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Old 02-06-2020, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Montreal -> CT -> MA -> Montreal -> Ottawa
17,336 posts, read 28,480,083 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
You won the Internet today. No, for the week. NO, for the YEAR! Great find and hilarious read.
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Old 02-06-2020, 09:45 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,006 posts, read 78,160,224 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
They publish hundreds of new books a week. Very few get the full marketing campaign this one has. There is always some reason one book out of hundreds gets treated this way.

Book marketing, though, is interesting and unique -- you're going after the market of readers, which is inherently limited. And this book is alienating a good portion of the very readers they were targeting.
Really? Which market is that? Do you think the author wrote it for Latinos to read? My impression on reading the beginning of the excerpt in the first article posted by the OP, was that it was intended to "educate" the people agitating in favor of a border wall. But then, those people probably wouldn't be inclined to read any book that Oprah has selected, IDK.

Just curious; has she ever chosen a book by Sherman Alexie, or any other Native American author? If so, I missed the hullabaloo.

Interesting topic, OP.

Last edited by Ruth4Truth; 02-06-2020 at 09:53 AM..
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:36 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,527 posts, read 7,675,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chicagoliz View Post
This totally misses the point and shows a lack of understanding of the issue at hand. If you aren't bothered by it and want to read it, go right ahead.
How did I miss the point Chiliz? I just said the KEYWORD is Fiction. I did not read AMERICAN DIRT and i probably will not in the future HOWEVER saying that an Author can only write about things they have personally experienced is rather obtuse don't you think?
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Old 02-06-2020, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,527 posts, read 7,675,968 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DawnMTL View Post
You won the Internet today. No, for the week. NO, for the YEAR! Great find and hilarious read.
I had my interest piqued by reading that article. If the author's sense of humor comes across as well in his book as it did in that article I may give it a try. Similar style to Carl Hiaasen maybe?
s
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Old 02-06-2020, 08:03 PM
 
Location: East Coast
3,832 posts, read 2,360,403 times
Reputation: 5861
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
Really? Which market is that? Do you think the author wrote it for Latinos to read? My impression on reading the beginning of the excerpt in the first article posted by the OP, was that it was intended to "educate" the people agitating in favor of a border wall. But then, those people probably wouldn't be inclined to read any book that Oprah has selected, IDK.

Just curious; has she ever chosen a book by Sherman Alexie, or any other Native American author? If so, I missed the hullabaloo.

Interesting topic, OP.
The market is mostly pseudo-liberal white women who want to consider themselves woke, but don't actually know any people of color.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunluvver2 View Post
How did I miss the point Chiliz? I just said the KEYWORD is Fiction. I did not read AMERICAN DIRT and i probably will not in the future HOWEVER saying that an Author can only write about things they have personally experienced is rather obtuse don't you think?
Ok, if I have to spell it out...
The point is NOT that an outsider can never write about some community or people of which they are not a part. Obviously, it can be done and has been done many times. The thing is, if you do this, you have to do it well. You have to work very hard to get it right, and you have to do a lot of research. It is very hard to do it well. And this author did not do it well. She did a bad job. If you're writing a story that takes place in Ancient Roman times, there isn't anyone alive who is going to be able to say that something is off, doesn't ring true, uses some expression that no one would use at that time and place, etc. Maybe a professor specializing in that period of history could say that something was incorrect, but hopefully even that wouldn't happen, because the author would have done sufficient research to get right what was known.

But when you write about a current time and current people, there will be a whole lot of people who know if something is off. So you sure as heck better get it right. And even if the author worked as hard as she could and still couldn't get it all right, that should have been caught during the editing process. And the publishers sure would have been better off not pushing this particular work, by an outsider, that they somehow didn't bother to vet for accuracy, as some kind of seminal work on the subject. Especially when there were a whole bunch of authors who had written pieces that did talk about the real subjects and did not devolve into stereotypes and tropes.

Just saying that a work is fictional is not an out for getting the details right. Again, especially since this novel was anointed as THE novel that this publisher was going to put all kinds of resources behind in a big, all out marketing push. (Most authors get zero marketing assistance from the publisher and have to do all their own marketing. Only a very small percentage of the books published get this kind of all out effort.) So, since this was marketed as being some kind of realistic novel, and allegedly was going to raise some kind of awareness and generate empathy for a real life issue, it's all that much more important that the novel be realistic.

Now, there are some authors who will tell you all day long that they are fiction writers, they're writing fiction, and no one should take anything they say in their works seriously, as they do no research to guarantee any kind of authenticity. This can work for certain kinds of novels to an extent. But it is a dangerous position to take, and I see it less and less. Really, you want to get the details right, because if you get something wrong, it will take the reader out of the story. Like if you say you went to visit Wrigley Field because you were visiting the south side of Chicago and wanted to see the White Sox, people are going to stop reading and say "Huh? Wrigley Field? That's on the north side. That's where the Cubs play. WTF are they talking about?" and then, instead of paying attention to whatever the author was trying to convey, this reader has been distracted, and in some cases, may not come back. The last thing you want to do is lose the reader. So most fiction writers do really want to get the story right.

But, if in addition to just getting things wrong, you're also contributing to a general atmosphere of misinformation, and furthering stereotypes, you're actually going beyond just getting something wrong, and actually causing a detriment to society as a whole. So, if you're not able to really get it right, you're better off not doing it.

Of course, part of this whole dustup is the fact that it did get such a marketing push, and got the Oprah bump, and every literary outlet was putting out a review, so that caused more people to pay attention to it -- both the good and the bad. Had it not had any sort of marketing push, and just was published as her last book was, which seemed to be moderately successful for a novel, but not anything that everyone knew about and was on the front table of every bookstore, no one would have noticed. Latino literary critics may not have even bothered. Or if they did, no one would be having this knee jerk reaction that they want to read it because Oprah picked it, or that if there is a controversy, there must be two equally valid sides and therefore they must read it now, to see what it's all about and make up their own minds.

So, in some ways, the book is a victim of its own success. And the author can laugh or cry all the way to the bank. Because she got a huge payout, for some reason, for this book. Much more than is typical. I don't know who decided she was worthy, but someone did. And she basically hit the jackpot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
I had seen this posted a few other places, and reading it always makes me chuckle. Thanks for sharing it here.
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