Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Essays: who needs 'em? Who reads 'em?

All right, ladies and gents, I'm in need of your feedback today.

My mother and I have this ongoing friendly disagreement. Mom thinks essay writing is my forte, and she keeps bugging me to gather up the essays I've posted here and put them into a book. (I don't think she's specified an actual printed book or an epublished one -- whatever works easiest, I guess.) I maintain that most people don't read essays any more, at least not from people they've never heard of. They're far more likely to pick up fiction -- a book of short stories or a novel -- from an unknown writer than they are to read a set of personal essays from some random nobody.

Who's right?

I'd like to know: would you buy a book of my essays if one were available? If you're not sure what constitutes an essay on this blog, you can browse most of my essays by clicking on the label "essays" below.

Yes, I'm soliciting honest feedback. That means you can shoot from the hip; if you think my essays suck, you can say so and I won't complain. If you aren't comfortable being that honest under your own name, you may choose to comment anonymously.

Why am I asking for this? Well, creating a book takes a lot of time and money. It also requires a lot of readers just to break even. I don't see the point of putting together a book that nobody's going to buy -- and I strongly suspect nobody would buy my essays. Why would they? I'm an unknown. (I'm going to write anyway, because that's what I do. I'm just saying there's no current market for essays.)

Thanks in advance for your time and your willingness to participate.


Dorian said...

I have been known to read the occasional essay collection, but they are generally either (a) a collection around a theme that I happen to be interested in (essays on Dublin during the Second World War, for instance), or (b) a collection by an author whose work I otherwise admire (I'm currently reading a collection by Diana Wynne Jones, for example).

I probably wouldn't pick up a collection by a random blogger, however, because either (a) I'd have never heard of them and therefore not have an initial interest, or (b) I'd be following their blog and would probably have read all their essays already there.

Soozcat said...

All good points. Thank you!