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December 29th, 2007

11:09 PM

Ebook fatigue

I think I'm in need of a short break from ebooks - or at least I may need to temporarily reduce even further the number of ebooks I read.

I know, I know, you are probably going, "Oh no, not another rant about how short stories suck!"

But you see, it just occurred to me that I have a hard time remembering the names of many of the authors of the ebooks I read. Okay, let's be blunt here: I find it hard to care to remember their names. I am also finding it harder to muster any interest when it comes to many new releases. I was most recently curious about the book with the hero having randy moving hair or something, but to be honest, I am not compelled to buy the book.

There isn't a single reason for my current doldrums where ebooks are concerned. I think it's a pile-on of many reasons that keep adding up in the recent months.

A big part of the reason is that I am currently overdosed when it comes to paranormals, erotic or not, hence my reviews of mostly historical romances nowadays since those are the books that I am reading. Because most ebooks are still offering paranormal stories, I find myself lacking the motivation to check them out. Oh I still do, mostly ones by authors I am already familiar with, just not as eagerly or enthusiastically as I used to a few months back. Give me time. I suspect that I'll be back in a month or two to reading paranormals more once I've overdosed on historical romances.

Also, I'm finding that the act of writing reviews of ebooks is getting repetitious on my side. There is a general problem, I feel, of authors who have interesting ideas but egads, they write all these short stories where these ideas never get developed into something more awesome. I'm not saying that these authors need to write an epic novel, mind you, since most of these short stories need probably just another 50 or 100 pages or so to get things fleshed out better. Is there some kind of cosmic rule that I am not aware of that these authors have to adhere to some kind of maximum word count?

There is a... I don't know, maybe some lack of awareness on the authors' part on how they have an awesome imagination that they keep failing to capitalize on because they always end their stories too soon and too prematurely. I suspect that I will be a big Yolanda Sfetsos fangirl, for example, if she doesn't stop frustrating me with her prematurely ending stories full of underdeveloped good ideas. And it gets really repetitious to keep saying these things in review after review, not to mention it's like being trapped in some kind of cycle where I keep getting disappointed again and again.

I'm also finding ebooks a little too formulaic for my liking. How's the ebook market? Is sales spiking up? Has it reached critical mass across the publishing houses? Who knows, but I personally feel that we need some kind of new ideas or new blood that aren't afraid to try something new, although I have no idea what this "new" thing could be. It's been, what, three years? We are still in the same old godawful "mate, alpha, soulmate, vampire, werewolf, alien" rut. Meanwhile, "mainstream" offerings seem to be patterned after the same kind of romantic suspense or historical romance that I can already find in dead tree offerings. I find myself wishing for some new author to get excited over. Chances are, though, nowadays I will most likely get a new author writing some short story that follows the "alpha mate/soulmate" formula and I end up finding her porn star name pseudonym more interesting than the story she is offering.

There are many more ebooks than dead tree books being published every month, that means there are more clutter to wade through to find a good story and more volatile Lori Foster-style author egos to deal with via email. The whole experience can be more fatiguing than I would like it to be.

13 comment(s).

Posted by marie:

I expect this will all come back to haunt me, but I really have to say it. If you're reading short stories and novella, just what do you expect? If the story is good, it should leave you wanting much more from it, and with a stunted word length it cannot compete with a satisfying full length novel.

I have a book coming out e-print next week, and after reading reviews all over the net, I suspect that I will not be able to get most reviewers to even read the book because it is a novel with a 100,000 length by an e-publisher from a new author. If it were a throw away short story, it would get reviewed, because it is not a time investment for the reviewers. It would fill their columns and even if it is panned; it gives the reviewer the opportunity to write a witty, scathing couple of paragraphs.
You complain about too much sex in books, just for the sake of sex. And yet those are the books you choose to review. So now you complain that you can’t find decent e-books. (Just an aside, that I adore historical. I wish that I wrote one, but I wrote a contemporary suspense thriller with a paranormal overtone with a plot instead of continuous sex.) I thought you claimed that is the kind of quirky book that you hope to find, yet choose not to review.
If you will now only read authors you are familiar with on one hand and then complain that UF series go on way too long. Then in some part you help create that, because that’s what the audience expects from them. If the public keeps going back to the same authors, (I do), they are going to stick with what made their name. (It’s a catch 22 for authors.)
Reviewers are padding their ranks with novella and short stories because it fills the columns and doesn't require the time investment to actually read. A true novel length story is an investment that many readers don’t want to take a chance on from an e-book publisher. If short erotica is what you choose to read, then adjust your expectations.
I go to review
December 30th, 2007 @ 12:38 AM

Posted by Marie:

I go to review sites to hear about the new authors. The Nora Roberts are a known quality, it’s the new authors that I want you to recommend. I work full time and write full time and still manage to read over a 100 books a year. (I cut back since I started writing.) I spend a lot of money on my books and so I look to you to help discover the new writers that are exceptional. I know enough that many great writers are not hooked into the massive publishing houses. I want the non formula stories and the HEA satisfying also. Don’t disappoint me and so many others by claiming you will be shutting out an emerging market of writers. What I like best about your columns is that you are open to so many things that are quirky and different.

