Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Every Book is Different

I've been inhaling the backlist of a favorite author and to my surprise, I realized some of her books were just okay.

Not awesome, like I'd expected.

It's a relief to know that every book doesn't have to be bestselling wonderful in order to get published.

Are some of your manuscripts better than the others? Does your favorite author have books that seem to vary in awesomeness?

46 comments:

Tabitha Bird said...

Yeah, my second is way better than my first and my third is going to trump both of them. Don't have too much to choose from yet. But I know what you mean, I love finding out that not all books are literary brilliance and yet still published. Gives me great hope :)

Diane said...

Jessica, You won the giveaway on my blog. Please send me your address so I can mail the bracelet to you. Have a great day! :O)

Jody Hedlund said...

I'm sure if we keep growing as writers and trying to improve, then someday we'll look back at our first published stories and gasp in horror! Well, hopefully not in horror, but definitely we'll see improvements.

sherrinda said...

Oh yes, one of my favorite authors has some great ones and then some that are just ho-hum. I'm sure that when they spit out books like they do, they ALL can't be awesome. :)
p.s. Pray tell, who is your favorite author?

Janna Qualman said...

You know what I've found, of my favorite authors who have pub after pub? I like their OLD books best, when it was just their voice, BEFORE they tried to meet the trends. Interesting, huh?

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

I'm a kid at Christmas watching my writing improve. I love learning and watching it happen on the page is magical!
Yes, about my favorite author. Some are glittery stars and others are dimly lit, but still shine.
~ Wendy

Linda Kage said...

Defnitely, on both counts for me. Not everyone can write totally awesome all the time.

Jessica said...

LOL Tabitha! That's what I hope for mine. :-)

Diane, thanks for letting me know! If I remember right, that was a really pretty and cool looking bracelet.

Hi Jody, LOL, I was just thinking that yesterday!

Jessica said...

Hi Sherrinda, I think you're right about the pacing. Sometimes I think these books need more thought into them. Oh well. I have lots of favorite authors, secular and Christian. Francine River and Frank Peretti are older faves, but I also like some of the newer authors coming out. Linda Howard and Victoria Holt are my secular faves.

Janna,
That's exactly what I think too. Not always, but many times it seems later books lack the power of earlier ones.

Jessica said...

Nice way to put it Wendy! :-)

Linda, isn't it a relief? LOL

Jessie Oliveros said...

I've been disappointed by some books of favorite authors...even some of the classics authors wrote a few that weren't so good compared to their epics. But it's a relief that I don't have to stun the world right away with my writing. Can't compare manuscripts yet...still working on completing a whole one!

Jessica said...

LOL Jessie! Well, you're doing really good on the word count. :-)

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

Definitely--even my favorite authors have books that I don't like as much. But that doesn't cheapen the books that ROCK at all!

T. Anne said...

Isn't that funny? So often I forget that even my fav's are not batting a thousand Thanks for the reminder. And my MS's? They're all great ;)

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I think it has a lot to do with whether the theme or characters hit home with us when we're reading it. But you're right, I don't always love every book by a given author. What a bummer when you find one you don't really care for though. Hate that!

quixotic said...

Some of my favorite authors have a few books that aren't as great. Its a nice reminder that Authors are people too. We can't always put out perfection, but we try.

AngeliStarr said...

I love Robert B Parker. I LOVE ALL OF HIS SPENCER NOVELS. Yet I cant stand any books from his Jesse Stone novels. AND hes a bestselling author. So yeah, it comforts me to know not everything you sell has to be excellent or perfect.

It makes me wonder though, if I try to be "just great" will I make it in an industry thats so picky towards what it publishes

Cindy said...

I definitely believe some of my books are better in others. But I think the new ones are usually better than the old just because of my growth as a writer.

I've noticed this with other authors too. But with the ones that are consistent, it's usually just a matter of opinion whether or not they're better.

Stephanie Faris said...

What I've found (and I hate to say this!) is that I'll read a book by an author and fall in love with her writing. Then I'll read more...and more...and eventually I start to realize every book is alike. Or maybe it's just that my enthusiasm wanes after a while and I want something new?

Jeannie Campbell, LMFT said...

yep. definitely. and isn't that eye-opening? makes me smile when i read a fav author's earlier works. like, an indulging smile you might give a child for doing something they know better to do. :)

jeannie
Where Romance Meets Therapy

Dara said...

