Last night, I finished a book that’s been getting all kinds of press. And by all kinds I mean an awful lot of good press. Praise and accolades and more. Not only are reviewers covering it but the publisher also believed in it enough to take out advertising. I have no clue what advertising costs but the vast majority of books don’t get it. Not a dime.
And all I could think was . . . meh. That’s it. One sad, deflated syllable. Not even the three drawn out syllables of whatever. I didn’t hate it. Hate is far too strong a feeling. And I did laugh at some of the funny parts. But overall I was deeply unimpressed.
So why then did I finish it? For one thing, it wasn’t especially long so I knew it wouldn’t be a massive time commitment. Yeah, I’m like that about my reading time. The longer the book the better it has to be for me to keep going.
But the main reason that I finished it was because I want to know why it is popular. Long ago, a writing buddy picked up a review copy of an upcoming novel. She hated it and didn’t hesitate to say so. Finally I asked her, why do you think the publisher picked up this title? They had to have a reason.
And I asked myself the same question. What is it that so many people see in this book that I didn’t? Why did an editor take it to an acquisitions meeting where enough people said “let’s do it” to actually get the book into people’s hands.
- It is unique. This book offers a perspective on hauntings that I have never seen before.
- There is humor. Editors frequently ask for humor especially humor folded into dark topics. This book managed to do that.
- The ending. And it did have an uplifting ending. The main character overcame one of her primary problems and it tugged at the heart-strings.
I am also forced to admit that I may not be in the right place for this book. Haven’t you experienced that before? You try to get into a book or movie, even a book or movie that you know that you love, and if you are in the wrong mental place it just isn’t going to happen. And that may have been the problem with this particular book. Maybe, someday, I’ll check it out again.
In the meantime, I’ll try to make sure that my own work is unique with a touch of humor and a compelling ending.