The Trope of the Love Triangle and Literacy

literacy rateThe other day one of my Inkshares pals (Evan Graham, author of Tantalus Depths)  posted a vlog on his Inkshares page titled “Writing Women as a Dude and Not Sucking at It.”  In the vlog he talked a little about the book Twilight and the ‘paper thin’ character of the female protagonist.  By all literary standards, the Twilight Saga was a complete and utter train wreck (I won’t even BEGIN to expand on the sexism perspective) but what can’t be denied is its extreme popularity.  In my opinion, the whole Twilight phenomena was one of those cases of lightning strikes, which happens to about .01% of authors (they just happen to be in the right place at the right time and they become international best sellers – it has little to do with the literary quality of their work), and the trope of 1 girl+2 dangerous boys in a love triangle.  This trope holds ENDLESS APPEAL to certain readers. (Another example with this trope – The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, which is really a pretty good work of fiction IMHO).

But, I digress, I have a different take on this particular trope, and is has to do with where I live (East Tennessee).

Sadly, I live in a place where functional illiteracy is as high as 20-30%.  Many people I know have a hard time reading a basic set of instructions – i.e. how to operate a blender, or mix ingredients for a recipe or instructions on how to fill out a form – and I mean a BASIC form, not an IRS form, which are designed for maximum confusion of course.  They can’t even write down a phone number – they need help with it.

So, as far as books go, ANYTHING that will get people reading I support, even if it is ‘bad fiction’ (or bad non-fiction as the case may be).

Without an ability to comprehend the written word, any real ability for critical thinking just goes out the window and people become dependent on being TOLD what to think (and aren’t we seeing the fallout from that RIGHT NOW during this presidential campaign!)

In the mid 90s, I lived in the Washington, DC metropolitan area and at that time, a Washington Post reporter, Leon Dash, wrote a serial piece called Rosa Lee’s Story that completely changed my entire concept of both poverty and illiteracy. Mr. Dash won won a Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Journalism and the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for this work.

I highly recommend anyone who is interested in the true impact of poverty and illiteracy read this series.  It will stun you.

More information on the impact of illiteracy overall.



Writer Income: Big 5 Publishing Authors vs. Indie Authors – from Author Earnings

comparing-50k-trad-vs-100k-indies-768x443I was reviewing this exhaustive report from Author Earnings and found these statistics to be extremely interesting – indeed, the publishing industry has been turned on its head:

“…As of May 5, 2016, only 3 Big Five authors who debuted in the past 5 years are currently making a seven figure run rate from their Amazon sales — print, audio, and ebook combined. On the other hand, 14 indies who debuted in the same time period are right now doing the same.

But what about those “invisible” authors earning $100,000+ per year…?
The ones we keep anecdotally hearing about (and hearing from), who don’t show up on any Amazon category best seller lists?

Well, we found them. They were hiding in plain sight, in our million-title May data set.

Turns out there were 43 of them lurking unseen in the dark spaces between Amazon’s bestseller lists, including one author invisibly earning more than $250,000 a year. Unsurprisingly, 30 of the 43 invisible six-figure earners — including the top earner — were self-published indie authors. Most were writing in the Romance Fiction genres, but there was also an indie author of editor’s-choice Cozy Mystery Fiction, and even more surprising, a traditional-award-winning indie writer of Literary Fiction. We happen to think that’s pretty cool.

When we lowered the author earnings bar to $50,000 a year, we found 142 invisible authors that were earning that much or more on, without any of their titles appearing on any category best-seller lists. 105 of those 142 were self-published indies.

We live in exciting times. Today it’s possible to be a full-time professional author, quietly earning $50,000+ a year — even six figures a year — without ever sending a query letter to anyone. On Amazon alone, the data shows over a thousand indie authors earning a full-time living right now with their self-published titles.

The only gatekeepers that matter now are readers….”


AND IT IS ABOUT TIME……The thought of never, ever sending a query letter again – what bliss!

Complete report can be viewed here:


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