2.05.2004

Of course we're changing the genre!

Okay, give me a chance to work this out. The comment feature is down, and I've very little time to get this posted.
Critics do shape literature. It seems pretty simple and affirmative to me, but in the comments on chouinard's "Changing the genre" assertion in an earlier post, both Jonathan and Jeff VanderMeer jumped in to say that it's the writers and not the critics and reviewers that shape the day to day face of the genre. Sorry, I'm not buying. Brass tacks: The readers are the numero-uno-ain't-gettin-around-it-800-pound-gorilla behind change in this and every other literature in the free world. The readers either buy or don't buy the books. The readers are the focal point of the genre, and the readers are just who the publishers look at when they decide whether or not to buy a script, promising and beautifully written or not. The readers are the income, and therefore the readers are a professional writer's employer. That means that the readers dictate the content of the shelves and the roster of the publishers. And the readers need someone to give them advice on what's out there and what they should invest time and money on. And, if we do this right, through execution and promotion, we'll have a big chunk of the readers coming here to see what's good and what's not, and therefore what they'll plunk down their ducats for and what they'll let rot in the bargain bins.
If we can get a significant percentage of readers to listen to and trust us, then you're damn tootin' we'll be changing the genre! Instead of picking up the next dead forest courtesy of Robert Jordan, they'll be clamoring for City of Saints and Madmen or Caine Black Knife. Kage Baker will quit her day job and turn that house in Pismo Beach into a palace. Terry Goodkind will be washing windows inside of five years! You don't think that's change? You don't think we can do it? It is and we can. We're gonna.
Stay tuned.
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