Random Thoughts of a Romance Blogger: Where Have All the Good Books Gone?

Posted December 8, 2016 by Francesca in Random Thoughts, Under the Covers / 29 Comments

randomthoughts

WHERE HAVE ALL THE GOOD BOOKS GONE?

 

Wait!  Don’t go getting all upset on me.  Well, maybe you still won’t agree with me by the end of this post but let me make this clear.  I’m not trying to say everything is crap and although there is some generalization going on in this post, I do think there are still gems out there and good writing.

Now, that being said, here’s my BIG problem.  I’ve been dragging around this lump of disappointment around all year.  It started even earlier than that but lets just talk about 2016 and the past few months in particular.  Every release day it seems I end up having the same conversation with several friends.

Me: It’s Release Day! What are you getting or what did you read that you loved and would recommend?
Most of my friends: Ummmm ….. Nothing.
or
Most of my friends: There is this one book that’s good.  I don’t think anything else is really calling my name.

This conversation gets worst and worst every week.  As a reviewer, I’ve also seen the amount of books that come out each week/month that draw my interest are less and less!  To the point I am venturing outside of my “normal” in terms of blurbs/authors/genres just because there’s nothing else that appeals to me.

I know I’m not completely alone feeling this way because, like I said before, every one of my good book friends feels the same.  But how about you?

I’ve been disillusioned with trying out what I like to call “the shiny books” where I get lured in by a hot cover or a good blurb only to be sadly disappointed with a mediocre book and a plot that’s been done many times and this one didn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table.  It’s like one idea sells well and then 50 new books with the same idea come up quickly after it.  I don’t even want new necessarily, but I want a story that holds my attention!  I’ve tried a lot of the “in” authors or tropes and I keep coming out with the feeling that this just isn’t for me.

So after carrying that disappointment around, I’ve started to give up on reading certain things and what I’m left with is the sad reality that there aren’t that many books that come out each month that I get excited about.  The list gets smaller and smaller and these past few months and the next few that list is actually pathetic.

Where have all the good books gone?  What happened to those beautiful worlds I want to get lost in?  The novels and characters that got to my heart, moved me, got me thinking and made me feel? Is there a shift in the audience authors are writing for and is that what’s causing this?  Maybe I’m just not it, then.  Why aren’t publishing houses buying more paranormal books?  The genre is slowly dying out and the decision of not publishing something because it doesn’t sell as good is actually what causes the decline because… there’s nothing good to buy if you don’t publish it!

Again, I know there are still good books out there.  But when my anticipated books for the month goes from 20 to 3 I have to question what’s going on and if I’m in the minority feeling this.  Maybe some readers have lower expectations in books than me.  But a lot of things just aren’t to my standards anymore.  Is that where I’m going wrong?

Looking back at my reads of 2016, I can’t even find that many books that I’m completely in love with.  And that, more than anything, makes me sad.

With the ease of indie publishing, we have more book releases out each week than ever before and I really want to know the key to sorting through those piles and finding the books that will bring me joy in reading again.  Maybe the key is that I need to start seriously cleaning up my TBR and just read those highly recommended books and series of the past that I still haven’t gotten around to reading because to me, the new stuff just isn’t cutting it (and yes, I’m generalizing, some I still enjoy).

But I’ve rambled on enough.  I would love to hear what your thoughts are on this!  Do you think there’s been a shift in how authors write?  Maybe the audience they target, or even the style of writing of an author you used to follow and love and how it’s changed recently (yeah, that’s happened to me and I’ve DNF a few of the latest books by authors I used to love).  Am I alone feeling this way? How do you cope with this?

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Francesca

Blogger/Reviewer at Under the Covers Book Blog
I’m a 30 something sun lover living in the Big Apple (read New York).I’m a book and coffee addict and lover of all things elephants.

I get easily distracted by pictures of sexy guys and have tons of book boyfriends.I keep all my alpha males chained to my basement and guard them fiercely.*Back off bitches*I like to see Jason Momoa as a lot of those boyfriends, because ….. mmmmmmm JASON.MOMOA!

I’m a part time graphic designer (yes, everything you see on UTC has been done by me), run my husband's business from home and on a good day I’m a self appointed superwoman (she who can do it all).I love blogging with my girls and I couldn’t do it any other way!My first love is everything paranormal, but in the past few years I’ve re-learned to love contemporary romance.Every once in a while I like to mix things up with a historical romance, a steampunk or an LGBT book.Because I need variety to avoid book slumps.I don’t always need an HEA although I prefer one, and I love authors that can rip my heart out and make me ugly cry.
Francesca
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Andy
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Andy

I agree. Unreservedly. I feel we have more books than ever to choose from and no way to discern the good from the bad while at the same time somehow mediocre became the acceptable standard.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Sadly yes, I feel mediocre is acceptable now. 🙁

Timitra
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Timitra

I agree with you! I’m still excited for some books but not as many as I used to. I miss being fully immersed in a story so much so that I do nothing but read all day then agonize over when I can get my hands on the next! I don’t know how to cope with letting go of fave authors I’ve done it in the past but I still think about their books and wonder if they’ve gone back to what I loved initially about their work.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Letting go is so hard! I struggle with this myself, and then when I happen to pick up a book because I want to see if they’ve gone back to their good books, I’m disappointed all over again. I think I’ll stop trying altogether.

