Yet another review has been done on one of my books and again, it confirms an idea that I have been kicking around – if your story, protagonist or other element of your book doesn´t jibe with your marketing, you are going to lose your potential readers. In this case it seems that the title and cover of my book ´Mexican Mutts, Tequila Pups + Chili Dogs´ gave one reader the idea that the book was going to be humorous. I´d say that´s a fair possiblity (if you know absolutely nothing about Mexico) The cover and title are really kind of silly.
These are issues that probably won´t come into play for a lot of genres. Write horror? Have a scary cover – job done. Write espionage? Have a sexy, thriller type cover of the White House with a Swastika or some other terroristy emblem superimposed over it – job done. Give it a Ludlemy title like ´The Reich Initiative.´ A winning formula.
But again, you had better make sure that your character(s) line up with your reader´s expectations. This is where knowing your demographic, market, reader etc. is so important.
Overall, I am not likely to second guess myself, nor am I going to worry that one reader didn´t seem to get it. However, I have had some really weird reactions to some of my writing so every little bit there is to be learned along the way could make the next book a touch more accessible to a larger group of readers. Sadly, this is a touch of Political Correctness for writers. Goes against the grain of my inner rebel but to some extent, it has to be done.
I may have to return to this great book and give it a second look. Writing Popular Fiction by Dean Koontz. It seems obvious that he may know a thing or two about writing. As compared to the Stephen King ´How to´ book, Koontz approaches writing Genre Fiction from the point of view of ´What´s Expected´ and ´What can you get away with, what can´t you get away with´ depending on your particular genre.
Again, although this is a Three star review, I think it shows that I did manage to overcome a lot of the reader´s prejudices and expectations. I cannot complain.
BOOK REVIEW: Mexican Mutts and Tequila Pups by David Gordon Burke
Genre: Nonfiction, Humor
Mexican Mutts and Tequila Pups is a generally humorous collection of short stories and actual news articles about dogs in Mexico. It is a pretty quick read–I finished it in a couple quick afternoons of reading.
I was pretty skeptical about reading this book. Books about animals are not something I generally consider myself a fan of, but I read the preface to this one and was intrigued enough to want to keep reading. Burke has a light, sarcastic tone, and the short stories were instantly appealing. The book itself is compiled of several different short stories, interspersed with semi-relevant news articles about these Mexican dogs.
The gist of the book was meant to call attention to the sometimes deplorable treatment of dogs and strays in Mexico, and I think it definitely accomplished that. For starters, I would have never guessed that there were so many actual news articles solely focused on dogs. From the sounds of it, there is certainly an enormous problem with the amount of strays and abandoned dogs being left largely to their own devices.
When I started reading, I really thought that humor was going to have much more to do with it. When it came down to it, the first short story was pretty humorous, and a few other stories throughout the book had glimmerings of the same wry, pointed humor, but the majority of the stories were not very funny. In fact, some of them were pretty horrifying. Maybe that’s my problem–for assuming the book was going to be humorous. I don’t know. It surprised me, one way or another.
My main issue with the book is that it seemed to be rambling and unrelated at points. One of the short stories seemed to be about something completely separate from the general subject of dogs, or the story of a dog, until the very end. As the reader, it was hard to keep up with what was going on from story to story, and how exactly it was relevant to everything else that had happened.
There are certainly some cool stories about dogs in here. If you’re a dog lover at heart, or find yourself curious in any way about the population and treatment of stray dogs in Mexico, this is definitely a book for you.
Ultimately, it was a good book. It was outside of my preferred genres, so I like to think that I stretched my mind a little bit, and I did enjoy it.
I liked it: 3 out of 5 stars
So there it is. I am definitely open to a pleasing a person that is out of my general target audience. So I´ll call this one a win.
David Gordon Burke
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