oh, and David Sedaris. They (me, included) all love David Sedaris.

  19. I'm into character studies right now, (and I realize the following list is movies) like "There Will be Blood" and "Schultze Gets the Blues." Good satire/social commentary really gets me too. I think Chuck Klosterman is extremely entertaining. I also read a few essays by Heinrich Boell recently that really had me rolling. "Es wird etwas Geschehen" is a must read.

  20. What I want to see the most of is more high concept fiction that breaks every genre boundry. Stuff like Geek Love, House of Leaves and The Raw Shark Texts.

    If I can't get that what I would like to see is more horror. Real horror, not Leisure Press horror. Leisure prints mostly man vs. monster fiction where you don't care about the men or the monsters. If I don't care about the characters, make me care about the monster. If I don't care aboue either one -- don't publish it.

    What I least want to see is Fantasy. Fantasy is for 14-year old D&D geeks. You outgrow that trend around age 25 and never look back.

    YA is all the rage right now, but I think that the genre is about to burn out on itself. Not every book is Harry Potter and you can't make a dumbed down version of Battle Royale interesting for more than one book (ie, The Hunger Games). After reading The Maze Runner, I'm done with YA fiction forever. That book was crap and I can't wait for the trend to burn out and disappear.

  21. Young guy, midwest, fantasy bias, creative writing program influence. This is what I say:

    Blending sci-fi and fantasy and realism. A little more mature HIS DARK MATERIALS with a few more machines.

    Male protagonists that aren't crippled by their problems. Male protagonists that aren't above their problems.

    Female protagonists or characters that have the confidence to be both strong and meek. I'd like to see grace again. Or at least someone aspiring to it.

    Characterization. Like, even the small things can change a person.

    You know what I'd love? A novel like an intensified 1984 written by Rushdie and edited by Hemingway. That'd be a trip.

    Gritty, honorable love.

    And, of course, everything Murray Sandman said.

  22. I love John Steinbeck's work. He had the ability to create male characters who are the real deal with guts, grit and dirt etc - the unsung hero!


  23. I liked the men's adventure magazines like Stag, Argosy, pulp-style stories... I remember reading a great story called "We Sank Tojo"s Monster Sub!," with an illo of a mariner flying boat dropping bombs on a sub the size of a carrier while it was launching manned rocket bombs to attack the plane....Good times...The only place you can find that stuff is at Pulp & Dagger, a website for writers who like stories written "in the Grand Tradition" of the 1930's and 1940's.

  24. I can't presume to speak for all men, but for me, I don't really mind that most realistic fiction is by and for women because I don't want to read about real life. I read fiction in order to escape from real life.
    I like stories where stuff _happens_. I do not care about gorgeous sentences. I don't mean stuff has to blow up (though I don't mind that) but I don't enjoy contemplative or atmospheric. I like stories.
    Perhaps this is why I read very little literary fiction.

  25. Female here, but I prefer male protagonists. Some things I'd like to see:

    1) Realistic, contemporary YA.
    2) Adult books with YA-like pacing.
    3) Historical fiction that isn't a romance.
    4) More heroic protagonists in general. Flawed doesn't have to mean depraved or angsty.
    5) Stories set in college.

  26. I enjoy fun social &/or political satire, especially if they are quirky and/or sacrilegious. Some authors that come to mind are Christopher Buckley, Christopher Moore, Chuck Palahniuk, Phillip Jennings. Fun, sharp wit and a decent story.

  27. bitter and twisted14/5/10 12:59 AM

    I tend to buy old books from charity stores. Why? because there are so few authors doing anything new.
    This is, I think, due to agents who are mostly women, (o-kay there are a good few male agents, but most are over 50 and just looking after the clients they already have and not interested in new talent(if I'm not right put a list of ten here))

    Publishers no longer look for writers, they sit and wait for agents to bring writers to them. Agents look at what sold big last season because "that's what the market wants."
    This has been the way of things for over 20 years now and all the while everyone in the industry is crying over falling markets.
    Of course the market is falling, because the industry is narrowing the market every year. Lets not pretend it is anything to do with the economic climate. Fact is a generally bad economic situation is good for the book industry because a book is the best value entertainment money can buy, work it out dollar per hour and tell me I'm wrong. The lady agent, gets a query letter. Sees it is from a new author and checks the creds. It's from a grad, who has learned from the same teacher as all the other grads to write in the same way as all the other grads. The subject matter, while not exactly the same, is close enough to last season's big seller that the section of the public that read last years blockbuster might well go this year's "refreshing and innovative" new author. And so the great new talent is just like the great old talent.

