Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My 2012 Wish List

by Sandra Parshall

I’m long past the point when I viewed each new year as an exciting opportunity for a fresh start, extraordinary good luck, and amazing turning points. Now what I hope for is that my husband, our two cats, and I will all still be here this time next year, looking ahead to 2013. But I’m not beyond making a wish list, even if I have little expectation that my wishes will be granted.

Here’s my list for 2012:

1. I wish politicians would come to their senses (I did say that I have low expectations...) and realize that libraries are necessities, not luxuries, in a modern, literate society.

2. I wish major traditional publishers would come to their senses (see above re: low expectations) and realize that talented writers are worth publishing, even if they don’t regularly produce books that top the national bestsellers charts for a month.

3. I wish more readers would venture outside their ruts and their comfort zones and give the work of newer, lesser-known authors a look.

4. I wish every man who avoids books written by women would try one, just one, and monitor himself closely for adverse reactions. If he survives, maybe he’ll try another.

5. I wish the remaining bookstore chains would better serve their customers by offering greater diversity and by giving readers a chance to discover small press books on the store shelves.

6. I wish Barnes & Noble would stop trying to make the Nook competitive with the Kindle — an effort that’s driving the company into the red — and concentrate on staying alive as a brick-and-mortar bookseller.

7. I wish publishers would halt the upward creep of book prices before they alienate all their customers. Hardcovers are perilously close to costing $30 each. Is it really surprising that more and more people prefer e-books?

8. I wish we could eliminate the defensiveness and outright hostility that frequently erupts in the debate over traditional publishing vs self-publishing. Some writers are publishing both ways and see the merits of each. Others have planted their feet firmly on one side of the fence and regard their colleagues on the opposite side with contempt. The world is changing. We have to change with it. We are all in this together.

9. I wish publishers would stop putting the thriller label on every book that has a crime in it, however quiet and lacking in thrills it may be. What’s next? Knitting thrillers? Pastry shop thrillers?

10. In whatever form they prefer – printed, electronic, audio – I wish more people would turn to books rather than TV for entertainment and information. 

What's on your wish list for the coming year?

13 comments:

Anita Page said...

Sandra, I'm with you on every one of these. Regarding low expectations, I'd add world peace to the list.

Sheila Connolly said...

Hear, hear! I wish all the people and companies responsible for creating and distributing books would get on the same page.

I wish politicians would grow up and do what is best for the country, rather than for their own careers. I wish constituents would see trash ads for what they are and ignore them. I wish both elected officials and constituents would take a basic course in macro-economics so they'd have a clue what they're talking about (and I wish all high schools offered such a course, so we could have an informed electorate).

And I hope people will keep reading, whatever form it takes.

Diane said...

Sandra, you are right on the mark in each of your wishes. Re the costs of hardbacks (and the cost of paperbacks is also creeping up), I remember when a paperback - new - cost 50 cents. Putting the costs of books so high - particularly in these financially perilous time - is shooting themselves in the foot (yet another dumb move by publishers). If it comes to reading vs eating and heat, what choices do you think the not-so-wealthy public is going to choose? And, yes, they can use libraries. If they haven't closed, or have fees so high that many can't use them.

Sheila, too, had a couple of really good comments. The problem (I feel) with our politicians (and I do mean politician, not statesman) is that in order to keep what is NOT supposed to be a lifelong career, they get bought out and only align themselves with their party (NOT their constituants, there is a difference) and their corporate 'backers' - i.e. they have been bought and sold. Maybe the standard should be that they are limited to 1 - not countless - term of service, not to be repeated ever. And no huge payouts in 'retirement'. But it ain't gonna happen.

Esri Rose said...

I think I'll just use your wish list.

towriteistowrite said...

May all your wishes come true.

Whitewing said...

Sandra, wish #3 has already come true. My son and I, each week, go to the public library, select the books we know we want, and then select three pocketbooks from the spinners, written by authors-new-to-us. I have discovered Mary Anna Evans, Sharon Wildwind and Sandra Parshall in the last couple of months. Tim Hallinan was one of the new-to-mes a couple of years ago. Mike Hayes, too.

Great writing, all.

Jeri

Sandra Parshall said...

Thanks for giving my writing a look, Jeri. I can't recommend Mary Anna and Sharon highly enough -- they are superb writers, as is Tim Hallinan.

Barb Goffman said...

Ooh, Sandy, great idea: Look for a panel on knitting thrillers next spring at Malice Domestic! (Am I kidding? You'll have to wait and see. Bwah ha ha!)

Warren Bull said...

Let's also wish for the survival of independent book stores and back it up by spending money in them.

Julia Buckley said...

Amen to all. Even if only one of your Christmas wishes comes true, we'll all be the better for it.

caryn said...

Good luck on the politicians.
I share your wish on the hardcover books. I used to buy many books in hardcover, but now? Hardly any. Those authors I get from the library and I save my pennies for the paperback only authors that the library probably doesn't have.
As for the thriller label, I'd like it if publishers yould stop calling every book that is not about a serial killer a "cozy" because that label alone pretty much guarantees that few if any men will pick it up.

caryn said...

Good luck on the politicians.
I share your wish on the hardcover books. I used to buy many books in hardcover, but now? Hardly any. Those authors I get from the library and I save my pennies for the paperback only authors that the library probably doesn't have.
As for the thriller label, I'd like it if publishers yould stop calling every book that is not about a serial killer a "cozy" because that label alone pretty much guarantees that few if any men will pick it up.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your 2012 wish list with us!!!!

I wish more modern librarians loved books like the old ones did. Our old librarian had books from 1930 that are still sturdy but our new librarians not only dumped them but dump books that are two months old or any book (regardless of quality or irreplaceability) not read every few months.

I would like for all of us -- writers and readers alike -- to encourage (or demand) more book coverage in our newspapers.

I wish more bookstores -- independents and chains -- would carry good books by small presses too instead of sticking to only what is on their distributor's list. It would help them survive if they did and it would make them much more interesting.

BrendaW.