Thursday, November 04, 2010

Too Smart

I was reading an interview with one of my all time favorite authors, Lois McMaster Bujold, and she said something that really made me sit up and think. In the interview, she said:

Jim [Baen] also once told me, when I was whinging about my books not selling as well as someone else's (a favorite pastime among writers, alas — we are a green-eyed bunch) that my books were "too smart" to be bestsellers. To this day, I don't know if he meant that sincerely, or if it was just a very sly way to get himself off the hook. Like I'm going to argue...?

Isn't that an interesting concept? That if books are too smart or too intellectual, they are simply destined to not be bestsellers.

In a sad way, it makes sense. But it is also somewhat freeing, I guess. If you write smart books and you're beating yourself up because you’re not hitting bestseller lists, perhaps it isn’t you, it’s them

Here’s a link to the whole interview in case you’re a fellow fan.

I also found it very interesting that she found the promotional end of things to be such a chore and was looking forward to giving up some of that.


andalucy said...

I'm adding a couple of her books to my Goodreads to-read list. If I don't like them I guess we'll know why!

That is probably true about "smart" books not selling as well. And something of a consolation to those who write them, I'm sure.

andalucy said...

And now I see she lives in Minneapolis, where I lived for fourteen years until just over a year ago. Now I'm feeling doubly dumb for not knowing who she is. Whoa, pressure is on to like me some smart books. ;-)

Robin L said...

You might try starting with her Chalion books, andalucy, as they were based on medieval Spain (aren't you in Spain, right now? If memory serves...) and one of the princesses of that time, I believe.

andalucy said...

The first Chalion is the one I added. I didn't realize the setting was based on medieval Spain. That makes it a must-read!

Mel said...

very interesting...I think that there's a lot of truth to the whole "too smart" thing. Sometimes I think a book should be flying off the shelf and it isn't even though the writing is fantastic.