    Why don't guys read books? Because agents don't look at manuscripts that don't have a love interest. Because agents wont take a chance on a book that does not follow formula.
    This is why the male readership has fallen away, because there is nothing on the shelf to buy. I reckon 40% of the market has fallen by the wayside because no book is better than a bad book.

    I'm not saying everything on the shelf today is bad, just it is only suitable to a selective audience.

    Someone here mentioned Stigg Larsson's 'Dragon Tattoo, well that's the last new book I've read and if it had been the first book I'd ever read, then I would never have read another book in my life. It's a tired, same old, same old plot, it's obvious after 5 pages the girl is still alive. The characters are over laboured. The seine setting is just plain dull and worst of all there's a hole in the plot that a train can be driven through. As a story it just does not work.
    But it sticks to the formula and so it gets published.

    Most of the guys posted here I agree with, a book needs action, but not super-hero action. Action with conflict of emotion. Human action, when it's dangerous the hero gets scared, when he's with a girl he sometimes gets nervous. And sometimes he does normal everyday things, like take a dump. Heroes with frailties, like real people.

    Hemingway, Micky Spillane, George G. Gilbert, Robert A. Heinlein, Raymond Chandler, how many of these would be accepted as a client by an agent today? Easy to answer - NONE. because they didn't write to the formula. Most agents (and I'm not saying the ones who provide this blog, coz I don't know the crack with them, but at least they promise to read everything sent) say they are looking for "a new and strong voice" but what they seek is the old voice in a slightly different pitch. Meanwhile the most part of a generation of male book readers have grown up with nothing worth reading.

  28. So I'm a couple days late. My husband, (he is very geeky) in nonfiction loves math textbooks. He even asks for them as Christmas and birthday presents. (I know) He also loves history. In fiction his favorites are short story science fiction, and Agatha Christie type mysteries.

  29. bitter and twisted16/5/10 9:44 PM

    As i didn't get the last word I'll have another go.

    I now buy books from charity stores, not because I'm tight with money (though I am), but because the shelves are packed with quality, while the bookstore is full of pap.
    So I guess that makes me one of the guys that doesn't read books. I say that because I think your question really is; why don't men buy books.

    As I said, it is because there are no books to buy, not in fiction anyway. What is on offer is so dier that someone here gives a rave for Stigg Larsson's ' Dragon Tattoo. That was the last new book I read and that because it was pressed into my hand with the promise of a good read. Well what a load of old trite that was. Over-laboured characters, dull seine setting and not only is the plot weak but there's a hole in it a train can be driven though. It was obvious the girl was alive after 5 pages. I have to say if that book was the first book I ever read then I would never have read a second one.
    But it is written to the formula so it gets published, worse it gets praise because of the formula books that fill the bookstore, it is actually one of the better ones.
    Just had a thought, when the one book with a thousand covers is set for its second life via a charity store, good causes are going to feel the pinch.

    So why are there no exciting books books being published?

    The blame, I think, rests with the author's agent. It's no good matey-boy, agent moaning "This is the business model we have to work with." It's the monster the agent created and it has devoured all things worth reading so that now it doesn't have to share the shelf with anyone.

    So how did this happen?
    About 25 years ago an author had every chance of being discovered from a publisher slush pile which were stacked floor to ceiling in their offices. Today publishers don't have to look at manuscripts, they just sit and wait for agents to bring them what they claim is going to be the next big thing. Because the agent has too much of a vested interest in making sure the new author they are representing makes the numbers in terms of sales to ensure their own cut, they look at what has sold big in the market last season. So a manuscript arrives that is not too far different from last years biggie, which makes it is less of a gamble to promote than something that is truly original. So for the sake of her own pay cheque the agent promotes what her censorship tells her is the safer gamble.

