Thursday, January 22, 2015

I'm Sorry...But No.

Are anthologies going to be the new trend, dominating this list in the near future?

"You made the NY Times Best Sellers list...
with eleven other authors... for a .99 anthology?

Um... congrats?"

I've heard some readers, bloggers, and other authors talking about this lately. How is it that so many authors—virtually unknown authors—have made it onto the once highly regarded NY Times list with books that have never been heard of by most of the population? Well, when you put together a set of 10-15 books, sometimes more, and list them all for only .99, readers are going to buy them. Hey, who wouldn't want that many books for a dollar? Even if only a couple were actually good, it would be worth it. The problem for me is that some of those books, if not all, are making it onto the NY Times list because people like a bargain, not because they are actually great books and being read. Personally, I find fault in that and think that the NY Times listing qualifications need an overhaul.

Seeing so many authors with the NY Time Best Selling Author title by their name lessens the title's value, not only for me, but for other readers, as well. As awesome as it would be to be able to say that I'm a NY Times Best Seller, I wouldn't want to have to explain that it was because my book was part of a $.99 box set with a dozen other authors. If I made it to that list, I'd want to do it for something that was actually getting read enough to make it to that list, not because it was a bargain and sold a lot. That is where I think the NY Times has messed up. Don't put books on the list because they are a bargain and hoarders are stocking up. Put books on the list because they are being read over and over again by a lot of readers. 

Being a book lover, I, too, like a bargain and snatched up one of those 'NY Times Best Sellers' anthologies a while back. Even though it consisted of authors I'd never heard of, it was only (the usual) .99. Well... the first book I read was rather short, more like a novella; it was nothing great, but okay. However, the second book...
I couldn't even finish it. It was like this book wasn't even proofread or edited by the author. If the story-line and writing style had been great, I would've overlooked it, but it wasn't. Needless to say, I wasn't able to finish it... yet it's on the NY Times B.S. (Ha ha, see what I did there?) list. There was only one or two books in that set that would even come close to being good enough to hint at being on that list as a single novel, yet there they all are, now on a highly ranked list of what is supposed to be outstanding and well-read books. It seems an injustice to all the truly remarkable books out there.

So, is it fair to those authors who are becoming well known as exceptional writers and storytellers, who are so close to making the list, but may be booted out of the running by an anthology that may have some really bad books in it? I'm sorry, but no, it's not fair. The NY Times needs to realize this and correct the problem or their list won't really matter anymore, since any highly promoted, yet sometimes terribly written, .99 anthology can get on there.

Are all anthologies made for this purpose, just to make the list? No. I know some authors who are part of anthologies just to get noticed and get their name out there to new readers. But for those who have done it just to make the list... shame on them; and shame on the NY Times for letting them. In my opinion, anthologies shouldn't be allowed to make the list, period.

So, it all boils down to titles and how accurate and important those titles are and why authors crave them. Are the B.S.
titles that are tacked onto everything really that essential? No, they're not. One of my favorite authors, Colleen Hoover, is a best selling author on every list everywhere, but when she first started out she wasn't, so she obviously got noticed without that title. Would her books still sell if that title wasn't printed next to her name or on the cover of her books? Absolutely! Why? Because she's so flippin' awesome! What makes her that way? Her writing ability, not any titles she may have that are a result of that ability. 

I could ramble on and on, since I'm rather good at that, but I won't. Instead, I'll leave you with this...

Authors shouldn't strive for a NY Times Best Sellers title, 
they should strive to write a book that deserves that title.