Monday, February 22, 2010
What Style of Couch Are You?
This is a guest post by author and speaker Jim Rubart. Jim also owns Barefoot Marketing. His first novel, Rooms, hits shelves in April.
When my wife and I shopped for our first couch many moons ago, I asked our salesperson, "What style of couch do you personally like?"
"Oh, you wouldn't like it. Because I deal in couches all day long, I don't like the same things a typical customer does."
When I pressed him to explain what he meant he said, "I guess my tastes are a bit more sophisticated than the average person."
When I lead fiction marketing workshops I often ask the attending writers, "What's your favorite movie?" It's a fun way to get to know them and tells me a bit about their stylistic leanings. None have ever answered:
3. The Dark Knight
4. Star Wars
5. Shrek 2
7. Star Wars- The Phantom Menace
8. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
10. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
(The current top ten movies of all time.)
Readers certainly want Dan Brown, Stephenie Myer, Paul Young, and John Grisham. But their work may not be touted as examples of stellar literary craftsmanship.
My point? We in the publishing business are likely jaded by being editors, agents, and professional writers. What the average reader thinks is original, we've seen many times. Our receptivity to a great story might be clouded because the craft used to tell the story is poor. And what we think should sell millions often doesn't.
I'm not saying we should write stories without excellent craft. But to understand the marketplace we might need to work harder at getting inside the head of the average couch buyer.
What do you think about Jim's words? Agree, disagree?