    I'm sure any agent reading this will protest that they select only the most worthy of the manuscripts delivered to her, so lets examine the process, because most likely the agent will not even read the best manuscripts she receives.

    The agent says: Don't send me any attachments I don't want you sending me any of those nasty viruses.
    If I were in a job where incoming email was essential and I were worried about phish and viruses, I would first ensure I had a heavy duty anti-virus program. Second, I would set up a server and use it only for those emails, so if a nasty got past the guard then it wouldn't end my world. Third, I would make sure I had the number for super-geek so if it ever did go wrong it wouldn't take long to put right.
    But why spend what would cost no more than installing a phone when you can command the great unwashed to paste into the email. Never mind that it may take them hours reformatting because the paragraphing and double spacing squeeze when doing this.

  30. bitter and twisted16/5/10 9:49 PM

    The agent then asks for the query letter and god forbid you put a comma wrong because that means you can't write and it's the delete button for you. I head a mention that some poor author put the wrong Dear Name to a sent query. So o-kay that is a little careless, but that person may well have put in 10 hours at the day job, travelled there and back another 3 hours, then slogged out 15,000 words trying to get to the life that's out there somewhere. And after that makes a mistake. That's all it is lady. A Mistake. We all make them, except you of course. But for that mistake - the delete button. Never mind that manuscript may have been the best thing to pass over the desk in a year.
    The agent says tell me you credentials and is most pleased that the new author is a grad with a masters in lit, because last years big seller was a grad with a masters in lit. Come to think of it the year before that the big seller was by a grad with a masters in lit and also the year before that and..... And they're all made out of ticky-tacky - and they all look just the same. Of course in the university resides a teacher who teaches all the students to write and the students all lean to write the same way from the teacher who wouldn't be teaching if s/he hadn't failed as a writer. Who was it that said "Those who can do, those who can't teach."
    Now the agent commands, summarize your novel in two paragraphs. So everyone says, my novel is full of suspense and drama and a refreshing new insight into... Face it, nobody is going to say, my novel is a complete rehashed rip-off of that big seller last year... So having learned nothing the agent can with good conscience move onto my favourite - the synopsis.

    First, will somebody enlighten me as to why double space. To me, this is uncomfortable to read. I can understand that in the year of
    our Lord 1817 A.D. they didn't have computers. I might be wrong but I don't think they had photocopiers then either and when a manuscript was completed it would be a one off and line spacing was needed for editing, but the world has moved on. Why not read the manuscript presented as close as possible to format the end-user will receive it. Surly this can only help in making a better judgment.
    Anyway the manuscript must be high concept, hold a strong voice, have multi-layered characters and set at a pace to snare its readers. Sorry but the only phrase that comes to mind is.... What a pretentious load of old bollocks. A good story is a good story, is a good story. That's all that matters. I've read of one agent who has a mantra there must be conflict on every page. Why? I agree there must be conflict and plenty of it, but there is nothing wrong if at points, the story has a smoother ride because it will enhance the conflict in following passages. From one well known agent, passed to every agent in Christendom and from there to the world at large, we have; "The perspective must stay with the protagonist or the reader will not form an association." I have to say I think it is nothing short of arrogant that agents think they are the mouth for the reading public in this way. Writing in the third person is a tool for the exact purpose of changing perspective. If an author has a good story why should it not be explored from more than one viewpoint? If you were on a ship and wanted to see the sea would you view it though the porthole or would you stand on the deck?

