Wow, it looks like it's been a while since I've posted. That's in keeping with my philosophy of not blogging unless I have something to say. I have some mini-thoughts this week.
1. One of the reasons I've been offline is that I've been busy at work editing a manuscript. I'm having a case of buyer's remorse. I really liked it when I contracted for it, though I knew it would need a lot of work. Now, after three drafts (going on a fourth), I'm not seeing the author pull it all together. Is this book going to be any good? At this point I think it will be OK and get OK reviews - unless the author really takes a step backward and views this manuscript through a different lens, which s/he seems pepetually unwilling to do. I suppose I could invoke the acceptability clause and not publish it, but the author is well-connected enough that I think it will sell decently, and of course we need the money. Yes, my friends, that's modern publishing.
By the way, I feel guilty when I have these feelings, so I asked a couple of editor friends if they ever felt buyer's remorse. Both said yes, all the time. One said, "Yeah, and the higher the advance, the greater the remorse."
2. I'm going to get some nasty emails about this, but I'm feeling rather irritated with the Sherlock/Benedict Cumberbatch phenomenon. It's not that I don't like the show. I've watched it a few times and enjoyed it. But the gushing I am seeing about this show makes me ask the question I've asked myself many times: Why do we constantly reinvent the wheel? Why aren't people all over the Net gushing about great new writers and books rather than falling back on Sherlock Holmes AGAIN? My daughter, who's a fan of New York theatre, makes a similar complaint: Why the constant string of mega-successful revivals when so many wonderful NEW shows close after only a few weeks?
It goes back, I think, to ideas I've discussed before here on Mysterious Matters - that desire for comfort, for the familiar, for formula. How do we get people to be more adventurous, to break out of the mold in which they're stuck? If I had the answer to that question, all of my books would be on the best-seller list.
Of course, it's much more complicated than that. Other questions that arise:
-Why can Hollywood/the entertainment industry get bloggers, reviewers, etc. across the world heaping fulsome praise (free publicity) on their products, when we can't even get magazines to review books any more?
-Is there a demographic element at work here? Is it people of a "certain age" who are watching Sherlock? Meanwhile, what are the younger people doing? Playing on Facebook?
-Are younger readers more adventurous, more open to new writers and types of books, than older people? As we age, do we decide "This is the type of book I like, and these are the writers I like" - and do we then make our reading decisions accordingly? That is, do we "imprint" on a certain type of book (as we do with music), which then sets our reading tastes for decades to come? (Case in point: I started reading mysteries as a teenager, and here it is, X decades later, and I'm still reading them. One of my brothers started on science fiction at the same time, and here he is - still an avid sci-fi fan.)