Friday, 18 March 2011

Is it me?

Is it me, or does everybody in the publishing industry seem to be obsessed with voice, perspective, style and rules?

Do you read for enjoyment or do you read for ‘the experience’? Do you look for a great story or a great ‘voice’?

Personally, I love to get swept away in a consuming story with characters I care about. Voice is secondary. I do admire the cleverness of a novel written in an original way, but these days I’d rather lose myself in a character’s struggle, than have my breath taken away by stunning prose.

Maybe it’s because I’m a busy mum with too much crap rattling around in my head. As I get older, my tolerance for culture is dwindling. In my twenties I was always up for watching a clever art house film, or listening to an experimental Mercury Music award winner. Now, I revel in paranormal romance, sci fi blockbusters and a bit of Paulo Nutini.

The gatekeepers of the publishing industry all talk about voice as if it is the only thing that matters. They’re constantly searching for authors who tell stories in new and inventive ways. But maybe they’re missing the point. Surely, for most, reading is a form of entertainment - a comfort or an escape.

Is this obsession with voice a prestige thing? A form of snobbery? Or is it really the way to move the publishing industry forward? A way to generate buzz and keep the mystique of literature. A publisher's ‘Finest’ range, made with organic, speciality ingredients. But sometimes the only thing that’s really going to hit the spot is a plate of curly fries.


  1. The gatekeepers of the publishing industry... Not too many more years now before that will be history.

    Very much like the look of Hidden (Saffi and I have an adult dark fantasy novel due out in September) and will buy it soon as my bank sorts my card.

    Would love to do a feature on my blog ( in the near future. Check it out and let me know if interested.


  2. Thanks, Mark! I bypassed the gatekeepers, snuck over the wall and put my novel on kindle a couple of weeks ago.

    ps. I'd love to be featured on your blog.

  3. Good for you on sneaking around the gate. I'm about to do the same thing myself, although to be honest it is freaking me out.

  4. A.M. It's still freaking me out. Hidden has been on kindle 3 weeks and I'm alternately walking on air and wanting to throw up.

    Good luck with yours! xx

  5. Here, here! What a great post. When I started writing I went to several literary conferences just to be looked down on when the ladies wearing socks and sandals and beards discovered I was a "genre" writer, which, as they all know, is so not literary. Really? Various dictionaries disagree. And I went through workshop after workshop that doled out wristslaps for using adverbs-someone better alert the 20th century greats! I call myself a candy writer, and the books I read-all candy. I just want to get caught in someone else's passion without being knocked from the story by "brilliant" or "bad" writing alike.

  6. So true, Johanna. As a new author it's been an eye-opener, experiencing such ridiculous snobbery from 'the industry'. Kindle has given authors the freedom to sell their work on an (almost) equal platform. Hooray! Take that, bearded, sock and sandle-wearing ladies!