  31. bitter and twisted16/5/10 9:51 PM

    What the author must do is ensure if switching viewpoint it must be clear that it has been done. The reader must not be muddled or confused when there is a change of perspective and doing this in the correct way is why writing is an art. As for the reader missing the association with the protagonist, well I should hope s/he does, because if s/he doesn't the author hasn't done a very good job. And if the author is doing a good job the reader will be thrilled with the new character he is sharing with at the same time as missing the main protagonist and looking forward to getting back with him. It's like if you meet the person who is going to be your life-partner, are you going to spend every minute of every day with that person, or are you sometimes going to share the company of other friends.
    Actually if you want an example of how not to switch viewpoint try the first twenty pages of Dragon Tattoo. And if you want to see how it should be done try, Charles Dickens, Stephen King, George G. Gilbert, Jack Higgins, Bernard Cornwell, or just about anybody who was first published more than 20 years ago.
    Last why have a sample of the manuscript, when with a setup as said near the start, attach the whole thing.

    Tell me everything about your 260 page novel and don't leave out the end.. and do it in two pages. There are one or two agents now commanding this be done in one page. Well having spent 18 months dripping sweat onto my keyboard not to mention research and editing and having crafted a plot so that the reader can only find out the ending when the read is concluded, I can't tell you how pleasing it is to have some joker tell me if I don't this then.... Delete button. The fact is, if you can put a novel into a 2 page synopsis, then you don't have much of a story. You will probably find one bit is missing and that bit will be what is known as the plot. It's just a fact, size ten feet don't fit into size 3 boots.
    So having assured the bright new author is just like the not so bright any more author of last year and now guaranteed the plot will not be overtaxing the agent moves on to the sample.

    So now let me the author present to me the agent.
    Dear Agent Me,
    for your consideration I have attached my manuscript, a horror story titled Devil's Seed of 115,000 words.

    Now me the agent can read it and when I reach the bottom of the first page I can ask myself; Do I want to read the next page? If the answer is yes, I ask that again at the next page. If I find there are no more pages to read, then it's most likely the manuscript is at least pretty good and I fancy I'm going to represent it.
    But what if it doesn't fit the market module???
    As I said, it should be boom time for books in a bad economy. Dollar per hour you can't get better value entertainment. If cash is tight stay in and read. If you are reading a good book and the phone rings, or there's a knock at the door the interruption will annoy you. When you finish a good book you will miss it, like a lost lover, but remember it with an almost unhealthy found regard. A good book is a thing of beauty that will stay somewhere in your thoughts for the whole of your life, but you will never find one unless these agents get there fingers out and start pitching them to publishers.
    If it is good but doesn't fit the business module that is the one to pitch to the publishers. That's the one that people want to buy but cant find it on the shelves. And if that manuscript doesn't fit the business module, well in the words of Kevin Costner "Build a field and they will come."

  32. bitter and twisted16/5/10 10:15 PM

    Sorry to anyone trying to make sense of the above 3 part post. I didn't know there was a word count limit, so I had to cut and paste in bits then relay it back here in fragments to post and as you can see I muddled the order. Still everything I wanted to say is there and I'm sure you shuffle it the right way up in your mind.

    Told you everybody makes mistakes. I suppose that means the delete button for me.

  33. I think some of us in the Boomer generation like reading about specific places where we have lived in the past. I guess this is a sort of "regional based" fiction. Not necessarily coming of age stories from a particular region, but more specific and concentrated times, a novel rife with episodes and feelings from a certain milieu that men can identify with.
    It's what I'm writing about, anyway.

  34. Thanks for all the feedback. Some interesting comments to consider. The winner of the book is...Sammy! If you could send along your mailing address to, I will get it off to you. And thanks again, we love being able to interact with our readers this way. It's a great outlet for all of us to stay connected.

  35. bitter and twisted18/5/10 10:53 PM

    Although Sammy doesn't say so, I get the impression from the comment that Sammy is a girl.
    Strange that the question why don't men buy books, posed as a prize poll, is best answered by a girl/woman. I'm sure when that opinion is passed on to publishers that if it is acted on will go a long way to getting those who no longer buy books back into the bookstore..... or will it?

    I promise I'm not having a go at anyone here, I'm just sitting here weeping over the fact that the demand for books by one section of the public is over-catered while another section is starved and the people who claim to care the most are the ones who dish the rations.

    When your digging a hole, you really should stop before it's so deep that you can't reach up to the top edge


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