First, I need to thank Jacki for adding me to this stellar guest blogging line-up. I’m tickled to be in such company! So here are my thanks, in a language I know Jacki will understand: meow, mew, mew, purr, meow, murrupp!
(See, Jacki and I talk the same language…if you hadn’t guessed from our kitty photo postings back and forth on MySpace…)
I had a topic all picked out for today. I’d intended to ramble—which is what I do a lot of lately—about the strange mixture of science fiction, paranormal and romance that comprises my books and the books of many other authors represented here. Why we’re the best of times but also the worst of times.
That idea was blown out of the water this morning by an AP feed headline in my local paper: POLL: 1 IN 4 ADULTS READ NO BOOKS LAST YEAR.
The article briefly tallied the ugly results of the Associated Press-Ispos poll. One out of four adults stated they read not one book last year. Twenty-seven per cent was the actual figure. Of those who read, the typical respondent reads four books in one year.
One in four. None or four. That explains, the article continues, the dreary state of the publishing industry and flat book sales, “which are expected to stay that way indefinitely.”
“Reading makes me sleepy,” the AP article states, quoting one man’s excuse. (Hmm, Linnea thinks. Well, he’s obviously never tried one of my books. Or Jacki’s. Or Deidre’s. Or Patrice’s. Or Charlee’s, Nalini’s, Yasmine’s, Anya’s…well, hell’s bells. Just scroll down this blog.)
Okay, a moment of BSP (Blatant Self Promotion). But there’s fact in that bit of BSP. Given that the profile of the sleepy non-reader starts with MALE (one third of men and one quarter of women don’t read, according to AP), one wonders what they’ve tried reading?
Especially considering the largest reading population is women?
Could it be that women’s fiction is just more exciting? See, this brings me squarely back to my original topic of science fiction/paranormal/romance/action that is filling a lot of bookshelves these days. You know, the books you love to read. The books we love to write.
Quite honestly, I’ve often wondered why we inflict the Ye Olde Classics on middle schoolers and high schoolers in attempts to get them to read. Okay, the books have universal themes, but twelve year olds don’t give a rat’s patootie about universal themes. They want character and they want action and they want larger than life. Can anyone spell H-A-R-R-Y?
Case in point: my husband was a non-reader when I met and married him. Then one day I shoved a John D. MacDonald rip-roarin’ Travis McGee private detective adventure novel in his mitts. He hasn’t stopped reading since. And when the daughter was slogging her way through Ye Olde Classics at thirteen, I gave her Mercedes Lackey, Sue Grafton, Lillian Jackson Braun and every Star Wars paperback I could find to read. She’s thirty now and just last week finished Deidre Knight’s PARALLEL series and loved it—and has Jacquelyn Frank, Nalini Singh and other names you’re probably very familiar with in her TBR pile. She also inhales every book by Robin D Owens, Susan Grant, Dean Koontz, David Weber and, of course, me. (Can’t forget that BSP!)
But I started her young. How do we seduce that twenty-seven per cent non-reading population and the even larger population (mostly male) who cringes their way through a measly four books a year?
I’ll offer a challenge—and a possible solution. Know a non-reading friend (or acquaintance or work comrade)? Find out if he watches TV or movies. Does he like Matrix, Men In Black, Stargate? Or the CSI shows? Did the final episode of The Sopranos leave a hole in his heart? Print out a list of the authors on this blog and shove it in his hands. Tell him to ignore the fact that some of these authors are found in the romance aisles (if that gives him the yips, tell him to put his Big Boy Panties on…or order on-line). Tell him going into the SF/F aisles won’t make him lose his tough-guy status and turn him into a geek. (Big Boy Panties time again). Tell him, “Try these, you’ll like ‘em. No annoying commercials and you can enjoy the adventure even when cable’s out.” And let’s face it, the brain is the biggest wide-screen, hi-def television there is.
Women readers already know how great these SF/F/paranormal/action novels are. Let’s share the wealth. Let’s blow one in four out of the water.
And now, for a last gasp at BSP, here’s a sneak preview of my upcoming THE DOWN HOME ZOMBIE BLUES, coming November 2007 from Bantam. Think: Men In Black meets CSI: Miami. (With romance, but...shhh! Don't tell the guys that!) Show this book video to your favorite non-reading guy. Get ‘im hooked. Get ‘im reading.
The Down Home Zombie Blues by Linnea Sinclair
RITA© Award Winning SF Romance
Bantam Spectra 2007-08: Games of Command, The Down Home Zombie Blues, Shades of Dark (sequel to Gabriel's Ghost)