Sunday, July 4, 2010

Dear Prospective Publisher, I read your latest book while on vacation...

I'm back from my five-day vacation and I must say, I had a great time!

I have to admit, on the first day, I fell asleep (literally crashed) for three hours. When I mentioned in the previous blog about being exhausted just from my end-of-school-year, mom-type responsibilites, I wasn't kidding.

To sum up the vacation:

We went to Puerto Vallarta, went on a zip-line tour (highly recommended), ATV through the jungle, and rode the mules (of course mine went the wrong way and then turned and clotheslined me on the zip-line, ahh. Why do horses and horse-like animals hate me anyway?).

We took a boat-ride out to an amazing part of Mexico (high winds=high swells and motion sickness, salt sprayed hair and face, tipping chairs, and all kinds of crazy fun).

Hot tub on the deck + husband=Foam excess from added shower gel and shampoo (1 husband can sometimes=10 young children).

But inbetween all of the adventures I was able to read (I was still unsure of my book choices from Target so I made it over to Barnes & Nobles before the trip and picked up two more books).

I'm a fast reader (when I have the time) so I knew I wasn't far off by bringing 4 books on a 5-day vacation (I finished 2-1/2 books by the end). Before I left town I was feeling guilty for settling for more vampire books when I really wanted to read something more normal or at least with less vampires and werewolves. I started with a book I shall not name (it wouldn't be fair). I finished the book and was extremely disappointed. I actually had to read faster because I wanted to get through it just so I could go onto something better. The faster I read, the more I thought about writing to the publisher.

Dear Prospective Publisher ,

I read your latest book [named here]. It wasn't good. I feel you owe me.

[My query inserted here]


Patricia A. Timms

Maybe it's just me. I sometimes read books that are so boring, or poorly written that I can't believe the author was published at all. How unfair does it seem to read something you can't believe made it on the shelves in the first place when you're battling your own form rejections?

A scary thought from a reader's perspective: What if these terrible books create a whole new batch of authors who want to write just because if the sub-par authors can make it and lure me into buying their books then how hard can it be to get published?

Or, to be positive, maybe a whole new batch of great writers will surface just because they are tired of being duped into buying terrible books.

Then again, maybe I bought one of those self-published books and I just didn't know any better.

Self-published books mixed in with the carefully selected and refined books, this is where my nightmare of a reader starts. This topic actually has nothing to do with my ability to write, query, gain attention or respect as a writer seeking to be an author. I don't even mean to put down self-published authors (especially as a writer), it's just that I WANT TO BE WARNED IF I AM ABOUT TO BUY A SELF-PUBLISHED BOOK!!!

That was awful of me wasn't it? Have I just lost some readers? I apologize. I'm not a mean person. I respect all writers, even sub-par ones. But that respect comes from the writer in me and not necessarily the reader in me. As a reader, I have to spend my hard-earned money on books that I can read in two days (think about how much it might cost me to keep up with my habit); I don't want to spend money on a poorly written book.

As a writer, I appreciate the journey the author went through to get the book on the shelf. I just wonder why the publisher bothered. Why did the back of the book trick me into believing there was something interesting about to go on inside the book?

Now that I've confessed my aversion to poorly written books I think I need to go and knock on some wood, or throw some salt over my shoulder. My journey to publishing probably just got even longer. It's hard not to admit that I get this disappointed when I read a terrible book even though I'm trying to query my own story.

Side note: I wasn't that enthralled with Stephanie Meyer's The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner either, but I am enjoying Alyson Noel's Evermore very much.

Am I the only writer/reader who gets this disappointed with poorly written books on Barnes & Noble book shelves?


  1. Sounds like you had an amazing time! Ha, the overflowing bubbles is actually pretty awesome.

    Thanks for your input over at TUC. :)

  2. You're great. Thanks for coming over and commenting.