Wednesday, June 20, 2018

For the Nonce

Last Thursday I remarked that we bloggers had been over everything that, were it presented in books, would be non-fiction. This didn't stop me posting a few more posts on the theme but the point is clearest when revisiting some of those subjects we did canvass in other posts.

If you're interested in growing persimmons, building a henhouse or selling binder twine you now have a choice of where to source that information. And, rather than looking through your old journals on sociology or scouring through those auto mags for an article on bucket seats, nonfiction takes you directly to the area. Even if some of these vocations don't require a book, the catalogue will show where else we can access instructions.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Titillating title late in

I'm no more inclined to look at neo-slave narrative than femslash.

Literature is sufficiently robust to have spawned numerous subgenres and classifications and there's doubtful need to reproduce them all under the binary 'fiction' and 'non-fiction' constructs in this blog. Suffice to say that I was struck by the titles of our bestsellers. After Napoleon Hill, or his flourish of a nom de plume (I don't know which), came up with his title there must have been other publishers and authors who went green around the gills.
The perfect non-fiction title becomes the largest selling non-fiction title. Louise Hay's second place getter is a mighty contender. As I said in my last post, second person self-help and a real call to arms in both cases.

There's prurient interest in The Hite Report and The Happy Hooker. It's there in Fear of Flying and connoted in Dr Dyer's pun. And though she may have the kind of name that suggests something, you would have to be educated in cultural terms and know who Shere Hite is. Nor is Erica Jong giving anything away until you start turning pages.

The Secret, like Think and Grow Rich and You Can Heal Your Life are just those titles that are going to catch the eye of the bookshop browser. I believe there is precedent for the material in both Your Erroneous Zones and The Secret but celebrity authors and/or catchy titles creating a buzz do the job and the books fly off the shelves. (Like they do in books about a boy wizard but I wouldn't push it)

On the other hand, if your story is interesting enough - you've hidden from the Nazis or floated across the ocean on a raft - the title is less important.

Or you could be enigmatic: Who Moved My Cheese? What's he talking about? The teaser title has to deliver the goods and I doubt there are maiden aunts wanting to cure their fear of air travel who were subsequently shocked.

I don't know of anyone who reads a report without knowing what it's about.

While a biologist has moved into the book trade mainstream in part virtue of having the name he has given it. Readers who might not go near anthropology, or even theory, are hooked by this image and want to see what it's all about.

The march forward in titles is subtle: The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care is reassuringly third person and impersonal yet, despite the authors having read it cover to cover and drawing inspiration from it, their book moves into involving the reader using second person: What to Expect When You're Expecting.

It's not fanciful like many a fiction title. It either shows a change in attitudes or the more authoritative title was taken. There's a gender studies unit there for the taking.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Non-e vent

Common genres of non-fiction


Saturday, June 16, 2018

Hey non-e, no

If you're wondering why there's a preponderance of self-help (for example) in the above list, this is what people buy the most of nonfiction wise.

I don't know about you but I pick certain patterns: second person titles that are downright aspirational or speak to general concerns in a non-threatening manner.
The diaries of Anne Frank and Xaviera Hollander are of interest for different reasons.

The Purpose Driven Life snuck by me and I'd not heard of Rick Warren. For me at least, Who Moved My Cheese? and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People are more famous than their authors.

In the same stratosphere when it comes to sales are such works as What to Expect When You're Expecting by Arlene Eisenberg and Heidi Murkoff, Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft by the Norwegian writer Thor Heyerdahl, The Power of Positive Thinking - Norman Vincent Peale, The Secret courtesy of Rhonda Byrne, Fear of Flying by Erica Jong and Desmond Morris' The Naked Ape.

II

This keen, if populist, interest in the world around us is soon tempered by the fact that no nonfiction has sold more than 100 million copies, the 1937 classic Think and Grow Rich has twenty two fiction titles above it; admittedly seven of these are Harry Potter. It also shares the stage with 20,000 Leagues under the Sea, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and The Bridges of Madison County, having sold in the vicinity of 60 million copies.
There are likewise forty books interspersed among the top ten nonfiction; most are fiction with a couple being religious tracts or fictional constructs of the inevitable outcome of their faith. Like Covey's book, The Wind in the Willows and The Great Gatsby have shifted 25 million units.

III

When you think about it, since we were talking about publishers, they're not that interested in your engaging campfire tale or the information about ergonomists shared online. To at least some, the subject matter is no cause for offence (though the reader may have a different take) so much as a source of revenue. It's when that information is disseminated through some other means that they miss out.
The Ralston Society can take a bow for publishing Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Non, non

There are more fiction genres even when restricting our range to those that appear in book form. Each list will look a little different, which is why we added categories and left out the autobiographical and biographical fiction.

Given that non-fiction and reference books cover the same ground as Touched by the Son and related blogs, is there any point in going back over old ground? I can't remember everything I posted but encyclopedias and dictionaries are bound to have come up.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Publish, er

For something so close to bloggers, poets, songsters, scribes of every description - we appear to be at an impasse when it comes to sorting publishing of books by genre. Wikipedia mixes in non-fiction (in an article that baldly states books can only be fiction or non-fiction) categories. Goodreads covers more but is 'chancellorsville-campaign' worthy of being a genre and of noting there are 20 books dealing with the subject?

For our list I intend to borrow from the Daily Writing Tips site as their article focuses on fiction.
The genres in italics are for fiction that has probably never been presented on the page, only on screen. And computer screen at that. This explains the short forms like flash fiction and its close cousins nano-fiction and twitter fiction  

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Re:publish

Should readers take any interest in success at the publisher level rather than the author level, chances are they won't be doing so purely on the media used; there is at least a need to know who are the biggest publishers in fiction, non-fiction and reference*. *[links may be other than as described]
Not satisfied with that, though there's a suspicion that most fiction that is consumed is in the form of a novel. What of the short story? And poetry. While plays are written to be performed on stage, there's a market for them and their flashy celluloid descendant the screenplay.

Then of course there's the breakdown of genres; a different set for each type of publication. Naturally one can publish a play, poem, short story, novel or screenplay that fits in the science fiction genre. Or mystery thriller, detective &c. There might be a publisher who accepts all different forms but on the subject of horse saddles or the writings of Lindsay Jones. Just because we couldn't find anything specifically documenting the instance of published work by Gadamer or a handy notary of livestock control, doesn't mean that people don't publish the darndest things for the oddest of readerships.