A Snarkling confesses:
Yesterday, I did something I've never done before: I returned a book. Usually, even if the book is horrible, I don't bother because on my little island the petrol needed to return the book would cost more than what I would get back. However, this particular book disgusted me so much that I had to bring it back on principal. It was the newest book in a series that I had been following religiously (never again) and it was so bad that I donned my ugg boots (stilettos give me
blisters) and trekked over to Ottakers. To come to the point, my question is, what do agents do if a client has signed a three, four, five-book deal with a publisher, but when the client delivers the
newest manuscript, it's crap? Do you still send it, assuming that the author's popularity will sell the book? Or do you tell a long-standing client that the book isn't up to scratch and you can't sell it?
Was it Robert Parker by any chance?
I took him to task for a lousy book a few posts back.
Agents and editors have no, zero, zippo, zilcho motivation to tell a best-selling author that the new book sux. Doing so just means the author fires us, buys back the rights from the editor and hightails it over to another house who is GLAD to get him/her. Miss Snark has gin to buy yanno...she needs the dough.
The only person who can stop the madness is you the reader. Quit buying books of authors who are skating on past success. Return them! Tell your librarian the books suck and to quit buying them on automatic order. (Librarians have certain authors on automatic order-they don't read the reviews they just buy them).
Remember though, as the comments trail on my post about Robert Parker showed: one reader's "this is skating" is another's "this is comfort food".
So, when you find a series has disappointed you beyond redemption, strap on your skis, and return the book. Tell your friends not to buy it. That's one great thing about the web: real readers can connect and discover great new writers...and help those old hacks hang up their skates. Of course, you'll all have to chip in for Miss Snark's gin. Perhaps she'll establish a paypal account for your convenience.