Amy R
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Amy R

2016 for me consisted older PNR/urban fantasy series that have been on my TBR/wishlist FOREVER, while I’ve purchased many books in 2016 most have been from older series that were new to me or some of my favorites that had new releases for a series I love.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, that was probably a good move! Probably my plan for next year lol

Jenette
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Jenette

I agree. I find that a lot of the books are so short and they fall in love in 2 weeks and then they are married and living together. I want more meat- more character development, more of how their relationship develops, and more story building. A lot of the books are so quick they don’t have time to do any of that. I want some heart racing, gripping stories that keep me dying to turn the page. Maybe it’s the self publishing and the ease of the ebooks. But hopefully more juicy things come to surface! I just started… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yes!! What’s with that? I agree with you. And congrats on your new blog it looks great!!!

Bube
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Bube

I agree.Today in book world is quantity over quality,maybe not for all books,but 😀

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

*sigh* we can only hope that changes

Sandy
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Sandy

It is because everyone thinks they can write…the ‘indie’ publishing has ‘allowed’ for anyone to publish a book whether they can write or not, thusly, this forces the ‘real’ authors to write and publish more quickly than in the past sometimes allowing for a somewhat lackluster story line from a once trusted author.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

That is definitely one factor.

Lynnette
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Lynnette

I completely identify with this. I made the decision at the start of the year to clear up my tbr. I have made progress with that and also have found a few new books that caught my interest too but I do not look at the new release lists anymore.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Good choice!! Sadly, that may be part of my approach to the books I choose to read next year.

Stephanie Wellington
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Stephanie Wellington

I tend to read a lot of different things but as far as Romance goes it is very hard to find something that grips me. I’ve been in a Christine Feehan loop lately because a character will spark my interest but then I have to get through 3 or 4 books before I get to that particular story. Just today as I was reading Blood Vow, Chapter sent me promotional points so I ended up looking through series after series and came across Nalini Singh and since I have a serious love of Archangels I figured I’ll give it a… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

LOL yes definitely too much to read. I may have to go digging out those old recommendations I bought and forgot to look at again.

Martha Lawson
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Martha Lawson

seems to me like every book is either a book about an athlete, a bdsm, or multiple partners. I especially see a lot of NA books, I’m 60, and don’t want to read about college kids. Some of the cover models have been used so many times (in the same outfit) lord spare me the shirtless guy in a hoodie with the hood up! I want even look at the book. I have found some really good authors self publishing, others not so much.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

BIG majority yes. And don’t get me started on cover models. Even when they’re not wearing the same clothes, I get tired of looking at the same guy.

Kathleen Bylsma
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Kathleen Bylsma

Some tropes are becoming increasingly overused. Also, not a big BSDM fan . There are see me fresh voices, just hard to find.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, I think once they see something selling EVERYONE has to jump on it until they beat it to death and no one wants to see it anymore.

Elizabeth
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Elizabeth

I agree. Even some of my go to authors have let me down. I’ve actually gotten lucky with a few self published, but it’s been few and far between

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, for me it’s not so much of whether it’s self pub or not. I see authors from both sides writing mediocre books. It especially hurts when it’s a go to author.

nihcki
Guest
nihcki

The problem as I see it is the fact that authors write for a perceived audience. Authors should write the story in their mind, period. Greed fuels copycats and rehashed plots, because the goal is to sell, not to tell a story. Romance is terrible with authors jumping on whatever trope is currently getting it’s 15 minutes of fame, regardless of their own ideas or subgenre of choice. You don’t see Stephen King writing to attract a particular audience, a fickle audience at that.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yep! And I think I’m not part of that perceived audience because I want that story they have in their mind. I don’t just blindly pick up books because they are same trope. Who does? I get bored of reading the same thing over and over! But I completely agree with you.

Gretchen
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Gretchen

No still love reading the books that are out there. I don’t really read indies. I will read it if it looks like something I might read.

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

You’re picking winners!!!!!

Mav
Guest
Mav

I think I agree with you. Am finding myself only being marginally satisfied by old favorites and some new authors I have followed in past few years. Some are repetitive and at times expected but it’s the story and familiar ground. New authors all tend to be following same formula of fasting lust-love with not much substance. In those I just see how much I connect with characters and actually feel about their journey. Getting rare day by day. If you haven’t read them, I recommend Kelly Moran, LJ Shen, Mackenzie Crowne.. Am loving all their books so far. I… Read more »

Under the Covers Book Blog
Admin
Under the Covers Book Blog

Yeah, it does get harder day by day.

And I hadn’t really heard of (I mean I had seen covers in passing but didn’t stop to look further) the authors you mentioned. So definitely will be putting on my list of authors to check out next year!

Mallory
Guest
Mallory

I would admit it is harder to find new, compelling authors. Ah, but when you do! This year I discovered Kate Castlebary, Nikki Sloane and Melanie Harlow. I shall hope to make new discoveries in 2017.