Saturday, March 26, 2016

"It's Downton Abbey without the tea!"

painting of dog and man on lane
So said a writer friend when comparing the television series with our novel, The Boys of Summers Run.

Well, perhaps they're similar in spirit. 

Like the popular British drama aired on PBS, The Boys of Summers Run is most certainly a feel-good novel. 

Things worked favorably for the characters depicted at Downton, much as most of us hoped. Tom Branson, the chauffeur turned-son-in-law-turned Downton’s land agent turned motor-car-dealer didn’t marry Lady Edith, but such may have been just a bit too tidy. 

His future seems secure. And hers as well; she’s a modern woman now, capable of standing up to her Wagnerian mother-in-law. 

"Working out" is a standard expectation for feel-good stuff. At least the ending is a hopeful note. Just as Downton's Grand Finale portrayed, the characters of The Boys of Summers Run take a turn for the better. 

Getting back to the spirit of the thing, we would point out Amazon, for instance, does not have a category for feel-good works. Religious, spiritual, Christian, Amish are the closest pigeonholes. Barnes & Noble used to have a listing for novels called, “Heartwarmers”. The bookseller still lists "heartwarming" books when one searches there, featuring casseroles, dogs, vintage tractors, kisses. I didn't see Jan Karon or Rosamunde Pilcher named. No official category at this time, apparently.

Goodreads is a service uniting authors and readers with an impressive list of categories. I counted at least 750. How creative was that brain-storming session where imaginations ran wild listing shelves of categories and variations. "Feel Good" is not one of them, however. Nor is "heartwarmer". 

Downton Abbey, Goodreads, and what I see being offered from Amazon and other book retailers prompts one to embark on those very useful reviews of one's objectives. 

Helpful is this summation of marketing by Tim Grahl, a familiar name to many concerned about good writing and good reads.  Tim says this of marketing: "It's creating long-lasting connections with people and constantly trying to add value to their lives." 

It's easy for one to regard traditional publishing today as bottom-line bottom feeders peddling low quality work to a public lacking discernment. Hyping mediocre and sensational work to a gullible public as if it doesn't deserve better: Am I being fair?

Nonetheless, I resent my work being ignored as too literary and not commercial. This warps the positive outlook I should cultivate. Can't go out there with that kind of attitude.

I know my writing could leave a beneficial influence on my readers and therefore must approach its presentation in that vein.

I'm not such an introvert I can't present (or in my darker moments, defend) my work and its values. So, I need to avoid and shed the script where marketing is an uphill struggle and unproductive given the trends and fads of today's publishing.

Rather, I need to revisit the promise I held for the work initially and consider it a beacon in a darkened world.

Says Tim Grahl: "You write to add value to people’s lives, and marketing is simply actively sharing that value with the world." 

We respond to good writing that prompts good will, whether it comes from Downton Abbey or The Boys of Summers Run. It's because such writing adds something positive to our outlook and attitude when we start our day in the morning.

1 comment:

  1. I really wish there were a category for heart-warming and gentle reads! Keep at it!