Monday, March 30, 2009


Pollyanna Explains Why Mediocrity Is Not Acceptable

During a conversation with a writer friend who has yet to be published in novel-length fiction, I was appalled to hear her take on publication. She had the idea that she could write a Christian novel, enter it into a contest she’d seen online, win the $10,000 prize plus a guarantee of publication. Then she could write fiction as a way to make money. I was offended on so many levels I didn’t know where to start.

My friend doesn’t believe that most published writers aspire to write a great book. They don’t put that much heart into it and they don’t need to. Every once in awhile a multi-published author comes out with a truly great, memorable book. But the rest of the time, it’s okay to be average. In her opinion, it’s okay to write strictly as a way to make money. You don’t need to put your heart into it, much less your best effort.

Maybe the reason her words gave me such a chill was because they’re true to a certain degree. Multi-pubbed authors are often under pressure to meet deadlines and that doesn’t lend itself well to creating “art.” Or to even creating the best work. Publishing is a business and maybe that’s what’s wrong with publishing. Everyone, including the creators of the product, are forced to look at numbers and bottom lines. How well did your last book sell? That will dictate whether we give you another contract and how big your print run is. Instead of being allowed to create the best book they’re capable of, authors are pressured into marketing the books for the publishers. So what suffers in this process? Most likely the creation of a quality product.

In my idea of a perfect world, all authors would stop buying into the idea that they must market themselves and their work. Most authors will tell you that they are unable to quantify the results of any of the marketing efforts they make, which begs the question, why are we all making such an effort? Personally, I believe readers would still find the best books and the cream would rise to the top. The books would improve because that’s all authors would be expected to do—write the best book they possibly can. Fewer books might be published but the quality might vastly improve.

Instead, what we have in today’s marketplace are a lot of books published and an excess of mediocrity. Publishers have slots to fill, readers have been taught to settle for a book that’s okay instead of ones that are great. The publishers decide who gets the big publicity push and often those books just aren’t that good or that well-written. But a gullible public will buy them anyway because all of a sudden they’re on the bestseller list.

I find it especially sad that someone like my friend believes it’s okay to start out with an “okay” book. Why would a writer, any writer, not want every book to be the best book they could make it? Do we want our readers to arrive at the end of the book, shrug their shoulders and think, “Eh. It was okay.”

When’s the last time you read a recently published great book? A memorable book? One that you raved about and recommended to your reader friends? Has it been awhile since that has happened? This is why mediocrity is not acceptable.

Barb Meyers

A Month From Miami

They told themselves it was only for a month…

Perrish, Florida was supposed to be just an eye-blink for Kaylee Walsh on her way to a glamorous new life in Miami-minus her sleazy ex-boyfriend. She’s not about to let a little car trouble or an empty wallet throw a monkey wrench into her plans. Not even when there’s a handsome mechanic on the other end of that wrench.

Rick Braddock knows better than to give a second glance to a woman with big-city dreams. But getting Kaylee back on the road means car repairs she can’t afford. So he offers a trade. His services for hers. As a babysitter and housekeeper, that is.

They tell themselves it’s only for a month. But as they settle into comfortably domestic days and intensely intimate nights, Rick realizes what a treasure he’s discovered in Kaylee. And for Kaylee, the lure of Miami is losing its shine.

Then Rick discovers a fortune in stolen gems hidden in her gas tank. Is Kaylee the woman he thought she was-or is she taking him for a ride?


J.K. Coi said...

Hi Barb, welcome to the blog today! I understand what you’re saying, and it’s too bad that your friend thinks this way. Fortunately, I think that most of us strive to write the best books we can, most of us put ourselves into the book and hope that the reader will see how hard we’ve strived and appreciates it. When an author hasn’t done their very best, you can bet your sweet patootie that the readers and reviewers will be able to tell and will call him/her on it.

Shelley Munro said...

Barb, your friend might be surprised when she enters the contest then. ;)
A lot of people think it's easy to write. Most of them never finish a book.