Saturday, July 21, 2007

Poor Jane Austen

Eighteen publishers rejected Jane Austen in the last few months. A writer named David Lassman changed the names of characters and title and sent Pride and Prejudice out to 18 publishers. They all sent rejection letters to poor Jane. I really want to read those letters. Were they just the standard form letters like the ones I have in a Mickey Mouse can under my desk? Or did they get more personal? Except for one who told the writer not to copy Pride and Prejudice so closely I think they were all standard. Did none of them recognize Jane’s work? Or did they and just didn’t want to waste time pointing this out to the author? Were they sitting at their desks thinking, “Another Jane Austen wannabe”.
It leads me to wonder why she was rejected. Bad writing? Slow moving story? Execution not up to par? Or perhaps it wouldn’t make it in today’s market. In this time that has gone beyond sex, drugs and rock and roll, through the times of instant gratification and into the new millennium with barely a glance to the past is it just that there is no market for Pride and Prejudice now? Or perhaps the craft of writing has grown/matured the same way society has grown up?
That leads to what’s hot now? They say chick lit is dying (however I tend to believe they are just renaming it), paranormal is in and, of course, romance in all genres is here to stay. Although, romance has taken on many different forms it never really goes away. What about mystery? Horror? Espionage?
Now I wonder about Stephen King? James Patterson? Dean Koontz? Would their first books jump to best sellers if they were submitted today? I’d like to hope so. I think some writers (forgive me Ms. Austin) just never go out of style. Murder, Sex and anything that pits human against ghost has a fairly good job of getting someone’s attention. Scare me, make my spine tingle and leave the lights on at night and I’ll stay up to read. J.A. Konrath’s serial killers are among the scariest dudes I’ve ever come across. The picture’s James Paterson paints in my head will probably never leave. And Stephen King? I think a part of me is still in the gym with Carrie.
Question: Do you try to write for the market? Or do you just write for your soul?

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