I can't wait until I'm famous enough to plagiarize myself, except that I'd get bored doing it, so I probably won't. However, we all have patterns. I found myself with the same themes in my books...not purposeful, but there.
I've started marathoning genres to find patterns, starting with the most patterned books of all, the regency romance. I've got it down, though. The man is a rake, a rogue, or a misunderstood gentleman (if not all three). The woman is a misunderstood or lesser-class woman who may flaunt class restrictions or feel that she must under all costs follow them.
During intercourse, someone is bound to say "Please". And the love-making follows a pattern, too, but I'm not bold enough to go into all that here.
Due to class or societal restrictions, the couple are unwilling to acknowledge their feelings publicly and certainly can't marry until the end when they decide, what is a little class after all and flaunt tradition and go for it.
There it is, the regency romance in a can...if anyone ever wants to write one. (And don't forget the parties, the snobs, and the pretty dresses...)
I think the argument here about needing or not needing gatekeepers to filter out the, "garbage," or the, "badly in need of editing for grammar, or punctuation, or formatting," are missing the point.
Writing is an art. It is an art in both senses of the word. A book is a piece of artwork. And, writing is an art in that it is not an exact science. No one, no matter what they think, can pick up a best selling novel and point out exactly what makes it a popular piece of art that many have enjoyed and supported by buying it.
Was it because the story was good? Was it because the wring had a nice flow? Was it because it was grammatically perfect? My guess would be that all of these of course have an impact.
But, to suggest that we need a, "gatekeeper," to say what is good art and what is not is preposterous. The cream will rise. The readers already are the gatekeepers. If a writers work is not liked, that writer will not prosper, period.
Art does NOT have to be a masterwork to be enjoyed. I and others enjoy comic books and comic book movies, B horror movies..just because they are funny to watch. But, they are still art and enjoyable for what they are.
Not every writer strives to write the next great american novel or be the next Stephen King or Anne Rice, and maybe they even make some grammatical mistakes or put together stories that have plot holes in them.
It doesn't mean their art is any less deserving than anyone with a Masters degree in writing and can recite every commonly accepted rule on grammar and writing. Again the consumer will decide.
In my opinion I seriously doubt that some mediocre or even downright bad indie books will keep a reader from buying a book from an author author who has written a bona fied masterpiece. When I go to the grocery store I don't decide to not buy any bananas just because a bunch on the left side of the stand might have gone rotten.
Man...you could fund a writing career by whipping out two regencies a year...perhaps a good use of my history degree and unused romance pseudonym? (The delightfully cheesy Lacey Valentine...get it Lacey rhymes with Traci and the Tyne/Valentine connection? I'd use Gracie Valentine but that's my besty's dog's name. Then again, I do love her little dog...)
Jodi Picoult recently did an article on not self publishing. One of her big arguments was the advertising. HELLO even those published with the big six have to do their own marketing. It is LOVELY to see so many indies above her on that top 100 list. Here is a snippet of her article:
Jodi Picoult advises authors not to self-publish
Posted by John Warner ⋅ April 10, 2012 ⋅ 1 Comment
Filed Under Jodi Picoult
Jodi Picoult has become the latest conventionally-published author to argue that authors should not choose the self-publishing route. Speaking to the Huffington Post, she argues that self-published authors miss out on the marketability afforded by a ‘real’ publisher, and that the self-published world is still too varied in terms of quality, with readers struggling to separate good books from bad.
Much of what Picoult has to say seems reasonable, but it’s also worth noting that many of her arguments can potentially be turned back against her. For example, she says that it’s hard for readers to sort the good from the bad when dealing with self-published authors. That’s true, but it’s also true for conventionally published books. We’re still learning how to sort the vast number of self-published books in a way that helps highlight the best titles, but just because we’re not at that point yet, should we give up on self-published books altogether?
Picoult also claims that self-published authors such as Amanda Hocking often go with a conventional deal once they’re successful. Picoult seems to be saying that most self-published authors long for a ‘real’ deal, but she neglects to note that writers such as Hocking would probably never have been in a position to get a conventional deal if they hadn’t self-published. It’s fine to say that people shouldn’t self-publish, but what’s the alternative?
Perhaps all these threads about quality of work, or lack thereof, or about gatekeepers etc, have come about because the majority of us are currently seeing a slump in sales. If our books were flying off the shelves, then there wouldn't be all this self-doubt, calls for gatekeepers or alternate calls for the market to sort it all out. We'd be feeling secure in our self belief.
Let us apply Occam's Razor to ebook sales - that is: "The simplest explanation is probably the right explanation."
The simplest explanation is that most people simply do not have the additional dollars to spend on books right now. Food, shelter, petrol, bills get priority, and frankly our books are a pretty low priority, even the cheapies. Which is why the freebies get snatched up by people who have the luxury of possessing a ereader.
Yes, there are a lot of books out there, however I do feel that the general state of the economy does heavily dictate people's buying habits.
p.s. Ironically my best sales have come from my still rough around the edges, home-made, hand-made trilogy (it's attracted the most critical reviews as well) - yet in a different genre, my finely crafted, new dark fantasy only sells a book every now and then, despite the fact it has accumulated only four and five star reviews.