Last week, several articles and blogs carried the story that the Pulitzer Prize committee had found no literary work of fiction worthy of the prize this year. Word leaked out--perhaps deliberately--that three novels were being considered, but none was picked. What a blow to those three writers, each of whom was a phone call away from the prize and then denied the glory.
Of course, those of us writing genre fiction might not cry quite as hard as the three “almost winners,” but--even if we don’t find time, or the inclination, to read literary fiction--we should be at least a little upset over this turn of events. The announcement of the Pulitzer Prize and subsequent surge in sales for that author and other literary authors is important for the book industry as a whole.
However, while I feel sorry for those authors--and bemoan the lack of promotion of literary novel reading--I find myself not feeling quite as sad about it as I might have three years ago.
Do you remember three short years ago when we were flooded with articles about the death of reading in this country? Newspapers were dying, book stores were struggling, and people simply weren’t reading anymore. They were watching television, playing video games or texting while driving.
Today that has all changed (except perhaps the texting by teenagers). Thanks to e-books and e-readers, reading is more popular than ever. Statistics tell us that millions of e-readers have been sold, and even more millions of e-books have been produced. In addition, it turns out that people who own a reading device buy more books than they did before.
Apparently, they were just waiting for the process to get easier and the books get cheaper.
So, thank you Amazon and Apple and Nook, and Kobo and all the rest. Perhaps readers won’t immediately search out literary novels. I’m told romantic suspense, thrillers and science fiction are the hot “e-buys” at the moment. But can the rest of the fiction cornucopia be far behind? I don’t think so. But then, I’m an optimist, remember?
I’m churning out my stories as fast as I can. And I hope my fellow scriveners are doing the same. Now is a great time to be a writer. Don’t you agree?