Yes and yes :)

My novel from when I was 12 is definitely not anywhere near what I'm writing now. Of course, my writing now could stand to use more improvement too.

And every one of my favorite authors has books that I'm less than thrilled about. Example, just read the newest book by Lisa See and it was soooo depressing I had an incredibly hard time finishing it. Completely different from her other two books.

But I still love her :) Just not that book.

Deb Shucka said...

I think like everything else, we improve with practice. That said, it seems like many authors get caught up in their own press and stop listening to their inner voices, which results in inferior work. I'm thinking of Rebecca Wells in particular.

Sometimes I can tell an author is trying something new, which ends up not being quite up to their usual standard. I don't mind that because I appreciate a willingness to explore.

Keli Gwyn said...

I read a book by a very well known author and wanted more of her work. The next two titles I chose were quite disappointing. And then there are other authors who consistently produce great work.

I've had a number of authors cringe when I complimented them on an early work. "Oh, I wish that weren't out there," one said. "My writing is much better now."

We're all works-in-progress just as our stories are. My goal is to be continually learning and growing as a writer, which I'm sure will be reflected in my stories through the years.

One author I met recently was working on her 77th published novel. Her concern was that making sure her stories didn't all sound alike. Shows me all writers have the same kinds of concerns.

Pen Pen said...

YES!! I really hate this one of the manuscripts I have, but I'm not gonna throw it out or anything cuz I I could go back into it and re-work it one day...I really hate it tho! I dunno what I was thinking with it!
AND- I've always kind of realized that Stephen King had some sub par stuff in there-My fav of his-"THe Talisman' is not really even a horror novel, but it's the story I most identify with as a writer....His book, "The Cell" was bad- and I've never even picked up his "Dark Tower" series cuz they just shoot off too far into fantasy for me. I like books that have a fantasy element, but have a large part of them in the real world--I think I like it cuz it feel MORE likely that the story could possible have a small chance of being true then!
AND- It's interesting how the 'Harry Potter' books didn't get HUGE until the 3rd book-almost as if people loved that one, and THEN they went back to the others. So- I think you can even be PUBLISHED and not have hit ur "break-in" novel yet. That happens with actors too--Have u seen that movie that Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan did first together?!...I can't remember the name of it, but it's bad! :) That makes me feel good!!

AND- R u gonna be dressy at the conference during the day stuff? I'd be interested to know--I think u mentioned that in another post tho...I'll go back and read.
BUT--I have a tid bit of info from a writer friend of mine! She went to a fantasy convention last year, and was SUPER nervous-She actually went to the doctor and they told her to take melatonin the nite before to help her actually sllep, and drink peppermint tea as well as do some stretches the next day. She said it helped her also to set a lunch date with a fellow writer friend after meeting with agents, and forcing herself to think of the lunch date MORE than the pitches...but she was still nervous and her hands physically shook. She said most of the agents actually felt for her, and it was a little bit of an ice breaker tho...so that's good. :)

Jessica said...

Oh my goodness! So many comments, I can't keep up. LOL
Okay, Penny, you're first. There's a formal night and that's what I wanted the dress for. But I actually found a cute, basic, pretty black one at Macy's for twenty bucks. Yeah, I'm a bargain shopper. LOL So I snatched it up (and paid for it, lol) and now I should be good to go.
So, were you talking about Joe and the Volcano???!!!! LOL! I saw that when I was in third grade and I loved it! So cute. Makes me laugh that you think it was so bad. Snort!

Jessica said...

Keli,
I think I saw that comment! Yeah, that's true. After so many books, I wouldn't want mine to sound the same. There's a bestselling author I like but she has so many books that I can pretty much pinpoint the three types of personalities she always uses for her heroines. LOL But she's such a good writer that she can pull it off. It's only because I gulped down her books one after another that I noticed.
I hope, like you, that I'll keep growing and learning.

Jessica said...

Good point, Kristen! When it's great, it's great. :-)

No problem T. Anne! It was actually a really nice wake up call for me, even though I was disappointed in the stories.

Jessica said...

Hi Eileen,
I hate it too. Because we go in expecting something wonderful, so it's tough to deal with the disappointment. I also agree that our mood has a lot to do with whether we enjoy a book, plus the plot itself.

Hey Katie, we do try. :-) You know, I wonder if we asked those authors if they knew which one would be the bestseller? Maybe they liked a different one better, and got surprised by which one actually resonated with readers?

Jessica said...

