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Old 12-27-2012, 04:52 PM   #1
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Is it common for there to be a lack of editors with certain reader tastes?

My biggest fear is this: My book will be something cool that a load of people would've loved, but a lack of representation in the industry (i.e. there not being enough editors around with such a taste) might result in the book failing to find a home. Then I go and self publish it with my, errr, limited resources and it vanishes into the Stygian abyss that is the "long tail"...

*breaks out in a cold sweat*

So. Is it common for there to be certain (reasonably popular) tastes that aren't present in the industry, thus causing certain books that would have had a readership to fail to get in?

What got me thinking about this was the difference between the story premises on sites like fictionpress and the premises of books on the shelves. Yes, many of the stories on fictionpress are barely coherent, but a lot of them are still very interesting. I find it hard to believe that out of all of those (often eastern/Japan influenced) writers there wouldn't be a whole bunch who'd improve enough to get their stories published.

But I don't see many polished versions of the types of stories they tell. There's obviously a huge readership online, but I can only wonder why -- despite some fictionpress books getting published -- these tastes aren't being mirrored in many physical books.

Maybe I'm reading too deeply into it...
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:04 PM   #2
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Here's my thoughts: editors are still readers. If your book will appeal to readers, it will appeal to editors. Sure, editors have to take commercial viability and the current market into account, but they know a good book when they see it.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:12 PM   #3
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What seems to happen more is that if there's a demand for a genre that isn't being met, the first person who gets it right makes out like a bandit. Of course there is always the possibility that your book isn't what the market wants and there's less demand out there than you think. The only way to find out is to publish it as well as possible and see what happens.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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If you write a damn good story, with solid writing, it will find a home.

Publishing houses are in the business of making money. If your story will have the appeal and quality to build a following of readers, publishers will pay attention, no matter how unique the storyline may be.
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Old 12-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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I don't think so. As Emaree said, editors are readers too, and I'm willing to bet some of the popular stuff today was considered really niche and weird at some point in the past. Keep in mind publishing trends are always evolving--some stuff's hot, other stuff's not, and certain genres fluctuate with what's 'in.'
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:07 PM   #6
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There's one other thing to consider: As I understand it, Editors/publishing houses work in a single market. So New York editors are buying for the American book-buying market. If you want your book in a different market, it's a different sale to each country's market. When you publish online, you're open to the entire world market immediately.

So if you're seeing a lot of Eastern/Japanese influenced books online, then it has a wider market than what you'll see in any one country's book stores. Until/If the way books are marketed changes, that's just going to be the way of it.
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Old 12-27-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
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My biggest fear is this: My book will be something cool that a load of people would've loved, but a lack of representation in the industry (i.e. there not being enough editors around with such a taste) might result in the book failing to find a home. Then I go and self publish it with my, errr, limited resources and it vanishes into the Stygian abyss that is the "long tail"...

...

so your assumption is editors and agents are money-averse, and actively shun things they expect would otherwise sell due to popularity?


they aren't. If they expect it would sell, they will take it. If not, they won't. They may not always be right, but it has little to do with "their tastes vs the masses."
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Old 12-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #8
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My biggest fear is this: My book will be something cool that a load of people would've loved, but a lack of representation in the industry (i.e. there not being enough editors around with such a taste) might result in the book failing to find a home.
My biggest fear is finding half a worm in an apple. At least mine is a sensible fear...

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Old 12-27-2012, 10:13 PM   #9
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My biggest fear is finding half a worm in an apple. At least mine is a sensible fear...

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I fear finding a whole worm. No, biting into a whole worm. Feeling said worm wriggling in agony as I cut it in two with my teeth. What does this have to do with a lack of editors with certain reader tastes?

Not a damn thing. I fear I've jumped the shark with this posting.

At least mine is a sensible fear...

ETA: I should follow bearilou's lead and delete this as it is a derail and not relevant to the conversation.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:04 AM   #10
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Really good editors look for books they know the reading public will love, even if the editor himself doesn't much like it. And you sort of answered your own question. Is it common for there to be certain (reasonably popular) tastes that aren't present in the industry

How could a taste be reasonably popular if there weren't editors out there who bought it?

Premise means nothing, and darned few writers on Fictionpress, or anywhere else, will ever improve enough to sell.
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:43 AM   #11
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My guess is the folks who read and write anime fanfic are mainly buying anime and manga rather than written stories.

But some manga get transformed to text. For example Death Notes' The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases. Ranobe are published by Seven Seas Entertainment, Tokyopop, Del Rey Manga and others.

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Old 12-28-2012, 12:54 AM   #12
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I find it hard to believe that out of all of those (often eastern/Japan influenced) writers there wouldn't be a whole bunch who'd improve enough to get their stories published.
If you mean people influenced by manga and anime and Japanese culture, I think there will be more stories with those sort of tropes published in the future. Those of us who grew up with Sailor Moon and Serial Experiments: Lain and Evangelion just have to learn to distill what themes and tone we loved from that media into something new.

I'm certainly trying.

I think there's a tendency for writers influenced by the above to alienate non fans with writing that probably speaks to other fans, but not to a muggle. This isn't done on purpose, they just haven't found "their" voice yet. Plus, all that means is there's an opening in the market for you to fill. So, hurry up and write that bestseller so I can ride your coattails!

If I've totally interpreted your post wrong, sorry!
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Old 12-28-2012, 02:04 AM   #13
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My guess is the folks who read and write anime fanfic are mainly buying downloading anime and manga rather than written stories.
Fixed that for ya.

