Posted by Paul Samael on Wednesday, July 4, 2012 Under: Writing fiction
Ah, reviews – they’re a bit like London buses, aren’t they? You wait ages and then 3 come along at once. Hot on the heels of this review by Bernard Fancher, fellow Smashwords author Tom Lichtenberg has penned thoughtful and generous reviews of both “In the future this will be necessary” and “The Hardest Word” – so my thanks to him as well as to Bernard.
I think I’m quite lucky to have started off with some positive reviews – and I’d better just try to enjoy my current unblemished track record while I can, because it almost certainly won’t last (unless of course, my stuff proceeds to sink without trace – which is always a possibility, given the ever-expanding universe of self-published fiction). Anyway, I liked this entry on Tom’s blog about negative reviews (I hope I will succeed in being similarly philosophical - although I doubt it somehow):
It reminded me of a really funny piece of writing I saw last year on the peer review site Youwriteon.com, where the author imagined famous works of literature being reviewed on a peer review website (which bore a remarkable resemblance to Youwriteon). I'm afraid you have to become a member to read the whole thing, but it's free - the piece is called "Reviews of the Great Works of Literature" by Phil Adams. It's definitely worth a look f you like the idea of Agatha Christie being taken to task over the lead character in "Murder in the Orient Express" ("Why oh why did you have to make him short, fat and Belgian?"). Here's the link:
I’ve also just downloaded some of Tom Lichtenberg's (many) books, which you can find on Smashwords or Feedbooks. I was interested to see that in terms of length, most of his stories are in the 15,000 to 30,000 words range i.e. too long to be a short story, too short to be a novel (more novella length, really). This may seem an entirely superficial observation, but fiction of that length is something that commercial publishers generally won’t touch. As noted previously, this state of affairs seems to be mainly due to expectations (based on trying to shift hard copy rather than ebooks) that readers won’t pay good money for anything that short. But if you’re making your material available in ebook format for free, length doesn’t matter anywhere near as much – so authors are suddenly free to write at the length they’re comfortable with, rather than the length required of them by publishers.
It’s good to see free ebooks providing an outlet for fiction that falls outside the norms of the publishing trade in that respect. And if Tom’s books are anything to go by (his downloads on Feedbooks are in four figures, which is well above average), it would seem that readers - unlike publishers – aren’t quite so hung up about length.
In : Writing fiction
Tags: "tom lichtenberg" reviews length novella "shorter fiction" "negative reviews"
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