On Book Marketing and Clam Chowder
Chowder eaters come in all varieties. Some understand the fundamentals of chowder (can’t have too many potatoes or too few clams, can’t use too much pork fat or bacon, and for god’s sake, forget about the corn starch!), and some haven’t a clue what good chowder is, they just like the taste. I overheard one “judge” express his adamant preference for chowder thick enough to stand a spoon upright. This is utter heresy, as chowder aficionados know, but as the old saying goes, the customer is always right.
Still, while clueless chowder judges may indeed outnumber the culinary experts (you can tell by the plaid shorts and sunburn), never do they elevate a pasty gruel to the top of the chowder heap. Why?
A novel is like chowder. It has clams (plot), potatoes (characters), cream (voice) and onions (structure). In a good novel, each ingredient is of good quality, and in proper proportion to the whole. Too little of one (or more) results in a reader’s diminished enthusiasm. Too little of all is a revolting experience.
There is a lot of bad chowder out there on Amazon. But Budweiser isn’t the #1 selling beer in the world because beer customers have discriminating palates. A Burger King Whopper isn’t made by a graduate of the American Culinary Institute. But damn, it tastes good.
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Tags: amazon, book marketing, clam chowder, pete morin