I have no idea. But I like that trash is currently king. It's gratifying to know that pap gets published, and should give any writer hope that they too can get their work published by major publishing houses
When you look at situations where book becomes very popular. It very often has to do with advertisement, connections, and marketing. Books like Twilight, Ergaon, or even Harry Potter became popular by means of putting the product out through right people, the right audience and even... At the right time. You cant bomb people's taste in books out of the water with your novel, but you sure as hell can give people a taste of your literary work. Persistence count!
maybe you should re-evaluate your writing goals. if the popularity of these types of books is making you fear your place on the shelves, is your heart still in it to keep going? don't you think that the right people will find you if you make yourself known or are you just going to give up simply because trash literature is king (for the moment)?
I don't know if I could help you as much, but all I can say is; write your novel, get it done (With all of the editing and such), and get it published. I know it sounded terribly easy, but it wasn't even the slightest bit. I'm struggling my butt to finish my on-hiatus novel, "Nezayu's Life", and I can definitely tell how hard it is to even write a part of a novel, let alone self-edit. Also, when publishing your book, it's good to start off small; don't go straight to Harper Collins or Penguins Classics since they're the big ones out there. Try to go for some publishers that didn't get much publish request. That way, when your novel became popular, you might be able to release your next novel, and might lead to a bidding war between publishers. Although to be honest, this was a way to get published for COMIC ARTISTS. But...Who knows? The principle might be applied to novels in a way, as well...
It's not really a fear of failure, is it? I know I'm a good writer, that what I produce is decent stuff. I don't think that's it. I like such an antiquated style that very few people these days like. So my stories are mostly for me, and they're in my head so I am entertained by them. Writing is a two-sided act; it is communication. If I have no one to communicate with, why bother writing it down? Or rather, if writing really is all only about me, what is the purpose of writing anything down? It doesn't matter if no one will read it, so why should it matter if it actually exists on paper for someone to read? I am already entertained by simply imagining the story, and so why not put the time to better use volunteering in the community or fundraising for museums, etc. (which is what I have been busying myself doing with all the time that I am not writing).
You should continue writing exactly because there is so much bad stuff out there already. When you stop, you lower the average quality of existing literature. Then, there might be someone out there who is looking for exactly the kind of story you are writing. Someone who is frustrated because no one writes this kind of story anymore. (Something similar happened to me lately. What I was looking for doesn't exist, it seems.) It saddens me that you don't write anymore, because I know that you are a good writer and that writing means a lot to you.
MOH makes a good point. I also can't stand the crap that's on the shelves today (too much sex and spiritism, not enought SciFi or Mysteries). That's why I'm practicing to make myself a better writer. Even if I never publish anything, I will find a way to show people my concepts, and perhaps someone will be inspired enough to write something similar, and inspire others. If it becomes a large enough movement, publisher's will take notice, and we'll end up changing the products of the publishing industry.
I like how you are thinking. When more and more people work hard to improve and show their concepts, sooner or later the publishers will notice that there is a niche they overlooked ... and then they will react.
I'm not sure I follow. How does consumerism in and of itself make people dumber?
Disney is good quality, the plots are decent despite being horribly overdone (at least they are well written), the music is good, the values seem to be in the right place, the characters aren't (always) terribly flat... So why do you blame Disney?
The consumer says that he/she can buy happiness and he/she deserves it which is stupid because nothing's special about money. You say that Disney values seem right, I say that nothing's right about them at all.
I mean in the movies themselves. In Pocahontas, for instance, the values are the importance of tolerance and diversity and the destructive qualities of greed. In Beauty and the Beast, the values are family and the need to look deeper than appearances to find beauty and that even the roughest people can have good qualities. And so on and so forth. I don't know about buying happiness; movies like Fox and the Hound can make a person bawl their eyes out.
True, the company is wildly successful and glutted with money, and of course it is good at marketing itself, but if you just take the products themselves, what do you think of them?
By realising the world isn't the same as you and that just because you think it's shit doesn't mean people should stop reading it or enjoying it. Critically the novel might be pretty crappy but its obviously got something good going for it if people are enjoying it.
If you don't like it, don't read it. Hell even tell your friends you don't like it. But don't be a book snob, it's not attractive.
Luckily, I don't care much about being attractive.
Here's where I remind everyone that once upon a time Mark Twain went on all sorts of angry tirades about how much James Fenimore Cooper sucked as an author and how that sort of literary criticism is just as important to the health of art as art is itself and how it's all very natural, historical even, and thank you very much. If this is book snobbery, I'm happy to be a book snob.
Oh I certainly think Twilight sucks as a book, and that having a critical discussion about it and what it means is fine, but I don't think that judging people poorer for liking it is a particularly nice thing to do. And Having seen my sister, for the first time ever, read books cover to cover and understand the joy of reading, even if it's something I don't like is better for the world. Since discovering that a book can be pleasurable my sister has since actually started to read other Novels and so if there are more people like my sister out there I can never say that Twilight isn't a good thing at the end of it all.