December 30th, 2007 @ 12:42 AM

Posted by bettie:

Aw. Perhaps this is merely the hopeless naivety of a newbie writer (naivety which I would likely have come to regret after your scathing review had crushed my ego, ground up my hope, liquefied my confidence, and made bread with the resulting goopy mess ;o), but I'd been hoping to find out what you thought of my forthcoming novella. Yours is the only site on my list of regular review reads that reviews a significant number of ebooks and sci-fi/fantasy/paranormal themed ebooks. I sympathize with your fatigue for Vampires, werewolves & soulmates! Oh, my! type books. As the BDB would say, "I feel ya, yo."

But, hey, when you're fatigued, you're fatigued. When I get Romance Fatigue, I don't like anything. I picked up Loretta Chase's Mr Impossible during a bout of Romance Fatigue, and I didn't like it. Which is crazy talk, because I heart that book.

So, while I'll be a little disappointed as both a writer and a regular reader if you take a hiatus, or even a permanent split, from ebooks, I understand the need and appreciate that you won't just go through the motions of reviewing.
December 30th, 2007 @ 3:55 AM

Posted by Amarinda Jones:

This is what I like about your blog - you say exactly what you think. Excellent.
December 30th, 2007 @ 4:54 AM

Posted by Sherry Thomas:

Bettie, rest assured, cream rises to the top. I think your novella would get plenty of attention when it comes out.
December 30th, 2007 @ 9:24 AM

Posted by Mrs G:

I expect this will all come back to haunt me, but I really have to say it. If you're reading short stories and novella, just what do you expect? If the story is good, it should leave you wanting much more from it, and with a stunted word length it cannot compete with a satisfying full length novel.

Marie, I agree with you in that I may not have much grounds to complain if I keep reading the things that I complain about. Except, in this case, I am having a hard time finding what I *want* to read. You say that your books fit what I am looking for. But how am I going to find them? I don't have some kind of magic radar that will lead me to them. I am now reading most stuff by authors I know (not exclusively stuff by authors I know - you're not reading my entry carefully, I think) as a reaction to my ebook fatigue. Your response suggests that you believe that I am deliberately looking for novellas only by authors that I am familiar with, when that is not the case at all.

I'm also puzzled that you say that I choose not to review your books when I have no idea who you are or what the titles of your books are!
December 30th, 2007 @ 9:48 AM

Posted by Anne Douglas:

I can so go with the Romance Fatigue Syndrome. I tend to cycle - a couple of months dedicated to historicals, then a couple to eBooks when I find myself skipping 40% of a regency to get to the end, then some contemp will get thrown in (I was a Dancing shoes and Honkytonk blues fan too), then it's just plain old "read?..stuff that!" mode. Actually that sounds a bit like my writing schedule too...bugger :-(

I notice though that the majority of your eBook reviews are one publisher in the most part - maybe the 'house style' (for want of a better description) has got you down for the moment?

Of course I've got to add the obligatory "read mine" here, though maybe I shouldn't be jumping up and down to be Gigglfied:-?
December 31st, 2007 @ 6:55 AM

Posted by Barbara Sheridan:

Hopefully you can make room for one more featuring the DD boys.

Our Sakurai is getting his own juicy novel and the chemistry between him and Detective Matsui is reminiscent of our beloved Shu & Toshiro.
December 31st, 2007 @ 2:39 PM

Posted by Teddypig:

Go for some Belgrave House Regencys.

That might be a good break for you and something different for an eBook review.
December 31st, 2007 @ 3:27 PM

Posted by Janet Mullany:

I expect this will all come back to haunt me, but I really have to say it. If you're reading short stories and novella, just what do you expect? If the story is good, it should leave you wanting much more from it, and with a stunted word length it cannot compete with a satisfying full length novel.
Haunting away at you, Marie. Short stories should do as much for the reader as a full-length novel in terms of a satisfying reading experience, which is why they're so very difficult to write well. And possibly why Mrs. G is finding them unsatisfactory, because if they're written as some sort of easy option, they'll read that way too.
January 1st, 2008 @ 2:09 AM

Posted by MARIE:

(Consider me a seer) Haunt away, I deserve to have the exceptional writers that can tell an engaging short story, tapping my shoulder and trying to sucker punch me. Short stories or Novella’s are difficult and I always want more. Then again, that’s why I go back to the same writers of longer fiction, hoping for the same satisfaction I had with their previous works.

*Hanging head in shame, with ghost of a smile on lips.*
January 1st, 2008 @ 4:15 AM

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

Hey, Mrs. G.... I got this great new ebook...

;) Just kidding.

Eh, I know what you mean. I'm having a harder time finding books that catch my eye right now, but that just be because I'm in another reading funk.

I know there are plenty of good books out there, print and e, worth reading, but I don't always have the time to spend looking for the new gems and just stick to those I know aren't likely to disappoint.

Or it could just be my reading funk...I hate reading funks.
January 1st, 2008 @ 10:38 AM

Posted by Shiloh Walker:

I also hate posting so close together...but I had to voice my agreement on this.

Short stories should do as much for the reader as a full-length novel in terms of a satisfying reading experience, which is why they're so very difficult to write well.

I'll ditto that. A well written short story or novella ought to have the same emotional pull, the same highs and lows, the same HEA as any other book... if they are well written. Too many people try to go for the 'soulmate' to explain away the HEA at the end, and that doesn't work for every story. IMO, honestly, it doesn't even work for half of the stories.
January 1st, 2008 @ 10:40 AM