M. K. Theodoratus, Fantasy Writer, blogs about the books she reads--mostly fantasy and mystery authors whose books catch her eye and keep her interest. Nothing so formal as a book review, just chats about what she liked. Theodoratus also mutters about her own writing progress or ... lack of it.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Finding New Favorite Authors -- Do You Read Different Authors than Your Regulars?

Somewhere around Thanksgiving I figured I was in a reading rut. I kept traveling to the same worlds over and over again. I needed to read more writers than my regulars. So, I bought I bunch of books [mass paperbacks] by their covers and blurbs alone, hoping to find a new author who'd enchant me with his/her world.

Net Result: My to trade pile grew.
Which wasn't all bad.
One of the more fun of my holiday adventures was taking the grand kids
to my favorite book trading store so I had to replenish my trading balance anyway.

Then, I switched tactics. Thought I'd buy a couple of short story collections and ended up laughing at myself. 

What types of short story collections did I search?

1) The-what-looked-like a major author collection  -- Chicks Kick Butt -- turned out to offer the same old types of heroes, villains and situations. Not surprising since the writers probably established the cliches.

2) A fan fiction anthology of friends writing in a friends' world -- Elemental Magic, new tales written in Mercedes Lackey's elemental magician's world. The series is one of my favorite re-reads. 

The "fan" stories were definitely spotty and felt like an old home week for the Marion Zimmer Bradley fans who took advantage of her early welcome to young fans to write in her Darkover world years ago. Nice to see they have grown in their careers. None of the stories  tempted me to look for their newer works ... and some turned me off.

3) For the heck of it, I re-tried a group of novellas based on the same premise: a hero home from the Napoleonic wars needing to find a bride fast. Four romance writers created surprisingly different story lines, all of which I enjoyed. But I hardly ever read romances unless there's a strong mystery component.

4) The "all star" collection was the biggest disappointment -- Songs of Love and Death edited by George R. Martin and Gardener Dozois. I had high hopes the cross-genre collection of fantasy, science-fiction, and romance would reveal a new writer or two. After all the collection featured some of my favorite favorite authors -- Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, Yasmine Galenorn, and Tanith Lee. But I had read all the authors already.

Guess my blog readers'll be the ones to suffer. I'll keep talking about the same writers, though boredom might be enough to  make me actually get the snafu at Amazon fixed so I can download to my Kindle.
 
 So, what do I plan to do when I'm not reading?

This past year I've been playing with social media marketing, rather limply if truth be told. Did beat  the indie averages but that's not saying much. So I am thinking of concentrating on writing again for 2014. One possible conclusion: to try my hand at writing short stories again as well as working on my novels and novellas.

So, I've decided to consider subscribing to Duotrope to market my stories -- if I write them -- and to find anthologists who are actively publishing short story collections. You'll know how I fare on both writing and reading fronts.

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 Are you still searching for a way to publishing success?

Here is a quote from my dream agent, Janet Reid, that'll give you an idea about what you need to do after you finish your manuscript -- if you want to find an agent to negotiate your way into the major publishing houses.
 
"Under no circumstances do you send anything before it is revised, polished, revised, honed, revised, perfected, revised, reconsidered, sweated on, bled on, revised and then finished."

You can read the full blog about when to bother an agent with your manuscript by clinking the link.


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