Hi Angeli,
Same thing happened to me. I love the Victoria Holt books but don't like the ones she pubbed under her other name. Weird, right? I want to be more than great, but it's a tough thing to figure out. LOL Great being subjective, and all that. :-)

Good point Cindy. :-)

Jessica said...

No Stephanie,
I think that really happens. Maybe because, like someone else said, they're popping out books all the time? I don't know, but I can think of a few authors who used to be my faves until all their stories started sounding similar. Now I still like those authors, but when I pick up the book I'm know there's a small chance of my being surprised.

Jessica said...

LOL Jeannie! YOu're so funny! I totally felt that way because some of the backlist was filled with backstory and things that are now cliche (but they probably weren't then).

Hi Dara,
I haven't read See, even though I keep hearing about her. I'm staying away from the depressing book. LOL I'm sure you're a much better writer now. I still glance at my story from seventh grade and whew, do I feel better! LOL I've grown in my writing, and that's a good feeling. :-)

Jessica said...

Hey Deb,
I don't think I'd mind an author trying something new. I would be annoyed if an author (or anyone really) seemed so arrogant to think they didn't need to keep learning in life. I've never read the author you mentioned. Thanks for commenting. :-)

ElanaJ said...

This is totally true. Of course some of my novels are better than others. And yes, some published books by the same author have better books. I find myself growing tired of series.

Nancy said...

Yes, I feel that my first and last books were better than the middle ones. But I'm a "momma" with my books and I like them all.
I also have my definite favorites with the authors I like.

Katie Ganshert said...

Oh yes, for sure! And I find that each of my manuscripts improves. So the one that's the best right now is the last one I wrote. :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

I find this especially true with authors who churn out four or five books a year. (How do they do that???)

There was one particular series I devoured. I couldn't wait to get my hands on the last book. When I read it, I felt a definite let down.

My manuscripts? Since I only have one at this point, time will tell.

Blessings,
Susan :)

anita said...

Eeps! Shall we talk about the three MSS under my bed at the moment? Heehee.

I do believe we, as writers, get better with each book, as long as we continue to hold ourselves up to a certain standard / keep learning new tools and tricks and don't get lazy once we've sold a few dozen stories.

I read in someone's comment up above that after writing a lot of novels, sometimes authors seem to lose passion / steam or something. Part of that can be attributed to laziness on the part of the author and editor, knowing that this person sells no matter how they write, so all they start to care about is whipping out the books.

But also, I wonder if sometimes the author just gets "burned out" on their genre and needs to try something completely new.

The most successful authors are the ones who are always expanding their writing repartee. I think that keeps the passion alive for both them, and their readers. At least I hope that's the case, because that's what I plan on doing. ;-P

Terri Tiffany said...

I enjoy the comments. Yes, I have remembered reading my fav author's books and then stumbled on one that made me think--ouch--what happened to their style? then I might try one more but often give them up.

Genny said...

That makes sense, since I think as writers we are constantly growing and improving. At least I hope!

Jessica said...

I hope so too, Genny! LOL

Hey Terri,
I'm kind of like you, unless it's an author who is more often good than bad. But if it's a new author that I try out at the library? If that first or second book doesn't hook me, I probably won't even remember their name...

Jessica said...

Anita,
Great comment! You make a lot of valid points. :-)

Hey Susan,
I know, I don't know how they do it either.
That is sad when the last book doesn't live up to the potential we wanted it too. :-(

Jessica said...

LOL Katie! I'm kinda feeling that way myself.

Nancy, that's so interesting. Most people don't think their first is any good. Do you think you had a lot of passion for that story?

Jessica said...

Hey Elana,
I stay away from series if it's the same MC. I get really bored with them, which is bad I guess, but the truth. NOw if it's different characters that I met previously, that's not so bad, as long as all the backstory for an original character isn't dumped in.

Pen Pen said...

YES! That's the name of it! I couldn't remember!! --I stopped watching half way through that one!! :)

Jeanette Levellie said...

What a great post, although I am late in responding to it.
It always surprises me when one of my favorite authors writes a mediocre book. But then, no one can hit a bulls eye every time; they must have done something right or they wouldn't be publishing, right? Please say right! Unless they just are friends with the dog-groomer of the publisher's nephew. Oh, never mind!
I think my WIP is far better writing than my first book. But I have learned so much in the last year.

Victoria Dixon said...

Yes, it's a relief that the pros don't always measure up. That said, I often wish my favorites always hit the mark!