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Those of us who grew up with Sailor Moon and Serial Experiments: Lain and Evangelion just have to learn to distill what themes and tone we loved from that media into something new.
And some of us just need to finish writing it and get published.

In the meantime, I thoroughly enjoy Haruki Murakami.

I like me some David Mitchell, too.
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Old 12-28-2012, 04:00 AM   #14
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There was the Broken Sky series published by Scholastic in the 90s that did okay.

Most anime fan fic is crap, and I imagine most of the stories you've seen on fictionpress are as well.

Eventually some tories in that vein will be published. Write a good one, and you shouldn't have any problems.
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Old 12-28-2012, 01:52 PM   #15
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Most anime fan fic is crap, and I imagine most of the stories you've seen on fictionpress are as well.
Sturgeon's Law applies, as it does for most things.

Kuwi already mentioned Murakami, and Job covered the Death Note novel, so I'll mention the "Battle Royale" translated novel. Jay Kristoff is also open about how "Stormdancer" was inspired by anime.
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Old 12-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #16
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If you mean people influenced by manga and anime and Japanese culture, I think there will be more stories with those sort of tropes published in the future. Those of us who grew up with Sailor Moon and Serial Experiments: Lain and Evangelion just have to learn to distill what themes and tone we loved from that media into something new.

I'm certainly trying.

I think there's a tendency for writers influenced by the above to alienate non fans with writing that probably speaks to other fans, but not to a muggle. This isn't done on purpose, they just haven't found "their" voice yet. Plus, all that means is there's an opening in the market for you to fill. So, hurry up and write that bestseller so I can ride your coattails!

If I've totally interpreted your post wrong, sorry!
No, you were spot on. I think you put the whole thing into words far, far better than I did.

I guess that (again) it comes down to writing the best story possible, but I was really trying to see if it was a stupid idea to try to push stories that don't have popular tropes or a ready-made fanbase at editors, because it doesn't matter if a story is of publishable quality if it isn't saleable.

Phew. So this means all that's left is to throw the best stories I can at agents and editors until something breaks through (and I think distilling the right themes, like Amrose said, really is key here).

It's comforting to have some kind of game plan :P And the thought of there being more anime influenced writers/readers in the future is also encouraging. I didn't think about the fact that such a huge portion of our generation grew up on the shows you mentioned, and other shows like Dragonball Z, etc.

I'm also glad to see that I've underestimated the discernment of the gatekeepers.

And I'm waffling.

What I mean to say is: Thanks everyone
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Old 12-29-2012, 05:21 AM   #17
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Sturgeon's Law applies, as it does for most things.

Kuwi already mentioned Murakami, and Job covered the Death Note novel, so I'll mention the "Battle Royale" translated novel. Jay Kristoff is also open about how "Stormdancer" was inspired by anime.
I don't know that Kristoff is a person you want to be citing here...
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:49 PM   #18
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Oh, don't worry -- I'm aware of all the controversy around his appropriation of Japanese culture. But his book had a huge amount of buzz and seems to be selling well, so I felt it was fair to give it a nod.

Ready Player One also includes anime references, though I haven't read it to judge how anime-inspired it is. Seems like a fun love letter to geek culture in general, though.

The field of anime/manga-inspired writing is a huge one, so I'm trying to cover multiple bases. 'Japanese influenced' in this thread could mean anything from a Ghost In The Shell style sci-fi-with-philosophical-undertones novel to a YA high school Ouran Host Club/Fruits Basket mashup and I'd be happy to see all sorts of different anime inspirations mixing with modern writing.

For instance, Kuwi and Amrose take inspiration from the brilliant Serial Experiments Lain and Evangelion but my work is much 'fluffier' as far as anime inspirations go -- I'd say Haibane Renmei at best, Soul Eater at worst for my current YA novel. And a few months ago Ryukami was worrying about anime hair making his fantasy novel unpublishable. (To oversimplify a long thread.)
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Old 12-30-2012, 01:16 AM   #19
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For instance, Kuwi and Amrose take inspiration from the brilliant Serial Experiments Lain and Evangelion but my work is much 'fluffier' as far as anime inspirations go -- I'd say Haibane Renmei at best, Soul Eater at worst for my current YA novel. And a few months ago Ryukami was worrying about anime hair making his fantasy novel unpublishable. (To oversimplify a long thread.)
Actually, I pretty much stick to thematic influences.

When it comes to plot points and imagery, the biggest influences on my current works in progress are the movies of Makoto Shinkai.

My next idea — whenever I get around to finishing this one (oyy) — might be much more blatantly Eva-inspired. I love the central metaphors so much.

Your average Western anime fan would probably find my writing (and my taste in anime) extremely boring. Where its influence is most evident is in my use of magic realism with sci-fi tropes and my Ikuhara-esque surrealistic "dream" sequences.

And my Anno-esque trolling.

PS: You may already know this, but if you like Haibane Renmei, read Murakami's Hardboiled Wonderland and the End of the World. The anime was inspired by it.
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:43 AM   #20
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I'd say Haibane Renmei is a big influence on some of my stories. Makoto Shinkai is maybe there a bit, too.

But yeah, mostly themes rather than plot.
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Old 12-30-2012, 10:45 AM   #21
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I can't speak to the specifics, but I imagine the probability that the public is clamoring for books on X but no one is willing to publish a book on X is small enough to be not worth worrying about.
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"Everybody must get stoned" --Medusa

Projects for 2014:
Plotting/outlining In the Broad Ways

If you are seeing this after January 31, 2014, I'm falling behind.
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