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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Did You Make The List?

Time magazine released its “100 Most Influential People” issue at the same time Rolling Stone released its “500 Best Musical Albums of All Time.”  Both lists—like all lists—are flawed.  But we like to see who makes the list, who doesn’t, and debate the merits of such selections.  These lists, even if made with the best intentions are limited by the knowledge and tastes and ages of the staff of editors and writers that piece these things together.  Bias of all kinds will enter into these selections. 

Further, their advertisers may play a role, at least indirectly.  The magazine wants to support those that support it.  Further—and I have no knowledge of this—wouldn’t the magazine be influenced to include someone they are on the fence about if that person indicated they would buy aids in that mag?  And consider this—wouldn’t a mag that lives by circulation and click-through numbers want to select people that are going to use social media—fan clubs, and their network of peeps to highlight they were named in the current issue?   “Influential” and “Best” are replaced by “Popular” and the “Socially Marketable.”

Lists are a good starting point for a discussion—not the conclusive end of one.  There’s no perfect statistical formula for measuring one.  There’s no perfect statistical formula for measuring one’s worthiness on a list.  Awards, lists, hall of fames, and elite clubs flood the marketplace.  We’ll soon need a list of the best lists out there, though I’m certain it too will fall short of whatever subjective criteria you use to judge by. 

Interview With Author Inara Scott

  1. What type of books do you write? I write for young adults and adults. My YA books (published by Disney-Hyperion) are paranormal/urban fantasy, and my adult books (published by Entangled) are paranormal and contemporary romance.

  1. What is your latest or upcoming book about? I released an adult contemporary on February 14th called Rules of Negotiation. I call it my "lawyer in love" book, and it's about a driven career woman who is given a chance at love--and heartbreak--in the arms of a gorgeous CEO, who may or may not have an ulterior motive for courting her. :-)

I also released the second book in my young adult series on April 3rd. That book is called The Marked. The Talents series is about a girl with dangerous, supernatural powers, and the mysterious boarding school that she's been recruited to attend. 

  1. What inspired you to write it? I practiced law for 10 years, and often thought about what might have happened if I hadn't met my husband before I went to law school. Private practice can be incredibly consuming, and my heroine, Tori, has shut all romance out of her life in an effort to make partner. She's got a lot to learn about what really makes her happy, and how she can live her life on her own terms.  The Talents series was inspired by the realization that most science fiction/fantasy rests on a clear good v. evil set up. I wanted to write a book that was a little more like life--where the bad was mixed up with the good, and vice versa.

  1. What did you do before you became an author? I do lots of different things, though not always simultaneously--these days I write, practice law, and teach (law school and writing workshops). I tried writing full time but found I am happier and more productive if I can engage multiple parts of my brain every day.

  1. How does it feel to be a published author? Any advice for struggling writers? I think there's a real tendency to think of writing as a journey to a single destination (i.e., publication). But there isn't really a divide between the two worlds. Before you publish, you're writing, submitting, being rejected, revising, and occasionally eating a lot of ice cream when your ego is damaged by said rejections, or when someone else's book is more successful than yours. Believe it or not, you do all these same things after you're published.

  1. Where do you see book publishing heading? On my optimistic days, I see an open marketplace where there are as many forms of publishing as there are authors and readers. I see people fulfilling lifelong dreams of sharing their stories with the world, and I see readers having limitless choices when it comes to the type of literature available to them. I see authors finding ways to publish and make money that don't require the imprimatur of one of a handful of publishing houses, and I see readers consuming everything from 140-character tweets to 200,000 word books based on what they love to read, not what someone has decided is worth publishing.

On my pessimistic days, I see the proliferation of publishing options leading to a paradoxical narrowing of the marketplace. The overwhelming number of choices, instead of inspiring readers, will send them into the arms a few bestsellers, leading to the death of the "mid-list" author who could make a small but steady income from writing. On these dark days, I see a market with a few millionaire bestsellers, and a whole lot of people who make a few hundred dollars a year selling $.99 e-books.  I prefer to think optimistic, don't you? 


Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, the nation’s leading book publicity firm. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person

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