A little while ago, in order to save money on gas and what not, CoworkerPR rallied me and Coworker together to form a carpool. Recently, Coworker2, after moving even farther from work than the rest of us, has joined the carpool. This has led to rather entertaining commutes. (Assuming I still get to participate in the carpool; after today and my supposedly "blasphemous" comments, they may recall my invitation until they can install adequate lightning rods in their vehicles.)

The last couple days have been filled with particularly insightful and frustrating discussions. Due to perplexing (and not so perplexing) shifts in market dynamics, we've been trying to decide what to do with manuscripts that don't meet budget given standard editorial procedures (a.k.a. editing). So our discussions of late have centered on why we read, why our readers read, how we can appeal better to our market, etc. and so forth.

The general consensus we came to is that our jobs are made more difficult by the fact that we don't enjoy reading the same genres we edit. (Well, I don't have this problem since I edit in my Special Interests instead of the company's Bread and Butter. Sure, I have a few Bread and Butter titles, but by and large I'm lucky.) Most of our titles are escapist, formulaic. But because they're escapist, they can't delve into and develop a sense of human character and human nature. We get a glimpse here and there, but they generally don't leave you with a sense of something to think about. I'm not saying you have to have deep and heavy plots with dismal endings (not that I'm averse to that, either), but I do like a good exploration of some element of the human condition.

I know there's an audience out there for the types of books my coworkers and I like--I have friends who like the same books, I'm on listservs with people who make the same lament. The big question is how to pull in larger numbers of these readers and convince them to buy our books. Sigh. It's all sorts of sadness. What a shame that money interferes with good literature.

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