And if not, why not?
The following post is going to be construed as jealous, snarky and bitter.
I don't care.
It should be construed as someone perplexed by the whole "list" crap. Sort of like all those award shows, that to me, they mean nothing anymore.
I have read books, and now for the sake of pissing off enough people, in the romance genre that are touted as being a #1 New York Times Bestseller. I recently read an excerpt of one and nearly gagged myself with a floor lamp. The plot was mundane, the writing was a fourth grade level and yet, this woman was fortunate enough to have a huge following and a great career. Good night and God bless.
Clearly sales volume counts, not quality. Sure, sure I knew this. I am not an idiot. Marketing and PR is what it is all about and when you sell a million books, you count. And so you should. You have worked hard. But don't expect me to like every book up there. Some bestsellers that did nothing for me are 'The DaVinci Code', 'Twilight' 'In Death' series and 'Stephanie Plum'. I have been fortunate to have read many a NY Times Bestseller that I swooned over. What eludes me is the ever brilliant book in romance. I have mentioned some that I have loved like 'Bet Me' and 'The Ice Queen'. Of course I can suspend disbelief and enjoy the rush and thrill, but I always feel wanting at the end. Okay, they hooked up and now what? Who knows? Who cares? Sometimes the author writes more about them and it actually ruins it for me. I am a pain in the ass. I admit this. I think the romance genre has enough issues with being treated as a step child from hell, but at times I think it deserves it. Set the bar higher for that night of sweet nothings. Give me a woman who is not stunning and a stunning man admires her, prosthetic leg and all. Too much? Hell no, push that envelope! Granted, I am well aware that not everyone wants to read 'Hamlet' everyday, but I also don't want to read 'Sweet Valley High' daily either. There has to be an author of romance out there that blows out the competition and raises the genre up a level.
Before you all say, "Then you do it!" My stories have romance in them and my goal is keeping n touch with the characters feelings. Not mine. I am the author, I am here to make sure their reactions are correct and how I have built them. Maybe I would have done something else, but that is fine, my character is not me. She/He are the ones who blossom, this is not a vanity project. Maybe all writing is, but in truth it should not be, not for fiction like this. I love when I read a romance and can literally feel the characters angst and desire. Other times it is like watching paint dry and I want one of the character to pull an Anna Karenia. The best part it that both types are bestsellers.
What I want from my authors is not different then what I want from myself. Aim high, use a thesaurus, pay attention to how people talk and remember that over description of clothes and looks are unnecessary. I guess most writers do not have to adhere to my personal OCD in this craft if they have already made it to the coveted lists. Series authors are the guiltiest to me for getting caught in a groove, unable to break out. They fill in the blanks, send it out and BAM! another bestseller. How does one compete? I realize that you shouldn't. There is an audience for everyone. Even those of us who get cranky, jealous and snobby now and then.