The OF Blog: Why should I care about what you're peddling?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Why should I care about what you're peddling?

Before anybody takes offense (not that I've ever offended anyone, of course), this question arises from personal reflection.  It is, I believe, one of those core, essential questions that applies to so many facets of life.  It is especially true for me when I ready discussions in my classrooms, for if I do not know my audience, then I am much more likely to lose them.

But when it comes to reviews, it is a very applicable question.  Just why should I (or any other potential customer) care about what you peddle?  Do you think it makes a bit of difference if you are not the first on the street?  Ought I give a damn about whether or not you are email/Facebook/Twitter pals with the particular author in question?  Should I pay greater heed because you were invited to publisher parties and if I am to do so, will it be just merely focused on questioning of allegiances?  Should I give two rats' asses that you write from "a fan's perspective," whatever the hell that might mean?

Why should I take your opinion into account?  Can you display any engagement with the text beyond stating whether or not "the pacing is fast" or that "the protagonist(s) is/are likable?"  Are you capable of writing your way out of a wet paper sack?  If you have the tendency to gush over most of your reads and those reads tend to be "flavors of the month" that I rarely, if ever, see mentioned at your blog a year or more later as being among the best books of the past several years, then why would I (or any reader) take you seriously?

Conversely, is what is being written in the review relevant at all?  This is another question I have to ask on occasion.  Do I write just for myself?  Not really, although I envision myself as being the audience as much as the creator of the discourse on display.  I won't be reviewing "hot new releases" for the most part this year and likely for years to come.  What I will review is likely more for Stendhal's "happy few" than for those who want to see me give a 8.675309 out of 10 "score" as a stamp of approval for the anointed release.  I have to be careful when reviewing older works or "alternative" selections that I do not fall into the different trap of speaking only to the cognoscenti.  What I peddle has to be relevant for more than just like-minded souls, even when I can't envision those readers visiting my blog.

Likewise, the header question applies to authors and others associated with pitching books.  Am I supposed to understand the "code" involved that references a book in relation with other authors.  What if I haven't read (or cared for, if read) the particular authors cited?  Tell me why I should choose your opening volume to a multi-volume epic fantasy over umpteen over works that use the same language in hopes of capturing readers who want more of the same.  What's so special about your book (or the book(s) that you're marketing to me and my ilk) that I ought to take note of it?

Just something to think about, I suppose.  But these are actual questions that I do apply not just to myself, but when I'm reading others' blogs or receive the occasional review copy.  Still puzzled at seeing a hooded dude with a sword out with an impractical ship/airship floating in the skies above on this one unsolicited review copy I received today.  Just looks derivative in two ways to me.  Maybe someone could pitch it to me to where I would reconsider my viewpoint.  Maybe, or maybe not.


Harry Markov said...

I sense that this will put so many people in depression [contemplation] or rage, depends how low their self esteem is.

SO the question is Why should I care about what you're peddling, Larry?

What makes you a goddamn snowflake?


Larry said...

I'm an asshole. Once you've smelt one, you can pretty much know how the others smell like :P

Harry Markov said...

I'd go for a witty bastard. Pat is the resident asshole.

Larry said...

Bah, he's just the Canadian bacon to the bacon I offer for sale here.

Lagomorph Rex said...

I'm going to state, to me its simply cathartic to be able to vent on certain things.. actually having an audience is only incidental. It actually makes it more difficult since you then have to actually put effort into it rather than just mindlessly blathering on...

I'm well aware that I'm by no means a "Good" blogger.. the fact that I only have 9 followers and maybe 15 people who occasionally post replies is proof of that. But it's also a case of practice making perfect, and I occasionally come up with something good enough to entice people onto my scent marked welcome mat of the internet.

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