This is very true.Patty Jansen said:Once you get past measurable quality (demonstrable errors in spelling and grammar, and things like sentence structure and word repetition), quality is 100% personal and 100% fluid. I would even argue that there is no more quality, because it assumes that one style of writing is better than others.
Have you read the one star reviews of 50 Shades? And it supposedly went through two different editors.Niles said:Okay, this is a bit of a weird question, but how important is the quality of writing in terms of sales?
Do your more smoothly crafted books sell noticeably better than your rougher books? As long as we meet a minimum level of competence, does the writing matter as much as, say, a strong concept? Or the genre? Or, for that matter, the title and cover? The number of books you've published a single genre? I guess what I'm getting at is, how would you prioritize the importance of various factors in terms of sales? Obviously, we need to be strong in many areas--you can't sell complete dreck, and even sheer brilliance won't sell if nobody knows it exists--but I'm just trying to get a sense of how various people weight different factors.
50 Shades has marketing and buzz. Once something is as big as 50 Shades, it creates its own buzz in this cycle that feed sales seemingly indefinitely. (Also, it's not self-published, so not really helpful for the purposes of self-publishing). It's more helpful to look at successful books in the midrange. You can't copy an outlier.Niles said:Ha! Well, you can't sell literal dreck, then!
I guess I don't see much tension between 'quality is personal' and 'quality is an empirical fact.' Beauty is personal, too, yet even those of use who might prefer the look of Jon Lovitz to the look of George Clooney will recognize that Clooney is, despite our personal affinity, empirically more beautiful. And I know that some of my books, and some of my sentences, are better-constructed than others, as a matter of pure craftsmanship. People may enjoy the less-polished books more, but that doesn't make them less polished, simply more appealing. The way that one house can be magnificently crafted, yet still uncomfortable, while another can be shoddy, but comfy as heck!
I am fascinated by 50 Shades, dianapersaud. I know a number of authors of erotica who have written dozens of novels, many of them along the same general lines as 50 Shades, that I would say are objectively better-crafted by a tremendous amount. Yet none of their stuff has sold a fraction of a hint of a whisper as much! Clearly 50 Shades has something, though it's not anything that is perceptible to my eye as a writer.
One of the very successful authors who shares extremely helpful posts here mentioned that her earlier novels are not very well-crafted, yet they did quite well. Just got me wondering if people sometimes think, 'Why is this sloppy book doing better than that perfect one"
I disagree, most of the books I read aren't literary fiction, but many of them stick out to me due to their beautifully constructed sentences. I'm always trying beautify my prose. I'm constantly picking at my sentences, looking for that perfect flow, trying to make sure my words have that spark. CW and HBO both tell great stories...but there's a stark difference in the cinematography found in something like True Detective and something like Arrow. My prose is my cinematography and I'm always aiming for True Detective.HSh said:It sounds like you're thinking along the lines of sentence structure than satisfying storytelling. The two can't really go in the same discussion of quality, surely? I mean, there are more beautiful sentences already written in the world than I could shake a stick at, many of them available for free on Gutenberg, Amazon, etc. Unless you are writing literary fiction, my guess is you're not trying to out-write them, but to tell your stories and find your audience. Right? Maybe I'm in the wrong discussion or something. It seems self-explanatory.
THIS.Briteka said:There are a lot of popular trade published authors that I think are absolutely horrible writers. But there are a lot of people that think those same authors are awesome. It's pretty much all subjective. It's why I don't really bother reading the reviews of books I buy, and it's why I rarely give my opinion on books.
Make sure you release a quality product that is error free and hope that you find an audience that likes your writing. That's the best you can hope for.