I wasn't saying we should. In fact, in the original comment, I said those tactics don't work (granted, I've proven sarcasm is difficult to convey via the internet considering how much flack I've gotten for that line).
I asked for ideas on how to combat the horrible, horribly popular books people are reading. Not how to judge or demean people for liking them.
I think by your statement about sarcasm and the internet it would be imperative to use <sarcasm> tags if necessary. I cannot read meaning I cannot see in your words since they lack tone of voice.
As for "combating terrible books" should we have to? Should we not just let people read what they want to? If someone asks me for a rec I'll give them one but I won't accost them about their reading choices and tell them mine are better here read this.
I hate it when people do it to me, I like to discover books on my own, and so I do not tell anyone else what to read unless they ask me for a book I liked.
Some books are better than others. That's just a fact. Some art is better than other art. Some people are more talented than others, just as some work harder than others. Some people are better at cooking, some people are more savvy at business.
No, we don't have to combat terrible books. As an author, I feel the imperative to do it, though. For one, my livelihood depends upon it. For another, I work hard and I know other very talented people who work hard and who deserve success. For another reason, what do they contribute? I know I shouldn't have to impose my value system on anyone else ever, but you know, the purpose of writing anything is to communicate. It's a persuasion, it's politics -- whether you or anyone else wants to acknowledge that.
I'm not going to force you to read something. I'm not going to say to you, a near-perfect stranger, "OH, you will LOVE this book!" without knowing anything about your tastes. (HOWEVER, I can show you a book and say, "This is one of the best books ever written." You may still hate it; that's your prerogative. Heck, I often still hate it.) I'm not going to call you names for liking what you like to read. Heck, I won't even say what I like to read is better than yours because what I like to read is probably completely different from what you like to read. But say you like mystery novels; some mystery novels are still better than others. Fact. Maybe you like a poorly written one for your own reasons, but to deny that it is poorly written when it is in fact poorly written -- that's just plain silly. What is the purpose of that?
Also, you may discover all you like on your own. Life is all choices, isn't it. I acknowledge there are a lot of people who are smarter than I am and more experienced and I look to them for guidance. If you want to stumble around in the dark, go for it. Once again, that's your prerogative.
I think part of the success of Twilight and 50 Shades is quite possibly the bad writing. I look back at works I read and loved as an early teenager and the writing is quite dire, but it was simple as well as dire and in that simplicity it allowed me an easy read to get through to the material. So the success in tapping into a market that is probably not usually reading books is something to commend, even if those of us who usually read are a little bit horrified at the quality.
It is indeed a sad thing when there are writers or artists you feel are better that are being overlooked, but in the end what is their target audience? Are they writing books for the masses, or books for people who like the sort of thing they're writing about? The sort of books I want to read will still be there because the people publishing those books know that the Twilight crew is not their market, so they're not trying to capture it with more bad novels, and will continue to publish great fiction.
I feel exactly the same way. The books today have gone severely downhill. I tried both twilight and 50 shades because of the hype and people telling me I need to read it and they are horrible. Today they lack overall substance and actual grammar skills. 50 shades and Twilight read as if they were written by a 2nd grader with a teenage hormonal mind.
But I'm in the same boat that you are in that I prefer classic literature, Pride and Prejudice, Picture of Dorian Gray, Lorna Doone etc. But very few people like them anymore and they are often overlooked and thought of as stuffy and boring but they have more substance, plot, and overall writing skill than most of the things that are published today. Hang in there I would read your books at least
There's no such thing as bad publicity. Your attempt to bomb them out of the water only draws more attention to them and makes the fans more defensive than ever. As the others said, vote with your wallet and don't buy them. If you ignore them, such books literally go away!
Hah, I have already made it my life's goal to reform the reading public of the world. (Yeah, we'll see how that goes...)
Anyway, I figure the only way to fix things is to just give up on teenage girls, 'cause they're a lost cause. (Believe me, I am one.) What you've got to do is write kids' books, you see. That way you can train them to like real literature from an early age. If you teach them to find good books as kids, they'll learn to find good books as teens.
Look at me, plotting the mental takeover of the world...
And I must say, I'm a bit tired of people judging people who read Twilight or 50 Shades of Grey. I actually enjoyed the first Twilight book when I read it, and I know quite a few intelligent people who have read 50 Shades of Grey. People don't deserve to be "verbally abused" for "daring" to say they like a book they enjoy.
I was being silly in the original post, sorry; I forget how difficult it is to convey sarcasm through the internet. But to tell the truth, they have no literary value whatsoever. That doesn't mean you can't like it.
What else do you read? Why do you read what you read? Do you think Twilight has any literary merit? I'm waiting for a good argument in its favor. So far, the only good thing I have learned from it is what not to do, no offense.